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Robert Standford Tuck (RS-T) Options
#1 Posted : 25 July 2013 14:50:34

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The RS-T squadron code letters of the Build the Spitfire model, represent that of Robert Stanford Tuck's Mk.Vb Spitfire.

Wing Commander Robert Standford Tuck, DSO, DFC & 2 bars, was one of the leading Battle of Britain pilots with 29 enemy aircraft shot down during this period.

On the 28th January 1942, Tuck was participating in "Rhubarb" sweeps over northern France, when his Spitfire was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crash-landed beside the German anit-aircraft gun batteries on the outskirts of Boulogne, and was taken prisoner.

Captured by the very German troops Tuck had been firing upon as his aircraft was hit, he later recorded that their mood was understandably hostile and his own survival was certainly in question. However, "Tuck's luck" came to his rescue when his captors spotted that, by a remarkable chance, one of the last shots from the Spitfire had passed precisely down the barrel of a German AA gun, peeling it like a banana! On seeing this, the attitude of his captors suddenly changed, they were now patting him on the back, and shouting "Good shot, Englander, Good shot", which probably saved Tuck's life.

Tuck was entertained by JG26 at its mess, where he met ME109 pilot Adolf Galland, before being imprisoned as a POW. Tuck spent the next couple of years incacerated at the notorious in Stalag Luft III where he met many of his old friends that had also been captured, including his old CO Roger Bushell.
Bushell was 'X' - the camp escape officer who organised the break-out that became known as the 'Great Escape'. Just a few days before the escape took place, Tuck was transferred to another POW camp. Of the 76 tunnel escapee's, 73 were captured, and Bushell was shot dead just outside Saarbrücken.

In 1945, in the company of Polish Spitfire pilot Zbigniew KustrzyƄski, Tuck managed to escape whilst the camp was being evacuated westwards from Russian forces advancing into Germany, and managed to get to the Russian lines. While in the Polish city of Czenstowskova, Tuck's Luck came into action yet again, when he was recognized by a friend of his brother, a one in a million chance meeting, and with his help, they managed to contact with British Embassy in Moscow, and boarded a ship heading for England.

Below you can see the amazing final 'crashed' images of Tuck's Spitfire, which were used in German propaganda material, they are the only known pictures of the fate of Tuck's Spitfire.

The interesting thing is that when you look at the crashed image, you can see the 29 swastika's for each German aircraft Tuck brought down. If you then take look at the Luftwaffe scrapyard image at the furthest Spitfire (Tuck's), you will notice that someone at the scrapyard must have turned the top cowl through 180 degrees for the swastikas to appear on the facing side.

At the time of his capture, Tuck had claimed 29 enemy aircraft destroyed, two shared destroyed, six probably destroyed, six damaged and one shared damaged.

"Tuck's Luck" was a well-known phrase in the RAF during 1940/41. For example, there was the time the fog covered all of England, he got lost, ran out of fuel, and finally pancaked onto a farmer's field. The farmer rushed over to congratulate him on such a fine landing. Tuck said it was routine, really, nothing to it. But the farmer insisted...getting just under those high tension wires was a great feat of flying. Tuck had never seen the wires!

Tuck led the September 1945 Battle of Britain Flypast but left the RAF in May 1949 having attained the rank of Wing Commander. He was awarded the DSO, DFC and 2 bars.

In 1956 he was the subject of 'This is your Life' and he also worked as a technical adviser to the film 'Battle of Britain' (1969), and eventually developed a close friendship with the German fighter pilot Adolf Galland. Sadly Robert Stanford-Tuck died in 1987.

Tuck was credited with 29 enemy aircraft shot down. However, in 1978, an aircraft recovery group excavated the site of a downed Me109, where after considerable MOD research, it was decided that the ME109 had been shot down by Tuck, but had only been claimed as "probable" at the time. It was duly accredited to him, bringing his total to 30.

Tuck's flying exploits and leadership abilities are legendary. The story of his escape from a POW camp and return to England are almost beyond belief.

Tuck video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxMJ2mX9UWo

Tuck Battle of Britain: http://www.bbc.co.uk/his...opics/dogfight#p00b1vqf

Tuck Dogfight: http://www.bbc.co.uk/his...opics/dogfight#p00b1ycp

Stanford-Tuck Biography: "Fly for your life: The story of Bob Stanford Tuck" by Larry Forrester.

RS-T Spitfire info:

Tuck's Mk.Vb Spitfire was originally painted Dark Earth/Dark Green/Sky, and was repainted in August 1941 which removed its BL336 seriel number. At the time, there was a shortage of Ocean Grey, and many of the airplanes were painted with Dark Sea Grey, or with the "officially approved alternative" of Night and White mixed - which resulted in some very strange shades. Tuck's Spitfire is one of those with a darker grey, either Dark Sea Grey or the mixture, which shows up darker than other Spitfire's beside it in the Luftwaffe junkyard after it was shot down. The way to tell it is one of the "repainted" aircraft is that the serial number of the aircaft is unseen, which more often than not, were not re-applied when an in-the-field re-paint was done.

Castle Bromwich manufactured VB's (of which RS-T was one) were all fitted with a wide blade Rotol constant speed propeller.Spitfire AB910 of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, is a Mk.Vb Spitfire that was built at Castle Bromwich. It was donated by Vickers- Armstrong to the BBMF in 1965, and it also appeared in The Battle of Britain film.

In films and images of the Spitfire, you may notice framents of fabric flapping within the gun ports. This was was a result of squares of cotton fabric having been doped over the gun ports which were a the dull red colour.
This was not only to prevent the ingress of dirt and dust into the muzzles and barrels, but more importantly to aid in preventing the guns freezing at altitude, due to the effects of 'wet cold'. Basically, this is cold, damp air, being forced down the barrels, causing a vapour which froze around the breech and working parts, thus preventing the guns from firing, or causing a stoppage after one or two rounds had been fired.
Until an adequate gun bay/breech heating system was fitted to the Spitfire, this was the only way of trying to prevent gun operation problems at altitude. Even when heating ducts were fitted, the fabric patches were still used, and these were replaced after each sortie, during the re-arming and re-fuelling of the aircraft.

Many model kit manufacturers no longer include Swastika markings in their kits. There's a simple reason for this, that in Germany, France, Russia and some other countries, the display of anything Nazi-related in public is prohibited. Partwork series travel the world and is why swastika markings are not provided.

Tomick attached the following image(s):
Tuck Biography.jpg
RS-T swastikas.jpg
RST Spity.jpg
RST Spitfire.jpg
RST graveyard.jpg
Tuck painting.jpg
#2 Posted : 25 July 2013 21:58:13

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Some very interesting facts in your post Tom, thanks for that, it was a great read!! CoolThumpUp

Kev BigGrin
#3 Posted : 26 July 2013 01:53:47

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Location: Poole Dorset
I read that book about 40 years ago. Excellent reading.
It mentions, how he (Tuck) was at loggerheads with Douglas Bader over
which was best cannon or machine guns.
completed..... Endeavour Longboat, San Francisco 2, Virginia 1819

building Royal Caroline

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