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Heavy Bombers - Second World War - Handley Page Halifax

Heavy Bombers. Second World War. World War II was not won by bombers alone, but the use of the heavy, strategic bomber was essential to victory both in Europe and in the Pacific Theaters. The Allied powers, led and principally supplied by the United States, pounded from the air every means of production and transport in the Axis held territories.

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Heavy Bombers

Handley Page Halifax

Handley Page Halifax

Country: Britain
Year: 1939
The Handley Page Halifax was one of the British front-line, four-engine heavy bombers of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. A contemporary of the famous Avro Lancaster, the Halifax remained in service until the end of the war, performing a variety of duties in addition to bombing. The Halifax was also operated by squadrons of the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Royal Pakistan Air Force and Polish Air Force.

Handley Page produced the H.P.56 design to meet Air Ministry Specification P.13/36 for a twin-engine medium bomber for "world-wide use." Other candidates for the specification included the Avro 679, designs from Fairey, Boutlon Paul and Shorts; all used twin engines Rolls-Royce Vultures, Napier Sabres, the Fairey P.24 or Bristol Hercules. A four engined wing was still a new idea in British bombers. The introduction of the successful P.13/36 candidates were delayed by the necessity of ordering more Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley and Vickers Wellington bombers first.

The Avro and HP.56 designs were ordered "off the drawing board" in mid 1937; the Avro design as the preferred choice. Soon after Handley Page were told to redesign the HP.56 for four engines as the Vulture was already suffering technical issues. The Avro Manchester would be built with Vultures but suffer due to them. This redesign increased the span from 88 ft to 99 ft and put 13,000 lb of weight on. Modifications resulted in the definitive H.P.57 which upon acceptance gained the name "Halifax" following the practice of naming heavy bombers after major towns; in this case Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The H.P.57 was enlarged and powered by four 1,280 hp (950 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin X engines. Such was the promise of the new model that the RAF had placed their first order for 100 Mk I Halifaxes "off the drawing board" before the first prototype even flew. The maiden flight of the Halifax took place on 24 September 1939 from RAF Bicester, 21 days after the UK declared war on Germany.

The Halifax production subsequently began at English Electric's site at Samlesbury, Lancashire with over 2,000 bombers being built at the factory during the war.

The Mk I had a 22 ft (6.7 m) long bomb bay as well as six bomb cells in the wings, enabling it to carry 13,000 lb (5,900 kg) of bombs. Defensive armament consisted of two .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns in a Boulton Paul Type C nose turret, and four in BP Type E tail turret and, in some aircraft, two .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K machine guns in beam positions. The Merlins drove constant speed wooden screw Rotol propellers. Subtle modifications distinguished the Mk I aircraft. The first batch (of 50) Mk I Halifaxes were designated Mk I Series I.

These were followed by 25 of the Mk I Series II with increased gross weight (from 58,000 lb/26,310 kg to 60,000 lb/27,220 kg) but with maximum landing weight unchanged at 50,000 lb (23,000 kg). The Mk I Series III had increased fuel capacity (1,882 gal/8,556 L), and larger oil coolers to accept the Merlin XX. A two-gun BP Type C turret mounted dorsally replaced the beam guns.


Date added: 2010-01-07 23:04:59    Hits: 2892
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Heavy Bombers - Second World War - Handley Page Halifax



Heavy Bombers. Second World War. World War II was not won by bombers alone, but the use of the heavy, strategic bomber was essential to victory both in Europe and in the Pacific Theaters. The Allied powers, led and principally supplied by the United States, pounded from the air every means of production and transport in the Axis held territories.


Heavy Bombers, Second World War, Catalogue of WWII Heavy Bombers

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