The Flying Heritage Collection’s Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VC was equipped with four Browning .303-inch machine guns and two 20 mm cannons. A complex rocker switch mounted on the control stick fired the guns. In the excitement of battle, it was quite easy to hit the wrong part of the “trigger,” thus activating the wrong weaponry. Spitfire pilots came up with a simple solution to memorize the tricky switch; they turned a common acronym into a mnemonic device. “BBC” became their key to good gunnery. An acronym known by most to mean the British Broadcasting Corporation, to Spitfire pilots BBC meant Brownings, Both, Cannon. If a flyer hit the top of the switch, he would get machine guns only (Brownings), press the middle and all guns fired, and the bottom part of the switch activated the cannons alone.
A Spitfire from the London and North Eastern Railway Employees
Flight Lieutenant Laurie of No. 222 Squadron, Royal Air Force starting up Supermarine Spitfire Mark V, BM202 ‘ZD-H’ “Flying Scotsman”, at North Weald, Essex. The aircraft was the second bearing this name to be paid for from donations made by LNER personnel. (London and North Eastern Railway)
photo courtesy of Imperial War Museum. Posted by Charles McCain