Lancaster heading.


AVRO 683 "Lancaster"

Heavy bomber with 7 crew. Wingspan 31 m.
Power plant 4 Rolls Royce Merlin (1640 cu)
Weapons up to 6350 kg of bombs. Maximum
loaded weight  31,750 kg.  Top speed 462 km/h
ceiling 7470 m. Range 4070 km.

Another view of the Lancaster

In the history of aviation sometimes an excellent aircraft design originated from a weak prototype. This is the case of the "Lancaster" quadrimotor developing of  the Aero 679 Manchester by adding two engines and more wing area. The Lancaster came to be the most important bomber of the RAF during the Second World War. After early testing the plane was built in series from 1941. The production was speeded up to meet the demand.

9 Jan 1941 - The Avro Manchester III makes its first flight equipped with four Rolls-Royce Merlin engines in place of the two Rolls-Royce Vultures used on earlier models. Ordered into production as the Lancaster, it becomes possibly the most famous RAF bomber of all time, after bearing the brunt of the Bomber Command offensive in Europe.

24 Feb. 1941 - Avro Manchester bombers make their operational debut in an attack against German naval targets in Brest harbor.

       24 Dec 1941 - The Avro Lancaster enters service with No. 44 Sqn at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. It isn't until 3 March 1942 that the Lancaster makes its operational debut.

April May 1942 - Bomber Command raids continue on Germany. Larger numbers of aircraft (between 100 and 250) are now regularly dispatched against a variety of industrial targets and
       cities but still the results are disappointing; one raid on Essen during the night of 10/11 April sees the first use of a 8,000lb (3,630kg) bomb.


19 Nov. 1943 - Bomber Command aircraft begin a major campaign against Berlin. Over the next 4 months, 16 major attacks were launched against the German capital, involving a total of  9,111 sorties. During this period, 492 aircraft failed to return, and
       954 were damaged 
6-7 Mar 1944 - Lancasters and Halifaxes of Bomber Command begin an offensive against the German transport network in occupied Europe, attacking railway yards in France. Eighty targets are selected, of which 37 are allocated to Bomber Command and the remainder to the AEAF  (American Eighth Air Force.)

30-31 Mar 1944 - In a disastrous attack on Nuremberg, Germany, Bomber Command suffers its heaviest losses of the entire war; 95 aircraft fail to return from 795 dispatched after being heavily
       attacked by German night fighters.

 May 1944 - During the last two weeks of the month, Allied strategic and tactical air forces carry out attacks on enemy batteries and radar sites along the English Channel coast. By the first week of June, the strikes had destroyed about 80% of German coastal radar capability.

 5 Jun 1944 - On the day preceding D-Day, Bomber Command simulated an Allied air invasion by dropping dummy paratroops. Lancasters and Stirlings also dropped Window at fixed intervals over
       the Channel to simulate the approach of an invading fleet. During the night, aircraft of Nos. 38 and 46 Groups dropped American airborne forces in the Caen area. Also on this day, Rome was liberated by Allied forces.

7 Jul. 1944 - Bomber Command aircraft are called in to bomb enemy positions the village of Caen after the Allied invasion had stalled; the first of five such attacks before mid August.

 14 Oct 1944 - The highest number of sorties by Bomber Command aircraft in a single day, 1,576, are flown as part of Operation hurricane, a maximum effort attack on Germany. In two attacks on Duisberg, 9,000 tons of bombs are dropped and 14 aircraft lost.

4-5 Nov. 1944 - 174 Lancasters of No. 5 Group, RAF, breach the Dortmund EMS Canal, one of Germanys main transport arteries.

Day gliders

 12 Nov. 1944 - Lancasters from Nos. 9 and 617 Squadrons launch their third attack on the German battleship Tirpitz, anchored in Tromso Fjord, Norway. After a 5 hr flight, the first hit was recorded
       at 0842 hrs, and in the next ten minutes, twenty eight 12,000 lb Tallboy bombs were dropped before the ship capsized with the loss of 1,000 lives.

Operation Manna

29 Apr 1945 - The start of Operation Manna.
       Bomber Command aircraft air drop 6,500 tons of
       food and clothing to Dutch people. The operation
       continued until 8 May.

 26 Apr 1945 - The first of some 75,000
       ex-prisoners of war are flown back to the UK by
       aircraft of Bomber Command.

8 May 1945 - VE Day. Germany surrenders
       unconditionally, and the war in Europe ends. The
       Royal Observer Corps is also stood-down from its
       war footing and assumes its peacetime role. At this
       time there were 32,000 observers based at 1,420
       posts around the UK.

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The Messerschmitt 110

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Camomile's world

Information was gathered from
many sources and historical
archives, including my Father's
journal. Some images and information
from:  The Royal Air Force History Section
 and Warriors of the Night

All page graphic designs
Copyright © 1999-2001 by /Camomile/P. Anderson