Aeroplane Monthly 1986-12
A.Lumsden, T.Heffernan - Probe Probare (30)
The first production Fairey Battle, K7558, photographed in July 1937. Following A&AEE and RAE trials, this Battle flew with a general reconnaissance unit at Exeter until damaged beyond repair while landing near Tiverton, Devon on August 27, 1940.
Fairey Battle K7558 again, showing how the rearward retracting undercarriage left the wheels protruding slightly to minimise damage following a wheels-up landing.
The original propeller and exhaust installation on Battle K7558, as seen here, was changed for later Martlesham trials with the addition of a spinner and ejector-type manifolds.
The prototype Battle Target Tower (T.T.), L5598, fitted with a winch arm but minus the windmill.
The first trainer version of the Battle was P2277. The view from the rear cockpit was poor, particularly when night flying. While flying with 1 FTS, P2277 crashed on landing at Shrewton on October 25, 1941.
The new installation produced better performance and night-flying visibility - although fitting and adjusting the propeller was a headache.
Another view of K7558, taken during trials.
The prototype Battle photographed shortly after completion, minus paint and roundels. K4303 later passed to a maintenance unit.
The Battle’s most useful role was as an engine testbed: K9370, fitted with a 24-cylinder Fairey P.24 Prince, is seen here with just half the engine and the front contraprop running.
The Battle prototype, K4303, showing off its simple undercarriage and fixed-pitch metal propeller in the spring of 1936.