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Target Of Opportunity
The Hawker Typhoon was one of World War Two’s most potent ground attack planes. The Typhoon was one of the first planes to provide ‘close air support’. The Typhoons engine was twice as powerful as the Merlin engine which enabled it to fly at 40mph faster than a Mk VB Spitfire. Whereas the Spitfire and Hurricane found it difficult to engage the legendary Fw 190’s at low level, the Typhoon did not. Out of the first 60 Typhoon kills, 40 were Fw 190’s. the Typhoon became a platform for either bombs or rocket projectiles (RP’s). The Typhoon first carried RP’s in October 1943. Most commonly, eight high explosive or semi-armour piercing RP’s were used, four on each wing. Used for a low level attack, such weaponry against trains, tanks etc. could be devastating.
Invasion Stripes - The Hawker Tyhoon
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Before D-Day, the Typhoon had been used to great effect in attacks on German radar installations along the French coastline, such as the one at Caudecote/Dieppe that was attacked on June 2nd. On D-Day, the Typhoon was the main close support aircraft for the RAF’s 2nd Tactical Support Force (TAF) that assisted British and Canadian troops as they landed in Normandy. Eighteen Typhoon squadrons flew on June 6th 1944. Eleven were RP carrying and the rest carried bombs and their first target on that day was the German HQ for 84th Corps at Chateau La Meauffe near St. Lô. Two squadrons, 137 and 263, patrolled the Channel and were instructed to engage any German ship if it entered that stretch of water. The Typhoon was frequently in action as the Allies drove east across Europe to Nazi Germany. Typhoon pilots were instructed to maintain a ‘cab rank’ over a battle field at a height of 10,000 feet so that they could strike with due immediacy as and when they were required. The Typhoon gave very effective cover during the ‘Battle of the Hedgerows’ as the Allies moved out of Normandy and further into occupied France.