The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works.1928. Mitchell pushed the Spitfire's distinctive elliptical wing with cutting-edge sunken rivets to have the thinnest possible cross-section, helping give the aircraft a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the Spitfire's development throughout its multitude of variants.
During the Battle of Britain, from July to October 1940, the public perceived the Spitfire to be the main RAF fighter, though the more numerous Hurricane shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against Nazi Germany's air force, the Luftwaffe. However, Spitfire units had a lower attrition rate and a higher victory-to-loss ratio than those flying Hurricanes because of the Spitfire's higher performance. During the battle, Spitfires were generally tasked with engaging Luftwaffe fighters—mainly Messerschmitt Bf 109E-series aircraft, which were a close match for them.
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