Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Lend-lease Hurricanes



Rare views of Hurricane IIb (or 'c') with a tropical sand filter and four 20mm Hispano cannons delivered to the Soviets and now displayed at Revda in the Kola Peninsula and painted as BM951, although that is not its true identity. It is in the markings of one Captain Yakovlenko who was shot down and killed in 1941. The scheme is apparently based on photographs of similar Hurricanes, although this is perhaps not evident from my perusal of Yefim Gordon's 530-page 'Soviet Air Power in WWII'. The Hurricane was of course the most numerous British type in Soviet service - more than 3,000 in total- and the exploits of the RAF's 151 Wing  in the Far North earned the admiration and the recognition of their Soviet colleagues, including an 'Order of Lenin' for WC Sherwood.

" unlike US aircraft, many Hurricanes arrived incomplete and/or needed repairs. Some had as much as 100 hours on the clock. What particularly annoyed the Soviet workers unpacking the crates was the Finnish swastika painted on some of the aircraft....Soviet pilots were taught to engage enemy aircraft in the horizontal plane and were thus quick to appreciate the Hurricanes' small turning radius which was superior both to the Me 109 and the MiG-3 and Yak 1...the Hurricanes' combat capabilities in the East were hampered though by shortages of spares, especially propellers - their wooden props were easily splintered and damaged by loose stones on take off and enemy bullets....."  ( ! )


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