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Great Britain's Avro Anson trainer

Photos

  • Avro Anson
  • Avro Anson
  • Avro Anson Mk I
  • Avro Anson Mk I
  • Avro Anson Mk I
  • Avro Anson Mk XI
  • Avro Anson Mk XII
  • Avro Anson
  • Avro Anson
  • Avro Anson
  • Avro Anson
  • Avro Anson
  • Avro Anson

Design

The Avro Anson was to meet a RAF Coastal Command requirement for a reconnaissance aircraft.1,2 It was based on the Avro 652 airliner.1,2,3,4,6

The Anson's skeleton was made from metal and the skin from wood and fabric.4

In January 1936 the rudder area was increased due to some unstability.1

The pilot had the only controls.1 The navigator / bombardier sat behind him with a plotting table and instrument panel.1 The radio operator / gunner sat at the rear of the cabin.1

The bombardier used a Wimperis Mk VIIB bombsight.1 He would go through a panel in the floor and move forward to the front of the plane.1

The turret in the top of the cabin was a manually operated Armstrong Whitworth turret.1 It had a 7.7 mm Lewis Mk 3A MG.1 It had five drums of ammunition.1 When not being used the barrel was lowered into a slot in the fuselage.1

In 1944 a version had radar installed and the Royal Navy used them for training.1

Undercarriage

The undercarriage of the Avro Anson was the first RAF plane to have retractable landing gear.2

The rear wheel was fixed and the main wheels required 164 1/2 turns of a handle to raise them.1 Later models had hydraulically operated gear.1

Prototype

It first flew on March 24, 1935 and entered service in 1936.1,2,3

Production

Production models had a 25% increase in the tail plane span and a reduction in the elevator area over the prototypes.1

3,000 of them had Wright, Jacobs, or Pratt and Whitney engines installed when they were manufactured in Canada.1
2,882 were constructed in Canada.2

Production continued until 1952 and remained in RAF service until 1968.1

  • Type 652: 43
  • Anson Mk I: 6,7423
  • Anson Mk II: 1,8323
  • Anson Mk III / Anson Mk IV: 2233
  • Anson Mk V: 1,0503
  • Anson Mk VI: 13
  • Anson Mk X: 1033
  • Anson Mk XI: 913
  • Anson Mk XII: 2543
  • Anson Mk 18: 253
  • Anson Mk 19: 3253
  • Anson Mk 20: 603
  • Anson Mk 21: 2523
  • Anson Mk 22: 343
  • Total: 10,9963, 11,0001, 11,0202
  • Manufacturer: A. V. Roe and Co. Ltd4, Federal Aircraft Ltd.6

Variants

  • Anson Mk I:
  • Anson Mk II: Produced by Federal Aircraft Ltd in Canada.2,6 First flew in August 1941.6 Supplied to United States as AT-20.6 Nose was molded plastic and plywood.6
  • Anson Mk III: Airframe built in Great Britain and converted to taken new engines by de Havilland Aircraft of Canada.6
  • Anson Mk IV: Airframe built in Great Britain and converted in Canada to take new engines.6
  • Anson Mk V: Produced by Federal Aircraft Ltd Canada.2,6 The fuselage was made primarily from plywood and plastic.6 First flew in November 1942.6
  • Anson Mk VI: Produced by Canada.2 Had Bristol Mk VI hydraulic gun turret installed.6
  • Anson Mk X: Conversion to transport.2,6 Floor was made stronger for cargo.6
  • Anson Mk XI: Conversion to transport.2 Roof was raised to allow for more headroom.6 Landing gear and flaps were hydraulic.6
  • Anson Mk XII: Conversion to transport.2

Usage

The Anson was used by Australia, Britain, Canada, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Netherlands, Turkey, and the United States.1,3

First entered service in (March 19364) 1936 with the No. 48 Squadron.1,6 It saw it's first combat on September 5, 1939 by attacking a U-Boat.1 Eventually a total of 8,138 were delivered to the Royal Air Force.4

It could turn inside a Messerschmitt Bf 109 and was credited with shooting down 6.1 Two of these were shot down by the No. 500 Squadron during the evacuation of Dunkirk.1

From 1941 several air-sea rescue squadrons were outfitted with the Anson.1

Canada selected the Anson in 1940 to be it's primary trainer.1,6 These were mostly Anson Mk IIIs and Mk IVs.2

Finland received three in 1938.1

Specifications

  Avro Anson
Type Advanced trainer5, Reconnaissance3,6, Trainer3,6
Crew  
Engine (Type) 2: Armstrong-Siddeley Cheetah IX5
Cylinders  
Cooling  
HP 310 each5
Propeller blades 23
Dimensions  
Span 56' 6"5,6
17.2 m6
Length 42' 3"5,6
12.9 m6
Height 13' 1"5,6
4 m6
Wing area 463 sq ft6
43.1 sq m6
Weight  
Empty 6,510 lb6
2,952 kg6
Loaded 7,600 lb5, 8,500 lb6
3,860 kg6
Maximum load 9,900 lb6
4,490 kg6
Performance  
Speed 188 mph5
Speed at sea level 170 mph6
272 kph6
Speed at 7,000 /
2,130 m
188 mph6
303 kph6
Speed at 10,000' /
3,050 m
186 mph6
297.6 kph6
Speed at 15,000' /
4,580 m
175 mph6
280 kph6
Cruising speed at 6,000' /
1,830 m
158 mph6
252.8 kph6
Climb 750' per minute6
229 m per minute6
Service ceiling 19,500'6
5,948 m6
Range 790 miles5
Armament  
Nose 1: MG5
Dorsal turret 1: MG5
Bombs 360 lb5
  Avro Anson Mk I
Type Advanced trainer1, Reconnaissance2, Liaison4
Crew 32
Engine (Type) 2: Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah IX piston1,2,3,4,6
OR 2: Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah XIX2,3
Cylinders Radial2, Radial 71,2,3,4
Cooling Air1,4
HP 320 each6, 335 each2,3, 350 each1,4
Dimensions  
Span 56' 6"2,3,4
17.22 m2,3
Length 42' 3"2,3,4
12.87 m2, 12.88 m3
Height 13' 1"2,3,4
3.99 m2,3
Wing area 463 ft2 2
43.01 m2 2
Weight  
Empty 5,361 lb1, 5,375 lb2, 5,512 lb3
2,438 kg1,2, 2,500 kg3
Loaded 7,663 lb6, 7,955 lb3, 7,984 lb1, 8,000 lb2,4
3,476 kg6, 3,608 kg3, 3,629 kg1,2
Maximum load 8,000 lb6, 8,500 lb3
3,627 kg6, 3,855 kg3
Performance  
Speed @ 7,000' /
2,130 m
188 mph1,4
303 kph1
Speed @ 7,000 ' /
2,133 m
188 mph3
302 kph3
Speed @ 7,000' /
2,135 m
188 mph2
302 kph2
Cruising speed 159 mph3
256 kph3
Climb @ sea level 750'/minute1
229 m/minute1
Climb 720'/minute2, 750'/minute3
219 m/minute2, 228 m/minute3
Service ceiling 19,000'1,2,4, 19,500'3
5,790 m1,2, 5,944 m3
Range 787 miles1, 790 miles2,4, 820 miles3
1,270 km1, 1,271 km2, 1,320 km3
Armament 2: 7.7 mm MG1
2: MG4
Nose 1: 7.7 mm MG2
1: 0.303" MG3, Vickers 0.303" MG6
Dorsal turret 1: 7.7 mm MG2
1: 0.303" MG3, Lewis or Vickers K 0.303" MG6
Bombs 360 lb1,2,3,4
163 kg1,2,3
Bombs - Internal 2: 100 lb6
Bombs - External 8: 20 lb6
  Avro Anson Mk II
Engine (Type) 2: Jacobs L6MB3,6
Cylinders Radial 73
HP 330 each3
  Avro Anson Mk III
Engine (Type) 2: Jacobs L6MB2,3,6
Cylinders Radial 72,3
HP 330 each2,3,6
  Avro Anson Mk IV
Engine (Type) 2: Wright R-760-E3 Whirlwind2,3
2: Wright Whirlwind R-975-E36
Cylinders Radial2.3
HP 300 each2,3
  Avro Anson Mk V
Type Navigation trainer6
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior3
2: Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN14B6
Cylinders Radial3
HP 450 each3
  Avro Anson Mk VI
Type Bombardier training6, Gunnery training6
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior3
Cylinders Radial3
HP 450 each3
  Avro Anson Mk X
Type Transport6
Engine (Type) 2: Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah IX2,3,6
OR 2: Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah XIX2,3
Cylinders 72,3
HP - IX 335 each2,3
HP - XIX 395 each2,3
Weight  
Loaded 9,450 lb6
4,290 kg6
  Avro Anson Mk XI
Type Transport6
Crew 26
Passengers 66
Engine (Type) 2: Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah XV2,3
OR 2: Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah XIX2,3,6
HP 420 each2,3
Propellers Fairey-Reed metal2,6, Fixed pitch6
  Avro Anson Mk XII
Engine (Type) 2: Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah XV2,3,6
OR 2: Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah XIX2,3
HP 420 each2,3
Propellers Constant speed2 , 2 blade Rotol constant speed6
Weight  
Loaded 9,500 lb6
4,313 kg6

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. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  6. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site