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Category: Air support/WW2/Allied

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RAAF aircraft of World War Two
1939 - 1945

These are some of the aircraft used by the Royal Australian Air Force in WW2.  They are the models that RAAF had in small or tiny numbers. Those models flown by RAAF in large numbers and very important models like Avro Lancaster all have a page of their own. These are the others. That does not indicate poor quality, just that RAAF did not have a lot of them.

Click to enlarge Avro Cadet: The Cadet was a two-seat biplane trainer. Production was small, with 36 model 641 and 69 model 643 aircraft. The original design was intended for flying clubs, but the Cadet Mk.II was a military trainer. The most important customer was the RAAF, which bought 34. A number of them still airworthy in Australia.


Click to enlarge Beechcraft 17. The RAAF flew some of these but as the photo shows so did the NAZI aligned Finnish Air Force. Three Beechcraft "Staggerwings" served in RAAF colours. Serialled A39-1 to 3 they were impressed into service during 1941 and 1942, serving (A39-1 and 2) with Nos 2 and 3 Communications Flights and (A39-3) with 36 Squadron and 2 and 4 Communications Flights. The first two machines were transferred to the Department of Civil Aviation in September, 1944, while A39-3 was sold to civil aviation in 1947.
Click to enlarge Bell P-39 Airocobra. Altogether 9,588 units of the Airocobra were built, and they were used with some success, especially in the Pacific theatre and North Africa.  In the Pacific they made an important contribution to the Allied effort during the Guadalcanal campaign and later offensives in the Solomons and New Guinea - mainly as a ground attack aircraft.
 Click to enlarge Brewster Buffalo About 200 land-based versions were bought by the British, who called it the Brewster Buffalo; they were sent to the Far East in an attempt to free up Spitfires and Hurricanes in Europe. Used in the defence of Burma and Singapore, the Buffalo was overmatched by the Japanese and eventually withdrawn from service.
Click to enlarge Bristol Bulldog  In 1940, the last three Bulldogs, A 12-1, -3 and -6, were taken off strength, and at least two were transferred to the Melbourne Showgrounds and became instructional airframes at the Engineering School. Thus, the single-seat fighter faded from the Australian scene, until the Kittyhawks arrived in 1942 to carry on the tradition so diligently established by the Bristol Bulldog. 
Click to enlarge CAC Woomera The Woomera was designed to be the successor to the Bristol Beaufort in Australian service. A radical design with the engine nacelles each containing a remote control barbette for two 0.303in machine guns and four 113kg (250lb) bombs. An additional four 227kg (500lb) bombs or two 2in (533mm) torpedoes could be carried under the fuselage. One prototype (A23-1001) and one production example (A23-1) was complete by July 1944. The rest of the 105 unit order was cancelled as the RAAF had lost interest due to the availability of American designed light & medium bombers such as the B-25 Mitchell.
Click to enlarge Cessna Airmaster When various civilian aircraft were taken into Australian military service in World War 2, C-34 VH-UYG, then on charter operations from Mascot Airport, Sydney with Airflite Pty. Ltd., became the RAAF's A40-1 from July 1941. It served with a mixture of aircraft types in 2 Communications Flight
Click to enlarge Curtis Shrike (Helldiver) One of the most successful dive-bombers used by the allies, the Helldiver's development started out rather slow. The US services asked for 880 changes after the design had been accepted for production and to further complicate things the prototype crashed. The changes were necessary to try and standardize the design for all three American services. The type was designated the A-25 Shrike for the US Army and the Cleveland by the RAF, who used the type briefly. From 1943 on the Helldiver flew in nearly every major action in the Pacific war.
Click to enlarge De Havilland Dragon A34-68 was delivered to the RAAF in 1943, and was then used by the No1 Wireless Air Gunners School at Ballarat in Victoria. Following its military service, the aircraft joined Butler Air Transport as VH-AEF in 1945 before moving on to Qantas in 1948, and was used in New Guinea before being chartered by TAA for service in New South Wales.
Click to enlarge De Havilland Dragon Rapide Many British aircraft were impressed into military service in 1939 and did sterling work as a communications aircraft despite looking increasingly archaic in a world of monoplanes.
Click to enlarge De Havilland Dragonfly 67 built. A smaller version of the Dragon Rapide.
 Click to enlarge De Havilland Fox Moth The Fox Moth was a biplane transport built up from DH 82 Tiger Moth components, with a large cabin behind the engine, and the pilot's cockpit moved aft. 154 built. This rather unusual design accommodates four passengers in enclosed cabin, the pilot occupying an outside "dicky" seat aft of the wings.
Click to enlarge De Havilland Glider  Designed and built by De Havilland Aircraft at Bankstown NSW, two DHA-G2 prototypes were built (A57-1001 and 1002) and handed over to the RAAF on 11th November, 1942. It was envisaged that they would be produced in large numbers to fly troops to meet any Japanese invasion, and would be towed by such aircraft as the Fairey Battle and Vultee Vengeance. When the invasion threat did not materialise only six aircraft were produced with longer wings and fuselages than the two prototypes. The first aircraft (A57-1) was delivered to the Aircraft Research and Development Unit on 5th May, 1943and was used for test on the Griffith suction wing, and after alteration by the Government Aircraft Factory was fitted with a 96 hp Mercury 59A engine for testing as a GlasII Suction Wing Glider. The remaining aircraft (A57-2 to 6) were little used and were reduced to components by 1952. A subsequent 15 place glider design, GC-4A, was proposed but never built.
 Click to enlarge De Havilland Moth By 1930 the Gipsy Moth had become England's most popular light plane for private flying.  Inexpensive and easy to fly, the biplane made private flying possible for thousands of Britons.  To meet the demand for this dependable aircraft, the de Havilland Company had to increase production from less than one aircraft per week to more than three per day. It wasn't long before 85 out of every 100 private planes in England were Moths produced by de Havilland.

Not only did this aircraft popularize private flying but it also accounted for a number of flight records.  In 1930 Francis Chichester, after only 100 hours of flying time, piloted a Gipsy Moth solo from England to Australia, and Amy Johnson matched his feat, becoming the first woman to make the flight.

Throughout the 1930s, the Moth was produced in several different versions.  Finally, prior to World War II, it was modified for use as a military training plane and renamed the Tiger Moth.  Most of the Royal Air Force pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain received their flight training in the Tiger Moth.

de Havilland Moth Minor De Havilland Moth Minor  shown here in its cabin form, is one of the most recent additions to the light two-seater low-wing monoplane type. (Written c 1930)  It is powered by the 90 h.p. Gipsy Minor engine driving a fixed pitch wooden air-screw. Seating is in the tandem position and the "coupe"' top is hinged, Petrol is stored in the left wing and luggage in the right, and the wings fold for convenient storage on the ground.
Click to enlarge Dornier Do 24K. Built by Aviolanda in Holland for the Dutch East Indies Naval airforce, six survivors of some 30 original aircraft escaped to Australia early in 1942 and five were immediately impressed into RAAF service as A49-1 to 5. These aircraft were in poor condition when received, but served in the transport role with 41 Squadron, flying cargo into Goodenough Island, Milne Bay and Port Moresby. Two of them later served with 8 Communications Unit in the search and rescue role. The sixth machine escaped to Perth from a Japanese bombing raid on Broome and served the Dutch Intelligence Agency on clandestine flights to New Guinea until handed over to become A49-6 in RAAF colours in October, 1943. All aircraft were withdrawn from service and scrapped in November, 1944.
Click to enlarge Douglas Dolphin (Amphibian) Two Dolphins (A35-1 and 2) operated in New Guinea on oil survey work with civilian operators until impressed into RAAF service in June and August, 1940. A35-3 entered service in October, 1942 while the fourth example was shipped to Australia from the US in April,1943, having a very short service life and being reduced to components after an accident in June that year. The first machine was converted to components in June, 1940, the second was deleted in February, 1944 after an accident, while A35-3 was sold in May, 1945.
Click to enlarge Douglas DC-2 Development of the DC-3 traces back to the earlier one off Douglas Commercial 1 (DC1) and subsequent DC2 which made their first flights in 1933 and 1934 respectively. In 1934 American Airlines requested that Douglas develop a larger more capable version of the DC2 for transcontinental US sleeper flights. The resulting DC-3 (or DST - Douglas Sleeper Transport as it then was) flew for the first time on December 17 1935 and became a legend.
Click to enlarge Fairchild 24 Manufactured by the Fairchild Airplane Manufacturing Corporation in Hagerstown, Md., ninety Model 24G and twenty-five Model 24H were sold right up to the time of the Pearl Harbor attack and for a short time after the war. Production ceased in 1947. During World War II the Model 24G saw service with the Army Air Force as the UC-61 Forwarder and with the Royal Air Force as the Argus.
Click to enlarge Ford Trimotor was based on the general layout of the highly successful Fokker F.VII/3m (q.v.) three-engined high-wing monoplane, except that the Ford was all-metal --- even to its corrugated metal skinning which earned it the nickname "Tin Goose".
Click to enlarge Gloster Gladiator1940-11-05. Helouan airport - a Squadron of Gladiator fighter planes piloted by members of the 3 Squadron RAAF; these are same planes & pilots that recently accounted for a flight of Italian aircraft over the Western Desert - during which encounter Squadron Leader Heath lost his life. (negative by d. Parer)


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