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Great Britain's Handley Page Halifax bomber

Photos

  • Handley Page Halifax bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax bombers
  • Handley Page Halifax bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk I
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk I bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk I bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk I bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk I bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk I bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk II Series I bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax B Mk II bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax B Mk II bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk II bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk II bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk II bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk II bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk II bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax B Mk III bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax Mk III bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax bomber
  • Handley Page Halifax bomber

Design

The Handley Page Halifax was designed to the same specification as the Avro Manchester.3,7 The specification was first published in September 1936.4 It was to be powered by four Rolls-Royce engines.3,4,5,7 In 1937 this was changed to four Merlins.3

The Halifax was an all metal aircraft.4

Gun Turrets

Early Halifax models had a two gun turret in the nose.1 This was later replaced by a Perspex molding model that had less drag.1

Initially the Halifax had gun position at the beam windows, but these were later replaced by two or four gun dorsal turrets.1

Tail fins

Original models had small tailfins.1 These were replaced by larger surfaces.1

Halifax B.Mk I

The Halifax Mk I had no dorsal turret and the turret in the nose had two machine guns.5

Halifax B.Mk II - Turrets

There are Boulton-Paul powered turrets in the nose, tail, top, and bottom.6

Halifax B.Mk III

The Halifax Mk III had its later production models have span of 104' 2" / 31.75 m.5

Some of the Halifax Mk IIIs were used with paratroops or towing gliders.5

Halifax B.Mk V

The Halifax Mk V served with the Bomber and Coastal commands.2

Some of the Halifax Mk V were used with paratroops or towing gliders.2

Landing Gear

The Dowty landing gear was installed.2

Halifax B.Mk VIII

Some of the Halifax Mk VIIIs were used with paratroops or towing gliders.5

Prototype

The Halifax prototype, HP.573, first flew on October 19397 / October 25, 1939.1,3,4,5 It only flew with two Vulture / four Merlin7 engines.2,5 This was changed to four Merlin engines.2,5

Production

The first Halifax Mk I flew in October 1940.3,7 The first Halifax B.III first flew in July 1943.3

  • Prototype: 23
  • Halifax Mk I: 843
  • Halifax B.II: 1,9773
    • Production: 1941 - ?4
  • Halifax Mk I and Halifax Mk II: 2,0504
  • Halifax B.III: 2,0604, 2,0913
    • Production: 1943 - ?4
  • Halifax B.IV: 17
  • Halifax B.V: 9043
  • Halifax B.VI: 4733
  • Halifax B.VII: 4043
  • Halifax C.VIII: 1003, >1004
  • Halifax A.IX: 1453, ~4004
  • Total: 6,1762,3,4,5, 6,1781
    • Manufacturers: Handley Page Ltd.3,4, London Aircraft, Rootes3, English Electric3, Fairey3

Variants

  • HP.57: Prototype.3,7
  • Halifax Mk I: Had Merlin X engines.2 Had a nose turret with two guns.2,5 There was no dorsal turret.2,5 Beam windows had gun positions.1
  • Halifax B.I Series I: Merlin X engines.3
  • Halifax B.I Series II: Increased weight.3
  • Halifax B.I Series III: Increased fuel.3
  • Halifax B.II Series I: Merlin 20 engines.3 Dorsal turret added.3 Beam guns removed.3 Nose turret removed.7
  • Halifax B.II Series IA: Front turret removed.3 Longer glazed nose.2,3,5 Four Rolls-Royce Merlin 22 engines.3,7 Dorsal turret now had four guns.2,5,7 Sometimes used as Hamilcar tug.7
  • Halifax B.II (Special): Tried to reduce drag.3 Exhaust flame dampers.3 Dorsal and front turrets removed.3 Nose section faired.3
  • Halifax GR.II: RAF Coastal Command.3
  • Halifax Mk II Series 1A: Transparent nose.5 Dorsal turret had four machine guns.5
  • Halifax Mk II Series I (Special): The nose turret wasn't installed.2
  • Halifax Mk IIA Series I: Had Merlin XX engines.2,5 Installed a two gun dorsal turret.2,5
  • Halifax A.Mk III: Glider tug and paratroop transport.5
  • Halifax Mk III: Had Bristol Hercules XVI radial engines.2,5 Initially had a wingspan of 98' 10" / 30.12 m but was increased in later models to 104' 2" / 31.75 m.2,5
  • Halifax Mk IV: Used as a test aircraft for a new engine mount.7
  • Halifax Mk V: Had Dowty landing gear.2,5,7 Served with both the Coastal and Bomber Commands.2,5
  • Halifax GR.V: RAF Coastal Command.3
  • Halifax Mk VI: Had Hercules 100 engines installed.2,3,5,7 Carried more fuel.3 Had tropical equipment.3
  • Halifax Mk VII: Had Hercules XVI engines installed.2,3,5,7 Joined Bomber Command in 1944.2,5
  • Halifax C.VII: Transport.2 Could carry 24 troops.2
  • Halifax Mk VIII: Transport version that carried 7,920 lb / 8,000 lb7 / 3,600 kg / 3,632 kg7 of frieght.1 Had no gun turrets and fuselage had a bulge in the bottom.1 Could carry eleven passengers.7
  • Halifax C.VIII: Transport.3 Could carry 11 passengers and 8,000 lb / 3,629 kg freight.3
  • Halifax A.IX: Paratroop carrier.3

Usage

Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand used the Halifax.1

There were 34 squadrons equipped with the Halifax.1,3

  • Sorties: 75,5321,2,4,5, 83,0723
  • Bombs dropped, tons: 227,0003, 227,6091, 227,6102,4,5

The H2S radar bombing equipment was first used by the Halifax.1

First Squadron

The No. 35 Squadron first received the Halifax in November 1940.2,4,5,7 They conducted their first raid on the night of March 10 - 11, 1941 on Le Harve.2,3,4,5

Paratroop Carrier and Glider Tower

The Mk III, Mk V, and Mk VII were used to carrier paratroops and to tow gliders.2 They could tow the large Hamilcar glider.2

At the end of the war the Mk VIII was also used to carry paratroops and tow gliders.2

Taken out of Service

In early 1952 the last of the Halifaxes were withdrawn from service.4

Specifications

  Handley Page Halifax3
Type Heavy bomber3,7
Crew 73,7
Pilots (2), Navigator, Radio Operator, Gunners (3)7
Engine (Type) 4: Bristol Hercules7
Cylinders Radial 147
Cooling Air7
Capacity 1,998 gallons7
Propeller blades Full feathering7
Dimensions  
Span 104'7
31.7 m7
Length 71' 7"7
21.8 m7
Height 21' 7"7
6.6 m7
Wing area 1,275 sq ft7
1,184 sq m7
Weight  
Empty 38,239 lb7
17,360 kg7
Loaded 65,000 lb7
29,510 kg7
Performance  
Speed 270 mph7
432 kph7
Range 3,000 miles7
4,800 km7
Armament  
Fuselage - Nose 1: 0.303" Browning MG7
Turret - Dorsal 4: 0.303" Browning MG in Boulton Paul turret7
Turret - Rear 4: 0.303" Browning MG in Boulton Paul turret7
Bombs 14,500 lb7
6,580 kg7
  Handley Page Halifax B.I, Handley Page Halifax Mk I
Type Bomber4
Crew 74
Engine (Type) 4: Rolls-Royce Merlin X3,3,7
Cylinders V 123,4
Cooling Liquid4
HP 1,265 each3, 1,280 each4
Propeller blades 3 each3,4
Dimensions  
Span 98' 10"3,4
30.12 m3
Length 70' 1"3,4
21.36 m3
Height 20' 9"3,4
6.32 m3
Weight  
Loaded 58,000 lb4, 60,000 lb7
27,240 kg7
Performance  
Speed @ 17,500' /
5,334 m
265 mph1,2
426 kph3
Climb 750'/minute3
228 m/minute3
Service ceiling 18,000'3, 22,800'4
5,486 m3
Range with
maximum bomb load
980 miles3
1,577 km3
Maximum range 1,860 miles4, 2,400 miles3
3,862 km3
Armament 6: MG4
8: 0.303" MG3
Beam 2: 0.303" MG7
Turret - forward 2: MG4
2: 0.303" MG Boulton Paul nose turret7
Turret - rear 4: MG4
4: 0.303" MG Boulton Paul tail turret7
Bombs 13,000 lb3,4
5,897 kg3
  Handley Page Halifax B.I Series I3
Weight  
Empty 33,860 lb3
15,359 kg3
Loaded 55,000 lb3
24,948 kg3
  Handley Page Halifax B.II
Type Heavy bomber6
Engine (Type) 4: Rolls-Royce Merlin XX3,5,6,7
OR 4: Rolls-Royce Merlin 223
HP 1,175 each6, 1,460 each3
Propeller blades 3 each3
Dimensions  
Span 99'6
Length 70' 1"6
Height 20' 9"6
Weight  
Loaded 60,000 lb6
Performance  
Speed 300 mph6
Range 3,000 miles6
Armament  
Dorsal turret 2: MG5
Beam 2: 0.303" MG7
Turret - forward 2: 0.303" MG Boulton Paul nose turret7
Turret - rear 4: 0.303" MG Boulton Paul tail turret7
Bombs 5.5 tons6
  Handley Page Halifax A.Mk III
Type Glider tug5, Troop transport5
Passengers 165
Engine (Type) 4: Bristol Hercules XVI5
Cylinders Radial 145
Cooling Air5
HP 1,6155
Dimensions  
Span 98' 10"5
30.12 m5
Length 71' 7"5
21.82 m5
Height 20' 9"5
6.32 m5
Wing area 1,250 sq ft5
116.13 sq m5
Weight  
Empty 33,000 lb5
14,969 kg5
Loaded 54,400 lb5
24,675 kg5
Performance  
Speed at 13,500' /
4,115 m
282 mph5
454 kph5
Service ceiling 20,000'5
6,096 m5
Range 1,077 miles5
1,733 km5
Armament  
Nose 1: 7.7 mm Vickers K MG5
Turret - Dorsal 4: 7.7 mm Browning MG in Boulton Paul turret5
Turret - Tail 4: 7.7 mm MG in turret5
  Handley Page Halifax B.Mk III, Handley Page Halifax B.III, Handley Page Halifax Mk III
Type Bomber4, Heavy bomber1, Troop transport1, Anti-submarine1
Crew 71,4
Engine (Type) 4: Bristol Hercules XVI piston1,3,4,5,7
Cylinders Radial 141,3,4,7
Cooling Air4,7
HP 1,613 each1, 1,615 each4, 1,650 each3
Propeller blades 3 each1,3
Dimensions  
Span - early models 98' 8"7, 98' 10"5
30 m7, 30.12 m5
Span - late models 104'1,7, 104' 2"4,5
31.7 m7, 31.75 m1,5
Length 71' 7"4, 72'1
21.82 m1
Height 20' 9"4, 21'1
6.32 m1
Wing area 1,275 ft2 1
118.45 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 38,159 lb1
17,345 kg1
Loaded 54,400 lb4, 64,865 lb1
29,484 kg1
Performance  
Speed 281 mph1
500 kph1
Speed @ 17,500' 282 mph4
Service ceiling 24,000'1,4
7,315 m1
Range with
maximum bomb load
1,030 miles4, 1,240 miles1
2,000 km1
Armament 9: MG4, 9: 7.7 mm MG1
Bombs 13,000 lb4, 13,200 lb1
5,897 kg1
  Handley Page Halifax B.V3
Engine (Type) 4: Rolls-Royce Merlin XX3
OR 4: Rolls-Royce Merlin 223
HP 1,460 each3
Propeller blades 3 each3
Weight  
Loaded 65,000 lb3
29,484 kg3
  Handley Page Halifax Mk VI, Handley Page Halifax B.VI
Type Heavy bomber2,5
Crew 72,5
Engine (Type) 4: Bristol Hercules 100 piston2,3,5,7
Cylinders Radial 142,5,7
HP 1,800 each2,3,5
Propeller blades 3 each3
Dimensions  
Span 104' 2"2,3,5
31.75 m2,3,5
Length 71' 7"2,3,5
21.82 m2,3,5
Height 20' 9"2,3,5
6.32 m2,3,5
Wing area 1,275 ft2 2,5
118.45 m2 2,5
Weight  
Empty 39,000 lb2,3,5
17,690 kg2,3,5
Loaded 65,000 lb3, 68,000 lb2,5
29,484 kg3, 30,845 kg2,5
Performance  
Speed @ 19,500' /
5,944 m
309 mph3
497 kph3
Speed @ 22,000' /
6,705 m
312 mph2,5
502 kph2,5
Climb to 20,000' /
6,095 m
5 minutes2
Climb to 20,000' /
6,096 m
31 minutes3, 50 minutes5
Service ceiling 22,000'3, 24,000'2,5
6,706 m3, 7,315 m2,5
Range with
maximum bomb load
1,260 miles2,3
2,028 km2,3
Range with 13,000 lb /
5,897 kg bomb load
1,260 miles5
2,028 km5
Armament  
Nose 1: 0.303" MG3
1: 7.7 mm MG2,5
Dorsal turret 4: 0.303" MG3
4: 7.7 mm MG2,5
Tail turret 4: 0.303" MG3
4: 7.7 mm MG2,5
Bombs 13,000 lb2,3,5
5,897 kg2,3,5

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  6. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  7. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site