After the failure of Operation Calendar on April 14-19, 1942, the matter of refilling fighter planes in Malta became a priority. The operation began on April 29, 1942 and was better prepared this time to avoid immediate destruction of the planes upon their arrival in Malta by hostile air forces. The forces codenamed "W" again included the aircraft carrier USS Wasp and HMS Eagle, with a strong squadron of surface ships. Spitfires were equipped with additional fuel tanks (however, the technical problems related to the Calendar operation have not been fully resolved). The 64 aircraft on board the USS Wasp arrived on May 9, along with 61 aircraft from HMS Eagle (one was lost). The ground crew was prepared to immediately prepare the fighters for take-off, so as not to be surprised on the ground. In fact, in a short time, a formation of CANT bombers appeared over Malta, under cover of numerous Italian and German fighters. According to the data, 47 enemy planes were destroyed (although the figures seem overstated) with the loss of three Spitfires. This success led to a reduction in the enemy's daily aviation activity and postponed the specter of an invasion. The planes arriving in Malta were equipped with 4 Hispano cannons (standard configuration was 2x Hispano 4x browning 0.303. Main reason for such equipment was transport of spare cannons, and parts), and I can suspect that at least in this first air combat they could have used their potential for the simple reason that there was no time to reconfigure their weapons. Of course, everything is just a scientific guess. As for the model, I decided to use a two-color paint scheme in the Royal Navy's Extra Dark Sea Gray and Dark Slate Gray patterns. I made the latter color by mixing RLM02 and Olive Drab color, in a slightly experimental way. Is the shade OK, judge for yourself, I like it 🙂 The Airfix Spitfire itself is perfect and I really highly recommend it to all Spitfire-holics. I will not focus on a very detailed description of the construction, as this is the second model from this manufacturer described on the i-modeler. Perfect foldability, perfect undercarriage geometry, the possibility of an open cabin and an additional fuel tank under the fuselage speak for themselves what great potential there is in a model for less than $ 15. To vent my phobias, I used aftermarket wheels and exhaust pipes, but I note that it is not necessary. The decals are, as always, the perfect DK-Decals from the Malta Aces collection. I hope you like the model, and lieutenant Lis will be back with another spitfire soon 🙂
Some bio about [email protected] BR294 pilot:
Service number is given as R/67906 (NCO) or J/15968 (Officer) by different sources.
"Shorty" Reid was only five feet four and one-half inches tall and weighed 120 pounds on enlistment and was very shy. At EFTS he was described as "Excellent pilot material - aggressive, bright and keen, an energetic battler who should be excellent as a fighter pilot". He crashed a Spitfire at Hal Far, 2 July 1942 (port tire burst, wingtip dug in, aircraft overturned). He had three older brothers, plus a younger brother and sister who were twins. His mother died in 1937, his father in January 1941. Reid left his estate to his younger siblings.
Son of William Morris Reid and Maude Geraldine Reid
home in Windsor, Ontario.
Killed in action 22 July 1942 (Spitfire BR203 coded "X" during engagement with Bf.109s, one of which he may have shot down; his name is on El Alamein Memorial."
DFC - No.185 Squadron
He had 6 confirmed kills over Malta.
27 additional images. Click to enlarge.