Fairey Swordfish was the most widely used British carrier-based
airplane of World War II. It was a big, unsophisticated
biplane, slow and cumbersome. It looked antiquated, because it
was, but it served until the end of the war and survived its
intended replacement. Initially, Swordfishes operated from the
large fleet carriers. Later Swordfishes operated from escort
carriers, and were very effective against U-boats. The nickname Stringbag
indicated the versatility of the Swordfish, which could carry an
unlikely combination of loads, but also referred to its jungle of
bracing wires, which belonged to a past age.
At the outbreak of war, the Fleet Air Arm
had 13 squadrons equipped with Swordfishes, most of them based on
the six fleet carriers, and three flights of Swordfishes with
floats, that operated from catapult-equipped warships. There was
little combat until the German invasion of Norway in the spring of
1940. . Then Swordfishes in the Atlantic region conducted
mine-laying operations. In the Mediterranean, Swordfishes based on
Malta flew anti-shipping strikes, usually at night, against
Italian convoys to North Africa. They sank an average of 50,000
tons per month.
Swordfishes were eventually operated from 14
escort carriers and 18 MAC (Merchant Aircraft Carrier) ships. MAC
ships were converted oil tankers or grain ships, with a flight
deck but minimal maintenance facilities, and the aircraft were
continuously exposed to the often appalling weather. For
operations from small flight decks with heavy loads,
rocket-assisted take-offs were necessary. In their
anti-submarine role, the Swordfishes were very successful. They
usually flew patrols at night, patrolling between 145km and 40km
ahead of the convoy. Targets were located with radar, and
investigated by dropping flares. Total production was 2396
Swordfish - "Wimpy"
From our Premier Series. Grey Camouflage. 1/36th
scale. 17" wingspan by 12" long.
No. AEG5D-BR. Only $224.95
Swordfish - Royal Navy
Premier Series. Same size as above.
No. AEG5D-RN. Only $224.95
Deluxe Series. 1/32nd scale.
17.2" wingspan x 13.25 length
No. AEG5D-DX. Only $179.95