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Great Britain's Handley Page Hampden bomber

Photos

  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • handley-page-hampden-bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden Mk I bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden Mk I bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden Mk I bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden Mk I bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden Mk II bomber
  • Handley Page Hampden prototype
  • Handley Page Hampden prototype
  • Handley Page Hampden prototype
  • Handley Page Hampden TB Mk I
  • Handley Page Hampden TB Mk I

Design

The Handley Page Hampden was designed to a specification (B.9/32) given in 1932.

The Hampden wasn't good at daylight bombing as it had many blind spots for defense and the crews were very cramped.

Fuselage

The fuselage was only 3' / 91 cm at it's widest point.

Prototype

The HP.52 Hampden prototype first flew on June 21, 1936 and was piloted by Major J.L.H.B. Cordes.

The Hampden Mk I's trial flight was on June 24, 1938.

Production

Deliveries started in September 1938. Production ended in March 1942.

  • HP.52 and HP.53: 2
  • Hampden Mk I: 1,430
    • Manufacturer: Handley Page Ltd.
      • Handley Page: 500
      • English Electric: 770
      • Total: United Kingdom: 1,270
      • Canadian Associated Aircraft: 160
  • Hampden Mk II: 2
  • Total: 1,430, 1,532

Variants

  • HP.52: Prototype. Pegasus PE.55(a) engines. Designed for RAF.
  • HP.53: Prototype. Designed for Sweden. Napier Dagger VIII 16 cylinder 'H' pattern engine (1,000 HP).
  • Hampden Mk I:
  • Hereford: Trainer. Had a Napier Dagger engine.
  • Hampden Mk II: Had Wright Cyclone engine. Never produced.
  • Hampden TB Mk I: Torpedo bomber. 141 / 143 converted.

Usage

Britain, Canada, and New Zealand used the Hampden.

First Deployment

The No. 49 Squadron first received the Hampden in August 1938.

By December 1938 the No 49, 50, and 83 Squadrons were equipped with the Hampden Mk I.

Start of War

There were eight (10) squadrons equipped with Hampden Mk Is at the start of World War II. They were with the No 44, 49, 50, 61, 83, 106, 144, and 185 Squadrons under the No 5 Bomber Group at Lincolnshire and Huntingdonshire.

Eventually fifteen squadrons would be equipped with Hampdens.

Missions

The first mission was on September 3, 1939, by the No 83 Squadron flying reconnaissance to Schillig Roads. Mission wasn't completed due to fog.

Early war missions involved dropping leaflets, mine laying, bombing invasion barges, and reconnaissance.

After it was shown how vulnerable the Hampden was in daylight they switched to night operations.

Hampdens were used in August 1940 / August 25 - 26, 1940 during the first raid on Berlin.

Torpedo Squadrons

The No 144, 408, and 455 Squadrons, with Coastal Command, were equipped with the Hampden TB Mk I torpedo bombers.

Last Raid

On the night of September 14 - 15, 1942 was the Hampden's last raid. It was withdrawn from Bomber Command.

Coastal Command

After being withdrawn from Bomber Command four Coastal Command squadrons were outfitted with the Hampden torpedo bomber.

Two of these squadrons, No 144 and No 255, were stationed near Murmansk.

Three squadrons used their Hampdens for weather reconnaissance.

Specifications

  Hampden
Type Medium bomber
Crew 4
Engine (Type) 2: Bristol Pegasus XVIII
HP 1,000 each
Dimensions  
Span 69' 2"
21.08 m
Length 53' 7"
16.33 m
Height 14' 11"
4.55 m
Weight  
Loaded 21,000 lb
Performance  
Speed 265 mph
Range 800 miles
Armament 6: 0.303" MG
Nose - Fixed 2: MG
Dorsal position 2: MG
Ventral position 2: MG
Bombs 16: 112 lb
10: 25 lb
Bombs - internal 4,000 lb
1,814 kg
Bombs - under wings 2: 500 lb
2: 227 kg
OR 1: 18" torpedo
1: 46 cm torpedo
  Hampden Mk I
Type Bomber, Medium Bomber
Crew 4
Engine (Type) 2: Bristol Pegasus XVIII
Cylinders Radial, Radial 9
Cooling Air
HP 980 each, 1,000 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 69' 2"
21.08 m
Length 53' 7"
16.33 m
Height 14' 9", 14' 11"
4.49 m, 4.55 m
Wing area 669 sq ft, 688 ft2
62.06 sq m, 63.92 m2
Weight  
Empty 11,780 lb
5,343 kg
Loaded 18,750 lb, 18,756 lb
8,508 kg
Maximum load 21,000 lb
9,526 kg
Performance  
Speed at 13,800' / 4,205 m 254 mph
409 kph
Speed at 15,500' / 4,724 m 265 mph
426 kph
Speed at 15,500' / 4,725 m 265 mph
426 kph
Cruising speed 167 mph
269 kph
Climb 980'/minute
298 m/minute, 299 m/minute
Climb to 15,000' / 4,570 m 18 minutes 55 seconds
Service ceiling 19,000', 22,700'
5,790 m, 6,920 m
Range 1,885 miles, 1,990 miles
3,200 km
Range with 2,000 lb / 907 kg bombs 1,885 miles
3,033 km
Range with 4,000 lb / 1,814 kg bombs 1,200 miles
1,931 km
Range with maximum bomb load 1,200 miles
1,931 km
Armament 6: MG
Nose - Fixed 1: 7.7 mm, 7.7 mm Vickers K
1: 0.303" Browning
Nose - Flexible 1: 7.7 mm
Dorsal position 2: 7.7 mm, 7.7 mm Vickers K
Ventral position 2: 7.7 mm, 7.7 mm Vickers K
Bombs 4,000 lb
1,814 kg
  Hampden Mk II
Engine (Type) 2: Wright Cyclone
HP 1,100 each

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 1, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  5. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
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