Aviation Historian 15
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M.Willis, D.Armson - "A snowflake settling on the water..."
This head-on view of the prototype Barracuda Mk I, P1767, at Boscombe Down in October 1941, shows the insect-like appearance of the new torpedo-bomber. Note the distinctive Youngman flaps fitted beneath the wings.
Another of CHARLES E. BROWN’S splendid portraits of Barracuda Mk II P9667, clearly showing the Youngman flaps. Designed to an almost-impossible official specification for a multi-role naval aircraft, the Barracuda nevertheless managed to accrue a fine war record, from the fjords of Norway to the jungles of Sumatra.
A typically magnificent image of the first production Barracuda Mk II, P9667, by renowned aviation photographer CHARLES E. BROWN, who manages to make the unlovely torpedo-bomber look at least partly attractive. Note the Mk XII torpedo fitted, but without its usual ‘‘air tail”, which was still officially top secret.
An official Air Ministry photograph of Fairey-built Barracuda Mk II LS789 with torpedo. Seen here to good advantage is the Observer's bulged Plexiglas windows beneath the shoulder-mounted wing.
A Barracuda departs HMS Theseus during a training sortie during 1946, when the carrier was used for trials and training with Barracudas operating from RNAS Milltown (HMS Fulmar II), near Lossiemouth. By this time, most front-line Barracuda units were re-equipping, or had been re-equipped, with the far more popular Firefly.
A Barracuda Mk II of No 827 Sqn, carrying a 1,600lb (725kg) armour-piercing bomb, claws its way into the air from the deck of HMS Furious during one of the raids on the German battleship Tirpitz during the summer of 1944. Note the makeshift wooden “ski jump" fitted to the carrier’s bow to help get the aircraft airborne.
The Barracuda’s "office” was relatively simple, with the "basic six” instruments - airspeed indicator, artificial horizon, rate-of-climb indicator, altimeter, compass and turn-and-bank indicator - being positioned immediately in front of the control column and its spadegrip.
Crunch! A Barracuda Mk II comes to grief while landing on an aircraft carrier, an occurrence that was not uncommon according to Lt Derrik Armson, who nevertheless enjoyed his comparatively brief stint on the type.
Fairey Barracuda Mk II