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Great Britain's Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle transport

Photos

  • Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Mk I
  • Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
  • Armstrong Whitworth Albermarle Mk I
  • Armstrong Whitworth Albermarle Mk IIA
  • Armstrong Whitworth Albermarle Mk V
  • Armstrong Whitworth Albermarle Mk V

 

Design

Bristol designed the Albemarle and production was done by A.W. Hawkesley Ltd.1,3,4 Originally designed to be a medium bomber and a reconnaissance aircraft4.1,2,3,4,5 Construction was to be of wood and steel to help facilitate the Albemarle's construction by sub contractors not in the air industry.2,5 Car and furniture makers made up the sub-contractors that produced the Albemarle.1,3

Other bomber designs overtook the Albemarle and it was decided it was to be used as a transport and glider tug.1 There was a Malcolm quick release hook that was controlled by the pilot.1

Landing Gear

Lockheed designed the tricycle landing gear.1,5 It was the first British military aircraft with a tricycle undercarriage.3,4

Fuselage

The fuselage structure was made of steel with spruce and plywood covering it.1,3,5

Wings

Parts of the wing were also covered with plywood.1,5 The wings were placed mid-fuselage.4

Prototype

The first prototype crashed and the second flew on March 20, 1940.2,3,4

Production

The first 32 Albemarles were produced as bombers but the Royal Air Force (RAF) refused them.2

Many changes were made to A. W. Hawkesley's production line because of numerous modifications.2 These caused the Albemarle not to be delivered until January 1943.2

  • Prototypes: 23
  • Albemarle Mk I: 2003
  • Albemarle Mk II: 1003
  • Albemarle Mk IV: 12,3
  • Albemarle Mk V: 493
  • Albemarle Mk VI: 2503
  • Total: 6021,2,3
    • Manufacturer: Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Ltd.4
    • Production: ? - December 19441,4
  • Special Transports (ST): 3103
  • Glider Tugs (GT): 2473

Variants

  • Type 155: Prototype designed by Bristol.3
  • AW.41: Prototype.3
  • Albemarle Mk I: Transport used by airborne forces.2 First flew in December 1941.3
  • Albemarle Mk I, Series I: Bomber and reconnaissance.5
  • Albemarle S.T. I, Series I: Special transport.5
  • Albemarle I, Series II: Had Malcolm glider towing equipment.5
  • Albemarle S.T. I, Series II: Special transport with Malcolm glider towing equipment.5
  • Albemarle Mk II: Transport.2 Glider towing with Malcolm gear.5 Could carry ten paratroopers with a hole in the rear floor of the fuselage for exit.5 First delivered to RAF in January 1943.5
  • Albemarle Mk IV: Used Wright Double Cyclone engine.2,3 Used two Wright GR-2600-A5B Cyclone 14 radial air cooled engines (1,600 HP).5 Prototype only.5
  • Albemarle Mk V: Transport.2 Glider tug.3 Similar to Mk II.5 Could jettison fuel.5
  • Albemarle Mk VI: Transport.2
  • Albemarle Mk VI, Series I: Similar to Mk V.5 Large door in fuselage for loading large cargo for paratroops.5
  • Albemarle Mk VI, Series II: No upper gun.5 Radio equipment for communicating with glider.5

Usage

Seven RAF squadrons were equipped with the Albemarle.2 They were first received in January 1943 / October 23, 19415.4

Transports

The first 42 Albemarle Mk Is were converted to transports.3

Sicily

The first combat the Albemarle was used in was as glider tugs on July 10, 1943 for the invasion of Sicily.1,2,3,4,5

Normandy

Four squadrons of Albemarle towed Horsa gliders into Normandy on June 6, 1944.1,3,5

Albemarles flew the pathfinders for the 6th Airborne Division, 22nd Independent Parachute Company.2

Arnhem

The Albemarles Towed gliders in the Arnhem operation in September 1944.2,3,5

Russia

Russia used 10 for transport duties.1,3

Specifications

  Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
Type Transport1,3, Paratroop Transport5, Glider tug3,5
Crew 21, 43,5
Navigator, Pilot, Co-Pilot, Radio Operator5
Passengers 10 paratroopers5
Engine (Type) 2: Bristol Hercules XI1,3,5
Cylinders Radial1, Radial 143,5
Cooling Air5
HP 1,560 each3, 1,590 each1
Propeller blades 3 each1,3, 3 bladed D.H. Hydromatic fully feathering5
Dimensions  
Span 77'1,3,5
23.47 m1,3, 23.48 m5
Length 59' 11"1,3,5
18.26 m1,3, 18.27 m5
Height 15' 7"1,3,5
4.75 m1,3,5
Wing area 803 ft2 1, 803.5 sq ft5
74.6 sq m5, 74.65 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 14,960 lb1, 22,600 lb3,5
6,800 kg1, 10,250 kg3, 10,260 kg5
Loaded 36,423 lb1, 36,500 lb3,5
16,556 kg1,3, 16,570 kg5
Performance  
Speed @ 10,500' /
3,200 m
250 mph5, 264 mph1, 265 mph3
400 kph5, 426 kph1,3
Cruising speed 170 mph3
274 kph3
Climb 980'/minute3
298 m/minute3
Service ceiling 18,000'1,3
5,486 m1,3
Range 1,300 miles1, 1,350 miles5
2,092 km1, 2,160 km5
Armament  
Dorsal turret 4: 7.7 mm MG in Boulton Paul turret1
2: 0.303" MG3
Amidships 2: 7.7 mm MG1
  Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Mk I
Type Transport2,4, Glider tug2, Bomber5, Reconnaissance5
Crew 42,4
Navigator/Bombardier, Pilot, Co-Pilot, Radio Operator, 2 Gunners5
Passengers 12: Fully armed paratroops2
Engine (Type) 2: Bristol Hercules XI piston2,4,5
Cylinders Radial2,5, Radial 144
Cooling Air4,5
HP 1,590 each2,4,5
Propeller blades 3 each2
Dimensions  
Span 77'2,4
23.47 m2
Length 59' 11"2,4
18.26 m2
Height 15' 7"2,4
4.75 m2
Wing area 803.5 ft2 2
74.65 m2 2
Weight  
Empty 21,800 lb2
9,888 kg2
Loaded 22,600 lb4, 36,500 lb2
16,556 kg2
Performance  
Speed @ 10,500' /
3,200 m
265 mph2,4
426 kph2
Climb 980'/minute2
299 m/minute2
Service ceiling 18,000'2,4
5,485 m2
Range 1,300 miles2,4
2,092 km2
Armament 2: MG4
Dorsal turret 2: 7.7 mm MG2
Boulton Paul 4 gun5
Dorsal and ventral turrets 6: 0.303" MG3
Bombs 4,000 lb3
1,814 kg3

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. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
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