IAR-80 fighter
IAR-81 fighter-bomber
PZL P-11f fighter
PZL P-24E fighter
Hawker Hurricane I fighter
Messerschmitt Bf-109E
Messerschmitt Bf-109G
Heinkel He 112B fighter

The Hawker Hurricane I fighter

 

The Hawker Hurricane I was born in December 1934, when the British Air Ministry issued specification number F.36/34, calling for a new monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear. At that time, Hawker's chief designer, Sidney Camm, was working on a little low-wing monoplane fighter with a fixed cantilever spatted undercarriage powered by a 660 HP. Rolls-Royce Goshawk steam cooled motor. Designated as the Fury Monoplane, it was supposed to enter production in 1935, but it was canceled as Hawker found out that Rolls Royce had successfully completed its PV 12 engine, which had an output of 1025 HP. The Fury project was modified accordingly, and only eleven months later, on the 6th of November 1935, the Hurricane prototype took off for the first time. As it was the first British single-seat monoplane fighter with a fully retractable undercarriage it created quite a sensation.
The Hurricane entered production in October 1937, and by the early 1938, the 111st Fighter Squadron was equipped with the new fighter. The plane was a clean, low-wing monoplane, powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine rated at 1025 HP at 5000 meters. The fuselage was mainly a metal tube covered with fabric, oval in section. Wings were divided in three main parts : a central section and two outer wings, all of them built around framework of light metal ribs covered initially by fabric, but since 1938 completely new stressed-skin outer wing was designed. The landing gear had two Vickers shuck-absorber struts retracting inwards and a fixed tail wheel. A Rolls Royce Merlin III engine driving a Rotol three-bladed, constant-speed, airscrew was selected as powerplant. The plane had a bullet-proof windscreen and was armed with 8 Browning 7.7 mm ( 0.303 inches ) machine guns ( four in each wing ).

 

The men of the 53rd Fighter Squadron in June 1941. Behind them you can see one of ARR's Hurricane I's

Hurricane's qualities were demonstrated by the commanding officer of 111's squadron, Squadron Leader J. W. Gillan, as on February the 10th, 1938, he flew from Edinburgh to Northolt at an average speed of 650 km/h. Even if the pilot had stiff tail-wind all the way, it was a remarkable performance.
The ARR had placed an order for 50 Hurricane I's in September 1939, but only 12 were received as the RAF had priority over any other orders. In 1940 Romania had to join the Axis, so it became impossible to buy any more planes from Britain. Existing Hurricanes were used to equip the 53rd Fighter Squadron, who was stationed in Dobrogea, defending Constantza harbor and the vital rail bridge at Cernavoda.
On the 22nd of June, 1941, the 53rd Fighter Squadron entered the war together with the rest of ARR's squadrons. The Hurricanes performed very well throughout the Bassarabian campaign, during which they claimed to have shot down more than 40 Russian planes for no losses. Captain Horia Agarici was the hero of one the most spectacular actions of the campaign, as he shot down three Soviet DB-3 bombers in a single day with his Hurricane I and forced another bomber formation to abort its mission and turn around. The Hurricane was popular with its pilots thanks to its rugged simplicity and great firepower provided by its 8 machine guns.
After the campaign ended, serious maintenance problems started to appear, as spare parts were all but impossible to find, and all planes were beginning to show serious signs of attrition. The Hurricanes were taken out of service by late 1942, as there were enough of the new IAR-80's to replace them.

Technical data of the Hawker Hurricane I

Wingspan
12.192 meters
Length
9.75 meters
Height
3.67 meters
Weight (empty)
2306 kg
Weight (loaded)
3021 kg
Maximum speed
510 km/h
Climbs to 6000 meters
7 minutes
Service ceiling
11000 meters
Range
960 km
Engine
Rolls Royce Merlin III C rated at 1025 HP
Armament
8 Browning 7.7 mm machine guns
Crew
1
Numbers received
12

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