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Aircraft :: Lancaster

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Updated: 17 Mar 05

line drawing of the Avro Lancaster bomber

Full Official Name: Avro (Lancaster)

Manufacturer: Avro

Major variants:

MkI :: ?Oct 1941. Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.
MkII :: Mar 1943. Bristol Hercules radial engines (300 aircraft only).
MkIII :: Packard-built Merlin engines.
MkX :: licence-built by Victory Aircraft of Canada with Packard-Merlins

Role: Heavy Bomber

Crew: 7 (pilot, flight engineer, navigator, bomb aimer, wireless-operator, mid-upper and rear air gunners)

In-service: MkI: Christmas 1941

Withdrawn: 1950s

Operated by: (Sqns with Lincolnshire connection only)

No specified type

420 Sqn, 1654 HCU, 1660 HCU, 1661 HCU, 1662 HCU, 1667 HCU, 1668 HCU, 1 LFS

Lancaster MkI

The Lancaster Mk I made it into front line service on 24 Dec 1941with 44 (Rhodesia) Sqn.

9 Sqn, 12 Sqn, 44 Sqn, 49 Sqn, 50 Sqn, 57 Sqn, 61 Sqn, 75 Sqn, 83 Sqn, 90 Sqn, 97 Sqn, 100 Sqn, 101 Sqn, 103 Sqn, 106 Sqn, 150 Sqn, 153 Sqn, 166 Sqn, 170 Sqn, 189 Sqn, 207 Sqn, 227 Sqn, 300 Sqn, 460 Sqn, 467 Sqn, 550 Sqn, 576 Sqn, 617 Sqn, 619 Sqn, 625 Sqn, 626 Sqn, 630 Sqn

Lancaster MkII

Only 300 of this mark of Lancaster were produced, equipped with Bristol Hercules Mk VI radial engines. The high production schedule of Lancaster MkI rapidly put stresses on the supply of Merlin engines - they were used in the Spitfire, Mosquito and Halifax as well. To overcome shortages the Lancaster was fitted with the Bristol Hercules radial engine and renamed the Lancaster II. It handled slightly less well than the MkI, better on takeoff, ascent and low altitude flight but with a lower maximum speed and consuming more fuel. With American Packard-built Merlin engines coming on stream, the Lancaster II ceased production after a run of 301 aircraft.

61 Sqn, 630 Sqn

Lancaster MkIII

The MkIII American Packard Merlin-powered Lancaster was almost identical to the MkI.

9 Sqn, 12 Sqn, 44 Sqn, 49 Sqn, 50 Sqn, 57 Sqn, 61 Sqn, 75 Sqn, 83 Sqn, 90 Sqn, 97 Sqn, 100 Sqn, 101 Sqn, 103 Sqn, 106 Sqn, 150 Sqn, 153 Sqn, 166 Sqn, 170 Sqn, 189 Sqn, 207 Sqn, 227 Sqn, 300 Sqn, 460 Sqn, 463 Sqn, 467 Sqn, 550 Sqn, 576 Sqn, 617 Sqn, 619 Sqn, 625 Sqn, 626 Sqn

Lancaster MkVII

The MkVII Lancaster was constructed by taking MkI and MkIII aircraft, fitting 4-bladed propellors, removing nose and tail turrets and fitting electronic jamming equipment. These special mission aircraft were assigned to 100 (Bomber Support) Group and flew with bomber packages, jamming German radar.

9 Sqn, 617 Sqn

Lancaster MkX

Lancaster MkX were Lancaster MkI built in Canada by the Victory Motor Works of Malton, Ontario.

History

The Lancaster mostly replaced the 1 and 5 Group Hampden-equipped Squadrons of Lincolnshire. Its average lifespan was thirteen combat sorties. Officiallly designate Avro Type 683 this was a modification to the ill-fated twin-engine Manchester heavy bomber, in which the wings were altered and the twin Vulture engines replaced by 4 Merlin Mk XX. For a more detailed account on the Bomber Command Historical Society website :: click here.

During World War II 360 Lancaster were to crash on operational and training sorties in Lincolnshire, on departure and recovery.

The Lancaster Bomber and its crews dropped more ordnance during World War II than all other bomber types combined. Continuing to server well into the 1950s, over 7000 Lancaster of all marks were built. RAF Coningsby-based Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has the UK's sole remaining airworthy example, with another owned by the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, nearby at East Kirkby, conducting high-speed taxys.

Design

All metal. The type was renowned for its durability.

Engines

4 x Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engines except the MkII (Bristol Hercules MkVI). It could easily fly on 3 engines, manage on 2 and limp away, losing height, on one.

Armaments

3 power operated turrets, inadequate to defend daylight fighter attacks, but sufficient firepower for night-time self defence. The original belly turret fit to early production models was removed as it was deemed ineffective against German fighters at night. However they would have been effective against German fighters equipped with upwards firing cannons in 1944.

Performance

Max speed 270 mph. Max height 22 000 ft. Specially modified later models could carry 22 000 lbs, enough for 617 Sqn to deliver the Grand Slam Barnes Wallis bomb.

The ability of the Lancaster to dive steeply at up to 400 mph helped many crews reach their targets and recover to homebase in safety.

Combat radius

With 14 000 lb combat load it had a combat radius of 1000 miles.
With 2 250 combat load it had a combat radius of 5 500 miles.

Who operated what?
Armstrong Whitworth :: Battle :: BE2c :: Beaufighter :: Blenheim :: Camel :: Canberra :: DH4 ::DH6 :: DH9 :: Fawn :: Halifax :: Hampden :: Hart :: Hind :: Hurricane :: Hyderabad :: Lancaster :: Lightning :: Lincoln :: Manchester :: Mosquito :: NIMROD :: Phantom :: RE8 :: SENTINEL :: SENTRY :: Spitfire :: Stirling :: Tornado :: Valiant :: VC-10 :: Vulcan :: Washington :: Wellington


Books about the Lancaster

Lancaster history by Bomber Command Historical Society

Photos of crew positions

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre

Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire
(Tourism)

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