Along side its four wing-mounted 20mm Hispano cannons, the Hawker Typhoon could also carry either two 250 or 500lb bombs or eight 3” RP-3 rockets mounted on its underwing rocket pylons. On occasion, the Typhoon could also be mounted with an additional four rockets mounted in stacked pairs beneath the original eight.
Introduced in early 1943 and first deployed operationally as a ’ Tank-busting’ weapon on Hawker Hurricanes flying in the Western Desert campaign of North Africa, the RP-3 originally carried a 25/lb armour piercing warhead but this was to prove ineffectual against the beefed up armour of the new Tiger 1 German tanks.
Replaced by a heavier and more deadly 60lb armour piercing warhead, the RP-3s were widely used by the Hawker Typhoon squadrons that had been moved to France and Belgium after the D Day landings at Normandy.
Like other Typhoon Squadrons, RAF No 137 were given a wide brief to attack not only German military targets such as tanks, machine gun emplacements columns of soldiers but also any train or barge that was capable of supporting a German counter offensive.
During the unsuccessful airborne invasion of Holland in September 1944, No. 137 flew high cover above the hundreds of gliders and their tugs carrying troops and equipment to various landing areas.
It was to be the largest airborne invasion of the war and its was hoped that with the quick capture of the key German held bridges over the Meuse and Rhine Rivers flowing through the Netherlands, the Allies would be able to bypass the heavily fortified Siegfried Line and encircle the strategic industrial Ruhr River valley.
Unfortunately the Germans were able to rush heavily armed reinforcements to the area which prevented the Allies from holding the main bridge at Arnhem and Operation Market Garden collapsed with over 17,000 Allied troops killed, wounded or captured.
Many of the Allied troop gliders and their tugs were simply blown out of the sky by the massive concentration of German air defence batteries darkening the sky with their deadly flak explosions.
One No 137 Typhoon pilot was later to declare he could have gotten out and walked on the flak it was so thick.
Like the other ground attack squadrons armed with their RP-3 rockets, the Typhoons rained terror down on the German troops as they scored the landscape attacking anything that moved.
The Typhoons were so successful that their squadron bases quickly became priority targets for the Luftwaffe who timed their attacks as the Typhoon squadrons were returning to base low on fuel and ammunition. At times they were attacked by groups of 40 to 50 Bf 109’s, at others, by Focke Wulf 190’s - all desperate to blunt the Typhoons growing impact on the battlefield.
One attack on the Allied airfield at the Dutch city of Eindhoven resulted in 26 Typhoons destroyed on the ground and another 30 badly damaged
During this time, a new German directive was issued that stated that any Typhoon pilot captured should be executed immediate - such was their threat to the German forces.
When the Typhoon readied for his rocket attack on a target, he would first arm the RP launch electrical circuit via the Air Ministry 5C/543 Master Switch mounted on a support on the left hand side of the cockpit just above the throttle controls. The switch was mounted behind a small metal safety guard with a vertically stencilled ‘OFF MASTER ON' to prevent accidental arming.
Once the Switch arm was moved to ‘ ON’ position, the pilot would then select the firing sequence from the small panel directly below stencilled ‘ RP’ Selector.
He did this by flipping another Air Ministry 5C/543 switch to either ‘PAIRS’ or ‘SALVO’ which gave him the option of firing the rockets in pairs (one from each wing) or as a full salvo releasing all 8.
A full salvo was usually reserved for a long troop column or a train and its boxcars.
The RP-3 rockets were widely used by Allied aircraft right up until the end of the war in Europe and whilst arguments still remain as to their overall accuracy and effectiveness, it was clear that the rocket attacks had a devastating effect on enemy troop moral with many German tanks and vehicles being found abandoned either intact or with little damage after an air attack.
This Air Ministry labeled, 5C/543 Rocket Launch Master Switch is a WWII veteran and comes mounted in a 100yr old Mango Wood Stand complete with engraved Plaque and a detailed, double sided laminated Fact Sheet. It also comes with a detachable magnetic arm and a beautifully detailed 1/72 or 1/48 scale hand built model of this RAF Fighter/interceptor. What an amazing gift for the aviation enthusiast in your life!
* Please note that this original Recovery Curios Aircraft Instrument has been photographed with the larger, more detailed 1/48 scale version. Click on the ‘1/48 Scale Model Option' at the top of this page to order.
These Hawker Typhoon Collectable comes complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instruments in the aircraft cockpit.
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Your Hawker Typhoon Type 5C/543 Air Ministry & Crown stamped Rocket Arming Switch, Original Recovery Curios Warbird Collectable includes:
- Original Warbird instrument
- Highly detailed hand-built and airbrushed 1/72 plastic scale model of the aircraft,*
- Hand-crafted and beautifully finished 100yr, Far North Queensland Mango Wood display stand
- Detailed, 2-sided, printed and laminated Instrument Fact Sheet detailing aircraft and instrument
- Removable Magnetic Display Arm
* All Spitfires can be upgraded to the larger and more detailed 1/48 Scale for an extra $35 (Click on the 1/48 scale option).
The 1/72 and 1/48 scale, hand-built and airbrushed plastic models are available with 'wheels & flaps up or down' and 'canopy open or closed' options with a choice of two Squadron markings and camouflage.
Upon order placement you will receive an email asking for your preferred configuration.
Your complete Recovery Curios Original Instrument Collectable is securely packed and delivery normally takes between 6 - 8 weeks approx.
Did you fly, crew or maintain a Hawker Typhoon or have a friend, colleague or family member who did? Check out our PERSONALISED ORIGINAL INSTRUMENT COLLECTABLE OPTION here.