AHC: Peerless Air Ministry

"Baker" just reminds me of Dr Who.

Be really English and name it after something weird like fungus or herbs.

You know you want a Martin Baker Lavender.
Perfectgeneral, That is really good, to be perfect it needs two rows of exhaust pipes and the inboard cannon will need to move outside of the undercarriage.
This image does conjour up exactly what I had in mind For the first MB4 prototype. The second and third prototypes would be completed with the extra half panel of length in the after fuesalage and the larger vertical tail as in the later OTL MB5 to cure the latteral stability problems.


Monthly Donor
Perfectgeneral, That is really good, to be perfect it needs two rows of exhaust pipes and the inboard cannon will need to move outside of the undercarriage.
This image does conjour up exactly what I had in mind For the first MB4 prototype. The second and third prototypes would be completed with the extra half panel of length in the after fuesalage and the larger vertical tail as in the later OTL MB5 to cure the latteral stability problems.
To get the cannon as central as possible (for accuracy and rate of roll) I deliberately mounted the undercarriage to a pipe around the barrel fixed to the front spar. You got the length early as that is needed for the Meredith cooling anyway. I can shorten the tail height.

Okay to threadmark this or delete the post for now and post when/where you want?
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With PerfectGeneral having done what I thinkn is a really good representation of how the MB 4 might have looked ITTL, I would like to thank him for his efforts and encourage anyone else to provide renditions or drawings of the PAM aircraft. Please PM if you wish to discuss ideas.
Go to it Guys and Gals, Son of Pegasus
Structurally, Martin-Baker airframes were much simpler. Since they were mostly straight lines and conical bodies, they require far less specialized tooling than Spitfire and fewer little fiddle bits reduce man-hours compared to Hurricane. Given James Martin’s design expertise we suspect that production fighters may have had as many as half the parts count of fighters made by Supermarine or Hawker. Martin could have made much better use of Supermarine’s hydraulic presses to make ribs and bulkheads.

As for firing synchronized cannons through countra-rotating propellers ... good luck with all the timing mechanisms.
My vote is on a motor-cannon similar to those installed in French, German and Russian fighters. Mind you, Hispano-Suiza designed those engines with moto-cannons from the start. At a minimum, that would require designing a new propeller speed reduction unit for a Rolls-Royce engine. Then you could fire a single cannon through the centre of contra-rotating propellers.
I am currently reading Justo Miranda’s fascinating book: “Enemy at the Gates, Panic Fighters of the Second World War” (Fonthill Press, 2019). Chapter 19 has 1/72 scale drawings of several Miles and Percival proposals, but sadly lacks Martin-Baker’s prototypes.
Dear perfectgeneral,
Thanks for your great sketch of a fictional MB4. Like the other poster suggested, it needs a longer aft fuselage and larger vertical fin to tame yaw stability. Far too many designers underestimate the size of vertical stabilizers which is why so many production airplanes feature extra dorsal fins, ventral fins, strands, vortex generators, etc.
Wikipedia also published a tentative sketch of an MB-4 with a Griffin engine and bubble canopy.

This the MB2, with the enlarge fin compared to that originally designed by Martin! He seems to have favoured small fins on all his designs.
I hope this version is canon.

View attachment 515608

That will very quickly be upgraded to include the Malcolm Hood.

Malcolm Hood[edit]

This Spitfire is equipped with a Malcolm Hood.

The Malcolm Hood is a type of aircraft canopy originally developed for the Supermarine Spitfire. Its concept proved valuable for other aircraft such as the North American Aviation-produced P-51B & C Mustangs as retrofit items, and standard on later versions of the Vought F4U Corsair, and somewhat emulated on the later models of the Luftwaffe's Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter.

The canopy was manufactured by the British company R Malcolm & Co which gave its name. Instead of taking a straight line between the canopy frames, the hood was bulged outward. This gave the pilot a better view to the rear.

...the Corsair's initial deficiencies were being worked out on a concurrent basis... The 689th production F4U-1 featured a number of significant changes. The most noticeable was that the cockpit was raised 18 centimeters (7.1 inches) to improve the pilot's forward view, and a bulged canopy, along the lines of the "Malcolm Hood" used on Spitfires, replaced the original "birdcage" framed canopy to provide better all-round field of view.[1]
Malcolm hoods are coming, do not worry and thanks for the links, always useful and appreciated. I am still trying to confirm the OTL date that Malcolm first produced the bulged/bubbled hood.
Thanks, that is earlier than I thought, I had in my mind that they came into common use after the BoB. ITTL lets assume that the Malcolm hood has been adopted on all the Spitfire mark II's built. The MB5 would certainly be a candidate for the same Hood type.
10.32 September 9th, 10th, 11th
September 9th.

Day: Unsuccessful sorties against London, Thames estuary and Aircraft Factories.

Night: Main Target. London, Including City and West End.

Weather: Scattered showers. Thundery in the east. Channel Fair. (1)

For the third day in succession the RDF screens remained clear of reflected energy after the last of the night time raiders had made their exit to the other side of the channel. RAF pilots waited at dispersals for the ‘yell and Bell’ to send them running to their aircraft, some passed the time by reading other played cards, whilst some just slept whilst they could. It was early afternoon before the plots appeared denoting various formations of enemy aircraft, of twenty plus, thirty plus, fifty plus, fifteen plus and dozen more gathering in the Calais-Boulogne region. As these disparate formations headed for the shores of England a high altitude fighter sweep by Me 109’s attempted to draw the defending fighters away. Today the Eleven group controllers were on the ball ignoring the fighter feint and vectoring nine squadrons of fighters onto the main bomber formations. Simultaneously as was no the standard procedure both twelve Group and Ten Group launched fighters to provide standing patrols over airfields to the north of the Thames and vital aircraft factories to the south and west of London. It was after five o’clock before the bombers crossed the English coast with the westering sun low over their left shoulders. The main targets appeared to be central London, the docks and the Estuary industries again with another attack heading towards the aircraft factories at, Weybridge, Brooklands and Kingston.

Few bombers today actually reached their targets as concerted attacks from the defending fighters broke up their formations and caused them to jettison their bombs willy-nilly over the English country side. Soon the Y service radio interceptors were hear aircraft distress calls from the German bomber formations, followed remarkably by plain language radio transmitions from French bases their authorising them to abort their missions ,if the defences are too strong, or if the fighter protection is too weak’. With bombs being scattered all over Kent it was inevitable that some urban areas should be hit. Bombs fell on Wandsworth and Lambeth to the south of the Thames and in Chelsea close by on the opposite side of the river. The suburbs of Purely, Kingston, Norbition and Surbiton were struck as was the county seat of Canterbury. Today in daylight the advantage was with Fighter Command , twenty two German aircraft were lost in the days battle whilst the RAF lost sixteen from which nine pilots survived.

As Darkness fell Luftlotte three continued their night attacks that now followed and established pattern. Three waves of bombers came over throughout the night. The first formations came in over the south coast west of Brighton and exited to the east through the skies above Essex. The next wave passed then as they approached via the gap in the anti-aircraft defence created by the width of the Thames Estuary and then turned south to exit just to the East of Beachy Head. They in turn were passed by the third wave who crossed the coast between Brighton and Hastings before returning to France via Dover. The RDF teams had estimated around two hundred aircraft attacking in total. The city and central London were again heavily bombe with damage occurring in many other London Boroughs. The anti-aircraft fire and the searchlights with the aid of DL/RDF fire an almost continuous barrage. Though only two aircraft were claimed the guns at least kept the bombers high and in many cases made accurate bombing difficult. Further the guns were a visible and very audible defence that had a moral value far greater than their direct military one. The night fighter force again to night manage to shoot down a dozen bombers and damaged a couple more. Another two night fighter crews reached double figures in their personal scores but one RAF crew was lost, whether to return fire or accident could not be determined as the aircraft disappeared off the RDF screen over the Thames Estuary whilst closing on a ‘Maggot’. The third night consecutive total civilian casualties exceeded seventeen hundred, with fourteen hundred wounded and just under four hundred dead. Total casualties ibn London over the nights of seventh to ninth September included now exceed five thousand dead and wounded. The civil authorities were becoming more and more concerned by the pressure such raids were putting on the London Hospitals and the emergency services. However to balance this the ARP system seemed to be coping remarkably well so far.

(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster

September 10th.

Day: Slight Activity. Single Raiders over airfields in afternoon.

Night: London main Objective but also raids on Merseyside and South Wales.

Weather: Generally cloudy. Some rain. (1)

The pattern of the last three days was again repeated, by a lull in activity in the morning with the first hostile raid not being detected until aircraft were plotted leaving the region of Cherbourg. Flying singly, a number of bombers and Me110’s carried out a series of hit and run attacks in Ten Groups area and the western sector of Eleven Group. These raids made good use of the available cloud cover to try and evade those flights and squadron sent to intercept. Despite the GCI/PPI stations being able to talk the fighters into close proximity, interception was nigh on impossible whilst the enemy aircraft remained hidden in cloud. Two Dorniers attacking airfields in Ten Groups Middle Wallop sector were caught and shot down. As the last of these raiders retired Luftflotte two entered the fray for the day by sending several small formations towards Beachy Head where they split up to attack various airfield south of London. One bomber was shot down south of Kenley and an attack on Biggin Hill was thwarted with bombs scattered all around but none actually hitting the airfield. This was the last daylight attack of the day and as darkness gathered so did the bombers of Luftflotte three. Once again London was the prime target with some one hundred and fifty bombers attacking throughout the night. Other cities were also attacked these included Swansea and Cardiff in South Wales as well as Meseyside. If these attacks were intended to distract the night fighter force then German intelligence had baldly misread hoe the system worked. Those GCI/PPI controllers west and North of London revelled in the chance to rack and vector their guys onto the bandits and with the targets requiring two or three times the flying time to reach they had a lot more time available to achieve this. By now controllers had become quite adapt at passing their maggot from their PPI screen to the next GCI station on the enemies’ flight track. Now that each GCI station had its own plotting table showing all the neighbouring RDF stations and their areas of coverage this task was much easier and what the OR Boffins would label as ‘Situational Awareness’ was much improved. Every intercept where the bomber was fired on or forced to take evasive action was considered a success by the night fighter crews, as they saw it, preventing the enemy from hitting their targets was in reality seven eighths of their task. For these crews the bomb fall survey report was an indication of their efforts. Bombs recorded as falling close to the time and location of their attack confirmed for them that one more bomber had not wrought destruction on its intended victims. Tonight, in total five enemy bombers were confirmed as having been shot down over the UK, with another couple of possible, one in the north sea and a second on fire when the attack had to be called off as the bomber crossed the occupied coast.

Late in the afternoon a Maritime Command patrol aircraft had spotted a convoy consisting of some thirty E-boats, five Destroyers and twelve merchant ships off the French port of Dieppe, greatly increasing the apprehension that the long awaited invasion was about to start. A sweep by the duty destroyer flotilla out of Portland during the night had failed to find the enemy convoy in mid channel, where they would be expected as part of an invasion fleet. By the time the destroyers started to close the coast between Boulogne and Dieppe, dawn was fast approaching and they had to break off to return to the English side of the channel and the air defence protection that it provided. Subsequently, in certain informed circles the morning of the eleventh of September there were loud sighs of relief when the dawn did not reveal a German invasion fleet off the English beaches.

(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster

September 11th.

Day: Some bombs on London. Three large raids in south-east. Raids on Portsmouth and Southampton. Seelowe postponed until the 14th.

Night: London attacked and Merseyside.

Weather: Mainly fine. Some local showers. Channel and Estuary cloudy. (1)

Today Keith Park had issued another instruction to his controller, this was the sixteenth such instruction he had issued and was intended to adjust the operations of Eleven Group to counter the latest change in the Luftwaffe tactics as experienced by Eleven Group in the previous three days. The summary of these new tactics was that where previously the Luftwaffe had staged two or three separate raids per day, they had now adopted mass raids of between three and four hundred aircraft attacking in two to three consecutive waves of a period of between three quarters to one hors duration. The basics of the new instructions were the whenever possible pairs of squadrons were to be used, if practicable one of Spitfires to tackle the escorting fighters, with a squadron of Defiants or Hurricanes to attack the bombers. The first wave was to be intercepted by Squadrons who were at ‘Readiness’. As soon as these had been scrambled pairs of squadrons on ‘standby’ and hence available in fifteen minutes would then be brought to ‘Readiness’ in anticipation of being scrambled to intercept the second wave of enemy aircraft. Those remaining squadrons on notice to be ‘available in thirty minutes’ would then be brought to ‘Readiness” status to either enter the fray as single squadrons or be used to defend sector stations and aircraft production plants. In the advent of a third wave then the last reinforcements would be brought into action in pairs. This final instruction caused a bit of an problem as four of these squadrons based at Debden and Duxford as part of the PAC were all Spitfires. After discussions with the Polish Headquarters a compromise was adopted in that if necessary, Squadrons from Debden would be paired with those from North Weald, whilst those from Duxford would pair with those from Coltisall. Elsewhere Hornchurch would pair with Biggin Hill and Northolt with Kenley. Tangmere would be reinforced and work with squadrons from Ten Group when the threat was to the south and west of Eleven groups area. Paired Squadrons when scrambled by the controller would rendezvous over an airfield designated by the controller. As soon as this description had been made the direction of the squadrons would be handed to the sector controllers to carry the interception through.

A quite morning gave the sector controllers and the squadron commanders to work out the details of how the new tactics would be applied and carried out. The only Luftwaffe activity in morning was patrolling over the French side of the Channel, in an attempt to draw a reaction from Fighter Command, and a hit and run raid by a bomber on poling CH station. This morning for the first time jamming of the CH stations on the south coast was attempted by the Germans. This was a form of blanket noise transmitted on the CH frequency was hampered by the relatively low power attainable by the valves of the German transmitting equipment. The official way of countering the Jamming was for the insertion of coloured slides in front of the cathode ray tubes which would help them distinguish the true afterglow of a contact from the fuzzy mass of the jamming interference.

Around lunch time more reconnaissance flights were plotted and the tension in the control rooms rose even further until the first formations gaining altitude over France were detected by the CH stations and plotted onto the tables. Then everyone in the command bunkers were just too busy to worry about anything at all other than their immediate task. As the plots for these raids developed a variation on the practice of the previous three days became apparent. One which Keith Park had allowed for in his instructions issued that morning. For whilst a big raid in three waves was mounted from the Pas de Calais by Luftflotte two co-ordinated with it was a further attack by Lufttflotte three to the west heading for the area of Isle of Wight. At around a quarter to three in the afternoon the first wave from Luftflotte Two started to form up between Ostend and Calais, this wave headed for London Followed and hour by a second wave crossing the English coast in the vicinity of Folkstone. The third wave followed closely behind the second one also heading for London. Whilst Eleven Groups efforts were focused towards London and the south east another series of raids were forming up in the area of Cherbourg and the Seine Bay. This formation principally attacked Southampton and Portsmouth. Endeavouring to implement the new instruction the Eleven Group Controllers sent Spitfire Squadrons after what were adjudged to be the escorting fighter formations and the other fighters directly at the bombers. The coordination between several of the paired squadrons was not as it should have been and the Hurricane and Defiant pilots were out numbered and caught by the ME 109’s escorting the Luftwaffe bombers. Where the coordination did work some bomber formations did take considerable losses. As the Luftwaffe bombers turned south to return to their bases further sweeps of Me109’s crossed the channel to attack, Dover and shipping convoys as a further distraction to Eleven Groups defensive operations. Despite the claims made by the Ministry of Information.

As the sun set and the skies darkened the more RDF stations started to report attempts to Jam them with the usual of blanket noise interference transmittions. Here the foresight of Watson-Watts and his team came to the fore, for each of the CH stations had a series of aerial systems strung from their masts that permitted, with some effort, the stations to change frequency. By this means most stations were able to break through the clutter and observe the enemy at or near the maximum range of their equipment. Eighty Wing had several of their special Flamingos flying on electronic surveillance missions, to not only observe, measure and record the jamming signals but to also located their source as well. Fortunately tonight at least the German efforts appeared to be confined to the longwave transmittions of the CH stations and not the 1.5m wavelengths utilised by the CHL and other systems. The main assault fell once again on London with harassing attacks of small formations or even single aircraft spread out across the United Kingdom and a second major raid om Merseyside to stretch the defence even more.

Under the cover of all this nocturnal activity Flieger division IX were out in force laying mines off the south and east coasts. This mining activity was seen as a certain preparation for the invasion which was expected on a nightly basis whilst the tides served. Under General Pyle’s direction the antiaircraft defences of London had been strengthened greatly since the sixth of September. Concentrating the guns on fewer big targets such as London, Merseyside and the Manchester conurbations also gave the Night Fighters larger zones free of guns to pursue their quarry. Whilst gun raging RDF helped the barrage it was the noise and sound of guns that did most to bolster the civilian morale. On this night alone nearly fifteen thousand rounds were fired by the anti aircraft guns. With one definite and a probable over London and another definite on Merseyside the guns were scoring some successes.

In daylight Fighter Command had once again flown over seven hundred sorties, twenty nine fighters were lost that day, nine pilots were killed and seven pilots wounded, the other lucky thirteen got away with nothing more than scratches and for some a cold dunking in the sea. At the time the RAF via the Ministry of Information claimed to have shot down over seventy aircraft. Whilst the Germans in their nightly broadcast claimed to have lost only twenty two. The actual figure only came to light much later and that was a figure of twenty seven aircraft failing to return from the day light raids with a further six either wrecked on landing or written off as beyond worthwhile repair. In fact one particular bomber group was very hard hit, KG 26 losing no less than eight He 111’s in a single raid.

It was on this evening that Churchill made a broadcast on the wireless in which he summed up the current situation

“The effort of the Germans to secure Daylight mastery of the air over England is of course the crux of the whole war. So far it has failed conspicuously . . . . . . For Him [Hitler] to try and invade this country without having secured mastery in the air would be a very hazardous undertaking. Nevertheless, all his preparations for invasion on a great scale are steadily going forward. Several hundreds of self-propelled barges are moving down the coasts of Europe, from the German and Dutch harbours to the ports of northern France, from Dunkirk to Brest, and beyond Brest to the French harbours in the Bay of Biscay.”

Countering these shipping movements were principally the aircraft of Maritime Air Command. Using Blenheims to bomb them, Bisleys to shoot them up and also drop bombs and the few Wellingtons available to drop torpedoes. Maritime Command were exacting a toll on almost every night time passage. ASV was serving an import roll in this work and several patrol aircraft were now being used as airborne command stations to guide hunting formations onto their pray.

(1) Daily summary quoted verbatim from the The Narrow Margin by Derek Wood and Derek Dempster