Swordfish Mk II

Unit Card:


Set - Rarity - Number

War At Sea - Common - 14/64


Nicknamed the "Stringbag", the Fairey Swordfish was the primary torpedo bomber of the Royal Navy and Fleet Air Arm, seeing service on many British carriers, even the Merchant Aircraft Carriers, (MAC ships; cargo vessels modified to carry 3-4 Swordfish).

This bi-plane bomber is most famous for crippling the mighty German battleship Bismarck, the surprise attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto and sinking many U-boats during the war.

As a bi-plane, it generated superb lift, making it very maneuverable. While the Swordfish was slow, it had a very low stall speed, allowing for very short take-offs and landings.

As more powerful torpedo aircraft came online, the Swordfish was relegated to training roles and land-based ASW patrols.

The aircraft was finally replaced by the Barracuda Mk. II.


This is a plane that has a solid fan following, but the advice from this corner is to take a Barracuda instead.

Swordfish aren't cheap. And with 3/6 armor, they tend not to last long. In 1941 Swordfish attacked the Bismarck repeatedly without taking any losses, but don't count on that to happen in War at Sea—the Bismarck will shoot down a Swordfish 45% of the time and abort it another 46%, leaving you less than a 1-in-10 chance of getting to launch your hefty 3-torpedo attack. The long odds against getting through a battleship's (7+) flak, then landing a torpedo hit, and then rolling a 5 or 6 make Lucky Hit one of the less impactful SAs in the game. Nor does the Swordfish have an alternate bomb attack that would allow you to reliably strike smaller ships that have less intimidating flak.

Swordfish are very capable ASW platforms, but start out expensive and then require a carrier to deploy every turn. Further, if you expect any enemy fighters, you will need to deploy Hurricanes also as escort. So sure, you could deploy a Fencer, a Swordfish and a couple of Sea Hurricanes and you'd have a really nice ASW unit, but at the end of the day this is 34 points for just one (admittedly potent) ASW attack per turn, and still quite vulnerable to loss. Consider spreading those points across destroyers and Barracudas instead—and from a lend-lease perspective you could work in PBYs or Avengers as well…

If you decide you are going to deploy Swordfish for torpedo attacks, buy a lot and expect to lose them quickly. Consider plumping up their torpedo strike power with an Illustrious or Ark Royal, and buy extra Swordfish to fill the gaps which will soon form on the flight decks.

With the introduction of the Sunderland even the Swordfish's minor role as an ASW plane is now completely gone; you can get a plane with equal ASW that can fly every turn without a carrier. NEVER use a Swordie unless you are absolutely forced to.

While I largely agree with mercenary_moose, a carrier's Expert ASW can get you a Swordfish with a 4 dice ASW attack instead of the Sunderland's 3 dice attack. I agree that the Sunderland is infinitely more survivable and is almost always the better choice, but if you're really expecting a tough contest to knock out German submarines there may be a role for the Swordfish Mk II in combination with a Fencer or Glorious. With the release of Set VI, it's really true that the only niche for this unit is ASW; the Swordfish Mk I is a better early war British torpedo bomber now.

Plastic Figure Notes:


The sculpt is very good, as they make great repaints or stand-ins for other nation's bi-planes.

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