So I decided to purchase a book on the Fairey Battle as I was reading some things about Dunkirk & the early days of WWII recently, and I just decided to look a little more into an aircraft that I'm really only familiar with in the context of its service during the earliest days of WWII (the struggles in France, etc.).

To be honest I very much view it as a contemporary of the Stuka, and I wonder if it would have had the same successes as the Stuka in some situations given different circumstances...I suppose that debate will never truly be known.

History being what it is however, I felt some brief reading on the subject before the book arrives would be worthwhile and with that I have a few questions I was hoping some might be able to answer:

1. Supposedly the Battle bomber variants were designated based on the variant of Merlin that was installed in a given airframe. Anyone know more about this particular situation? Any major changes between the various bomber Marks or was each limited to strictly changes in the engine? (Was there even a Merlin IV or V..........same question for Battle IV or V?)

2. The aircraft is said to have a 1,000 lb. bomb load, with a 250-lb. GP bomb in each of four underwing "bays." I've also read that it had underwing racks for 500-lb. bombs (not sure if that means two more 250-lb. bombs for a total of 500-lbs. or two 500-lb. weapons in lieu of the wing "bay" bombs. Any thoughts?

P.S. The book is entitled "The Fairey Battle: A Reassessment of its RAF Career" by Greg Baughen. No idea it is any good, but I figured I'd give it a shot.