Warplanes / Great Britain
Handley Page Halifax

Handley Page Halifax

Second only in importance to the Avrò Lancaster in Bomber Command's great night offensive between 1941 and 1945, the four-engine Handley Page Halifax was originally designed around a pair of Vulture engines but, when first flown on 25 October 1939, the choice of four Merlins had been made. The first aircraft arrived in No. 35 Squadron in November 1940 and flew their first raid on 10-11 March 1941. Production was widely subcontracted and quickly accelerated, the Merlin X-powered Halifax Mk I with two-gun nose turret and no dorsal turret being followed by the Halifax Mk IIA Series 1 with Merlin XXs and a two-gun dorsal turret. In the Halifax Mk II Series 1A a large transparent fairing improved the whole nose shape, this version also introducing a Defiant-type four-gun dorsal turret. The Halifax Mk III was powered by Bristol Hercules XVI radiais, and later examples introduced a wing span increased from 30.12m (98ft 10 in) to 31,75 m (104 ft 2 in), The Halifax Mk V with Dowty landing gear served with Coastal and Bomber Commands; the Halifax Mk VI with Hercules 100 engines and Halifax Mk VII with Hercules XVIs (both versions with increased fuel capacity) joined Bomber Command in 1944. Halifax Mks III, V and VII versions also served in paratrooping and glider towing roles with the airborne forces (being the only aircraft to tow the big Hamilcar) and were joined by the Halifax Mk VIII just before the end of the war. Production totalled 6,176 Halifaxes, the bomber versions flying a total of 75,532 sorties and dropping 227,610 tons of bombs.

Specification Handley Page Halifax Mk VI

 
Type: seven-crew night heavy bomber
 
Powerplant: four 1,800-hp (1343-kW) Bristol Hercules 100 radial piston engines
 
Performance: maximum speed 502 km/h (312 mph) at 6705 m (22,000 ft); climb to 6096 m (20,000 ft) in 50 minutes; service ceiling 7315 m (24,000 ft); range with 5897-kg (13,000 Ib) bombload 2028 km (1,260 miles)
 
Weights: empty 17690 kg (39,000 lb); maximum take-off 30845 kg (68,000 lb)
 
Dimensions: span 31.75 m (104 ft 2 in); length 21.82 m (71 ft 7 in); height 6.32 m (20ft 9 in); wing area 118.45 m2 (1,275.0 sq ft)
 
Armament: one 7.7-mm (0.303-m) machine-gun in nose and four 7,7-mm (0.303-in) machine-guns in each of dorsal and tail turrets, plus a maximum bombload of 5897 kg (13,000 lb)
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