Kawasaki Type 88 Light Bomber

Kawasaki Type 88 Light Bomber

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Kawasaki Type 88 Light Bomber

The Kawasaki Type 88 Light Bomber was based on the Type 88-II Reconnaissance Biplane, but with the ability to carry a 200kg (441lb) bomb load.

The Type 88 Reconnaissance Biplane was based on the KDA-2, designed by Dr Richard Vogt, later the chief designer for Blohm und Voss. He first worked with Kawasaki in 1925, produced the Dornier Do-N, which was co-produced by Dornier and Kawasaki as the Type 87 Night Bomber.

The Type 88 was an unequal span biplane, with a slim fuselage and a conventional cross-axle landing gear. It evolved into the Type 88-II, which had an improved engine cowling and a new tail fin. The Type 88-II Reconnaissance Biplane then became the basis of the Type 88 Light Bomber. Like the reconnaissance aircraft this was armed with one fixed and one manually operated 7.7mm machine gun, and was powered by a water-cooled inverted V inline BMW VI engine driving a two-bladed propeller and with the radiator under the nose. The Type 88 Light Bomber could carry up to 441lb/ 200kg of bombs, and saw service in Manchuria. A total of 407 were produced between 1929 and 1932, and some were still in service as late as the Shanghai conflict of 1937.

The vehicle identification number (VIN) on motorcycles, ATV's, MULE utility vehicles, Teryx recreational utility vehicels or hull identification number (HIN) on personal watercraft is unique to each unit. No two are alike.

VINs have 17 digits*. They look like this: JKAVFKA16VB508039. *VINS MADE BEFORE 1981 MAY VARY.

HINs have 12 digits. They look like this: KAW46436J697.

Each Kawasaki product line has a distinct VIN location. The exact location for these numbers in your particular model is illustrated in your owner's manual near the front of the book. They also appear on your registration documents.

Japanese Fighter Planes

By Stephen Sherman, Juy 2002. Updated January 23, 2012.

E arly in the Pacific War, the Americans thought they were facing a "wonder weapon," the Japanese A6M2 Zero, the main fighter plane of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in 1941. It flew rings around the American fighters of the time - Brewster Buffalo's, Bell P-39's, and (to a lesser extent) Grumman F4F Wildcats. The Zero pilots were superb their machines were light, fast, and maneuverable. Overcompensating for their previous, negative stereotypes of the Japanese as imitative "little yellow bastards," the American fliers regarded the Zero with too much respect, even awe. In fact, the Zero was a very good aircraft, but one with distinct weaknesses.


Even before the First World War, the Japanese military leaders recognized the need to develop an industrial base, on which to build their weapons capability, aircraft in particular. In World War One, they won some key victories, but largely with European-built equipment. In the 1920's both the Army and Navy created air arms, and in the 1930's, Japanese manufacturers, Mitsubishi, Nakajima, and Kawasaki, began producing fighter airplanes locally, prodded by an aircraft self-sufficiency program, headed by Admiral Yamamoto.

As a result, warplanes that had been both designed and built by the Japanese flew over China in the war there in the late Thirties. As the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) program lagged, these were largely JNAF aircraft used in China, notably the Nell bomber and the Claude fighter. (The use of female names for Japanese bombers and female names for fighters was a convenience of Allied intelligence services in WW2, and, of course were not used by the Japanese. They denoted their aircraft by the year of introduction in the Japanese calendar and purpose. Thus the Nell was a Type 96 land-based attack bomber, the Claude a Type 96 carrier-based fighter, and the Val a Type 99 carrier-based dive bomber, etc.)

The Nell was slow enough that even the motley collection of older, foreign fighter used by the Chinese gave it problems. But, the Claude was good enough to fly escort and could establish local air supremacy. The Claude (Mitusbishi A5M) was designed to operate from carriers, and had a low wing-loading (i.e. relatively large wings) and a strong undercarriage for its tailhook. As the influential JNAF fighter pilots, led by Minoru Genda, demanded a nimble and maneuverable airplane, the rest of the aircraft was as lightly built as possible. The tactical success of the Claude in China, against a foe with weak airplanes and almost no anti-aircraft, led the Japanese to continue the design philosophy of the Claude in its next naval fighter, the Zero.

The Zero

The Zero was the primary JNAF fighter for the entire Second World War. (Code named Zeke, everyone called it the Zero, as in Type 00 (Zero) carrier-based fighter.)

Built in response to a 1937 IJN spec that called for a carrier-based fighter, that was fast, armed with cannon, as maneuverable as the Claude, had long range, and climbed quickly. Since Japanese industry could only build engines up to 800 hp, the airplane had to be as light as possible. Horikoshi and the Mitsubishi design team came up with a plane that featured a large, one-piece wing made of lightweight aluminum. Fuel efficient, it had a maximum range of 1100 miles, which could be extended with drop tanks. It had clean aerodynamic lines, which made for a plane that was not only beautiful, but easy-to-fly.

The result, the Zero, was outstanding. Armed with two 7.7 mm machine guns and two 20mm cannon, it was considered "heavily armed" at its introduction in 1940. In late 1940, the Zeros dominated the skies over China, with claims for 59 Chinese aircraft destroyed against no losses. This trend continued into 1941, as the Zeros decimated the Chinese opposition, shooting down 45, with only two lost to anti-aircraft fire.

In the early air battles against the Americans and the British, starting at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the Zero shocked and terrified the Allies. The surprising effectiveness of the Zero was also a testament to the successful efforts by the Japanese to mask their true aerial strength from the West.

Lessons of Guadalcanal

But the Zero was not a super-plane. While it was very good, it had weaknesses that reflected engineering trade-offs, Japanese military traditions, and the limitations of Japanese industry.

The Zero's lightness cut both ways while light weight aided the plane's maneuverability, it also meant that the Zero could not absorb a lot of battle damage nor could it dive as fast as its heavier American opponents. Also, the lightweight Zero was optimized for low altitude (below 15,000 feet) combat above that altitude, its controls were less responsive. "Defensive" features, like armor-plating, parachutes, and self-sealing gas tanks were considered not worth the extra weight. The traditional Japanese orientation toward the attack disregarded the losses that might result from the omission of these components. As experience showed, the Zero was a flying incendiary. A few good hits in the gas tank, and the whole aircraft would explode in a ball of flame.

In the all-important matter of weaponry, the Zero's limitations could also be seen. In that era, fighting airplanes carried light machine guns (7.7mm or .30 caliber), heavy machine guns (12.7mm or .50 caliber), 20mm cannons, or some combination of these. It's important to note the relatively huge differences in the projectile size (and hitting power) of these different guns. Roughly speaking a .50 caliber slug weigh three times as much as a .30 caliber, and the 20mm was three times heavier than the .50 caliber. But, the larger the gun, the less ammunition that could be fired and the slower the rate of fire.

With two .30 caliber machine guns and two cannon, the Zero's designers sought a compromise. But perhaps the American designers made a better compromise in their selection of six .50 caliber machine guns. Too often, the Zero's light machine guns could not damage the rugged U.S. aircraft, and the slow-firing cannons couldn't find the mark. The great Japanese ace Saburo Sakai found this out over Guadalcanal, as he related in Samurai!:

I closed in from the best firing angle, approaching from the rear left of the Grumman [F4F Wildcat], the pilot appeared to realize that he could no longer win. He fled at full speed toward Lunga.

I had full confidence in my ability to destroy the Grumman, and decided to finish off the enemy fighter with only my 7.7mm machine guns. I turned the 20mm cannon switch to the 'off' position, and closed in.

For some strange reason, even after I had poured about five or six hundred rounds of ammunition into the Grumman, the airplane did not fall, but kept on flying. I thought this very odd - it had never happened before - and closed the distance between the two airplanes until I could almost reach out and touch the Grumman. To my surprise, the Grumman's rudder and tail were ripped to shreds, looking like an old torn piece of rag.

Sakai's tribute to the ruggedness of the Wildcat reflects mutely on the comparative flimsiness of the Zero.

Japan's industrial weakness also manifested itself in the Zero's production. As it was technologically advanced, it required a lot of handwork and sub-contracting to smaller shops. In the three years 1939-42, Mitsubishi made 837 Zeros, in the next 12 months 1,689. And from April 1943 - March 1944, almost 3,500. While good, these numbers did not match U.S. volumes, nor the demands of the battlefields.

Mitsubishi JM2 Jack

Later Naval fighter, entered combat in 1944. 500 produced. Japanese nickname "Thunderbolt."

Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar

Army fighter. Even lighter than the Zero. Very nimble, but armed with only two .30 caliber machine guns. Japanese name "Peregrine Falcon."

Kawasaki Ki-61 Tony

Later Army fighter. Only Japanese fighter of the war powered by an in-line engine. Code named "Swallow." The Tony was one of the few examples of German-Japanese technical cooperation in the war. Via submarine, Germany sent blueprints and two working examples of its excellent Bf109, including the DB 601A engine. Modified for Japanese production, the Ki61 emerged, a good fighter in theory, but which always bedeviled the Japanese in their attempts to build it in numbers, build it reliably, and maintain it in the field. The JAAF deployed the Tony to Rabaul and then to New Guinea. One-on-one, a well-maintained Ki-61 Tony, with a good pilot, could threaten any U.S. fighter. But difficulties with production, maintenance, and pilot training made that the exceptional case.

    , by Masatake Okumiya and Jiro Horikoshi, with Martin Caidin, Ballantine Books, 1956

Welcome, Kawasaki owners. Access the information and tools you need to get the most out of your vehicle.


Kawasaki Genuine Parts are the only parts on the market specifically engineered and tested to fit your Kawasaki vehicle. They undergo comprehensive evaluation to ensure the hightest quality and durability standards to help maximize the life of your vehicle, and give you peace of mind that your Kawasaki is always operiating at peak performance.

The proper maintenance of your Kawasaki vehicle is the best way to ensure that it operates at its full potential. Whether you work on your vehicle or bring it to an authorized dealer for service, we recommend that you use Kawasaki Genuine Parts.


The vehicle identification number (VIN) on motorcycles, ATV's, MULE utility vehicles, Teryx recreational utility vehicels or hull identification number (HIN) on personal watercraft is unique to each unit. No two are alike.

VINs have 17 digits*. They look like this: JKAVFKA16VB508039. *VINS MADE BEFORE 1981 MAY VARY.

HINs have 12 digits. They look like this: KAW46436J697.

Each Kawasaki product line has a distinct VIN location. The exact location for these numbers in your particular model is illustrated in your owner's manual near the front of the book. They also appear on your registration documents.

Luftwaffe Aircraft: Descriptions and Flight Specs

This article features descriptions of the most important Luftwaffe aircraft in the German aircraft in the run-up and during World War Two. Histories and flight specifications are given below.

Messerschmitt Bf-109

Apart from the Junkers 87 Stuka, the Messerchmitt 109 became the best known Luftwaffe aircraft of World War II. Drawing upon both design and construction techniques used in the firm’s Bf-108 trainer, the 109 was probably the world’s most advanced production aircraft when it appeared in 1935. The manufacturer was Bayerische Flugezeuge (Bavarian Aircraft), the products of which were identified with a ‘‘Bf ’’ prefix until the chief designer, Professor Willy Messerschmitt, was honored by use of the ‘‘Me’’ prefix, beginning with the twin-engine Me-210 fighter.

Ironically, the Bf-109 first flew with a British engine, the Rolls-Royce Kestrel, in September 1935. Developing less than seven hundred horsepower, the Kestrel propelled the German fighter to a top speed little over 250 mph, but the potential was obvious. Beginning in 1937, Daimlerpowered B and C models were combat-tested in the Spanish Civil War, with considerable success, by Condor Legion fighter pilots. The 109’s superior speed and armament effectively negated the greater maneuverability of Republican and Communist fighters, mainly biplanes.

By the fall of 1939 the Bf-109E was the standard Luftwaffe fighter, continuing a steady progression of models with upgraded engines and different armament. By D-Day the 109G, called ‘‘Gustav’’ by pilots and mechanics, was the most common version in service. In fact, the G series accounted for a staggering 70 percent of 109 wartime production. Powered by a DB-605 engine, the Gustavs came in bewildering variety, mostly defined by armament. The Bf-109G-6, for instance, carried a 30 mm cannon firing through the propeller spinner, two 13 mm guns synchronized through the propeller, and two 20 mm cannon mounted beneath the wings. Despite the Allied bombing that it was tasked to defeat, the 109’s production soared from 6,400 in 1943 to 14,200 aircraft in 1944.

Having demonstrated exceptional ‘‘stretch’’ for a 1935 design, the Messerschmitt 109 was past its prime by VE-Day. However, it set an exceptional record of thirty-three thousand airframes in that historic decade, and the type continued in limited postwar production in Czechoslovakia and Spain.

Focke-Wulf FW-190

Among the finest fighters and Luftwaffe aircraft of World War II, the FW-190 was ordered as a hedge against the possibility of problems with the Messerschmitt Bf-109. Owing to Messerschmitt’s priority on liquid-cooled engines, the Focke-Wulf design was built around a BMW radial it first flew in June 1939, three months before the war began. The airframe was world class from its inception, but engine cooling problems persisted and were not solved until the BMW 801 was selected and tested. The Wurger (Butcher Bird) entered front line service with Jagdeschwader 26 along the Channel coast in the summer of 1941 and created an immediate sensation. With 400 mph speed at twenty thousand feet, excellent performance, and potent armament of four 20 mm cannon and two 13 mm machine guns, the FW-190A series was capable of wresting air superiority from the RAF’s Spitfire Mark V. The British fighter retained its advantage in a turning contest, but the FW’s climb, dive, and roll rate allowed it to dictate terms of combat. Although further engine cooling problems had to be worked out by the factory, the odds were not evened until the Spitfire Mark IX appeared more than a year later.

FW-190s flew in every theater in which the Luftwaffe was engaged, including the Soviet Union and North Africa. Though suited to ground attack (one-third of all 190s were fighter bombers), its primary mission became defense of the Reich, especially when the U.S. Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces began operating in earnest during 1943–44. The 190’s heavy weapons and armor protection suited it to the task of assaulting massed bomber formations, but increasing Allied fighter strength took its toll.

By June 1944 nearly all the Luftwaffe fighters in France had been withdrawn to Germany, beyond easy range of Allied fighter-bombers. Consequently, on D-Day only two FW-190s were able to attack the Normandy beaches. The mission was led by Lt. Col. Josef Priller, commanding officer of JG-26.

Wurger production continued in several variants until war’s end in May 1945. By then 20,068 FW-190s and Ta-152s had been built. They so impressed the Allies that the 190’s design influenced the U.S. Navy’s sensational Grumman F8F Bearcat.

Junkers Ju-88

The versatile Ju-88 was one of the most successful aircraft of the Second World War. First flight occurred in 1936 bomber production began two years later, with squadron service dating from 1939. Powered by two liquidcooled Jumo or BMW radial engines variously rated between 1,200 and 1,800 horsepower, the Ju-88 was fast, rugged, and supremely adaptable. The type typically flew with a three-man crew, performing equally well as a dive-bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, and night fighter. Ju-88s were committed to attacks on Allied naval vessels off Normandy, usually at night.

Total production amounted to fifteen thousand airframes, of which nine thousand were bombers.

Meet the B-26 Marauder: The Most Controversial Bomber of World War II?

Loved by some and hated by many, the B-26 Marauder is often considered the most controversial bomber of World War II. But did it deserve its reputation?

Of all the better-known Allied aircraft of World War II, the most controversial was Martin’s B-26 Marauder, a twin-engine cigar-shaped medium bomber that was loved by some and hated by many. Among those who hated the airplane were the crews of the Air Transport Command’s Ferrying Division who picked the Marauders up at the factory and delivered them to combat units. Those who loved it included Lt. Gen. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, who used a B-26 Marauder as his personal airplane, and most of the pilots and crew members who flew the airplane in combat.

On three different occasions, efforts were made to cancel future B-26 production, but in each case proponents of the airplane managed to prevail, thanks in no small measure to the efforts of a diminutive former airshow pilot from Lynchburg, Va., named Vincent “Squeek” Burnett. However, after gaining a terrible reputation due to the loss of dozens of crewmembers in training accidents, the Martin B-26 finished the war with the lowest combat loss ratio of any of the American bombers.

“Advanced Design” From A 26-Year-Old Engineer

The B-26 came about as a result of an Army Air Corps requirement set forth in January 1939 for a twin-engine, high-speed medium bomber. The Glenn L. Martin Company submitted a design that had been drafted by Peyton Magruder, a young aeronautical engineer who had come to the Martin Company by way of the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Alabama.

Only 26 years old when he drafted the design, Magruder was well ahead of his time when he designed an airplane that would utilize a high wing loading to reduce drag and allow higher cruise speeds. Of four designs submitted, Martin’s received the highest score from the Army and was awarded the contract. The concept did not come without a price. The thinner wing required much faster than normal takeoff and landing speeds. It also had a consequently high “minimum control speed,” the speed at which a multiengine airplane can lose the “critical” engine without becoming uncontrollable. The advanced design would be largely responsible for the problems that plagued the airplane after it entered service.

Effective Tactics…

The high speed of the B-26—it had a top speed of 315 miles per hour—gave the Marauder an advantage lacked by the much slower B-17s. The B-26 also featured a dorsal turret, waist and tail guns, and additional guns in the nose. Fixed forward-firing guns were added in pods on the sides of the fuselage. The B-26 crews of the 22nd also used the low-level attack tactics that came to prevail in the Fifth Air Force to which they were assigned, tactics that made the airplanes impossible to attack from below. In more than a year of combat, the 22nd only lost 14 airplanes to enemy fighters, while group gunners put in claims for 94 Japanese aircraft.

…But Quickly Replaced

However, even though B-26s initially held their own against the Japanese, their days in the Pacific were numbered. While the Southwest Pacific air forces commander, Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney, was impressed by the Marauder, it was not the medium bomber he wanted in his theater. Fifth Air Force A-20 and B-25 squadrons had mastered the art of low-level attack, and dozens of the light and medium bombers had been modified to become powerful gunships. Kenney believed his command should be limited to one type each of fighter, light bomber, medium bomber, heavy bomber, and transport. His preferences were for the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter, the A-20, B-25, and Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers, and the Douglas C-47 transport.

The B-26s were left out in the cold. B-25s replaced the B-26s in the 22nd Group and the decision was then made to turn the group into a heavy bomber outfit and equip it with B-24s. A few B-26s continued to fly missions with the 22nd until early 1944, but they eventually completely disappeared from the theater. The two former 38th Group squadrons in the South Pacific also transitioned to B-25s.

A Bad Airplane, or Inexperienced Pilots?

The airplane was also gaining a bad reputation at the training bases back in the United States. It started among the ferry pilots who picked the airplanes up at the factories and delivered them to the bases. The problem was that the high wing loading of the first versions of the B-26 made it a “hot” airplane, and it became uncontrollable if a pilot failed to maintain adequate airspeed after an engine loss.

Engine losses on B-26s were frequent. The Pratt and Whitney R2800 engines were prone to failure, and when an engine failed, the pilot had to maintain a fairly high airspeed or the airplane would roll upside down and go into the ground. After several ferry crews lost their lives in B-26 accidents, many refused to fly the airplane. An increase in the span of the wing on later models enhanced the Marauder’s performance.

Accident after accident occurred among the crews who were in training, so many that a special committee known as the Truman Committee was appointed to look at the problem. There were several reasons for the accidents. Few of the trainees—or many of their instructors—had acquired any multiengine experience before they were assigned to the B-26 Marauder. Furthermore, the Army had made a number of modifications to the production airplanes to prepare them for combat. The basic weight of the airplane had increased and the center of gravity had moved rearward, thus rendering the airplane unstable.

While these were problems that an experienced pilot could handle, the pilots who were filling the ranks of the combat squadrons were severely lacking. Because of the accident rate, the Truman Committee recommended that the B-26s be removed from service. Martin turned to the men who had flown the airplane in combat in the Southwest Pacific for help. The combat pilots took up the cause and saved the airplane from extinction.

Originally Published January 30, 2019

This article by Sam McGowan originally appeared on the Warfare History Network.

Historical Snapshot

The North American B-25 Mitchell, a twin-engine bomber that became standard equipment for the Allied air forces in World War II, was perhaps the most versatile aircraft of the war. It became the most heavily armed airplane in the world, was used for high- and low-level bombing, strafing, photoreconnaissance, submarine patrol, and even as a fighter and was distinguished as the aircraft that completed the historic raid over Tokyo in 1942.

It required 8,500 original drawings and 195,000 engineering man-hours to produce the first one, but nearly 10,000 were produced from late 1939, when the contract was awarded to North American Aviation, through 1945.

Named for famed airpower pioneer Brigadier General William &ldquoBilly&rdquo Mitchell, it was a twin-tail, mid-wing land monoplane powered by two 1,700-horsepower Wright Cyclone engines.

Normal bomb capacity was 5,000 pounds (2268 kilograms). Some versions carried 75 mm cannon, machine guns and added firepower of 13 .50-caliber guns in the conventional bombardier's compartment. One version carried eight .50-caliber guns in the nose in an arrangement that provided 14 forward-firing guns.

Historical Snapshot

McDonnell Aircraft&rsquos Voodoo was a supersonic fighter, bomber escort, all-weather interceptor and photoreconnaissance aircraft. It served during the Cuban Missile Crisis and during the Vietnam War.

It began as the XF-88 all-weather interceptor (fighter) and first flew at Muroc Dry Lake Air Base, Calif., in 1948. The XF-88 Voodoo had thin wing and tail surfaces designed to literally slice through the air and reduce drag to an absolute minimum. The wings were swept back sharply at a 35-degree angle to reduce compressibility effects. Only two XF-88 Voodoos were built the U.S. Air Force canceled the project after the start of the Korean War.

In 1952, McDonnell received a development contract for the F-101 Voodoo, based on the XF-88. F-101s were designed as long-range twinjet fighters to escort bombers, attack distant targets and provide close support for ground troops.

The new fighter jet kept some of the supersonic aerodynamic characteristics of the XF-88, such as the wing area and wing platform, tail platform, and side-by-side arrangements of the engines. However, the F-101 wings were thinner, the size and location of the tail were altered, and the engines were moved forward in a larger fuselage.

Attack fighter, interceptor and reconnaissance versions served in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command, Air Defense Command, and Tactical Air Command as well as in Canada.

Voodoo versions included the F-101A fighter-bomber the F-101B two-seat, long-range interceptor the RF-101A photoreconnaissance version the RF-101C single-seat reconnaissance version the TF-101B trainer version the F-101C (an upgraded F-101A) and the CF-101F, transferred under license from the United States to the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The F-101 set several new speed records. In Operation Sun Run on Nov. 27, 1957, RF-101As set a transcontinental speed record by racing from Los Angeles, Calif., to New York and back to Los Angeles in 6 hours, 46 minutes&mdashflying faster than the sun.

In Operation Firewall on Dec. 12, 1957, an F-101A fighter-bomber set a new absolute world speed record of 1,207.6 mph (1943.4 kph) over the Mojave Desert in California. Because of its speed, pilots nicknamed the aircraft &ldquoOne-oh-Wonder.&rdquo

During the Cuban Missile Crisis RF-101s flew 82 missions over Cuba, flying low to avoid fire from Soviet surface-to-air missiles. One RF-101 pilot claimed he flew so low that a Soviet technician almost hit his Voodoo with a volleyball.

Thanks to the Voodoo's reconnaissance flights, the United States could confirm that the Cuban nuclear sites were being dismantled. In recognizing the achievements of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing pilots who made those flights, President John F. Kennedy said, "You gentlemen have contributed as much to the security of the United States as any group of men in our history."

Airplanes in the skies + FAF history

Early air-to-surface radar sets, namely the ASV Mk. II, had a fairly long minimum detection range. Thus as the aircraft approached the target, it would disappear off the radar at a range that was too great to allow it to be seen by eye at night without some form of illumination. At first aircraft solved this problem by dropping flares to light up the area, but since the flare only lit up the area directly under the aircraft, a string (a number of flares in succession) would have to be dropped until the submarine was spotted. Once it was spotted the aircraft would have to circle back to attack, the entire process giving the submarine a fair amount of time to dive out of danger.

Eventually time delayed flares were developed that allowed the attacking plane time to circle. The flare was fired into the air from a buoy previously dropped by the plane. The surfaced submarine could then be seen in silhouette as the plane approached.

Wing Commander Humphrey de Verd Leigh, an RAF personnel officer, came up with his own solution after chatting with returning air crew. This was to mount a searchlight under the aircraft, pointed forward and allowing the submarine to be spotted as soon as the light was turned on. He then developed the Leigh Light entirely on his own, in secret and without official sanction - even the Air Ministry were unaware of its development until shown the completed prototype.

At first it was difficult to fit on aircraft due to its size. Leigh persisted in his efforts to test the idea, and garnered the support of the Commander-in-Chief of Coastal Command, Sir Frederick Bowhill. In March 1941 a Vickers Wellington DWI that conveniently already had the necessary generator on board, (it had been used for anti-magnetic mining operations using a large electromagnet) was modified with a retractable "dustbin" holding the lamp, and proved the concept sound.

At this point the Air Ministry decided that the idea was worthwhile, but that they should instead use the Turbinlite, a less effective system which had been originally developed as an aid for nighttime bomber interception. After trials they too eventually decided to use Leigh's system, but it was not until mid-1942 that aircraft started being modified to carry it. Development assistance and production was by Savage and Parsons Ltd. of Watford led by Jack Savage

Two types of Leigh Light entered operational use:

By June 1942, aircraft equipped with ASV radar and the Leigh Light were operating over the Bay of Biscay intercepting U-boats moving to and from their home ports on the coast of France. The first submarine to be successfully sighted was the Italian submarine Torelli, on the night of 3 June 1942, and the first confirmed kill was the German submarine U-502, sunk on 5 July 1942 by a Vickers Wellington of 172 Squadron, piloted by American, Wiley B. Howell. In the five months prior not one submarine had been sunk, and six aircraft had been lost. The Leigh Light turned the tables, and by August the U-boats preferred to take their chances in daytime when they at least had some warning and could fight back.

Firey Swordfish biplane torpedo bombers were trialled with a Leigh Light under the lower port wing. A large battery pack for it was slung under the fuselage where the torpedo would normally be carried. The armament was a rack of anti-submarine bombs carried under the other wing. With such a heavy load performance was poor with a top speed marginally above the stall speed.

Wing Commander Peter Cundy was also given the Air Force Cross for his part in the development of the Leigh Light.