Hobby Master HA2305 RAAF Bristol Beaufighter Mk. XXI Torpedo Fighter - "Green Ghost", N-SK A8-116, 93 Squadron, 1945 (1:72 Scale)
"Per Ardua ad Astra ('Through Struggle to the Stars')."
- Motto of the Royal Australian Air Force
RAAF Bristol Beaufighter Mk. XXI Torpedo Fighter - "Green Ghost", N-SK A8-116, 93 Squadron, 1945 (1:72 Scale)
Developed as a private venture by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the Beaufighter was a two-seat all-metal fighter using components from the Beaufort torpedo-bomber. First flown on July 17th, 1939, the Beaufighter eventually equipped 52 RAF squadrons, giving outstanding service during World War II, in particular as a night-fighter and torpedo-bomber (where the aircraft were affectionately known as 'Torbeaus').
Entry into Fighter Command service came during August 1940 with the Fighter Interception Unit at Tangmere. The following month, five squadrons received the Mark 1F equipped with Mark IV Air Intercept radar for night-fighter duties although the type's first kill wasn't until November of that year. The Beaufighter continued as a night-fighter until 1943, and the last aircraft (a TT10) was not retired from RAF service until 1960, nearly 21 years after the type's first flight.
1941 saw the development of the Beaufighter Mk.IC long-range heavy fighter. This new variant entered service in May 1941 with a detachment from No. 252 Squadron operating from Malta. The aircraft proved so effective in the Mediterranean against shipping, aircraft and ground targets that Coastal Command became the major user of the Beaufighter, replacing the obsolete Beaufort and Blenheim.
Coastal Command began to take delivery of the up-rated Mk.VIC in mid 1942. By the end of 1942, Mk VICs were being equipped with torpedo-carrying gear, enabling them to carry the British 18-inch or the US 22.5-inch torpedo externally. The first successful torpedo attacks by Beaufighters came in April 1943, with No. 254 Squadron sinking two merchant ships off Norway.
The Hercules Mk XVII, developing 1,735 hp at 500 feet was installed in the Mk VIC airframe to produce the TF Mk.X (Torpedo Fighter) - commonly known as the "Torbeau." The Mk X became the main production mark of the Beaufighter. The strike variant of the "Torbeau" was designated the Mk.XIC. Beaufighter TF Xs would make precision shipping attacks at wave-top height with torpedoes or rockets. Early models of the Mk Xs carried metric-wavelength ASV (air-to-surface vessel) radar with "herringbone" antennae carried on the nose and outer wings, but this was replaced in late 1943 by the centimetric AI Mark VIII radar housed in a "thimble-nose" radome, enabling all-weather and night time attacks.
The North Coates Strike Wing (Coastal Command), based at RAF North Coates on the Lincolnshire coast, developed attack tactics combining large formations of Beaufighters on anti-flak suppression with cannon and rockets while the Torbeaus attacked on low level. These tactics were put into practice in mid 1943 and in a 10 month period 27,000 tonnes of shipping were sunk. Tactics were further adapted when shipping was moved from port during night hours. North Coates Strike Wing operated as the largest anti-shipping force of the Second World War, and accounted for over 150,000 tons of shipping and 117 vessels for a loss of 120 Beaufighters and 241 aircrew killed or missing. This was half the total tonnage sunk by all strike wings between 1942-45.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a Royal Australian Air Force Bristol Beaufighter Mk. XXI torpedo bomber known as the "Green Ghost", which was attached to 93 Squadron during 1945.
Release Date: December 2009
Historical Account: "Whispering Death" - The RAAF had their unique variant of the Beaufighter. It was built by the Department of Aircraft Production and was referred to as the DAP Beaufighter or Mk.21. The DAP variant was given new engines, a tail-plane with dihedral and enhanced armour. These aircraft were used as an attack/torpedo bomber. Australian production ended in 1946 but not before 365 Mk 21s had been built. Because of its quiet engines and heavy firepower the Japanese referred to the Beaufighter as "Whispering Death".
The 93rd Squadron was formed on January 22nd, 1945 without an official name or motto. So unofficially it became the "Green Ghost Squadron" and the unofficial motto was "Spookus Sneakinus". Mid 1945 the squadron transferred to an island off Borneo called Labuan. Their task was to disrupt Japanese shipping and airfields. In August 1945, the squadron was tasked with destroying a Japanese oil tanker. The ship was destroyed but turned out to be the 800 ton private yacht of the Rajah of Sarawak. The 93rd Squadron was disbanded on August 22nd, 1946.