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B-25 Roc
Roc Mk.I L3154, 805 sqn., RNAS Donibristle, 1940
Role Carrier-based fighter
Manufacturer Boulton Paul
Designer Blackburn Aircraft
First flight 23 December 1938
Introduction April 1939
Retired 1943
Primary user Fleet Air Arm
Number built 136
Variants Blackburn Skua

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.


[hide] *1 Design and development

Design and developmentEdit

The Roc was originally to have been fitted with floats, and four floatplane prototypes were built. The first crashed, but modifications made the remaining three flyable, although the concept was not pursued. The first flight by a Roc was on 23 December 1938,[1] however the type quickly became obsolete and enjoyed only a brief service life.

The Roc was a "fighter" development of the Skua dive bomber using the same turret fighter concept as the Boulton Paul Defiant in that its sole armament was four .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns in a powered dorsal turret. The reduced firepower (compared to land based fighters such as the Hawker Hurricane) was offset by the ability to direct it in any direction. In practice, the weight of the turret made the Roc even slower than the already slow – for fighter purposes – Skua and it was suggested by the Air Council, even before production started, that it might be better used as an advanced trainer. The Roc eventually found its niche as a dive bomber.[2]

While Blackburn designed the Roc, detail work and all 136 production aircraft were built by Boulton Paul in Wolverhamptonalongside the Defiant, and although the two aircraft were different and required separate production lines, they did use the same Boulton Paul turret. [2][3]The prototype Roc in May 1939== Operational history== [4][5]A Roc in flight.Although intended for carrier use, Rocs only served alongside Skuas in two land-based squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm between February 1940 and August 1941. During the Allied campaign in Norway a small contingent of Rocs travelled with 800 and 803 squadrons onboard HMS Ark Royal. Skuas and Rocs flew both fighter sweeps and bombing sorties over the English Channel during Operation Dynamo, and Operation Ariel, the evacuation of Allied forces from Dunkirk and other French ports.[3]

Finally, the Roc was relegated to training and target-towing roles until 1943, when the type was withdrawn from service. However, until late 1944, four non-airworthy Rocs were stationed at HMS Daedalus in Gosport, their turrets being used for anti-aircraft defence.[2]

What was probably the Roc's sole confirmed victory occurred on 28 May 1940 when an 806 Naval Air Squadron Roc flown by pilot Mid A. G. Day, together with two Blackburn Skuas, intercepted five Junkers Ju 88s which were attacking a convoy off Ostende in Belgium. Flying underneath the Junkers while the Skuas attacked from above, Mid Day's Roc destroyed one Ju 88 before returning safely to Detling.[4]


United Kingdom
*Royal Air Force**No. 2 Anti-Aircraft Co-operation Unit, RAF **775 Naval Air Squadron**776 Naval Air Squadron


Data from British Naval Aircraft since 1912 [5]

General characteristics



See alsoEdit

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ Thetford 1978, p. 60.
  2. ^ a b Dell, John "Dinger". "Blackburn Roc: A short description and appreciation." Dinger's Aviation pages. Retrieved: 17 July 2010.
  3. ^ Dell, John "Dinger". "Dunkirk." Dinger's Aviation pages. Retrieved: 17 July 2010.
  4. ^ Thomas 2007, p. 17.
  5. ^ Thetford 1978, p. 61.
  6. ^ Green 1961, p. 5.
  • Brew, Alec. The Turret Fighters: Defiant and Roc. Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK: Crowood Press, 2002. ISBN 1-86126-497-6.
  • Brown, Eric, CBE, DCS, AFC, RN.; William Green and Gordon Swanborough. "Blackburn Skua and Roc." Wings of the Navy, Flying Allied Carrier Aircraft of World War Two. London: Jane's Publishing Company, 1980, pp. 29–40. ISBN 0-7106-0002-X.
  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War: Volume Two Fighters. London: Macdonald, 1961.
  • Mondey, David. The Hamlyn Concise Guide to British Aircraft of World War II. London: Chancellor Press, 1994. ISBN 1-85152-668-4.
  • Thetford, Owen. British Naval Aircraft since 1912. London: Putnam, Fourth edition, 1978. ISBN 0-370-30021-1.
  • Thomas, Andrew. Royal Navy Aces of World War 2. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-1-84603-178-6.
  • Willis, Matthew. Blackburn Skua and Roc. Sandomierz, Poland/Redbourn, UK: Mushroom Model Publications, 2007. ISBN 83-89450-44-5.

External linksEdit

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