Gallery and Studio of John Wiseman


Hawker Typhoon Mk Ib

          The Typhoon Mk Ib was an improved version of the early model that had suffered a variety of teething problems, not the least of which was a tendency for the engine to fail and the proclivity for the tail to separate under certain conditions. The powerful 2200 HP engine produced a strong torque effect on take offs which could cause the aircraft to veer off the run way, a most alarming incident for the uninitiated pilot. Any of these situations could, and did result in fatalities. This was often a situation occurring under the less than ideal war time conditions when there was such a distressing need for more and better equipment......that was needed yesterday.
         With a new improved engine and reinforced tail units along with additional tweaking of the design, the end result was a robust, heavily armed, high speed fighter. The Typhoon was supposed to replace the aging Hurricane but tests revealed that the high altitude performance was disappointing. It was discovered however that the Typhoon offered a very stable gun platform and surpassed expectations at levels under 20,000 feet, so it was quickly adapted to take on the role of ground attacks and low level operations where it excelled. Armed with four 20mm cannon and rockets and/or a combination of bombs it could land a devastating punch against ground installations, armored divisions, train busting and targets of opportunity. With a top speed over 400 MPH, the Typhoon (and later Tempest, a further development of the typhoon), was one of the few aircraft that could successfully intercept the V1 rockets that were launched against Britain beginning on June 13, 1944. Hawker Tempests accounted for 638 V-1 rockets destroyed. Others were destroyed by Spitfire and Mosquito pilots as well as anti-aircraft ground units.
          Note, Germans launched some 9,215 V-1 rockets at England with the majority landing indiscriminately on London. They resulted in the deaths of 6,184 civilians and injured 17,981. While the V-1 could be seen and heard and flew at relatively low level, a more insidious weapon was the V-2, the ‘V’ standing for Vergeltungwaffe (vengeance weapon). The V-2 traveled faster than the speed of sound, was the first rocket to reach space reaching as high as 175KM (109M), though most reached about 80KM (50M). They could not be seen or heard, arrived carrying 725 KG (1,600 lbs), of high explosives and caused great devastation when they struck. Some 1,500 V-2 rockets were fired on England with most hitting London killing an additional 7,250 people. The ‘V’ weapons were Hitler’s ‘’last kick at the can’’, but I digress.   
        The Typhoon model shown here was flown by No. 427 Squadron of the Royal Air Force. The black and white wing and fuselage stripes were added to all allied aircraft just prior to the D Day invasion. The stripes were to offer easy identification of ‘friendly’ aircraft to prevent accidental ‘friendly fire’ from trigger-happy ground units or other allied fighters.