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Send Her Victorious
Royal Navy Aircraft of the 1960s for FoxTwo By David Manley

In this article I will discuss some of the fixed wing aircraft operated by the Royal Navy from the 1950s to the 1970s, together with some suggestions for scenarios featuring the planes themselves.

The Royal Navy entered the jet age on December 3rd 1945 when a deHaviland Vampire made the first jet landing on board HMS OCEAN.

The first operational naval jet fighter was the Supermarine Attacker, which went to sea on HMS EAGLE with 800 Sqn. Fleet Air Arm (FAA) in September 1952. The Attacker was not a successful design, a contributory factor being its use of a tail wheel undercarriage arrangement rather than the nosewheel arrangement which was to become standard. Despite being available, no Attackers were used by the in the Korean War. The Attacker began to be replaced by the Sea Hawk in 1954, but was retained by Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) units until 1957, and by the Pakistani air force until the type was replaced by F-86 Sabres in the early 60's.

De Havilland Vampire

The Sea Hawk fighter bomber was a much more successful design, although sometimes described as demanding to fly. It was operated by 13 front line FAA squadrons, by three Australian squadrons from the HMAS MELBOURNE, and also by the Indian, German and Dutch navies (the latter modifying the aircraft to carry two Sidewinder missiles - as an aside the Dutch Navy squadrons were formed by the Fleet Air Arm during WW2 and continue to use their RN-derived squadron numbers today). Six Sea Hawk squadrons were involved in Operation "Musketeer", the Suez Campaign, in late 1956. Operating alongside the Sea Hawk was the Sea Venom. The original land based Venom saw extensive service over Aden and Oman as a ground attack fighter in the various wars which characterised the region at that time, but the Navy employed a marinised night fighter as an all weather interceptor as well as a bomber. The Sea Venom had been retired by the mid- I 960s, but was used by the Royal Australian Navy until the early 70's and was built under licence (as the Aquilon) by the French, who used the type until 1965.

The next pairing of aircraft in RN service were the Sea Vixen and the Scimitar. The Sea Vixen was an all weather fighter, operational from 1959 to 1973. A feature of the Sea Vixen was the observer's position, which was deep within the aircraft. To the uninitiated the 'plane appeared to be a single seater, with only a small window in the fuselage upper surface giving away the presence of the observer within. The Scimitar was a strike fighter operational between 1958 and 1966. Designed to carry a bomb or rocket load it was modified in 1962 to carry Bullpup ASMs and Sidewinder missiles. Both types saw action in the Indonesian confrontation of the early 60's.

The last pairing were the Phantom and Buccaneer. The former was the F-4K variant of the Phantom, and 52 aircraft were operated from the late 60's until 1978 when the last fixed wing carrier, HMS ARK ROYAL, was decommissioned. The Buccaneer was a two seat low level strike aircraft, regarded by many as the best of its type, and certainly superior to its American carrier-bome equivalents. The first version , the S I was underpowered, but the S2 set new standards for low level performance and was adopted by the RAF and the South African Air Force. Again, the Buccaneer was operational with the RN until 1978 when the remaining aircraft were passed to the RAF for maritime strike duties.

De Havilland Vampire

Scenarios

The Three Musketeers, Suez 1956

Three Sea Venoms of 893 Sqn, FAA are attacking an Egyptian airfield close to Port Said on the opening day of the operation. Each is armed with 20mm cannon and four rocket packs. The Sea Venoms arrive as four Egyptian Mig 17s have made it into the air. The Migs are armed only with their guns.

The Migs start at the centre of the Central Deployment Zone at altitude 1 0, speed I 0, heading East in line astern. The Sea Venoms start in the Western Deployment Zone at any speed, height and heading.

Points scoring is simple: 5 points per kill, 2 points per opposing aircraft which leaves the playing area, highest score wins.

Indonesia, 1964

In this scenario the Indonesians are attempting to intimidate two RN Sea Vixens flying from HMS VICTORIOUS whilst on patrol off the coast of Borneo. The British player flies two Sea Vixen FAW2 each armed with four Red Top missiles, starting in the Western Deployment Zone. The Indonesian player flies two Mig 19 armed with 23mm cannon and two AA-2 Atoll missiles and starts in the Eastern Deployment Zone. Both sides may select any speed, height and heading for their aircraft, but selection of these parameters is made in secret, as is the exact location within each Deployment Zone.

Points are scored by the British player as follows:

British aircraft are the last on-table +5 points

Indonesian aircraft are the last on table -5 points

Indonesians down one Sea Vixen -5 points

Indonesians down both Sea Vixens -10 points

British give warning of Indonesian attack +5 points

British down one Mig 19 +5 points

British down both Migs +10 points

Results:

-15 Indonesian decisive victory

-5 Indonesian victory

0 Draw

+5 British victory

+15 or more British decisive victory

Britain and Indonesia are not officially at war. The Indonesians are under orders not to allow the enemy to report a hostile act, therefore if the Indonesians fire they must shoot down both Sea Vixens on the same turn. If they fall to down both planes the carrier will be alerted to the plight of her fighters and the world will be aware of Indonesian aggression. Thus the best way for the Indonesians to win is to shoot down both Sea Vixens together or manoeuvre so as to force the Sea Vixens to use up fuel at a faster rate and therefore break off for home.

Aircraft Data Table
Type
Min Speed
Max Speed
Max Alt
Turn No
DEF
ECM
RADAR
GUN
SIZE
Attacker
6
21
60
3
1
-
-
4
S
Sea Hawk
6
24
75
3
2
-
-
5
S
Sea Venom
6
24
75
3
2
1
G
5
M
Scimitar
6
28
75
3
2
2
-
6
M
Sea Vixen FAW1
6
25
75
3
3
2
F
-
L
Sea Vixen FAW2
6
28
75
3
3
2
E
-
L
Phantom F4K
8h
42a
95
3
3
3
D
-
L
Buccaneer S1
8
24
70
3
4
1
E
-
L
Buccaneer S2
8
26
80
3
4
3
E
-
L

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