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  • Avro Lancaster

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    Description

    The Avro Lancaster is a British Second World War heavy bomber. It was designed and manufactured by Avro as a contemporary of the Handley Page Halifax.

    General Information

    Both bombers having been developed to the same specification, as well as the Short Stirling, all three aircraft being four-engined heavy bombers adopted by the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the same wartime era.

     

    The Lancaster was designed by Roy Chadwick and powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlins and in one version, Bristol Hercules engines. It first saw service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942 and as the strategic bombing offensive over Europe gathered momentum, it was the main aircraft for the night-time bombing campaigns that followed. As increasing numbers of the type were produced, it became the principal heavy bomber used by the RAF, the RCAF and squadrons from other Commonwealth and European countries serving within the RAF, overshadowing the Halifax and Stirling.

     

    A long, unobstructed bomb bay meant that the Lancaster could take the largest bombs used by the RAF, including the 4,000 lb (1,800 kg), 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) and 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) blockbusters, loads often supplemented with smaller bombs or incendiaries. The "Lanc", as it was known colloquially, became one of the most heavily used of the Second World War night bombers, "delivering 608,612 long tons of bombs in 156,000 sorties". The versatility of the Lancaster was such that it was chosen to equip 617 Squadron and was modified to carry the Upkeep "bouncing bomb" designed by Barnes Wallis for Operation Chastise, the attack on German Ruhr valley dams.

     

    A total of 7377 units were built.

     

    For more details o the development and operational history of the Lancaster, click here.

    Avro Lancaster flypast.jpg

    Avro Lancaster KC-A.jpg

    Avro Lancaster landing.jpg

    Avro Lancaster NX611.jpg

    Avro Lancaster PA474. left bank.jpg

    Avro Lancaster PA474. overhead.jpg

    Avro Lancaster VR-A - Copy.jpg

    Specifications

    Seats:
    Crew: 7: pilot, flight engineer, navigator, bomb aimer/nose gunner, wireless operator, mid-upper and rear gunners
    Length:
    69 ft 4 in (21.13 m)
    Wingspan:
    102 ft 0 in (31.09 m)
    Height:
    20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)
    Wing Area:
    1,297 sq ft (120.5 sq m)
    Empty Weight:
    36,900 lb (16,738 kg)
    MTOW:
    68,000 lb (30,844 kg). Gross weight: 55,000 lb (24,948 kg)
    Powerplant:
    4 × Rolls-Royce Merlin XX V-12 liquid-cooled piston engines, 1,280 hp (950 kW) each
    Vne:
    Maximum speed: 282 mph (454 km/h, 245 kn) at 63,000 lb (28,576 kg) and 13,000 ft (3,962 m) altitude
    Cruise Speed:
    200 mph (320 km/h, 170 kn)
    Range:
    2,530 mi (4,070 km, 2,200 nmi)
    Rate of Climb:
    720 ft/min (3.7 m/s) at 63,000 lb (29,000 kg) and 9,200 ft (2,800 m) altitude
    Service Ceiling:
    21,400 ft (6,500 m) at 63,000 lb (29,000 kg)

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    I watched a documentary on Foxtel History Channel today called "Night Bomber". It was the story of a night raid by a squadron of Lancasters during WWII. It followed the crew boarding the aircraft through to the bombing run over the target. What amazed me somewhat was the claustrophobic conditions in the various workstations of the crew. No joyride. You wouldn't want to suffer from claustrophobia.

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    Red I have on my computer "Night Bombers" colour documentary inc repairs, 5 hours to change an engine. Briefings, fuel, loading armaments and then the flight. Landing in fog with thousands of liters of fuel being burnt each side of the runway to see and dissipate fog and finally debriefings.

    Was that doco you saw the same.

    Edited by Cosmick
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    My stepfather was a Pommy armourer during WW2, and he used to tell me the sheer effort required, re-arming the bombers. Winching huge bombs up into tight bomb bays, using hand winches that needed about 1000 turns of the handle, just to raise the bomb a few inches. 

    Then the jobs they had when a bomber failed to take off and exploded. Rounding up body parts from everywhere. One bomber crashed into an explosives bunker. Fancy putting a bunker where a bomber could crash into it.

     

    Edited by onetrack
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    The best heavy bomber of WW2 that flew almost exclusively at night. Slightly better performance & range than the B17 it had a considerably lower ceiling but more than double the bomb load capacity & was the only bomber capable of carrying the huge Tallboy or earthquake bomb. They even planned for Lancasters to drop the Atomic Bomb on Japan due to problems with the B29 but US prestige finally won the day with urgent modifications to the B29. Just as well too as the Lancaster would have struggled to escape the blast having to fly so much lower.

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    17 hours ago, Cosmick said:

    Landing in fog with thousands of liters of fuel being burnt each side of the runway to see and dissipate fog

    FIDO Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation (which was sometimes referred to as "Fog Intense Dispersal Operation" or "Fog, Intense Dispersal Of") was a system used for dispersing fog and pea soup fog (dense smog) from an airfield so that aircraft could land safely. The device was developed for British RAF bomber stations, allowing the landing of aircraft returning from raids over Germany in poor visibility by burning fuel in rows on either side of the runway.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fog_Investigation_and_Dispersal_Operation

     

    If you watch the film towards the end when the use of FIDO is shown, you see someone put a tag with the drawing of a dog on it beside the name of an airfield where FIDO was available.

     

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    I'm sure that the scenes involving ground crew going about their tasks were staged. Can you imagine doing strenuous work while wearing full uniform and headgear? Or is it an example of British military discipline taken to the extreme?

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    I saw one bloke without a hat. He was almost certainly charged and given 14 days CB (Confined to Barracks).

    And when you got CB, you weren't simply confined, you were loaded up with a full pack and made to do drill for hours, or made to fill sandbags all day, with just a folding shovel.

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    Things were different, once you were out in the field, and the rules changed to practical ones. The problem with military bases was that too many officers and NCO's had too little to do.

     

     

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