Bristol Type 160 Bisley MK.I: Aerial Attacker

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Though it was considered modern when it entered service in 1935, the Bristol Blenheim was begining to show its age at the start of world war two. Because of this at the start of 1940 an attempt was made to design an armoured ground attack aircraft using the existing airframe of the Benheim mk. IV glider. This aircraft of which there where two prototypes would serve as the proof of concept and the test bed for the later Blenhiem MK.V. These aircraft featured an upgraded armament of 4 7.7 browning machine guns in the nose, as well as a dual 7.7 browning dorsal turret with 360 degree traverse, as well as the addition of 272 kg of armour to protect from ground fire. The first prototype (AD657) flew for the first time on 24th February 1941 and was followed by a second aircraft (AD661). I feel this rather unique aircraft would make a good low tier attacker for the british air tech tree.


Historical background:

The Bristol Type 160 Bisley I (initially designated Type 149CS) was a ground support variant of the Bristol Blenheim IV. It was initially designed by Bristol Aeroplane Company with a solid nose section reminiscent of the havoc and boston bombers in service with the british at the time. This nose constained four forward-firing Browning machine guns allowing the aircraft to strafe targets as well as supress AA during bombing attacks. The aircraft’s defense was further suplimented by enhanced armour protection compared to the previous Blenhiem models as well as being fitted with an up up-armoured dorsal turret was modified to fit two Browning guns and to allow firing through a full 360-degree arc.

After the initial testing of the first two prototypes detailed changes to the design occured, the type was re-designated the Bristol Type 160 Blenheim V and entered production. It was intended for either direct support at low level, or for high level bombing, as such the solid nose was replaced with a glass nose, but that is a suggestion for another day. The first Bisley prototype (AD657) flew for the first time on 24th February 1941 and was followed by a second aircraft (AD661). This knowlage was then used in the 942 Bristol Blenheim V that where produced by Rootes Securities at Speke. This aircraft went on to be used operationally, but despite these improvements, was ineffective in the face of modern fighter opposition and was generally used on missions where a fighter escort could be provided (often beaufighters). Even so 13 and 18 Squadron RAF sustained very high losses in daylight operations, following the Operation Torch landings in North Africa, against Bf109F and Fw190 opposition.

Histrical photos:

Bristol Bisley I prototype AD657 in flight:


Front view of the same protype:


Plate showing the colour scheme the first prototype flew with:


Vehicle specifications:




Armament. Six 7.7-mm machine guns, 4 in the nose, 2 in the dorsal turret

The bomb load it carried was identical to other later Blenhiem variants and amounted to up to 454 kg of bombs in the bomb compartment and 145 kg on external suspensions.

The possible standard bombbay configurations are as follows


The wing racks carried the common load of 2x 250 or 2x 500 pound bombs.



+1, we need more low tier attackers

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