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VICKERS-ARMSTONG WELLINGTON



Type: Long-Range Bomber
Origin: Vickers-Armstrong
Models: Type 415 and 440, Wellington I to T.19
Crew: Six
First Flight:
   Prototype (B.9/32): June 15, 1936
   Production Mk. I: December 23, 1937
Service Delivery: Mk. I: October 1938
Final Delivery: T.10: October 13, 1945
Withdrawel from Service: T.10: 1953
Number Produced: 11,461

Powerplant:
Wellington Mk. I:
  Model: Bristol Pegasus
  Type: 9-Cylinder air cooled radial
  Number: Two    Horsepower: 1,050 hp

Wellington Mk. II:
  Model: Rolls-Royce Merlin X
  Type: 12-Cylinder liquid cooled vee
  Number: Two    Horsepower: 1,145 hp

Wellington Mk. III:
  Model: Bristol Hercules III or XI
  Type: 14-Cylinder two-row sleeve-valve radials
  Number: Two    Horsepower: 1,375 hp

Wellington Mk. IV:
  Model: Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830-S3C4-G
  Type: 14-Cylinder two-row radials
  Number: Two    Horsepower: 1,200 hp

Wellington Mk. VI:
  Model: Rolls-Royce Merlin R6SM
  Type: 12-Cylinder liquid cooled vee
  Number: Two    Horsepower: 1,600 hp

Wellington Mk. X:
  Model: Bristol Hercules VI or XVI
  Type: 14-Cylinder two-row sleeve-valve radials
  Number: Two    Horsepower: 1,675 hp

Dimensions:
Wing span:
    Typical: 86 ft. 2 in. (26.26m)
    Mk. V, VI: 98 ft. 2 in.
Length (Typical): 64 ft. 7 in. (19.68m)
Height: 17 ft. 6 in. (5.33m)
Wing Surface Area: N/A

Weights:
Empty:
    Mk. IC: 18,556 lb. (8,417 kg)
    Mk. X: 26,325 lb. (11,940 kg)
Loaded:
    Mk. IC: 25,800 lb. (11,703 kg)
    Mk. III: 29,500 lb. (13,381 kg)
    Mk. X: 36,500 lb. (16,556 kg)

Performance:
Maximum Speed:
    Mk. IC: 235 mph (379 km/h)
    Mk. V, VI: 300 mph (483 km/h)
Initial Climb (Typical): 1,050 ft/min (320 m/min)
Service Ceiling:
    Typical: 22,000 ft. (6710m)
    Mk. V, VI: 38,000 ft. (11,600m)
Range with 1,500 lb. (680 kg.):
    Typical: 1,360 miles (2160 km)
Armament: See variant list
Payload: See variant list

Variants:
Wellington Mk. I: Original production version with .303 in. Brownings in Vickers turrets at nose and tail. Internal bomb load 4,500 lb. (2041 kg.). Mk IA had Nash and Thompson power turrets. Mk. IC had two beam guns.
Production: I: 180, IA: 183, IC: 2,685

Wellington Mk. II: As IC except with Merlin X.
Production: 400

Wellington Mk. III: Main Combat Command type in 1941-2. Four gun tail turret.
Production: 1,519

Wellington Mk. IV: Flown by two Polish Squadrons.
Production: 220

Wellington Mk. V: Experimental high altitude, pressurised cabin with turbo-charged Hercules VIII. Three built, later converted to Mk. VI standard.

Wellington Mk. VI: Long-Span pressurised. No guns. Used by 109 Squadron.
Production: 69

Wellington VII: One off test bed. Used to test 40mm Vickers S gun turret for P.92 fighter. Later equipped with twin fins.

Wellington VIII: Conversion of IC as Coastal reconnaissance version, with ASV radar arrays, Leigh lights in long nose. Bomb bay fitted out to house two 18 in. Torpedoes or anti-submarine weaponry. Some aircraft equipped with hug hoops for detonating magnetic mines.
Production: N/A

Wellington IX: Conversion of IC for special uses.

Wellington X: Standard bomber variant, similar to Mk. III but with uprated engines.
Production: 3,804

Wellington XI: Advanced coastal version of X. No mast aerials but equipped with large chin radome, torpedes and retractable Leigh light.

Wellington XII: As Mk. XI except Leigh light positioned in ventral mount.

Wellington XIII: Reverted to ASV Mk. II with mast aerials and nose turret.

Wellington XIV: Final Coastal command type. ASV Mk. III with chin radome and wing rocket rails. Leight light mounted in bomb bay.

Wellington XV, XVI: Unarmed transport conversion of Mk. IC.

The Vickers Wellington was a British twin-engine, long range medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, by Vickers-Armstrongs' Chief Designer, R. K. Pierson. It was widely used as a night bomber in the early years of the Second World War, before being displaced as a bomber by the larger four-engine "heavies" such as the Avro Lancaster. The Wellington continued to serve throughout the war in other duties, particularly as an anti-submarine aircraft. It was the only British bomber to be produced for the entire duration of the war. The Wellington was popularly known as the Wimpy by service personnel, after J. Wellington Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons and a Wellington "B for Bertie" had a starring role in the 1942 Oscar-nominated Powell and Pressburger film One of Our Aircraft Is Missing. The Wellington was one of two bombers named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, the other being the Vickers Wellesley.

DESIGN/DEVELOPMENT
The Wellington used a geodesic construction method, which had been devised by Barnes Wallis inspired by his work on airships, and had previously been used to build the single-engine Wellesley light bomber. The fuselage was built up from 1650 elements, consisting of aluminium alloy (duralumin) W-beams that were formed into a large framework. Wooden battens were screwed onto the aluminium, and these were covered with Irish linen, which, once treated with many layers of dope, formed the outer skin of the aircraft. The metal lattice gave the structure tremendous strength, because any one of the stringers could support some of the weight from even the opposite side of the aircraft. Blowing out one side's beams would still leave the aircraft as a whole intact; as a result, Wellingtons with huge areas of framework missing continued to return home when other types would not have survived; the dramatic effect was enhanced by the doped fabric skin burning off, leaving the naked frames exposed.

The geodetic structure also gave a very strong but light structure for its large size, which gave the Wellington a load and range per horsepower advantage over similar aircraft, without sacrificing robustness or protective devices such as armour plate or self-sealing fuel tanks.

However, the construction system also had some distinct disadvantages, in that it took considerably longer to complete a Wellington than for other designs using monocoque construction techniques. Also, it was difficult to cut holes into the fuselage to provide additional access or equipment fixtures. The Leigh light, for instance, was deployed through the mounting for the absent FN9 ventral turret. Nevertheless, in the late 1930s, Vickers succeeded in building Wellingtons at a rate of one per day at Weybridge and 50 per month at Chester. Peak wartime production in 1942 saw monthly rates of 70 achieved at Weybridge, 130 at Chester and 102 at Blackpool.

The Wellington went through a total of 16 variants during its production life plus a further two training conversions after the war. The prototype serial K4049 designed to satisfy Ministry Specification B.9/32, first flew as a Type 271 (and initially named Crecy) from Brooklands on 15 June 1936 with chief test pilot Joseph Summers as pilot. After many changes to the design, it was accepted on 15 August 1936 for production with the name Wellington. The first model was the Wellington Mark I, powered by a pair of 1,050 hp (780 kW) Bristol Pegasus engines, of which 180 were built, 150 for the Royal Air Force and 30 for the Royal New Zealand Air Force (which were transferred to the RAF on the outbreak of war and used by 75 Squadron). The Mark I first entered service with No. 9 Squadron RAF in October 1938. Improvements to the turrets resulted in 183 Mark IA Wellingtons and this complement of aircraft equipped the RAF Bomber Command heavy bomber squadrons at the outbreak of war. The Wellington was initially out-numbered by its twin-engine contemporaries, the Handley Page Hampden and the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, but would ultimately outlast them in productive service. The number of Wellingtons built totalled 11,461 of all versions, the last of which rolled out on 13 October 1945.

OPERATIONAL HISTORY
The first RAF bombing attack of the war was made by Wellingtons of No. 9 and No. 149 Squadrons, along with Bristol Blenheims, on German shipping at Brunsb├╝ttel on 4 September 1939. During this raid, the two Wellingtons became the first aircraft shot down on the Western Front. Numbers 9, 37 and 149 Squadrons saw action on 18 December 1939 on a mission against the Schillig Roads and Wilhelmshaven. Luftwaffe fighters destroyed 10 of the bombers and badly damaged three others; thus highlighting the aircraft's vulnerability to attacking fighters, having neither self sealing fuel tanks nor sufficient defensive armament. As a consequence, Wellingtons were switched to night operations and participated in the first night raid on Berlin on 25 August 1940. In the first 1000-aircraft raid on Cologne, on 30 May 1942, 599 out of 1046 aircraft were Wellingtons (101 of them were flown by Polish aircrew).

With Bomber Command, Wellingtons flew 47,409 operations, dropped 41,823 tons (37,941 tonnes) of bombs and lost 1,332 aircraft in action.

Coastal Command Wellingtons carried out anti-submarine duties and sank their first enemy vessel on 6 July 1942. DWI versions (see below) fitted with a 48 ft (14.63 m) diameter metal hoop were used for exploding enemy mines by generating a powerful magnetic field as it passed over them. In 1944, Wellingtons of Coastal Command were deployed to Greece, and performed various support duties during the RAF involvement in the Greek Civil War. A few Wellingtons were operated by the Hellenic Air Force.

While the Wellington was superseded in the European Theatre, it remained in operational service for much of the war in the Middle East, and in 1942, Wellingtons based in India became the RAF's first long-range bomber operating in the Far East. It was particularly effective with the South African Air Force in North Africa. This versatile aircraft also served in anti-submarine duties with 26 Squadron SAAF based in Takoradi, Gold Coast (now known as Ghana).

In late 1944, a radar-equipped Wellington was modified for use by the RAF's Fighter Interception Unit as what would now be described as an Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft. It operated at an altitude of some 4,000 ft (1,219 m) over the North Sea to control de Havilland Mosquito fighters intercepting Heinkel He 111 bombers flying from Dutch airbases and carrying out airborne launches of the V-1 flying bomb.


SOURCES:
Wikipedia

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