As the most advanced fighter aircraft available to the Royal Air Force at the beginning of the Second World War, the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire formed the backbone of Fighter Command, as they prepared to face the might of the German Luftwaffe during the summer of 1940. Representing slightly different eras of aviation technology, the Spitfire was the very latest all metal design, more costly and time consuming to produce, but deadly in the air. By comparison, the Hurricane still employed many of the construction methods used on the biplane fighters of the 1930s and was much quicker and cheaper to produce than the Spitfire – it was also easier to repair should an aircraft sustain damage during combat operations. Between the two, they proved a winning combination in the skies above southern England, with the Spitfires usually engaging the more agile Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters wherever possible, leaving the more numerous Hurricanes to deal with the bombers.
Interestingly, whilst the Spitfire is always lauded as the saviour of the Battle of Britain, it was actually the Hawker Hurricane which claimed more enemy aircraft destroyed during the Battle of Britain than all of Britain's other defences combined, including the more famous Spitfire. As the aircraft of Winston Churchill's famous 'Few', the Spitfire and Hurricane protected Britain during her most pressing hour of need.