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Fairey Swordfish -
Carrier-based Torpedo Plane

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Fairey Swordfish -  British WWII carrier-based torpedo plane

Fairey Swordfish

The Fairy Swordfish was a torpedo-spotter-reconnaissance biplane operated by the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) and was nicknamed the stringbag because of the large variety of weapons it could carry. Boasting the most spectacular successes of any biplane in World War II, the Swordfish sank or disabled three Italian battleships and a cruiser in the attack on Taranto on November 11, 1940, and disabled the rudder of the German battleship Bismarck allowing the British fleet to catch and sink the Bismarck 13 hours later.

Relegated to anti-submarine warfare in later years, depth charge and rocket laden Swordfish claimed 14 U-boats sunk flying from escort carriers and Merchant Aircraft Carriers.  Approximately 2,400 Fairey Swordfish were built.


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* Fairey Swordfish facts

Category Carrier-based torpedo plane
Manufacturer Fairey Aviation
First flight April 1934
Introduced 1936
Used in WW II by



Royal Navy
Royal Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Netherlands Navy
Number built Approximately 2,400
Max. speed 128 mph
Altitude 19,250 feet service ceiling
Range 546 miles
* Numbers are approximate.