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Fairey Battle bomber file photo [3554]


CountryUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerFairey Aviation
Primary RoleLight Bomber
Maiden Flight10 March 1936


ww2dbaseThe Battle light bombers were designed to Royal Air Force's Specification P.27/32 in the late 1930s which was meant to replace aging RAF bombers still in service. The design won a RAF contract for 155 aircraft for Specification P.23/35, and the first production aircraft was completed in Jun 1937 at Fairey's Stockport factory. Although the European War started only little more than two years after the design's introduction, these bombers operated by a crew of three were already considered obsolete. Nevertheless, they remained in service due to RAF's need for combat aircraft. On 2 Sep 1939, ten bomber squadrons equipped with Battle bombers were deployed to France as a part of the Advanced Air Striking Force. Although the 20 Sep 1939 downing of a German Bf 109 by a Battle bomber marked the RAF's first aerial combat victory, these bombers were slow, hence suffering a high casualty rate in combat. Defensive armament found on them was weak as well, with only two 7.7mm machine guns, one forward and one rear. During the German invasion of France, the loss rate in May 1940 for Battle bombers, including those in operation by Belgian air force also, was about 50% after losing 77 aircraft without achieving a significant number of objectives. As a result, they were beginning to be withdrawn from front line service in France starting in Jun 1940, though Polish and British Battle bombers continued to conduct cross channel raids until Oct 1940. Although no longer a front line combat aircraft, they remained in service mainly as flight and gunnery trainers for British and other Commonwealth personnel. They also served as test beds for newly developed aircraft engines. They were finally retired from service in 1949.

ww2dbaseDuring the design's production life, 2,185 were built. 1,029 of that total was built by the Austin Motor Company and 18 were by Avions Fairey company in Belgium.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: May 2007

Battle Timeline

10 Mar 1936 The Fairey Battle Day bomber took its first flight.
20 May 1937 The Fairey Battle light bomber entered service with No. 63 Squadron at RAF Upwood near Upwood, England, United Kingdom.


MachineryOne Rolls-Royce Merlin II liquid-cooled V12 engine rated at 1,030hp
Armament1x7.7mm Browning machine gun in starboard wing, 1x7.7mm Vickers K machine gun in rear cabin, 4x110kg internal bombs, 230kb of external bombs
Span16.46 m
Length12.91 m
Height4.72 m
Wing Area39.20 m²
Weight, Empty3,015 kg
Weight, Loaded4,895 kg
Speed, Maximum414 km/h
Rate of Climb4.70 m/s
Service Ceiling7,600 m
Range, Normal1,600 km


Fairey Battle bombers in flight, date unknownFairey Battle in flight, date unknown
See all 6 photographs of Battle Light Bomber

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Alan Chanter says:
1 Nov 2007 03:46:49 PM

Battles were also exported to Turkey (29), South Africa (190 plus) who used them in action in East Africa, and Belgium -where 18 were buily under license by Avions Fairey.

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Battle Light Bomber Photo Gallery
Fairey Battle bombers in flight, date unknownFairey Battle in flight, date unknown
See all 6 photographs of Battle Light Bomber

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