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Spitfire Mk.VC

A single-seater, single-engined all-metal monoplane fighter, this variant was a Spitfire Mk.V with a new type C “universal” wing and new armament. The Mk.VC could be fitted with four 20mm British-Hispano Mk.II cannons, or it could carry two 20mm Hispano cannons and four 7.7mm Colt-Browning Mk.II machine guns. The cannons in the type C wings had a tape supply and so could carry up to 120 rounds per gun, unlike the type B wings, which were limited to 60 rounds. In addition, the Mk.VC had a new chassis, with its wheels relocated further forward. Production of the Mk.VC variant began in October of 1941. The first Mk.VC fighters were equipped with a Rolls Royce Merlin 45 or 46. But when the new German FW.190 fighter began causing trouble at the beginning of 1942, outmaneuvering the Spitfire at low and medium altitudes, the Spitfire began to be fitted with new series 50 engines, which were reliable performers under low-load conditions.

The Mk.VC wad then fitted with Merlin 50, 50A, 55, and 56 engines. To improve performance characteristics at low and medium altitudes, some of these engines were fitted with a reduced vane compressor to allow maximum power to be reached at lower altitudes. Engines designed this way included the 45M, 50M, and 55M.

To reduce drag and moment of inertia on the aircraft's longitudinal axis, the wingspan was reduced, and the elliptical wingtips were redesigned to be nearly rectangular. Fighters designed with low-altitude combat in mind were designated Spitfire LFMk.Vs (Low Flight). Planes optimized for mid-altitude combat were designated Spitfire FMk.Vs (Flight). Planes fitted with the Merlin 46, 50A, or 56 were sometimes called Spitfire HFMk.Vs (High Flight) and had an increased wingspan with elongated, elliptical wingtips.

Mk.VC Spitfires fought in all theaters in which the RAF was active from 1941 to 1944. The fighter's finest hour was the Battle of Malta.

In the summer of 1942, the Spitfire Mk.V was outdated and began to suffer losses from the planes of the Luftwaffe. From 1943 to 1944, it was gradually replaced by more modern variants.

A total of about 6,500 Spitfire Mk.V fighters were produced, of which 2,467 were Mk.VCs.
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