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Great Britain's Handley Page Harrow bomber

Photos

Handley Page Harrow bomber:
Great Britain's Handley Page Harrow bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Handley Page Harrow bomber:
Great Britain's Handley Page Harrow bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Design

Originally the Handley Page Harrow was designed to be a transport.1 However, under the 1936 RAF Expansion Scheme it was decided to use it as a bomber.1,2

Prototype

The HP.54 prototype first flew on October 10, 1936.1 This was also the first Harrow Mk I production plane.1

Production

The Harrow Mk II first flew in February 1937.1

  • Harrow Mk I: 381
  • Harrow Mk II: 621
  • Total: 1001

Variants

  • HP.54: Prototype.1
  • Harrow Mk I: Used for training.1
  • Harrow Mk II: More powerful Bristol Pegasus XX engine.1

Usage

Before World War II

Starting in April 1937 and by early 1939 there were five RAF bomber squadrons equipped with the Harrow Mk IIs.1 By September 1939 these had been replaced by Wellingtons.1

New Duty

Starting in 1940 the Harrow began to be used as a transport.1,2 Was often used between Britain and Gibraltar.1

Operation Mutton

Harrows were used in Operation Mutton where they towed aerial mines (Pandoras) in front of German bombers at night.1 They were guided by ground controllers.1 In 1941 there were six German bombers destroyed by the Pandoras.1

Ambulance

In September 1944 the Harrow was used as an ambulance in Europe.1

Last of Line

By late 1944 there were only twelve Harrows remaining in service.1 Of these, seven were destroyed in Operation Bodenplatte at the Brussels-Evere airfield on New Years Day.1

By May 1945 the last five were removed from the RAF.1

Specifications

  Handley Page Harrow
Type Bomber1
Transport1
Crew 4 - 51
Passengers 20 troops1
12 stretchers1
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 88' 5"1,2
26.95 m1
Length 82' 2"1,2
25.04 m1
Height 15' 5"2, 19' 5"1
5.92 m1
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 23,000 lb2
Performance  
Speed 200 mph2
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Cruising range 1,500 miles2
Armament  
Nose turret 1: 0.303" MG1
Dorsal cupola 1: 0.303" MG1
Rear turret 2: 0.303" MG1
Bombs 3,000 lb1
1,361 kg1
  Handley Page Harrow Mk I
Type  
Crew  
Passengers  
Engine (Type) 2: Bristol Pegasus X1,2
Cylinders Radial 91
Cooling  
HP 830 each1, 850 each2
Propeller blades 3 each1
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Maximum range  
Armament  
  Handley Page Harrow Mk II
Type  
Crew  
Passengers  
Engine (Type) 2: Bristol Pegasus XX1,2
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP 925 each1
Propeller blades 3 each1
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 13,600 lb1
6,169 kg1
Loaded 23,000 lb1
10,433 kg1
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 10,000' /
3,048 m
200 mph1
322 kph1
Cruising speed 163 mph1
262 kph1
Climb 710'/minute1
216 m/minute1
Climb to 6,500' /
1,981 m
8.2 minutes1
Service ceiling 22,800'1
6,950 m1
Range 1,260 miles1
2,028 km1
Maximum range 1,840 miles1
2,961 km1
Armament  

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site