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Great Britain's Avro Manchester bomber

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Avro Manchester bomber:
Great Britain's Avro Manchester bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Avro Manchester bomber:
Great Britain's Avro Manchester bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Design

The Avro Type 679 Manchester was designed to meet a 1936 specification for a medium/heavy bomber that could go at high speeds with powered turrets.2

After initial flight trials the span was increased by three meters.1 A fin was added between the tail fins, but this was removed in the Manchester Mk IA.1

40% of the Manchesters were lost in operations and 25% in accidents.1

Crew

The pilot and engineer sat next to each other in the cockpit.1 There was an astrodome for the navigator to take celestial measurements for navigation.1

The nose gunner, also the bomb aimer, sat in a powered turret.1 Typically during night operations the nose gunner didn't see much combat.1

The rear gunner, especially at night, saw the most action and would tell the pilot what evasive action to take when a night fighter was attacking them.1

Engines

The 24 cylinder X configured engine was basically two Peregrine V-12 blocks attacked to the same crankshaft.2

Due to flaws in the airframe and the failure of the Rolls-Royce Vulture engine it wasn't a big success in combat.1,2 The Vulture would often overheat.2

The engines were down rated to 1,500 HP in the hopes of reducing the overheating.2

Prototype

The prototype first flew in July 25, 1939.1,2 The next prototype flew in 1940.1

The second prototype had extended wings and a third fin to increase stability.2

Production

An order for 200 was given by the Air Ministry.1 This was later raised to 400.1

Avro and Metropolitan-Vickers produced the Manchester.2

  • Prototype: 22
  • Manchester: 1992
  • Total: 2012, 2021

Variants

  • Avro 679: Avro's designation.3
  • Manchester Mk I: Had third tail fin.2
  • Manchester Mk IA: Had new horizontal tail surfaces.2

Usage

In November 1940 the No. 207 Squadron was the first to have the Manchester.1 It's first mission was in February 1941.1 Eventually nine squadrons and one flight of Coastal Command received the Manchesters.1

Manchesters took part in the first 1,000 bomber raid on Cologne.1

Bomber Command last used the Manchester in the attack on Bremen on the night of June 25 and June 26, 1942.1

Specifications

  Avro Manchester
Type Bomber1, Heavy bomber2
Crew 72
Engine (Type) 2: Rolls-Royce Vulture piston1,2,3
Cylinders Inline X 241,2
Cooling  
HP 1,760 each1,2, 2,000 each3
Propeller blades 32
Dimensions  
Span 90' 1"1,2,3
27.46 m1,2
Length 68' 10"2, 69' 4"1, 70'3
20.98 m2, 21.13 m1
Height 19' 6"1,2,3
5.94 m1,2
Wing area 1,137 ft2 1
105.63 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 29,370 lb1, 29,440 lb2, 30,000 lb3
13,350 kg1, 13,354 kg2
Maximum permitted
in service
50,000 lb2
22,680 kg2
Loaded 55,880 lb1, 56,000 lb2
25,400 kg2, 25,401 kg1
Performance  
Speed 325 mph3
Speed @ 17,000' /
5,180 m1
264 mph1, 265 mph2
426 kph1,2
Climb  
Service ceiling 19,000'1, 19,200'2
5,850 m1, 5,852 m2
Range with 8,100 lb /
3,674 kg bomb load
1,625 miles1
2,623 kg1
Range with maximum
bomb load
1,200 miles2
1,930 km2
Range maximum 1,630 miles2
2,623 km2
Armament  
Nose turret 2: MG3
2: 7.7 mm Browning MG1
Mid-upper turret 2: MG3
2: 7.7 mm MG1
Rear turret 4: MG3
4: 7.7 mm MG1
Nose, dorsal, tail turrets 8: 0.303" MG2
Bombs 10,330 lb1, 10,350 lb2
4,695 kg1,2

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site