Aviation of World War II
HP 53 Herefold
The HP 53 Herefold, a British medium bomber, conceived as a further development of the successful Hampden HP 52 bomber, did not find proper use and was decommissioned from the first line before its predecessor. Like the Avro Manchester, the HP 53 Hereford had an overall good airframe, but an unsuccessful propulsion system.
The prototype, powered by twin 955 hp Napier Dagger VIII H-engines, made its maiden flight on July 1, 1937. Soon a contract was signed for the production of the first batch of 100 vehicles, later their number was increased to 152.
The first of these serial bombers, descending from the slipway of the Belfast plant, took to the air on May 17, 1939. Further testing showed that the Hereford's performance was about the same as that of the Hampden, but the engines were unreliable, overheated on the ground and cooled too quickly in flight.
Armament. Two 7.7 mm front caliber machine guns and two 7.7 mm machine guns installed in the dorsal and ventral positions. Bomb load up to 1814 kg.
Problems with the power plant led to the fact that the HP 53 was soon transferred to the category of training aircraft, their first deliveries were made on May 7, 1940. Another unit that received the Hereford was Squadron 185, which was later renamed Retraining Squadron 14, which received the aircraft in April 1940.
The 185th training squadron flew on these aircraft until April 1940, and in the 18th training squadron they stayed a little longer - until 1941.
One Hereford was operated by the Torpedo Development Center in Gosport, and another 19 vehicles were converted to the Hampden standard.