II W.W.      



SMITH MK III                   SMITH MK IIA                     SMITH MK II


The clock of the first versions of the Spitfire was the Mk III Smith A, as seen in the manual of the aircraft, then known as Pilot Notes (picture beside marked No. 20), the movement of this clock is the famous Jaeger Chronoflite LeCoultre cal. 330, with elapsed time, counter (the same as the Dauntless and then copied by the Russian Wostok for the Mig 15).

Perhaps for economic reasons or for failing to reach Swiss watches to the UK during the war, successive versions of the Spifire used Smith MK II (which was also used in the Lancaster, it carries a movement that is a copy of the Jaeger LeCoultre Model 201 but unsigned), and also the Smith MK IIA this have not any mark.

Mk II and MK IIA were the British mass production clock they only has 5 jewel, that is so much for a clock in a plane whom mid life in the front was a week.



It is the most legendary aircraft of the Battle of Britain, were built 20,351 units. It is the only aircraft that was active from the beginning of W.W. II untill the end. Nowadays it is about 50 planes still in flight condition.

In the race for air superiority against the Germans, 24 versions of the Spitfire were made, overcoming its rivals. First the Messerchimtt 109 and the Focke Wulf 190 later.

The Spitfire from the first versions was equal o better than the Bf109, it has better maneuverability, in rate of roll and tighter turning radio. Due to it´s wing shape, at low speed just before the stall, some vibrations occurred that were like a stall warning to the pilot knowing he o was already reaching the limit, the Me 109 stalls suddenly.

The Spitfire had the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine with a float carburetor, the engine stopped with negative acceleration, but the Me-109 with DB 601 injection engine could dive with negative acceleration, without been stopped, that was used by the Germans as an escape maneuver, just dive and if the Spitfire wanted to stay in the tail of the Me 109 had to do half a roll and when he was already diving another half a rolll, the Spitfire at best only lost the shooting distance.

The Rolls-Royce engine problem was solved by the Engineer Beatrice Shilling, who invented a small metal disc with a orifice in the middle that prevented engine being starved of fuel in a dive, the pilots ended up knowing this system as "Miss Shilling's orifice".

Most of the losses of both sides were produced by the maneuver called bounce, which was simply to dive over the enemy with the sun on your back, shoot and get out as fast as you can.

The most important thing was to get the high, don´t fly straight for more than 30 seconds and look for the enemy, especially above, behind and in the sun, to that point, that the endowment RAF pilot shirt called Van Heusen produced rashes in the pilot´s neck, in adition, this shirt in contact with sea water strangled its owner, reasons why the pilots used silk scarves, it was not fashionable.



It was not as small as that of the Me 109, the early canopies was replaced for a bubble shaped one to make room for high pilots and improve rearward visibility.

The control column was articulated above the pilot´s leg for lateral movement in respons to the lack of leg room.

The cockpit was not heated and flying with the Pattern Irving leather jacket make so difficult to turn and stare back, that pilots wear normal uniform with a sweater underneath.

The instruments were organized around the RAF "Basic Six", the RAF standardized blind flight instruments, they have its own panel.

The most curious was that the throttle was on the left side, and the landing gear control was located in the right side, having to change hands on take off to retract teh gear was not very healthy. In addition, in the first versions of Spits the undercarriage was raised and lowered by a hydraulic hand pump on the right hand side and for inexperienced pilots this resulted in a little roll on changing hands and a porpoising when the hand pump was driven, imagine a formation take off !!.



Douglas Badder, was a RAF pilot before World War II, doing low altitude aerobatics crashed and lost both of the legs. With 2 prosthesis was able to walk without a stick, play golf and make a normal life.

Shortly before the Battle of Britain starts, he was successfully tested for pilot duties and readmitted to the RAF due to the shortage of pilots. Flying the Spitfire, crashed on take off because he had the propeller in coarse mode, he was unhurt, but the artificial legs were bent, he would have been severe injure if he had not had both prosthesis. A few days later was promoted to flight Commander of 242 Squadron of Hurricans. With an invincible and contagious spirit raised the morale of his pilots when the Battle of Britain was at its worst, he was at the newspapers headlines of the time as an example of perseverance and courage.

Achieved great success despite disobeying combat tactics and often interception orders. And again, the day after an accident this time on landing its Hurrican (he run out of the runway in poor visibility), was promoted as Wing Commander, (which meant a raise from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel in a year), and he came back to fly the Spitfire at Tangmere.

He was the first Wing Commander to paint their initials on the fuselage of his Spitfire DB for rapid identification, its Head of Group, Woodhall, baptize him as DogsBody, which was thereafter his call sign.

It is not clear if Bader was shot down or collided with a German, according to Gallan, Bader asked who had knocked him down, he wanted to see this Ace, however in the book Reach for the Sky he tells of the crash. There is a third possibility, in the records of the Luftwaffe they only lost one plane on August the 9th, which was an accredited shoot down, there was not loses by accident in that day. In the records of the RAF there are 2 accredited kills, one in the area and time where Badder was shot down, Buck Casson relates that he saw a lone Me 109 and shoot it down, in this year of 1941 the RAF had introduced a new version of Spitfire the V¨ with a different shape, perhaps friendly fire shoot Bader down.

His plane was damaged and her leg became trapped in the plane, he saved thanks to the leg was orthopedic and it was untied, letting Bader bailed out without his leg. Parachute jump with only one leg and orthopedic is not the most desirable, in the impact Douglas sank knee in the chest and was wounded several months.

While still in the Hospital Adolf Galland German Hunting Chief visited him, and agreed to coordinate with the Red Cross and the RAF a secure air corridor to let someone throw him a new leg. The RAF use the information of the aisle to throw the box with the leg in a pile of bombs that damaged a Messerchimtt airfield where it was planned to released the leg.

Badder before being transferred to a prison camp, escaped from the Hospital by a window tying sheets, 2 days after he was captured, he spend 3 years in several prison camps till the end of the war.

(From the book "Reach for the sky" by Paul Brickhill)


Left, Douglas getting in his plane, see the initials DB Douglas Bader or DogBody