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Picture of a Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV Fighter

The Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV was first produced in 1943 as a stop gap measure until the Mk XVIII Spitfire was ready for production. The Spitfire Mk XIV was the first mass production Spitfire to be fitted with the new Rolls Royce Griffon 65. In 1943 there was a desperate need for an interceptor capable of catching the German pulse jet powered V1 (Buzz bomb) cruise missiles which were raining down on London and the home counties. Only 957 Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV were built before being replaced with other variants but they were very important to the evolution of the Supermarine Spitfire.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV Fighter Plane

 

The Griffon was fine tuned in the Spitfire Mk XIV, boost pressures were increased to over 20Lb, this resulted in higher compression ratios and therefore power, however this caused pre-ignition unless the fuel's octane rating was raised from 100 too 120, this was achieved by adding tetraethyl lead to the fuel and this resulted in lead being deposited on the spark plugs and effectively shorting them out, many different spark-plug/boost pressure/fuel octane variations were tried operationally to gain the best effective performance out of the Spitfires new Rolls Royce Griffon engine.

 

V1 flying bomb on it's
launching ramp


 
V1 flying bomb on launching ramp buzz-bomb-dodlebug
 

The Spitfire Mk XIV pictured on this page has been painted to represent Spitfire MV268, Johnny Johnson's last Personal Spitfire whilst he was the wing commander of the RAF's 144 wing. It is noteworthy that wing commander Johnny Johnson was the highest scoring allied fighter ace against the Luftwaffe in WW2 and finally retired from the RAF in 1966 with the rank of Air Vice Marshal.

The Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV received several new modifications including the introduction of the cut down rear fuselage and the bubble canopy which the RAF had designed for the American Mustang P51 fighter.

Improvements in fighter design also bring inherent disadvantages, although being over 70 mph faster and having a higher service ceiling the the older Spitfire Mk Vb if was much heavier, had far less range and it's manoeuvrability was less with a significantly slower roll-rate.

 
 
 
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 16
 

The Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV is probably better described as an interceptor rather than a dog fighter, in this role with a good pilot it excelled, it destroyed over three hundred German V1's and also was the first allied aircraft to shoot down a jet-powered Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter in October 1944 (this was achieved in a dog fight, not as was later more common, by ambushing 262's while they were landing or taking off!).

Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV Armament:

  • Two 20 mm (0.78in) Hispano cannons.
  • Two 0.5 in. Browning machine guns or four Browning 7.7mm (0.303in) machine guns
  • external bomb load of up to 1,000lb (454kg)
 
 
 
Spitfire Plane Mk XIV
 
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV Specifications:
  • Crew: Pilot only
  • Wing span: 36 ft., 10 in.             Length: 32 ft., 8 in.           Height: 12 ft., 7.75 in.
  • Weight: Max. Gross Load - 8,500 lbs.
  • Empty Weight: 6,376 lbs.
  • Engine: Single 2,050 hp, (1,528 kw) Rolls Royce Griffon 65 liquid-cooled V-12 with two speed, two stage supercharger
  • Max. Speed: 448 m.p.h. at 26,500 ft.
  • Ceiling: 43,000 ft.
  • Climb rate: 20,000 ft. in 7 minutes
  • Range: 620 miles at 271 m.p.h.
 
 
 
RAF Spitfire Pictures
 

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