Model Airplane News|
Blackburn B-25 "Roc"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for January, 1941
by Jo Kotula
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The Blackburn B-25 "Roc" was a British Second World War-era Fleet Air Arm fighter aircraft designed by Blackburn Aircraft Ltd. It took its name from the mythical bird of the tales of the Arabian Nights, the Roc. It was a specialized version of the Blackburn "Skua", a two-seat Fleet fighter/dive-bomber that had some success in the initial stages of Workd War II. The "Skua" (named after a sea bird) was the first British aircraft to shoot down an enemy plane and the first to sink a naval vessel with bombs. (see the highly dramatic representation of this on the cover of "Dare-Devil Aces", below) The Roc was designed to carry a Boulton Paul power-driven turret with four Browning machine-guns. The intention was to allow the Roc to provide massive firepower in "broadsides" against enemy shipping and planes.
Rocs served briefly with Nos 801 and 806 Squadrons, FAA, in 1940. When broadsides by the four turret guns proved a failure, Rocs were relegated to second-line duties in the UK, Egypt and Bermuda. Many were painted with diagonal black and yellow stripes in 1940 as target-tugs. Others were used in 1941 for sea searches for survivors of sinking ships and aircraft in the English Channel.
Blackbburn "Skua" and B-25 "Roc"
Left: M.A.N was not the only publication to romanticize the sluggish "Skua"
Middle: The "Skua" and "Roc" compared
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