Modelling > 1920s/1930s GB or Between the Wars GB

A Canadian Raven in Spain

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As Our Glorious Leader reminds us, the Spanish Civil War falls within the timeframe of this Group Build  :smiley:

¡No pasarán! ... With a Little Help from Fort William, ON

Okay ... this concept spawned a backstory which just kept growing! Eleven paragraphs into the story and I was still on the initial Canadian political changes and it was showing no signs of stopping

So, I've knocked that on the head! Suffice to say, After the ousting/'sectioning' of William Lyon Mackenzie King in September 1937, a National Restoration Government was formed as an uneasy coalition of the three major parties in Parliament. For reasons of complex internal political manoeuvring, the Government of Canada reversed its position on arms exports to Republican Spain. As of 01 January 1938, approved 'military' exports from Canada to the Republicans would be allowed.

Canada was also experiencing a mushrooming of aircraft manufacturing divisions of the nation's existing heavy industry firms. Few of these corporations had the least notion of how to build aircraft but one of the least plausible was judged to be Canadian Car & Foundry (CCF or 'Can-Car'). Can-Car had dabbled in both shipbuilding and armaments production during WWI. Several minesweepers intended for the French sunk on sea trials. A New Jersey munition factory simply disappeared in a massive explosion. This time around, the Canadian Car & Foundry board of directors were following the money but had made no attempt to consult with the RCAF, DND, or the Federal government at large. For these, and other reasons, Ottawa preferred that Can-Car stick to building rolling stock and producing steel fittings.

During WWI, Can-Car had been given control of a new factory paid for by the citizens of Fort William, ON. At the end of 1937, the newly-formed Ministry of Armaments Production stepped in. As it happened, the Minister was CD Howe - Liberal MP for the local riding of Port Arthur. Aware that Can-Car had ignored the terms of its contract with the people of Fort William, MAP took control of the factory space and transformed Can-Car's aircraft division into a Crown Corporation - Canadian Aircraft Industries, Ltd (CAIL, or 'Can-Air' as it became known). [1] Can-Air took over all of Can-Car's extant Fort William aviation projects. [2]

Can-Air C-24 Corbeau - A Canadian Raven from Fort William

Can-Car had negotiated with aircraft-maker Grumman to license-build that US firm's obsolete G-23 fighter. As the GE-23, a prototype had been assembled from US components. However, there was little interest in this warmed-over biplane. Having anticipated this, Can-Car's Chief Aircraft Engineer Elsie MacGill had redesigned the airframe to accept a monoplane wing of her own design. [3] This aircraft - the Can-Car C-23M had just completed its flight-testing when MAP took over control. As this first of two C-23Ms was being put through it paces, new all-metal wings were being constructed to mate with supplied G-23 fuselages. These assemblages would emerge as the new Can-Air C-24E Corbeau (Raven) monoplane attack aircraft.

Bottom Canadian Car & Foundry C-23M prototype at Fort William, ON, prior to its trials at RCAF Rockcliffe.

The C-24 Corbeau was produced mainly as a skill-building exercise for Fort William workers and design staff. The RCAF had reviewed the Can-Car C-23M at Rockcliffe and foresaw no role for this aircraft type. As such, the C-24E was produced exclusively for a potential export market. Interest in the C-24E had soon come from the Second Spanish Republic. [4] With exports to Spain during its civil war no longer prohibited, orders were quickly signed. The Spanish contracts included three aircraft types. These included: the sole GE-23 biplane (known locally as the Delfin) which was to act as a crew trainer; both C-23M wooden-wing prototypes as advanced trainers; and 40 x C-24E attack aircraft - locally dubbed Cuervo (the Spanish for raven).

Top Can-Air C-24E Cuervo (Raven), Arma de Aviación, while working up in Barcelona prior to deployment to the Ebro Front in southern Aragon, Summer 1938. An anti-glare panel has been applied in Soviet A-24 Camouflage Green (although paint adhesion seems to be a problem). The C-24Es were delivered with tricolour roundels on their wings but these have been overpainted with full-chord red recognition panels.

The emblem of the 2ª Escuadrilla has been painted over the Can-Air logo on the fin. The slogan ¡Esta máquina mata a los fascistas! (This machine kills fascists!) appears below the cockpits - possibly indicating an American Brigadas Internacionales crew. Note that the observer's Darne machine gun in fully deployed.

Several differences can be seen between the C-23M prototypes and the production-type C-24E. The latter features a long-chord NACA cowling; greater dihedral on its metal-framed wings; a strengthened tailplane (dispensing with the bracing strut from the Grumman design); a slightly enlarged rudder; and a simplified tailwheel. For its Cuervos, the Spanish Republic also stipulated that the rear cockpit enclosure be simplified - in order to speed deployment of the flexible armament.


[1] The Courts had returned ownership of the actual factory space to the citizens of Fort William but Can-Air negotiated a 10-year lease on the property subject to enforceable local employment conditions. Can-Car chose not to seek compensation since the Courts had made clear that Fort William council was free to seek reimbursement for Can-Car's 1921-1936 breach of contract with the city.

[2] Canadian Car & Foundry retained the right to 'sell on' rejected aviation projects - such as the purchased Wallace 'Touroplane' (aka Maple Leaf I) as well as designs for the unbuilt Maple Leaf II trainer and R-500 radial engine. Contracts with American designers Vincent Burnelli and Michael Gregor were allowed to lapse.

[3] As with her earlier Maple Leaf II trainer design, this wing was a fabric-covered structure primarily made of wood but with aluminum ribs. For production aircraft, the fabric-covered wing structure would be entirely of metal. The initial plan for surplus G-23 wing sets was that they were to be incorporated into a new biplane trainer design.

[4] Depending on source, this 'E' suffix is listed as standing either for 'Export' or for 'España'.

Ole !
Different look. The markings look quite natural for that era

Maybe Canada also stared building aircraft engines. Perhaps some copies of Bristol Mercurys and Pegasus engines.



--- Quote from: dogsbody on July 16, 2021, 02:09:56 AM ---Maybe Canada also stared building aircraft engines. Perhaps some copies of Bristol Mercurys and Pegasus engines.

--- End quote ---

Well, the Canadian Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company, Ltd. was founded in November 1928 to act as a service centre for P&W aircraft engines and during World War II, it assembled Pratt & Whitney Wasp series engines built in the U.S. so it isn't inconceivable.


--- Quote from: dogsbody on July 16, 2021, 02:09:56 AM ---Maybe Canada also stared building aircraft engines. Perhaps some copies of Bristol Mercurys and Pegasus engines.


--- End quote ---

If this happened, it would enable Bristol in the UK to switch over entirely to sleeve valve engines, maybe even get the Centaurus into service before the war ends . . .



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