32 Facts About Avro Lancaster


Avro Lancaster is a British Second World War heavy bomber.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,863

Originally developed as an evolution of the Manchester, the Avro Lancaster was designed by Roy Chadwick and powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlins and in one of the versions, Bristol Hercules engines.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,864

The versatility of the Avro Lancaster was such that it was chosen to equip 617 Squadron and was modified to carry the Upkeep "bouncing bomb" designed by Barnes Wallis for Operation Chastise, the attack on German Ruhr valley dams.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,865

In 1943, a Lancaster was converted to become an engine test bed for the Metropolitan-Vickers F 2 turbojet.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,866

The Lancaster took on the role of long range anti-submarine patrol aircraft and air-sea rescue.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,867

Avro Lancaster's aircraft, named the Manchester, entered RAF service in November 1940.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,868

L7527, The first production Avro Lancaster made its first flight in October 1941, powered by Merlin XX engines.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,869

Belfast-based aircraft firm Short Brothers had received an order for 200 Lancaster B Is, but this was cancelled before any aircraft had been completed.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,870

Early production Lancaster B Is were outfitted with a ventral gun turret position.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,871

Avro Lancaster was a British four-engined strategic bomber that was used as the RAF's principal heavy bomber during the latter half of the Second World War.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,872

Aviation authors Brian Goulding and M Garbett have claimed that experienced Lancaster pilots were often able to out-manoeuver Luftwaffe fighters.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,873

Avro Lancaster benefited from a structure that possessed considerable strength and durability, which had been intentionally designed to maximise structural strength-per-weight; this resulted in the Avro Lancaster being capable of withstanding some levels of damage resulting from attacks by hostile interceptor aircraft and ground-based anti-aircraft batteries.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,874

However, during the first year of the type's career, some instances of structural failures were encountered on Lancaster B Is and a number of aircraft were lost in accidents as a result of the design limitations having been greatly exceeded.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,875

The Avro Lancaster was equipped with a retractable main undercarriage and fixed tailwheel; the hydraulically-actuated main landing gear raised rearwards into recesses within the inner engine nacelles.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,876

Standard crew for a Avro Lancaster consisted of seven men, stationed in various positions in the fuselage.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,877

Avro Lancaster used his view through the large transparent perspex nose cupola to assist the navigator with map reading.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,878

Avro Lancaster's position faced to port with a chart table in front of him.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,879

Avro Lancaster's position allowed a 360° view over the top of the aircraft, with two Browning.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,880

Avro Lancaster claimed reducing defensive air gunners would reduce human losses incurred with each aircraft lost.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,881

Avro Lancaster had a very advanced communications system for its time.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,882

The first recorded casualties amongst Avro Lancaster crews were recorded on 24 March 1942 with the loss of R5493 to anti-aircraft fire over Lorient.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,883

The tempo of Avro Lancaster operations rose to a new height in August 1942, major raids were flown against targets in the Ruhr, Duisburg, and in the Baltic Sea.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,884

Furthermore, each Avro Lancaster had its own ground crew early on; centralised servicing was introduced later.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,885

Amongst the final wartime operations performed by the Avro Lancaster was the Bombing of Obersalzberg, aimed at the destruction of Eagle's Nest, the extensive holiday home complex used by German leader Adolf Hitler.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,886

Avro Lancaster conducted a total of 156,000 sorties and dropped 608,612 long tons of bombs between 1942 and 1945.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,887

From 1942 onwards, the Lancaster became the mainstay of the British heavy bomber fleet; by the end of the war in Europe, there were roughly 50 squadrons equipped with the Lancaster, the majority of these being the Lancaster B I model.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,888

From its entry into service, the original model of the Avro Lancaster was operated in almost every major bombing raid of the European conflict.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,889

Avro Lancaster remained in use for several years after the end of the war, during which a number of high-profile operations were conducted.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,890

Immediately following the end of hostilities, the Avro Lancaster was used without any major modifications as a transport aircraft, being used to ferry thousands of prisoners of war back to the British Isles from across the continent.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,891

Later on, these two tanker aircraft were joined by another converted Avro Lancaster; these saw use during the Berlin Airlift, achieving 757 tanker sorties.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,892

The fourth Avro Lancaster with working engines and able to taxi is Bazalgette FM159 based at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,893

Avro Lancaster featured prominently in the 1955 film The Dam Busters, and a number of B VII Lancasters in storage were modified to the original configuration of the B III for use on screen.

FactSnippet No. 2,099,894