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The Battle of Britain's Deciding Factor

The Spitfire is deservedly regarded by many as the greatest fighter of WWII and to a great many people the greatest aircraft ever.

They're not wrong but once again at the Airshow we have two examples of the fighter which outperformed even the Spitfire in terms of enemy aircraft shot down in the Battle of Britain; Hawker's Hurricane. 55% of the German aircraft shot down in the Battle of Britain were the victims of a Hurricane; the Spitfire was responsible for 42%. The Hurricane also fired the first shots of what would become arguably the most significant aerial battle ever fought.

Hurricanes are fewer in number than Spitfires these days. Fortunately in 1940 they weren't. Up against the Messerschmitt Bf 109E and first Spitfires they were, theoretically, slower due to the design of the wings. The upside was that they were more manoeuvrable and, when tactics were employed to compensate for less speed and a lower ceiling, could and did create absolute havoc for the bombers and even more so, amazingly, the fearsome 109.

Last year, despite their rarity, we had two Hurricanes on the ground, and hoped to have them both in the air. That didn't happen because aircraft over eighty years old which changed the course of the war are entitled to have an off day now and again. Last year it turned out to be a modern radio, not the aircraft, which meant that only one flew. This year the radio's fixed and so we'll once again hope, for the first time here, to have two of them in the sky.

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