Hawker Tempest Mk V


Model review

This old Frog's Hawker Tempest Mk V kit in 1/72 scale is from the beginning of the seventies. At the time it was the best kit of Tempest and I didn't make any chances to it. The painting guide offered two planes of which I choce the French RAF's pilot Flt Ltn Pierre Clostermann's mount "Le Grand Charles". The decals were also good, only some little stencillings were missing but I managed to get them from other decal sheet.

History

The Hawker Typhoon proved to be a disappointment as interceptor due to its poor rate of climb and high altitude performance. However it made later a great career as a ground attack plane armed with rockets or bombs. The designing of a new plane which based on the Hawker Typhoon started already in 1941. A decision has made to change the wing to much thinner laminar-flow wing with an elliptic planform. The powerplant was to be the new Napier Sabre IV. Fuel had to be moved from the thinner wing to the fuselage which was extended by moving the engine 51 cm forward and placing a fuel tank there. A dorsal fin was also added. The plane was to be named as Typhoon II, but there were so many changes that in the beginning of 1942 the fighter was renamed Tempest.

The developing of the Tempest went on with five new powerplants which were under developing almost at the same time, they were Napier Sabre IV, Napier Sabre II, Bristol Cenraurus, Rolls Royce Griffon IIB and Griffon 61. The Air Ministry ordered 400 Tempest I, which were to equip with the Sabre IV engine, before the prototype has even flown. The order was withdrawn because of the broblems in the engine.

The first to be completed was the Napier Sabre II - engined Tempest Mk V. The first flight of the prototype was in September 1942. The first Hawker Tempest Mk V serial production plane flew its first flight in June 1943 at Langley, in all 805 planes were compeleted. From the initial production patch (Series 1) 100 aircrafts were fitted with 20 mm Hispano Mk II cannons, whose barrels protruded from the leading-edge of the wing. The remaining Tempest Vs had short-barreled Mk V cannon, completely contained in the wings.

The second that went to serial production was Tempest II, its prototype was powered by Bristol Centaurus Mk IV radial engine. The Air Ministry ordered 500 planes before the first flight of the protype which took place in June 1943. The serial production planes were equipped with the more advanced 2520 hp Centaurus Mk V radial engine. In all 450 Tempest IIs were constructed but they didn't reach the war. The planes were in service in the RAF Middle-East Squadrons until 1949.

The third and the last serial production version was Tempest VI equipped with 2340 hp Napier Sabre V engine. Total 142 planes were completed and they all were Trop.-versions. After the war they served in the Middle-East.

The Hawker Tempest Mk V was the only version which took part in the Second Word war. The planes entered service in March 1944 in Squadron N:o 3. When the Germany begun to send V-1 "Buzz" bombs across the English Channel to England in June 1944, the Tempest Squadrons N:o 3 and later Squadron N:o 486 were ordered to intercept them. The Tempests destroyed 638 out of the RAF's total 1771 flying bombs. In Septemper 1944 N:o 3, N:o 274 and later N:o 486 Squadrons joined to 122. Wing on the Continental and flew armed recces, airfield attacks, together with standing patrols and offensive fighter patrols. Many sweeps were also made against the Messerschmitt Me 262s. The Tempests were patrolling above the enemy airfields and attacked Me 262s when they were landing or during take off, the Me 262 was too fast for Tempest too.

The Tempest JF-E was the mount of the French ace Flt Ltn Pierre Clostermann just before the war ended. He was then the temporary Commander of the 122. Wing. Clostermann had 23 confirmed aerial kills and 9 "probables" and "ground kills". (Some sources claims that he had 19 aerial kills, some other that 11 kills). Read Clostermanns letter that he wrote as a response for the claims that he had overclaimed his number of actual aerial victories. He wrote the famous book "The Big Show", were he tells about the life of a fighter pilot in the RAF during the "Big Show". Recommended stongly !!!

Tempest Mk V technical data

Engine 2180 hp Napier-Sabre II 24-cylinder flat-H sleeve-valve liquid-cooled
Dimensions Span 12,50 m; lenght 10,26 m; height 4,90 m; wing area 28,06 m2
Weights Empty weight 4028 kg; Max. take off 6130 kg
Performance Max. speed 688 km/h (427 mph)
Armament 4 x 20 mm Hispano canon (see text), eight rockets or 907 kg bombs (2000lb)
Production Tempest Mk V 805, Tempest II 450, Tempest VI 142
Users RAF, RNZAF

Sources
Allied Fighters of World War II, Bill Gunston; The Hamlyn Concice Guide British Aircraft of WW II, David Mondey; Fighter Squadrons of the RAF and their aircrafts, John Rawlings; Internet

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