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the Spitfire

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 by admin

The design looked like a winner, reinforced by the maiden flight of the prototype on March, 5, 1936, by test pilot Mutt Summers. ‘I don’t want anything touched,’ he declared once he had landed.

The English government, deeply concerned about the pace of Nazi rearmament, was delighted with the early trials and placed an initial order for 310 Spitfires.

By June 1937, the contract had run into severe difficulties. For all its technical expertise, Supermarine was a relatively small company without the facilities for mass production.

Much of the work therefore had to be farmed out to subcontractors, many of which had little experience in aero engineering. One firm put no fewer than 15,000 queries through to Supermarine in 18 months.

The delays over the delivery forced the resignation of the Air Secretary, Lord Swinton in early 1938.
His successor ordered the creation of a vast Spitfire factory at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham.

Warehouses, rolling mills, bus depots, car showrooms, a steamroller works, a strawberry basket factory and a stately home were all commandeered for this purpose.

However, gross mismanagement and a recalcitrant workforce resulted in zero planes completed in the next two years.

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