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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. Originally designed to be a medium bomber and a reconnaissance aircraft. Construction was to be of wood and steel to help facilitate the Albemarle's construction by sub contractors not in the air industry. Car and furniture makers made up the sub-contractors that produced the Albemarle.

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

Landing Gear

Lockheed designed the tricycle landing gear. It was the first British military aircraft with a tricycle undercarriage.

Fuselage

The fuselage structure was made of steel with spruce and plywood covering it.

Wings

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

Prototype

The first prototype crashed and the second flew on March 20, 1940.

Production

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

Many changes were made to A. W. Hawkesley's production line because of numerous modifications. These caused the Albemarle not to be delivered until January 1943.

  • Prototypes: 2
  • Albemarle Mk I: 200
  • Albemarle Mk II: 100
  • Albemarle Mk IV: 1
  • Albemarle Mk V: 49
  • Albemarle Mk VI: 250
  • Total: 602
    • Manufacturer: Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Ltd.
    • Production: ? - December 1944
  • Special Transports (ST): 310
  • Glider Tugs (GT): 247

Variants

  • Type 155: Prototype designed by Bristol.
  • AW.41: Prototype.
  • Albemarle Mk I: Transport used by airborne forces. First flew in December 1941.
  • Albemarle Mk I, Series I: Bomber and reconnaissance.
  • Albemarle S.T. I, Series I: Special transport.
  • Albemarle I, Series II: Had Malcolm glider towing equipment.
  • Albemarle S.T. I, Series II: Special transport with Malcolm glider towing equipment.
  • Albemarle Mk II: Transport. Glider towing with Malcolm gear. Could carry ten paratroopers with a hole in the rear floor of the fuselage for exit. First delivered to RAF in January 1943.
  • Albemarle Mk IV: Used Wright Double Cyclone engine. Used two Wright GR-2600-A5B Cyclone 14 radial air cooled engines (1,600 HP). Prototype only.
  • Albemarle Mk V: Transport. Glider tug. Similar to Mk II. Could jettison fuel.
  • Albemarle Mk VI: Transport.
  • Albemarle Mk VI, Series I: Similar to Mk V. Large door in fuselage for loading large cargo for paratroops.
  • Albemarle Mk VI, Series II: No upper gun. Radio equipment for communicating with glider.

Usage

Seven RAF squadrons were equipped with the Albemarle. They were first received in January 1943 / October 23, 1941.

Transports

The first 42 Albemarle Mk Is were converted to transports.

Sicily

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

Normandy

Four squadrons of Albemarle towed Horsa gliders into Normandy on June 6, 1944.

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

Arnhem

The Albemarles Towed gliders in the Arnhem operation in September 1944.

Russia

Russia used 10 for transport duties.

Specifications

  Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
Type Transport, Paratroop Transport, Glider tug
Crew 2, 4
Navigator, Pilot, Co-Pilot, Radio Operator
Passengers 10 paratroopers
Engine (Type) 2: Bristol Hercules XI
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,560 each, 1,590 each
Propeller blades 3 each, 3 bladed D.H. Hydromatic fully feathering
Dimensions  
Span 77'
23.47 m, 23.48 m
Length 59' 11"
18.26 m, 18.27 m
Height 15' 7"
4.75 m
Wing area 803 ft2 , 803.5 sq ft
74.6 sq m, 74.65 m2
Weight  
Empty 14,960 lb, 22,600 lb
6,800 kg, 10,250 kg, 10,260 kg
Loaded 36,423 lb, 36,500 lb
16,556 kg, 16,570 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 10,500' /
3,200 m
250 mph, 264 mph, 265 mph
400 kph, 426 kph
Cruising speed 170 mph
274 kph
Climb 980'/minute
298 m/minute
Service ceiling 18,000'
5,486 m
Range 1,300 miles, 1,350 miles
2,092 km, 2,160 km
Armament  
Dorsal turret 4: 7.7 mm MG in Boulton Paul turret
2: 0.303" MG
Amidships 2: 7.7 mm MG
  Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Mk I
Type Transport, Glider tug, Bomber, Reconnaissance
Crew 4
Navigator/Bombardier, Pilot, Co-Pilot, Radio Operator, 2 Gunners
Passengers 12: Fully armed paratroops
Engine (Type) 2: Bristol Hercules XI piston
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,590 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 77'
23.47 m
Length 59' 11"
18.26 m
Height 15' 7"
4.75 m
Wing area 803.5 ft2
74.65 m2
Weight  
Empty 21,800 lb
9,888 kg
Loaded 22,600 lb, 36,500 lb
16,556 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 10,500' /
3,200 m
265 mph
426 kph
Climb 980'/minute
299 m/minute
Service ceiling 18,000'
5,485 m
Range 1,300 miles
2,092 km
Armament 2: MG
Dorsal turret 2: 7.7 mm MG
Boulton Paul 4 gun
Dorsal and ventral turrets 6: 0.303" MG
Bombs 4,000 lb
1,814 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. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, 1989
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