HAWKER TEMPEST MkVI
The Hawker Tempest was one of the last piston engined combat fighters produced by the British in the closing months of WWII.
Its predecessor, the Hawker Typhoon with its new Napier Sabre IV engines had been developed to counter the Luftwaffe's deadly Focke-Wulf Fw 190 which had proven to be vastly superior to the underpowered Mk.V Spitfires. In fact, it was not until the introduction of the Spitfire Mk IX that fighter qualitative parity between the RAF and the Luftwaffe had begun to return.
Unfortunately the Typhoon’s performance at high altitudes was not what its designers had expected, so its wings were replaced with a thinner laminate flow design to reduce drag but during the redesign process so many additional modifications were made that the final version was given its own name, the Hawker Tempest.
One of the most significant modifications was relocation of the Mk II Tempest and later Mk. VI variant’s radiators to the leading edge of the new wing, inboard of the undercarriage. This greatly improved the Tempest’s aerodynamics by eliminating the drag induced by the familiar ‘chin’ of the Typhoons and MkV Tempest’s original radiator.
A four bladed, high-performance propeller was also introduced to replace the original three blade propeller of the Typhoon which had suffered from high frequency vibrations during high-speed dives.
Entering service in 1944, the Tempest, like its predecessor was used to combat the V-1 Flying bomb threat but with the Luftwaffe’s offensive capabilities in severe decline, the Tempest found itself being deployed primarily as a deadly ground attack aircraft, decimating enemy tanks and German rail infrastructure.
The Tempest’s tally was certainly impressive when in just the month of December 1944 alone, a total of 52 German fighters were downed, 89 trains and countless military vehicles were destroyed, for the loss of only 20 Tempests.
During this time, the new Spitfire XIVs often provided medium-to high-altitude cover for the Tempests, which came under intense pressure attack from the desperate Focke-Wulf Fw 190 pilots.
Flying a Tempest, French ace Pierre Clostermann claimed the first Allied combat encounter with the fastest German piston engined aircraft of WWII, the twin-engine ‘push-pull’ double propeller, Dornier 335 in April 1945.
With the Luftwaffe’s introduction of the radical Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter, the Hawker Tempest’s ground attack role became increasingly dangerous as the Me-262 was extremely fast at low altitudes, more manoeuvrable and more heavily armed.
To counter this, Tempest pilots switched to a new strategy they called the ‘Rat Scramble’ where RAF pilots avoided any engagement with the Me-262 until it was making its return landing approach and extremely vulnerable travelling slowly, with flaps down and incapable of rapid acceleration.
The Germans quickly responded by stationing additional anti-aircraft flak batteries around the Me-262 airfield and after a number of Tempests were lost to their concentrated firepower, the RAF discontinued the strategy.
The Tempest was to undergo additional modifications leading up to the end of the war with the final version, the Tempest F. MkVI being modified for tropical operations as part of the Britain’s anticipated support of the US against the Japanese in the Pacific and SE Asia.
With this in mind, most of the F 142 MkVI’s were dispatched to Germany and locations in Hong Kong and Malaysia and although they were never to see action against the Japanese who had surrendered shortly after, they were to see service as a ground support aircraft with the British forces during the Malayan Emergency of 1948 - 1959.
By 1950 however, Britain was already rapidly moving into the jet age and the Tempests were slowly phased out of their front line role for advanced versions of the Gloster Meteor and De Havilland Vampire.
All Hawker Tempest Instruments listed below come complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.
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HAWKER TEMPEST MkV & MkVI AIR MINISTRY 1949, Mk9G 6A/3146 490 kt AIRSPEED INDICATOR
Late WWII Postwar 1949, Air Ministry 490kt Air Speed Indicator...