Britain’s top-scoring naval fighter of World War II was not what you think it was
As World War II loomed into sight, the Admiralty was desperate for anything approximating a modern fighter aircraft. This need was met by a modified light dive-bomber originally intended for a cancelled RAF requirement. The resulting Fulmar shared the engine and armament with the Spitfire and Hurricane, but there though the similarity ended. With a pathetic flat-out speed of 247mph and a feeble service ceiling of 16,000’ it was far inferior to its contemporaries. More worryingly, it was also 30mph slower than the Luftwaffe’s Heinkel He 111 bombers. Fair to say as a fighter it made an adequate cancelled dive-bomber. So how did it became the top Royal Navy fighter of World War II?
Bing Chandler is a former Lynx Observer, current Air Safety Officer and struggling Naval History MA student. He also has some great offers on his internal organs now Seafire PP972 is up for sale.
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