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Supermarine Walrus Military Aircraft

The Supermarine Walrus was a single engine catapult-launchable amphibious biplane designed in 1933 by R.J. Mitchell of Spitfire fame and first produced in 1935 to meet specification 2/35. R.J. Mitchell based the Supermarine Walrus design on the existing Seagull Mk V which had already been designed for service from Australian Navy cruisers, they were to be used in reconnaissance, SAR and anti-submarine roles.

Supermarine Walrus Military Aircraft


The Supermarine Walrus had several unusual features and abilities, the twin control columns were removable being fitted into sockets to compensate for the relatively small cockpit which would hamper access if two fixed columns had been used, flight crews often took advantage of this sharing a single column and quite literally "handing control" over from pilot to co-pilot to give increased space to the non-flying pilot! On more than one occasion a pilot pulled the control column out of it's socket unintentionally during flight, giving the pilot at best a severe shock! (even worse at night).


As the airframe had been designed with extra strength to withstand catapult launches it was able to complete manoeuvres such as loops that the general appearance of the aircraft would imply to be imposable without catastrophic airframe failure, this "spare" in flight strength also allowed the aircraft to remain air-worthy with levels of damage that would cause other aircraft to break up in flight.

At the outbreak of WWII there was 162 Walruses in operational service with the RN and other Commonwealth forces and they soon acquired the affectionate nick-names of "Shagbat" or 'Steam-pigeon' with their aircrews, the latter name being inspired by the copious amounts of steam produced when a very hot Pegasus engine was drenched with sea water on take-offs or landings.

At least five enemy submarines were either sunk or damaged by Walruses, the last confirmed successful attack on a submarine was by Walrus W2709 on the 11 July 1942, when Sub Lt PE Jordan and Lt DJ Cook sank the Italian submarine Ondina..

ASV Radar

When production of the amphibious Supermarine Walrus ended in 1944, a total of 740 aircraft had been built, the later Mark II aircraft had the metal hull skins replaced with ply wood due to the wartime metal shortages and some were retro fitted with ASV (air-to-surface) radar.

Supermarine Walrus Amphibian

Supermarine Walrus Specifications:

  • Crew: Three or four
  • Length: 33 ft 7 in (10.2 m)
  • Wingspan: 45 ft 10 in (14.0 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 3 in (4.6 m)
  • Maximum Weight: 7,200 lb (3,265 kg)
  • Engine: Single 680 hp (510 kW) Bristol Pegasus VI
  • Maximum speed: 135 mph @
    4,750 ft (215 km/h @ 1,450 m)
  • Combat range: 600 miles (965 km)
  • Service ceiling: 18,500 ft (5,650 m)

Supermarine Walrus Armament:

  • Twin Vickers 'K' .303 machineguns
  • Up-to 760 lb of Bombs or depth charges

Supermarine Walrus cockpit

Supermarine Walrus cockpit


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