Spitfire Mk Ia
|This page is about the British fighter Spitfire Mk Ia. For other versions, see Spitfire (Family).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The Spitfire Mk Ia is a rank II British fighter with a battle rating of 2.3 (AB/SB) and 2.7 (RB). It has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27.
The Spitfire Mk Ia is one of the first monoplane designs in the British tree, alongside the Hurricanes. The Spitfire is most distinctive with its sleek and thin elliptical wing design, a characteristic seen in most future Spitfire variants. The wing on the Spitfire is a Type A, as implied by the name "Mk Ia", which contained four .303 machine guns per wing with a total of eight machine guns.
Its default paint coat consists of a green and tan two-tone colouring, with a white undercoat. The Spitfire Mk Ia possess the Royal Air Force Type A.1 roundel on the fuselage with a yellow outer ring, followed by blue, white, and then a red centre. On the wings, the Type B roundels are painted with a simple blue outer ring and a red centre. The red, white, blue fin flap exists on the tail vertical stabilizer.
The Spitfire Mk Ia has an excellent rate-of-climb and a high top speed of 460 kph when flying in a straight line. The plane has a decently high wing-rip speed, which should not come into play in controlled dives.
It also possesses a very quick turning ability, although in some situations this can mean that manoeuvring energy retention is worse than one might expect. Roll rate is good a low speeds, but suffers about ~300 kph.
In general, the Spitfire performs best at low and medium altitudes: below 4500 m. Above this altitude, engine power and manoeuvrability suffer.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 4,267 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 275||< 400||< 350||> 500|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|4,900 m||1,020 hp||1,357 hp|
Survivability and armour
- 38 mm Bulletproof glass - Armoured windscreen
- 4 mm Steel - Armour plate in pilot's seat
- 6-7 mm Steel -Armour plate behind the pilot
Modifications and economy
The Spitfire Mk Ia is armed with:
- 8 x 7.7 mm Browning machine guns, wing-mounted (350 rpg = 2,800 total)
- 153 rounds per second total output (1150 rpm x 8 / 60).
- Muzzle velocity 2,660 feet/second [810 m/s]. 
- The .303 was a rifle round, accurate but fairly ineffective in air combat unless in skilled hands. The calibre was chosen over the .50 as it was lighter, had a higher rate of fire and was less susceptible to jamming. However, it required an average 4500 rounds to disable an enemy aircraft , of which 250 rounds needed to hit (i.e. a full 2-second burst). The accurate placing of the shot was essential, as it lacked sufficient energy to cause structural damage.
- The design used an open bolt mechanism to allow air to flow through the barrel and prevent overheating. This worked well at lower altitudes but caused icing at high altitude. The red canvas wing-port covering kept the gun clean and warm; later marks also ducted hot air from the engine to regulate the gun's breech temperature. 
- RAF recommended convergence in 1939 was 400 yards [365 meters] in contrast to the Luftwaffe, with experience from the Spanish Civil War, using 200 meters (which the RAF adopted by mid-1940). Although many high scoring pilots reduced this, close to 150 yards [137 meters] or less for an accurate kill, others ignored convergence altogether or went to a box-shot where paired guns were set to different convergences.
- Choice of ammunition is essential as AP and ball rounds rely on kinetic energy to cause damage, which is lost quickly in small calibre rounds. The API round will also transfer chemical energy into the target and so will be more effective on lightly armoured targets, particularly if they hit something flammable. Pure tracer rounds help to target, especially in combat manoeuvres where lead varies, but have little penetration on contact. 
Usage in battles
The Spitfire should first climb, using its excellent rate-of-climb. This can be done most efficiently in two ways depending on the preference of the pilot. If you want to get high quickly without having covered much distance you can start off with a 26 degrees climb until 4 km (13,123 ft) after which you should lower the nose of the aircraft down to a 20 degrees climb. If you want to get to a higher altitude at a more moderate tempo and cover more distance, the preference is then to climb the entire way at 20 degrees. The advantage of the first way is that you are hands down going to be the highest fighter in the game. The advantage of the second way is that you will be ahead of your bases enough and at the altitude of enemy bombers so that you can take easy head-on passes at bombers which in those situations are free and easy kills (if you fail a head-on against a bomber it is not recommended to turn around and attempt to finish off the bomber as the tail, ventral, dorsal and beam gunners have an advantage of you flying into their bullets).
The Spitfire is fast, with a top speed of around 600 kph, although in a straight line it normally only reaches around 460 kph (can be higher if you're using MEC). For 2.7 the Spitfire Mk Ia's speed is above average overall, being able to reliably outrun aircraft that can outturn it and outturn aircraft that can outrun it. Utilizing its great climb you can dive on faster, heavier aircraft to prevent then from extending away.
Engaging Enemy Aircraft
The spitfire is disadvantaged in head-ons due to the lack of armament in the center of the plane which means you will have to rely on your convergence settings and this almost never ends well. In a Spitfire, you should almost always go for turn-fight engagements. It is possible to fake a head-on (by pulling away once your enemy starts firing) if you're forced to by an enemy plane but it is highly recommended to never commit to a head-on engagement with a dedicated monoplane fighter. A skilled opponent will try to energy fight you which you need to look out for. You can lose your energy faster than you realize and when you do, you've most likely been baited and are an easy target.
The Spitfire has a relatively good ammo count. The 4-digit ammo can (most likely will not) be deceiving, since there are 8 guns on the aircraft, making only around 400 RPG. The guns should be used at around 400 meters to have the most devastating effect. If aimed correctly your enemy is going to have a bad day. You can use this to ground attack light or un-armoured targets, usually with stealth or omni-purpose belts, but this job should be left to dedicated gun-platforms, like the Hurricane and Hellcat.
When in a fight with an enemy plane which is not Japanese, proceed to entice them into a turn fight. Wait until they get close enough and then turn into them, forcing a turning fight.
The Spitfire Mk Ia is a plane known for its maneuverability. It is faster than Japanese planes, so if attacked by one, either use a Rolling Scissors technique or just fly away. If in a good position, Boom & Zoom it by repeatedly strafing and then proceeding to either climb high and energy trap it, or extending away maintaining as much energy as possible.
Specific enemies worth noting
- The Bf 109 Friedrich (F) series are planes you will want to watch out for. They can do tremendous amounts of damage if you don't watch out. They also have very good turning performance given the pilot flying the 109 knows what he's doing and they could seriously catch you by surprise. The energy performance of this plane also greatly excels your own plane.
- Japanese planes - The Japanese fighter planes like the Ki-43 and A6M will turn all over the Spitfire. As such, do not exploit the Spitfire's turning ability against a Japanese opponent. Instead, use the Merlin engine power on the Spitfire to try and outrun the Japanese plane. When attacking a Japanese plane, try to use Boom & Zoom tactics rather than turning to keep an energy advantage over the opponent.
- Biplanes - Biplanes may be slow, but they are among some of the most manoeuvrable aircraft in War Thunder. You must not try to turn-fight them. Instead, climb or dive away from them and then use Boom & Zoom tactics. Luckily, biplanes are fragile and your eight machine guns will tear them apart.
- Heavy Bombers - Although you have eight machine guns, they are only 7.7 mm machine guns. With larger aircraft, you may find yourself expending all of your ammunition and not even coming away with a kill. The Spitfire is also quite fragile. You need to be careful of defensive turrets. Even light machine guns can take out your engine, kill your pilot and destroy combat surfaces.
- The I-180S premium Russian fighter is extremely manoeuvrable and has great energy retention which can sometimes even out-turn Spitfires at higher speeds, thus you must be very careful when engaging these planes, making sure you have an energy advantage, or it will be a difficult battle.
Manual Engine Control
Not auto controlled
| Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
|Separate|| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- Good anti-fighter armament of eight machine guns that can shred them apart
- Outstanding turn time, very good at turning fights
- Good roll rate at low speed
- Good performance at low altitude, less than ~4.5 km
- Below average top speed
- Great rate of climb
- Decent amount of armour, a front 38 mm glass and rear 4-7 mm steel plates
- 100 octane fuel modification provides roughly 15% increase in engine power
- Machine guns only effective if the target is hit in continuous bursts
- Machine gun armament lacks the long-range hitting power of cannons
- Ammo can run out quickly in prolonged, uncontrolled bursts
- Wing-mounted armament takes wing convergence into consideration
- Quick kills against large bombers without a pilot snipe is difficult, prolonged engagements expose the Spitfire to the defensive gunners
- Bad high altitude performance
- Roll rate stiffens dramatically at ~300 kph
- Not the best diver
- Below average energy retention
- Fragile construction, damage to the airframe, control surfaces, or engine can cripple the plane
- Pulling Negative G's (realistic/simulator only) can cause the carburettor float to fail, turning the engine off temporarily!
- Prone to overheating
Despite the British Air Ministry's preference for biplane fighters in the early 1930s, Supermarine designer RJ Mitchell began work on an all-metal construction, single-engine, single-seat monoplane fighter with an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear. The Spitfire (Prototype K5054) made its first flight on March 5th 1936, and after demonstrating superb handling qualities, was ordered into mass production for the RAF. The first Spitfires entered service with No.19 Squadron at RAF Duxford in August 1938.
Initially, the Mk I variant was equipped with type A wings and four wing-mounted Colt-Browning Mk II .303 (7.7mm) machine guns, although this was soon increased to eight. Further upgrades included the use of a Rolls-Royce Merlin III engine instead of the original 1030 HP Merlin II; the original two blade fixed pitch wooden propeller was also replaced with a metal, variable pitch three bladed propeller of either Rotol or De Havilland design. A bulged canopy, bullet proof windscreen, armor plating and hydraulics to operate the gear and flaps were also introduced, partly as a result of the combat experience gained by Hurricane squadrons during the Battle of France.
The first Spitfires had a basic targeting system consisting of a ringed sight, but by July of 1939 a more sophisticated collimator sight, the GM2 Mk II, began to be used; machines already in service were retrofitted with the new sights.
In 1940, 30 aircraft were delivered to front line service for Operational Trials with the new Type B wing; the Spitfire Mk IB was armed with two 20mm Hispano cannon and four 0.303 Browning machine guns, and the older eight gun fighters were re-designated the Mk IA. However, the drum feed for the 20mm cannon proved to be very unreliable and prone to jamming, so the Mk IB was withdrawn from service.
At the time of its introduction, right through the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940, the Spitfire Mk I was considered by many to be the greatest fighter aircraft in the world. By the time the Spitfire Mk II began to replace it, 1566 Mk Is had been built.
The Spitfire Mk.1A was the iconic British aircraft of the Battle of Britain. Leading Spitfire aces of this battle were: 
|Pilot Officer Eric Lock||British||41|
|Flying Officer Brian Carbury||New Zealand||603|
|Pilot Officer Colin Gray||New Zealand||54|
|Pilot Officer Bob Doe||British||234|
|Flight Lieutenant Paterson Hughes||Australia||234|
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the aircraft;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
- Flying Guns: World War II by Anthony G Williams, Emmanuel Gustin (2003), p95
|Spitfires (Merlin engine)||Spitfire Mk Ia · Spitfire Mk IIa · Spitfire Mk.IIa Venture I · Spitfire Mk IIb · Spitfire Mk Vb · Spitfire Mk Vb/trop · Spitfire Mk Vc · Spitfire Mk Vc/trop|
|Spitfire F Mk IX · Spitfire LF Mk IX · Spitfire F Mk IXc · Plagis' Spitfire LF Mk IXc · Spitfire F Mk XVI|
|Spitfires (Griffon engine)||Spitfire F Mk XIVc · Spitfire F Mk XIVe · Spitfire FR Mk XIVe · Spitfire F Mk XVIIIe · Spitfire F Mk 22 · Spitfire F Mk 24|
|Seafires||Seafire F Mk XVII · Seafire FR 47|
|Jet Fighters||Attacker FB 1 · Scimitar F Mk.1 · Swift F.1 · Swift F.7|
|Export||▄Spitfire Mk Vb/trop · ▃Spitfire LF Mk IXc · ▂Spitfire Mk IXc|