Avro Lancaster - $20.00

The Avro Lancaster was a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force (RAF). It first saw active service in 1942, and together with the Handley Page Halifax it was one of the main heavy bombers of the RAF, the RCAF and squadrons from other Commonwealth and European countries serving within RAF Bomber Command. MODEL NOT YET AVAILABLE.

Avro Lancaster WWII Bomber

Avro Lancaster British Bomber

Avro Lacaster

The Avro Lancaster became Great Britain's most famous four-engine bomber during World War II. It was developed from the ill-fated Manchester that suffered from unreliable Rolls-Royce Vulture engines. The Lancaster first flew in combat on March 3, 1942, and was in the front line until the end of World War II.

 




Avro Lancaster

Avro Lancaster In Flight

The Avro Lancaster became Great Britain's most famous I four-engine bomber during World War II. It was developed from the ill-fated Manchester that suffered from unreliable Rolls-Royce Vulture engines. Even while the Manchester was being produced, the Avro design team, led by Chief Designer Roy Chadwick, investigated a possible four-engine replacement. The proposed four-engine Manchester Mk III, powered by Rolls Royce Merlin XX engines, was discussed with the Air Ministry on February 20, 1940. At first the proposal created little interest because most of the Merlin engine production was needed for Hurricane and Spitfire fighter aircraft. However in July 1940 the Air Ministry requested Avro to go ahead with their project and use as many Manchester components as possible in the new design.

Manchester airframe BT308 was designated project No.683 and fitted with four Rolls-Royce Merlin X engines on extended wings. This prototype model first flew on January 9, 1941 with the Manchester's triple tail fins but without ventral and dorsal turrets.
Avro Lancaster
While the early handling trials were successful, a change in the tail configuration was recommended, and the original type of vertical tail surfaces were replaced by larger endplate surfaces on a wider-span tail-plane with the large central fin deleted. Exhaustive flying tests followed, and the now renamed Lancaster soon revealed its potential with excellent performances. The first production model prototype DG595 flew on May 13,1941, and was later flown to Boscombe Down for service trials.

On June 6, 1941 , Avro received a contract for 454 Lancaster Mk 1's powered by four Merlin XX engines, plus two prototype Lancaster Mk IIs fitted with four Bristol Hercules VI engines.

On Christmas Eve, 1941, No.44 (Rhodesia) Squadron based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire received the first three production Lancaster Mk 1's. The first operation with the Lancaster was carried out on March 3, 1942, when four aircraft of No.44 Squadron were detailed to lay mines in the Heligoland Bight. The Lancasters took off from Waddington at 18:15 hours and all returned safely five hours later.

The early-production Lancasters had a maximum gross take-off weight of 63,0001b and carried a variable bomb load up to a maximum of 14,0001b. The bomb load mix depended upon the type of target to be attacked. For example, the bomb load for the demolition of industrial sites by blast and fire was codenamed "Cookie Plumduff" and this consisted of 1 x 40001b, 3 x 10001b, plus up to six small bomb carriers loaded with 4lb or 301b incendiaries. Later, heavier bomb loads would be carried, such as the 80001b Cookie, the 12,0001b Tallboy and finally the 22,000lb Grand Slam. The defensive armament consisted of a two-gun power turret fitted in the nose and mid-upper position plus a four-gun turret in the tail.

Avro Lancaster

In February 1942 Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris became head of Bomber Command and prioritized the production of four-engine aircraft for his bomber force. Manufacturing capacity was increased by Avro but Rolls-Royce became concerned that they would not be able to satisfy the ever- increasing demand for the Merlin engines. This situation had been foreseen, and one alternative was to use a different engine - the Lancaster Mk II using the Bristol Hercules was already in the pipeline with an order for 300 placed with Armstrong Whitworth. The second solution was for the Packard Motor Corporation to manufacture the Merlin engine in the USA.

The first Lancaster Mk III powered by the Packard Merlin 28s came off the Avro production lines in August 1942. Although the Packard Merlin-powered Lancaster had almost identical performance to the Mk I, it was given the new designation because of different servicing requirements. The Packard Corporation also shipped Merlins over the Canadian border where the Victory Aircraft Company built 430 Lancaster Mk X aircraft.

With the deployment of the Mk III, a total of 7377 Lancasters were built between October 1941 and October 1945, equipping 57 RAF Bomber Command Squadrons by the end of World War ll.


The DamBusters

Guy Gibson and Crew
Guy Gibson, and crew who bombed Mohne Dam.

 

No. 617 Squadron, the most famous squadron in the Royal Air Force, was formed at Scampton on March 21, 1943, under the command of Wing Commander Guy Gibson. An outstanding pilot and leader, Gibson was allowed to have his pick of crews from other squadrons to fly Lancasters on a special, highly-secret operation. Gibson himself was not told for some weeks that Operation Chastise, codename for the dams raids, involved breaching the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe Dams which held back more than 300 million tons of water vitally important to German industry.

This secret mission required a special bomb which had to be delivered in a highly unusual manner. The bomb had to be spun in the bomb bay of the aircraft at 500 rpm so that when it hit the water it would "skip" across the surface rather than sink. The crew had to release the bomb while flying exactly 60ft above the water at a speed of exactly 220 mph. The bomb also had to impact the water at exactly 425 yd from the dam wall and only a 6 per cent deviation was permissible. The targets under attack were heavily defended, and the raids had to take place at night.

The first Lancaster took off from Scampton shortly before 21:30 hours on May 16, 1943, and Wing Commander Gibson's aircraft, the first to attack the Mohne Dam, released its mine at 28 minutes past midnight. Half an hour later, just after the fifth Lancaster had attacked, Gibson radioed England with the news that the dam had been breached. The remaining aircraft of the Mohne formation then flew on to the Eder Dam. The first two mines failed to breach the dam, but shortly before 2am, when the third Lancaster had attacked, Gibson signaled the codeword "Dinghy", indicating success with the second part of the operation. Other aircraft attacked the Sorpe and Scheme Dams but did not succeed in breaching them. Just how low the Lancasters flew during the attack is shown by the fact that one had to turn back as it had hit the sea and lost its bomb on the journey to mainland Europe.

Avro Lancaster Dambuster Bomb Run

Of the 19 Lancasters which took off for the dams raid with their 133 crew, eight planes and 56 men did not return. Five planes crashed or were shot down en route to their targets. Two were destroyed while delivering their attacks and another was shot down on the way home. Two more were so badly damaged that they had to abandon their missions. No.617 Squadron, known from this time onwards as the "Dambusters", had become famous.

The attack had huge propaganda value and made Gibson a national hero. Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross for bringing round his Lancaster to give covering fire to the Lancasters that were following up his attack on the Mohne Dam. Thirty-one other members of 617 Squadron were also decorated. Severe flooding occurred where the Mohne Dam was breached.

Six small electricity works were damaged and rail lines passing through the Mohne Valley were disrupted. But industrial production was not affected in the long term. When the Eder Dam broke, there were similar results. Kassel, an important arms-producing town, was reached by the flood- water, but little actual damage was done. Had the Sorpe Dam been breached, the damage would have been much greater' The potential for a major disaster was recognized by Albert Speer who commented, "Ruhr production would have suffered the heaviest possible blow."

In the short and long term, the damage done by 617 Squadron was repaired quite quickly. But the most important impact of the raid was that 20,000 men working on the Atlantic Wall had to be moved to the Ruhr to carry out repairs to the damaged and breached dams. This work was completed before the rains of the autumn appeared.

Avro Lancaster Painting


Mohne Dam Before Bombing
Mohne Dam After
Mohne Dam before the bombing.
Mohne Dam after the bombing.

 

Sir Barnes Wallis Dam Buster Bomb
Sir Barnes Wallis the man who designed the "Damn Buster" bomb.
A close up of one of the spherical bombs prototypes.

 

Dambuster Bomb Sketch Dambuster Technical Data
A sketch of the Dambuster Bomb.
Drawing by Vickers on how the bomb works.

 


 

Avro Lancaster Cockpit
Avro Lancaster Bomber Cockpit.

 

Avro Lancaster Bomber Factory
Avro Lancaster Bomber factory.

 

Avro Lancaster Specifications

3 view of the Avro Lancaster
Crew: 7: pilot, flight engineer,
navigator, bomb aimer,
wireless operator, mid-upper
and rear gunners
Length: 69 ft 5 in
Wingspan: 102 ft
Height: 19 ft 7 in
Wing area: 1,300 ft²
Empty weight: 36 828 lb
Loaded weight: 63,000 lb
Powerplant: 4× Rolls-Royce
Merlin XX V12
engines, 1,280 hp each

Performance

Maximum speed: 280 mph
at 15,000 ft
Range: 3,000 mi with minimal
bomb load
Service ceiling: 23,500 ft
Wing loading: 48 lb/ft²
Power/mass: 0.082 hp/lb

Armament
Guns:
8× 0.303 in (7.7 mm)
Browning machine
guns in three turrets,
with variations
Bombs: Maximum normal
bomb load of 14,000 lb or
22,000 lb
Grand Slam with
modifications to
bomb bay.


Avro Lancaster Cutaway
This wonderful Lancaster cutaway comes in full size 8.5x11 PDF for FREE included in your MyModels folder!

 

 

Avro Lancaster Crash
Possibly one of the 8 that didn't make it back, from the Dambuster raid.