Aviation of Word War II
VICKERS WELLINGTON (Bomber variants) - Twin-engined day bomber to meet Operational Requirement OR.5 and conforming to Specification B.9/32, designed under Rex Pierson and Barnes Wallis. Initial studies (as Vickers Type 249) with R-R Goshawk or Bristol Perseus engines, but definitive prototype (Type 271) as ordered in September 1933 powered by 980 hp Bristol Pegasus X engines. Geodetic construction, gross weight of 21,000 Ib (9,526 kg) and defensive armament of single 0.303-in (7.7-mm) guns in nose, tail and dorsal positions. Unarmed, prototype K4049 first flown at Weybridge on June 15, 1936; provisionally known as Crecy until name Vickers Wellington confirmed in September. Lost on April 19, 1937, during A&AEE trials at Martlesham Heath, by which time first production contract placed.
Vickers Wellington I: Initial production version, as defined by Specification 29/36, to be armed with pairs of Browning 0.303-in (7.7-mm) guns in Vickers nose and tail, and Frazer-Nash ventral (in place of dorsal) gun positions. Gross weight, 21,000 lb (9,527 kg) with up to nine 500-lb (227-kg) or two 2,000-lb (907-kg) bombs. First production aircraft flown with Pegasus X engines (as Vickers Type 285) on December 23, 1937, and with definitive 815 hp Pegasus XVIIIs (Type 290) on April 12, 1938. Total of 175 built at Weybridge (of which 61 with dual controls and two completed as Mks II and III prototypes) and three at Vickers-operated caption factory at Broughton, Chester. RNZAF order for 30 Vickers Wellingtons (Type 403) placed in 1937 to be met by diversions from RAF contracts. First six (NZ300-NZ305) at RAF Marham for conversion training of New' Zealand Flight handed back to RAF in September 1939 and re-acquired original RAF serials. Most or all Mk Is flown without planned FN9 ventral turret because of CG difficulties. Initial deliveries October 1938, to No 99 Sqn at Mildenhall; eight more squadrons equipped by September 1939. First operations September 4, 1939, by Nos 9 and 149 Sqns.
Vickers Wellington IA: Similar to Mk I, but with Frazer-Nash two-gun turrets - FN5 nose, FN10 tail and FN9 ventral - plus general airframe improvements designed for Mks II and III. Gross weight 28,000 Ib (12,700 kg) and strengthened u/c. Deliveries began August 1939, and production (Vickers Type 408) totalled 170 from Weybridge and 17 from Chester. Replaced Vickers Wellington Is in initial squadrons and in service by December 1939. Balance of RNZAF order (see Vickers Wellington I) for 24 Mk lAs (Type 412) absorbed into RAF production, and No 75 (NZ) Sqn, with No 3 Group of Bomber Command, issued with Vickers Wellington IAs and ICs from RAF stocks. Designation Vickers Wellington IB reserved for Mk I with arfnament improvements; not built.
Vickers Wellington 1C: Similar to Mk IA, but FN9 ventral turret deleted. Two belt-fed 0.303-in (7.7-mm) Brownings in beam mountings, one each side. Electrical system changed from 12 to 24-volt, and hydraulic system revised. Production (Vickers Type 405) totalled 1,056 at Weybridge (of which four completed as later marks), 1,583 at Chester and 50 at Vickers-operated caption factory at Squires Gate, Blackpool. Bomb-load could include one 4,000-lb (1,814-kg) bomb on 33 Mk ICs with Vickers Type 453 modification. Deliveries from April 1940, and formed backbone of Bomber Command through 1941, primarily in squadrons of 3 Group. Operational in Middle East from September 1940, initially with No 70 Sqn, RAF, and in the Far East (India) from April 1942, initially with No 214 Sqn. One to CLE in March 1942, with parachute exit in place of ventral turret.
Max speed, 234 mph (377 km/h) at 15,200ft (4,633 m). Economical cruising speed, 165 mph (266 km/h) at 10,000ft (3,050 m). Time to 10,000ft (3,050 m), 25 min. Service ceiling, 16,000 ft (4,877 m). Range with max bombs, 1,0-55 mis (1,698 km). Empty weight, 18,800 Ib (8,528 kg). Gross weight, 30,000 Ib (13,608 kg). Span, 86ft 2 in (26.26 m). Length, 64 ft 7 in (19.69 m). Wing area, 830 sq ft (77 m2).
Vickers Wellington II: Developed during 1938 as first major Vickers Wellington upgrade, in parallel with Mk III, to take advantage of uprated engines. Based on Mk I airframe with 1,145 hp R-R Merlin X engines; Frazer-Nash FN5 (nose) and FN10 (tail) turrets plus beam guns; 28,000 Ib (12,700 kg) gross weight with strengthened u/c and -after early testing - wider-chord tailplane. One Mk I completed as Mk II prototype (Vickers Type 298), flown on March 3, 1939. Deliveries began October 1940 and 400 built (Type 406) at Weybridge. Gross weight increased to 33,000 Ib (14,990 kg) and 22 with the Type 423 mod for 4,000-lb (1,814-kg) bomb, first used by Nos 9 and 149 Sqns on night of March 31/April 1, 1941. Also served in Middle East, with earlier marks.
Vickers Wellington III: Developed in parallel with Vickers Wellington II, with same new features but powered by Bristol Hercules engines. One Mk I completed as Mk III prototype (Vickers Type 299), flown on March 19, 1939, with two-stage supercharged Hercules HE-ISM engines. Production Mk III (Type 417) powered by 1,400 hp Hercules II engines, as tested on second prototype (Mk 1C conversion) early 1941, or 1,590 hp Hercules XIs. Four-gun FN20A tail turret in place of two-gun FN10, and gross weight increased to 34,500 Ib (15,650 kg). Production total 780 at Chester and 737 at Blackpool, delivered 1942-43. Succeeded or supplemented Mk ICs in 3 Group in the UK, 205 Group in the Middle East and 221 Group in Far East. Also used by six Canadian-manned squadrons of 6 Group in UK during 1943, and for Special Duties units of 100 Group in 1943/44.
Max speed, 261 mph (420 km/h) at 12,500ft (3,810 m). Economical cruising speed, 211 mph (340 km/h). Time to 15,000 ft (4,572 m), 25 min. Service ceiling, 22,750 ft (6,934 m). Range with max bombs, 1,200 mis (1,931 km). Empty weight, 25,100 Ib (11,385 kg). Gross weight, 34,500 lb (15,650 kg). Dimensions as Mk IC.
Vickers Wellington IV: Similar to Mk III with 1,050 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3C4-G Twin Wasp engines. Prototype (Mk 1C conversion) completed at Chester, December 1940, followed by 219 production examples (Vickers Type 410) delivered from June 1941, First operational use October 16, 1941.
Vickers Wellington V and VI: High-altitude bomber variants using pressurised crew accommodation. See separate entry below.
Vickers Wellington VII: Designation reserved for Mk II derivative with 1,390 hp Merlin XX powerplants. Not built.
Vickers Wellington B Mk X: Final variant for Bomber Command, based on definitive Mk III but powered by 1,615 hp Bristol Hercules VI or XVI engines. Improved DTD646 aluminium alloy used throughout, with better strength-weight ratio, allowing gross weight to increase to 36,500 Ib (16,556 kg). Two Mk Ills with Hercules VI engines flown as prototypes (Type 440) at Blackpool. Production (Type 448) totalled 1,369 at Blackpool and 2,434 at Chester. Served in the Bomber Command Vickers Wellington squadrons that remained operational until October 1943; and in others on special duties and in Middle and Far East through 1944. Vickers Wellington production ended with delivery of a B Mk X at Blackpool on October 25, 1945, bringing overall total built to 11,461 - the most multi-engine aircraft of any single type ever built in Britain.