The Supermarine Spitfire

The Supermarine Spitfire was a popular single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Allied Forces during World War II, the only British fighter in production throughout the war. Check out LIFE.com for classic photos from the Second World War.

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    A Spitfire LF Mk IX, seen flying in 2005. A British official told SkyNews recently that the Spitfire is arguably the most important plane in the history of aviation, playing a crucial role in the Second World War.
    Wikipedia / Franck Cabrol
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    The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft.
    William Vandivert/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
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    The K9795, a 9th production Mk I Supermarine Spitfire (1938)
    Imperial War Museums
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    Squadron Leader Donald Finlay of on a Spitfire IIA P7666 (1941)
    Royal Air Force
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    A Royal Air Force Supermarine Spitfire Mk.PR.XIX
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    A Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIA
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    A Spitfire H.F Mk. VII being tested at Langley (1943)
    U.S. Air Force
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    A Royal Air Force Photo Reconnaissance Supermarine Spitfire PR.Mk XI
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    A Spitfire XI EN 409 which was used in high speed diving trials (1944)
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    A Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXb, 611 Squadron (1942/1943)
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    A Supermarine Spitfire F Mk XIIs of the 41st Squadron
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