Spitfire 30 Gallon slipper tank
Here we have an original 30 gallon Spitfire Slipper fuel tank
Although the Spitfire was a superb fighter it lacked the endurance shown by other fighters such as later marks of the P-51 Mustang which were introduced later in the war. In an attempt to remedy this problem additional 'bolt on' external fuel tanks were made which are referred to as 'slipper tanks'
The slipper tank was the standard range extender on the Spitfire and some 300,000 were built in a variety of capacities and materials. Fitted flush on the fuselage underside ahead of the cockpit, the slipper tank was essentially a trough whose depth varied in proportion to volume. The 30, 45 and 90-gallon versions were used on fighter missions with the 170-gallon tank reserved for ferry flights only.
This particular slipper tank was one of two recovered from Normandy some years ago. As shown in the photos it has probably been jettisoned hence the damage. The original specification plate is still attached as shown. The tank retains its original curved shape and the impact damage is restricted to one side. My original intention to was cut away the rotten skin opposite to the curved side and re shape the damage before attaching a new skin. However due to other projects and commitments I am having to let this particular item go. The tank also has the numbers 509 painted on it in yellow. The previous owner indicated that this was the aircraft number which the tank was fitted to. I have not had the opportunity to research and verify this. All I can say is that the yellow paint must have been applied some considerable time ago as the rust is showing through the paint and the paint has not been applied over the rust.
Due to its size this is a collection only item