|Primary Role||Heavy Bomber|
|Maiden Flight||9 January 1941|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseFirst used in 1942, the Lancaster bombers were four-engined bombers that served as Britain's heavy bombers. The design was actually a Manchester bomber variant, Mk III, but the improvement was so significant that the variant received a totally new name. When the blueprints of chief designer Roy Chadwick for the Lancaster was accepted, most of the original Manchester bombers were rebuilt as Lancaster bombers. Their ability to carry large quantities of bombs was among the reasons British Air Marshal Arthur Harris was given the nicknames "Bomber Harris" and the more accusive "Butcher Harris". With this weapon, Harris was able to drop 2,000 tons of high explosives on Cologne on 30-31 May 1942; in a mere 90-minute window, the Lancaster bombers left 45,000 residents of Cologne homeless. On 14-15 Feb 1945, Lancaster bombers and their American counterparts devastated the German city of Dresden, killing at least 25,000 (some estimates were as high as 60,000). In total, Lancaster bombers flew 156,000 missions and dropped 608,612 tons of bombs. The RAF paid dearly for successfully carrying out the carpet bombing missions with Lancaster bombers, too, losing 3,249 in action, nearly half the 7,377 that it deployed into service.
ww2dbaseSome Lancaster bombers carried advanced communications systems, such as the 1155 receiver and the 1154 transmitter that provided radio direction-finding, voice, and Morse capabilities. Some later models were also equipped with radar systems for navigation or to warn of incoming hostile interceptors.
ww2dbaseJust as how Lancaster bombers were evolved directly from the Manchester design, from Lancaster the Lincoln bomber and the Lancastrian civilian airliner were born after WW2. Some Lancaster bombers that remained in service after WW2 were converted into transports and tankers.
ww2dbaseSources: the Fall of Berlin, Wikipedia.
|10 Nov 1940||The first Avro Manchester Mk. 1 bomber to be delivered went to No. 207 Squadron RAF (Squadron Leader Noel Challis Hyde) based at RAF Waddington in the county of Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom.|
|9 Jan 1941||The Avro Lancaster heavy bomber took flight for the first time.|
|6 Jun 1941||The British Air Ministry issued a contract to Avro for the supply of 454 Lancaster Mk I heavy bombers powered by four Merlin XX engines, plus two prototype Lancaster Mk II fitted with four Bristol Hercules VI engines.|
|3 Mar 1942||RAF bombed the Renault plant in Billancourt, near Paris, France, while the Lancaster bomber made its debut mining the harbor at Brest, France.|
|20 Apr 1943||The most famous of all Lancaster bombers, ED888, was delivered to No. 103 Squadron RAF at RAF Elsham Wolds in Elsham, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom. ED888, which served as M-Mother (later adapted to Mother-of them-all) would, by the time it was retired early in 1945, have set a record of 140 completed operations to its credit.|
|13 Mar 1945||A British No. 617 Squadron RAF Lancaster bomber test-dropped a 22,000-lb Grand Slam bomb.|
|22 Apr 1945||While performing a low level "beat-up" of the airfield at RAF Fulbeck in Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom, a Lancaster bomber, serial PB463, struck a building and crashed, killing all seven crewmen and eight spectators on the ground. Another twenty personnel suffered injuries, of whom four later died in hospital.|
|Machinery||4 Rolls-Royce Merlin XX V12 engines, rated at 1,280 hp each|
|Armament||8x7.7mm Browning machine guns in three turrets, 10,000kg of bombs|
|Wing Area||120.50 m²|
|Weight, Empty||16,705 kg|
|Weight, Loaded||28,636 kg|
|Speed, Maximum||448 km/h|
|Service Ceiling||8,160 m|
|Range, Normal||4,320 km|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945