RAF Bomber Command bomber aircraft.

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by davebender, May 1, 2012.

  1. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Information from doctorial thesis by John Fahey.

    I have omitted aircraft purchased from the USA. Their contribution to RAF Bomber Command was tiny compared to total sorties. I have omitted the Fairey Battle for the same reason. The Manchester has been included due to direct linkage with the Lancaster.

    I have omitted the Mosquito as most assigned to RAF Bomber Command served as Pathfinders or nightfighters rather then bombers.

    Vickers Wellington.
    …..47,409 (Bomber Command) sorties.
    …..11,460 produced.
    …..1,727 aircraft lost.

    Avro Manchester
    …..200 produced before production halted in favor of the Lancaster.
    …..76 destroyed.

    Avro Lancaster.
    …..156,192 sorties. 40% of RAF Bomber Command total.
    …..650,000 tons dropped between March 1942 and May 1945. 68% of total tonnage.
    …..7,366 built in Britain and Canada.
    …..4,265 destroyed during combat operations.
    …..An additional 588 destroyed in accidents.
    …..Highest loss rate of any RAF Bomber Command aircraft. However Lancaster bombers typically had the highest operational tempo and were assigned the most difficult targets.

    Handley Page Halifax.
    …..6,176 produced.
    …..3,504 lost. 1,421 of these due to operational accidents.
    …..This aircraft was noteworthy for poor handling characteristics which are reflected by the high number of operational accidents.

    Halifax accident rate looks incredible to me. These aircraft were operating from proper airfields in a (mostly) secure area with concrete runways, airfield lighting, navigation aids etc.

    Short Stirling.
    …..18,440 RAF Bomber Command sorties.
    …..2,731 produced.
    …..684 lost. Plus 11 destroyed in Luftwaffe bombing raid.

    Bristol Blenheim.
    …..12,214 RAF Bomber Command sorties. Including the first on 3 Sep 1939.
    …..2,450 produced.
    …..541 lost.

    Armstrong Whitworth Whitley.
    …..9,858 RAF Bomber Command sorties.
    …..1,812 produced.
    …..458 lost.

    Handley Page Hampden.
    …..16,541 RAF Bomber Command sorties. Including the first over Berlin.
    …..1,453 produced.
    …..633 lost.
     
  2. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    It is rather telling of the unique geodetic construction of Vickers that the Wellington was the only one to remain in production throughout the war.

    Vickers would have had to create a whole new set of tooling and retrain workers in stressed skin construction with huge costs and delays so the Wellington was still fulfilling a heavy bomber role in Italy in 1945 as they had to keep cranking them out. I suspect the Warwick would have replaced it had the engines been available.

    I am told the flexibility of the geodetic wings on the Windsor were wonderful to behold on take off as they began flying before the fuselage so the tips bent further and further up as they took on the load.
     
  3. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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  4. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Intresting data, Dave
    One comment anyway, early Halifaxes were underpowered and had tendency to rudder overbalancing, so were dangerous planes in engine out situation and even violent corkscrew could have been fatal. But Hercules engines (Mks III and VI) elimated the first problem and larger tailfins (late Mk IIs and Mks III and VI) the latter problem. So Mk III and VI were good bombers, but earlier versions were dangerous.

    Juha
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Were most Halifax bombers Mk I or Mk II? Otherwise I don't see how it could have such a high accident rate when operating from proper airfields.
     
  6. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Is there an abstract for this thesis?

    The data is all well and good, but it would be helpful to know how that data is being used.



    While Mosquito bombers were used as pathfinders not all bomber Mosquitos were used as pathfinders. One task was to execute spoof raids to draw the defences away from a main force attack. These were successful enough that the Light Night Striking Force was formed. And example of their operations was bombing Berlin for 30+ nights straight from March 1944, without main force involvement.

    There are some stats around for the LNSF. From memory they flew approx 27,000 sorties (17% of Lancaster's sorties), dropped approximately 28,000 tons of bombs (4% of Lancaster's) for the loss of less than 100 aircraft (2% of Lancaster losses).
     
  7. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    #7 mhuxt, May 1, 2012
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
    For what it's worth, my own Mossie data suggests

    1,391 bomber aircraft produced (excluding B.35, assorted prototypes, etc)
    213 lost / missing on bombing ops by day and night
    272 lost in accidents (both operational and non-operational)
    27,796 sorties involving "dropping stuff on targets", whether markers or bombs, day and night (Sharp Bowyer, have seen totals above 28,000 from other sources)
    Tonnage dropped I have upstairs, will post later.
     
  8. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Nice data Mark.

    That means that the loss/accident rate for the Mosquito was 34% over the duration of the war. Or 1.7% per sortie.

    The Lancaster's loss/accident rate was 66% or 3.1% per sortie.
     
  9. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
    ABSTRACT
    BRITAIN 1939-1945: THE ECONOMIC COST OF STRATEGIC BOMBING
    By John Fahey


    Complete thesis in PDF format. About 3.5 MB in size.
    http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/664/2/adt-NU20050104.11440202whole.pdf

    IMO this document is worth downloading to your PC for reference purposes. It's a goldmine of information about RAF Bomber Command. May take a minute to load as it's rather large.

    Might also be worth having a copy on this forum for reference. Where's a helpful moderator when you need one? :)
     
  10. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Think Dave has already posted but...


    Abstract: http://www.google.com.au/url?q=http...QQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNEpcMgMcdwu557L0SBQ10kmetGtVw

    Full docco: http://www.google.com.au/url?q=http...cQFjAB&usg=AFQjCNEa73TbzgHn7QbsoVFBHd5JeuhTcg



    Quite so, 692, 571, 608, 142, 128, 162, 163 Squadrons were there to attack targets. 109 and 105 both marked and bombed on Oboe, 139 bombed, spoofed, and later marked with H2S.


    As above, different sources give different totals. The "108 losses" number is I believe only for 8 Group, not sure if the 5 Group Mossies of 627 Sqn are included. It excludes the 51 lost on day sorties with 2 Group. Some of the sortie totals you see around also include Met sorties, as these came under BC.
     
  11. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    I have discovered that I already have that thesis, but I didn't recognise the name of the author.

    Have to get to and read it again.
     
  12. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Mark, I would expect the average bomb load for Mosquito bombers to be slightly more than 1 ton - early versions normally using 2000lb (1t), later versions normally using 4000lb (2t).
     
  13. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Pah - Losses to Bombers should be 185, not 213, higher total included weather ops, some photo recce, ECM, one faulty entry. Was searching on aircraft type, not sortie type, silly mistake.
     
  14. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Written by an Australian. So you know it's accurate. :)
     
  15. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    IIRC almost a half of wartime Halifax production was Mks I (84), II (appr. 2000) and V (appr 900). Mk V was Mk II with Dowty landing gear.

    Juha
     
  16. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I don't have time to check it out but IIRC the accident rate had to do with the design of the fin and rudder. It wasn't sorted out until they went to the square design initially on the later MkIIa. Once that had been resolved the accident rate dropped and when the Mk III arrived it dropped further to below the average for WW2 heavy bombers.
     
  17. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Aircraft Type : Operational Losses by Night and Day

    BC - Statistics

    Has a total of 396 Mosquitoes losses.
     
  18. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    #18 mhuxt, May 4, 2012
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
    The 254 Mossies missing no doubt include the nightfighters and intruders of 100 Group. My data is less reliable re: which craft were written off - the entries say aircraft were struck off charge, but don't provide a reason.

    I do have 103 accidents resulting in the loss of the aircraft on ops, 84 non-ops.
     
  19. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Glider is correct re the Halifax losses. These were attributed to three main causes, the last one linked to the first two.
    1) The original 'triangular' fin and rudder caused major problems in both stability and control. The fin was not providing enough control, and the rudder had a tendency to seriously over balance, in extreme cases going into full deflection. This caused many losses in turns at low altitude, and in evasive corkscrew manouvres. As stated by Glider, this was cured, partly at first with the introduction of the bigger balance horns, and then later, much more effectively with the larger 'rectangular' fin and larger rudder.
    2) Overheating of the Merlin engines also led to either engine fires or engine seizure, which, in extreme cases, resulted in the forced landing, and/or loss of the aircraft.
    3) Both of these combined led to a great number of losses at HCUs (Heavy Conversion Units - training), mainly on take off or landing, and was exacerbated by the use of old, virtually worn out aircraft which had already done operational service.
    In the MTO, similar losses were due to the harsh desert conditions, along with airframe stress from low-level operations.
    As Glider mentioned, these problems were addressed and the situation greatly improved with the introduction of the MkIII, which also benefited from the longer-span wing.
     
  20. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Not all bombers.
     
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