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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. The specification was first published in September 1936. It was to be powered by four Rolls-Royce engines. In 1937 this was changed to four Merlins.

The Halifax was an all metal aircraft.

Gun Turrets

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

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

Tail fins

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

Halifax B.Mk I

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

Halifax B.Mk II - Turrets

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

Halifax B.Mk III

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

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

Halifax B.Mk V

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

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

Landing Gear

The Dowty landing gear was installed.

Halifax B.Mk VIII

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

Prototype

The Halifax prototype, HP.57, first flew on October 1939 / October 25, 1939. It only flew with two Vulture / four Merlin engines. This was changed to four Merlin engines.

Production

The first Halifax Mk I flew in October 1940. The first Halifax B.III first flew in July 1943.

  • Prototype: 2
  • Halifax Mk I: 84
  • Halifax B.II: 1,977
    • Production: 1941 - ?
  • Halifax Mk I and Halifax Mk II: 2,050
  • Halifax B.III: 2,060, 2,091
    • Production: 1943 - ?
  • Halifax B.IV: 1
  • Halifax B.V: 904
  • Halifax B.VI: 473
  • Halifax B.VII: 404
  • Halifax C.VIII: 100, >100
  • Halifax A.IX: 145, ~400
  • Total: 6,176, 6,178
    • Manufacturers: Handley Page Ltd., London Aircraft, Rootes, English Electric, Fairey

Variants

  • HP.57: Prototype.
  • Halifax Mk I: Had Merlin X engines. Had a nose turret with two guns. There was no dorsal turret. Beam windows had gun positions.
  • Halifax B.I Series I: Merlin X engines.
  • Halifax B.I Series II: Increased weight.
  • Halifax B.I Series III: Increased fuel.
  • Halifax B.II Series I: Merlin 20 engines. Dorsal turret added. Beam guns removed. Nose turret removed.
  • Halifax B.II Series IA: Front turret removed. Longer glazed nose. Four Rolls-Royce Merlin 22 engines. Dorsal turret now had four guns. Sometimes used as Hamilcar tug.
  • Halifax B.II (Special): Tried to reduce drag. Exhaust flame dampers. Dorsal and front turrets removed. Nose section faired.
  • Halifax GR.II: RAF Coastal Command.
  • Halifax Mk II Series 1A: Transparent nose. Dorsal turret had four machine guns.
  • Halifax Mk II Series I (Special): The nose turret wasn't installed.
  • Halifax Mk IIA Series I: Had Merlin XX engines. Installed a two gun dorsal turret.
  • Halifax A.Mk III: Glider tug and paratroop transport.
  • Halifax Mk III: Had Bristol Hercules XVI radial engines. Initially had a wingspan of 98' 10" / 30.12 m but was increased in later models to 104' 2" / 31.75 m.
  • Halifax Mk IV: Used as a test aircraft for a new engine mount.
  • Halifax Mk V: Had Dowty landing gear. Served with both the Coastal and Bomber Commands.
  • Halifax GR.V: RAF Coastal Command.
  • Halifax Mk VI: Had Hercules 100 engines installed. Carried more fuel. Had tropical equipment.
  • Halifax Mk VII: Had Hercules XVI engines installed. Joined Bomber Command in 1944.
  • Halifax C.VII: Transport. Could carry 24 troops.
  • Halifax Mk VIII: Transport version that carried 7,920 lb / 8,000 lb / 3,600 kg / 3,632 kg of frieght. Had no gun turrets and fuselage had a bulge in the bottom. Could carry eleven passengers.
  • Halifax C.VIII: Transport. Could carry 11 passengers and 8,000 lb / 3,629 kg freight.
  • Halifax A.IX: Paratroop carrier.

Usage

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

There were 34 squadrons equipped with the Halifax.

  • Sorties: 75,532, 83,072
  • Bombs dropped, tons: 227,000, 227,609, 227,610

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

First Squadron

The No. 35 Squadron first received the Halifax in November 1940. They conducted their first raid on the night of March 10 - 11, 1941 on Le Harve.

Paratroop Carrier and Glider Tower

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

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

Taken out of Service

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

Specifications

  Handley Page Halifax
Type Heavy bomber
Crew 7
Pilots (2), Navigator, Radio Operator, Gunners (3)
Engine (Type) 4: Bristol Hercules
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Capacity 1,998 gallons
Propeller blades Full feathering
Dimensions  
Span 104'
31.7 m
Length 71' 7"
21.8 m
Height 21' 7"
6.6 m
Wing area 1,275 sq ft
1,184 sq m
Weight  
Empty 38,239 lb
17,360 kg
Loaded 65,000 lb
29,510 kg
Performance  
Speed 270 mph
432 kph
Range 3,000 miles
4,800 km
Armament  
Fuselage - Nose 1: 0.303" Browning MG
Turret - Dorsal 4: 0.303" Browning MG in Boulton Paul turret
Turret - Rear 4: 0.303" Browning MG in Boulton Paul turret
Bombs 14,500 lb
6,580 kg
  Handley Page Halifax B.I, Handley Page Halifax Mk I
Type Bomber
Crew 7
Engine (Type) 4: Rolls-Royce Merlin X
Cylinders V 12
Cooling Liquid
HP 1,265 each, 1,280 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 98' 10"
30.12 m
Length 70' 1"
21.36 m
Height 20' 9"
6.32 m
Weight  
Loaded 58,000 lb, 60,000 lb
27,240 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 17,500' /
5,334 m
265 mph
426 kph
Climb 750'/minute
228 m/minute
Service ceiling 18,000', 22,800'
5,486 m
Range with
maximum bomb load
980 miles
1,577 km
Maximum range 1,860 miles, 2,400 miles
3,862 km
Armament 6: MG
8: 0.303" MG
Beam 2: 0.303" MG
Turret - forward 2: MG
2: 0.303" MG Boulton Paul nose turret
Turret - rear 4: MG
4: 0.303" MG Boulton Paul tail turret
Bombs 13,000 lb
5,897 kg
  Handley Page Halifax B.I Series I
Weight  
Empty 33,860 lb
15,359 kg
Loaded 55,000 lb
24,948 kg
  Handley Page Halifax B.II
Type Heavy bomber
Engine (Type) 4: Rolls-Royce Merlin XX
OR 4: Rolls-Royce Merlin 22
HP 1,175 each, 1,460 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 99'
Length 70' 1"
Height 20' 9"
Weight  
Loaded 60,000 lb
Performance  
Speed 300 mph
Range 3,000 miles
Armament  
Dorsal turret 2: MG
Beam 2: 0.303" MG
Turret - forward 2: 0.303" MG Boulton Paul nose turret
Turret - rear 4: 0.303" MG Boulton Paul tail turret
Bombs 5.5 tons
  Handley Page Halifax A.Mk III
Type Glider tug, Troop transport
Passengers 16
Engine (Type) 4: Bristol Hercules XVI
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,615
Dimensions  
Span 98' 10"
30.12 m
Length 71' 7"
21.82 m
Height 20' 9"
6.32 m
Wing area 1,250 sq ft
116.13 sq m
Weight  
Empty 33,000 lb
14,969 kg
Loaded 54,400 lb
24,675 kg
Performance  
Speed at 13,500' /
4,115 m
282 mph
454 kph
Service ceiling 20,000'
6,096 m
Range 1,077 miles
1,733 km
Armament  
Nose 1: 7.7 mm Vickers K MG
Turret - Dorsal 4: 7.7 mm Browning MG in Boulton Paul turret
Turret - Tail 4: 7.7 mm MG in turret
  Handley Page Halifax B.Mk III, Handley Page Halifax B.III, Handley Page Halifax Mk III
Type Bomber, Heavy bomber, Troop transport, Anti-submarine
Crew 7
Engine (Type) 4: Bristol Hercules XVI piston
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,613 each, 1,615 each, 1,650 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span - early models 98' 8", 98' 10"
30 m, 30.12 m
Span - late models 104', 104' 2"
31.7 m, 31.75 m
Length 71' 7", 72'
21.82 m
Height 20' 9", 21'
6.32 m
Wing area 1,275 ft2
118.45 m2
Weight  
Empty 38,159 lb
17,345 kg
Loaded 54,400 lb, 64,865 lb
29,484 kg
Performance  
Speed 281 mph
500 kph
Speed @ 17,500' 282 mph
Service ceiling 24,000'
7,315 m
Range with
maximum bomb load
1,030 miles, 1,240 miles
2,000 km
Armament 9: MG, 9: 7.7 mm MG
Bombs 13,000 lb, 13,200 lb
5,897 kg
  Handley Page Halifax B.V
Engine (Type) 4: Rolls-Royce Merlin XX
OR 4: Rolls-Royce Merlin 22
HP 1,460 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Weight  
Loaded 65,000 lb
29,484 kg
  Handley Page Halifax Mk VI, Handley Page Halifax B.VI
Type Heavy bomber
Crew 7
Engine (Type) 4: Bristol Hercules 100 piston
Cylinders Radial 14
HP 1,800 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 104' 2"
31.75 m
Length 71' 7"
21.82 m
Height 20' 9"
6.32 m
Wing area 1,275 ft2
118.45 m2
Weight  
Empty 39,000 lb
17,690 kg
Loaded 65,000 lb, 68,000 lb
29,484 kg, 30,845 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 19,500' /
5,944 m
309 mph
497 kph
Speed @ 22,000' /
6,705 m
312 mph
502 kph
Climb to 20,000' /
6,095 m
5 minutes
Climb to 20,000' /
6,096 m
31 minutes, 50 minutes
Service ceiling 22,000', 24,000'
6,706 m, 7,315 m
Range with
maximum bomb load
1,260 miles
2,028 km
Range with 13,000 lb /
5,897 kg bomb load
1,260 miles
2,028 km
Armament  
Nose 1: 0.303" MG
1: 7.7 mm MG
Dorsal turret 4: 0.303" MG
4: 7.7 mm MG
Tail turret 4: 0.303" MG
4: 7.7 mm MG
Bombs 13,000 lb
5,897 kg

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
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