Friday, 12 November 2010
Bag The Doodlebug 
I've been doing some background research into the aircraft used in Operation Diver, the V1 interception campaign in 1944, and have come up with some quite surprising findings. I knew about the Meteors I's, Tempest V's and Spitfire XIV's that were used as interceptors during the V1 attacks but had no idea that Mosquitoes and Mustangs were also used by the RAF for the same purpose.
I'm not surprised about the Mossies as their speed and armament would have been ideal, especially in the night interceptor role, but the Mustangs were not what I would have expected given their relatively lower performance. However, it appears that they were very successful, particularly in the hands of the Polish No315 Squadron, who flew Mustang III's both in the malcolm hood and birdcage versions.
The trick was to gain a higher altitude, around 1000 feet or so, then swoop on the V1 in a shallow high speed dive. After that it was down to concentrated fire from the two Mustangs in a flight in order to blow the thing out of the sky. They also tried supercharging the engines above their specified level but this wasn't too popular with the pilots as it made the engines virtually fall apart with vibration.
There's an excellent first hand account of just such a V1 interception here:
So, I think I'll be adding a couple of Raiden Mustang III's with bubble canopies to the Tempests and Spitfires for this little mini-project.