A recent picture of a Spitfire has caused a stir on social media.

Hangar 7 Art's teaser of an upcoming painting was tweeted by Forces Radio BFBS' Amy Casey and has prompted quite a reaction.

The Spitfire (likely out of ammunition) was performing an incredibly dangerous manoeuvre to 'Bump' a V1 missile off its desired target… London.

Used mostly as a last resort because of the incredible amount of skill involved, this bumping technique involved fighter pilots using the wing tip of their aircraft to divert deadly German 'doodlebug' flying bombs.

The only known photo of a Spitfire nudging a V1
The only known photo of a Spitfire nudging a V1.

Wg Cdr Nick Robson, from Air Command High Wycombe, said:

"This was not a routine action; it was innovation of the highest degree of skill from our pilots of the 1940s."

"The bumping action was a last resort. The idea was to get the wing of the plane as close to the missile as possible.

"There is a difference of air pressure above and below the wing. If you could disrupt the flight path just slightly with either air or, the wing of your aircraft, it was enough to knock the missile off course."

An animation of how a Spitfire pilot would disturb the flow of air over a V1 bomb's wing

This incredible show of bravery and flying skill is hard to believe, causing many doubt the legitimacy of the manoeuvre. But as Wg Cdr Nick Robson explains: 

"It shows the quality of the aircrew, with [the] relatively-little flying experience they would have had.

"In the number of hours they had to train, they became extremely talented, extremely quickly, which is no different to today's aircrew."

"As we approach the 100th year of the junior service, we should be proud of what we did in the 1940s and equally proud what our aircrew and support staff do today as we go forward into our second 100 years."

There are many documentations of this type of bravery, including the grandfather of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who trained scores of British pilots in Canada to fly frontline aircraft against the Luftwaffe in the Second World War.

Peter Middleton later served as an RAF fighter pilot, who used the wing tips of his Mosquito warplane to divert doodlebugs away from London.

The picture was created by Hangar 7 Art and will be released soon.

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