1936 to 1946 - FAIREY SWORDFISH - The Fairey Swordfish was a torpedo bomber biplane used during the Second World War. Originating in the 1930s, the Swordfish, nicknamed "Stringbag", was an outdated design by the start of the war in 1939, but remained in front-line service until VE Day, outliving several types intended to replace it. It was initially operated primarily as a fleet attack aircraft; during its later years it was used as an anti-submarine and training craft. The Swordfish achieved some spectacular successes, notably the sinking of one and damaging two battleships of the Italian Navy in the Battle of Taranto and the famous crippling of the Bismarck. After more modern torpedo attack aircraft were developed, the Swordfish was redeployed successfully in an anti-submarine role, armed with depth charges or eight 60lb rockets and flying from the smaller escort carriers, or even Merchant Aircraft Carriers when equipped for rocket-assisted takeoff. Its low stall speed and inherently tough design made it ideal for operation from the MAC carriers in the often severe mid Atlantic weather. Indeed, its takeoff and landing speeds were so low that it did not require the carrier to be steaming into the wind, unlike most carrier-based aircraft. On occasion, when the wind was right, Swordfish were flown from a carrier at anchor. Swordfish-equipped units accounted for 14 U-boats destroyed. The Swordfish was to be replaced by the Albacore, also a biplane, but outlived its intended successor and was succeeded by the Fairey Barracuda monoplane torpedo bomber. The last of 2,392 Swordfish aircraft was delivered in August 1944. Operational sorties continued in to January 1945 with anti-shipping operations off Norway, where the Swordfish's manoeuvrability was essential. The last operational squadron was disbanded on 21 May 1945, after the fall of Germany, and the last training squadron was disbanded in the summer of 1946.