The Hurricane may not have been the prettiest or, the best performing aircraft, but it will always be seen as the aircraft we needed at the time, and thankfully, in high numbers. Its design had incorporated older, tried and tested technologies, but also took fighter design a little further forward as well.
When George Bulman first took the prototype into the air at Brooklands on the 6th November 1935, the new Hurricane was presented to the world as a modern fighting monoplane. Fitted with eight guns, a retractable undercarriage and the ability to breach 300mph with ease, many journalists of the day commented that the peak of fighter performance had finally been reached.
Despite the promise shown by the new fighter, the Air Ministry remained lethargic, even with the dark clouds of another world conflict approaching. It was thanks to the Hawker Aircraft Company beginning production without a solid contract that the RAF received the aircraft as early as they did.
With 111 Squadron leading the way, only a handful of squadrons were equipped with the Hurricane on the outbreak of the Second World War. Thanks to sudden massive orders and a well-organised Hawkers, sub-contracting production to Gloster and General Aircraft, more squadrons rapidly became operational. Cutting their teeth during the Battle of France, it was during the Battle of Britain that the type excelled and undoubtedly formed the backbone of Fighter Command at the time.
With technology advancing at high speed, the Hurricane was steadily overtaken by the Spitfire in the fighter defence role. However, it still remained the fighter of choice in North Africa and the Far East where it often fought against overwhelming Japanese odds. Despite a large number being shot down in these far flung conflicts, many were returned to the air after hasty repairs while more fragile designs would have been grounded permanently.
A real workhorse in all respects, the Hurricane was adapted for the ground attack role with a modified wing that could carry bombs, high calibre cannon or drop tanks. The airframe's ability to take a great deal of punishment while flying these low-level operations meant that more pilots returned to base with heavy battle damage rather than having to face bailing out over occupied territory. While many were relegated to a host of second line units, the Hurricane fought on in the Far East, especially Burma, where the fighter wreaked havoc amongst the Japanese forces.
There is no reason why this iconic aircraft should ever be overshadowed by another, for as Francis Mason stated: 'The Royal Air Force was glad to get the Spitfire...it had to have the Hurricane!'
"The proverbial meat on the bones rests within the book's second half. Here, Chorlton adroitly recounts the aircraft's wartime evolution – from "cutting their teeth during the battle of France" to excelling during the Battle of Britain ... Forty historic photographs and additional artwork compliment this handy publication. Looking for paint schemes? Eight color profiles – including the final Hurricane produced – and a foldout schematic offer ample inspiration for hobbyists."
- Rachel E. Veres, www.cybermodeler.com
"...features full-color artwork and illustrations, as well as cut-away art. Author Martyn Chorlton details the design, development, specs and operational history of this Royal Air Force necessity."
- Model Retailer (May 2013)
"As in other books in this series, the author, Martyn Chorlon, covers the background and the development of the aircraft. We see how it is used in various theathers of operation and how the aircraft improved over the years. Unlike the Spitfire, the last Hurricane was nearly identical in looks from the first Hurricane. All of the various marks are covered and there are several pages of nice full color profiles. In addition, the back cover is a two page cutaway of the Hurricane. In all, it is another superb title in the Air Vanguard series."
- Scott Van Aken, www.modelingmadness.com (March 2013)
"charts the evolution and impact of the Hurricane, which became the fighter plane of choice in North Africa and the Far East during World War II. It charts the rise and experiences of Hurricane squadrons, their battles, and the evolution of the craft itself, providing many vintage black and white photos throughout. Any World War II collection or aviation library will find this a winning title!"
- the Midwest Book Review (May 2013)