Handley Page Halifax B.Mk.II Series I: The Humble Warrior (ii)

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Introduction: The Halifax Mk.II continued the lineage of the Halifax family, giving a number of improvements over the Mk.I. The aircraft would fit the role as one of Bomber Command’s most important aircraft, taking the fight to German cities.


Description: Improvements to the Mk.I began almost as soon as production started. The Series I was replaced by the Series II, which was rated for higher take-off weights, which was itself replaced by the Series III, which replaced the beam guns and added a turret on top of the fuselage, in addition to new propellers, new Merlin XXs and increased fuel capacity. The addition of a roof turret reflected the operational needs of Bomber Command, who began attacking German targets and cities all over Occupied Europe with increasing frequency. In response, the Germans began improving their air defences, with an increase in both fighter and flak protection, which led to heavy, borderline unsustainable losses. One of the main issues with the early Halifaxes was their limited defensive armament, which the Series III tried to resolve. Work began on an even more ambitious upgrade, using a low-silhouette turret with four 20mm cannons, and was designated the HP.58 Halifax II.


This however, never left the mock-up stage, and it was instead succeeded by the Halifax B.Mk.II Series I, which was an improved version of the Mk.I Series III. Issues would remain with the aircraft however, as the upgrades to the aircraft led to a large increase in weight, which was something the Merlin XXs could not really compensate for. Various experimental modifications were carried out at squadron level, which included the deletion of nose turrets, and adding and mixing different propeller types. Some were modified on the production line to fit a low-profile Preston-Green turret on the bottom part of the fuselage, armed with a single .50 cal machine gun. This was done as German night fighters began attacking British bombers from below them, which was the only place not covered by any defensive armament. Some were also fitted with the H2S air-to-ground radar system, being some of the first aircraft to carry them operationally. These acted as pathfinders, leading formations to their targets and dropping flares to illuminate them. There seems to be some confusion as to the designations of these various modifications, with some claiming these to be called the Halifax B.Mk.II Series I Special, and others using that designation for other modifications. The first B.Mk.II Series I flew on 11th Octover, 1940, entering squadron service later on. These early Halifaxes flew many missions over Germany, taking part in raids on French dockyards which were used by the Germans to support their surface fleet, most notably, their battleships. They would also take part in the First 1000 Bomber Raid on Cologne in 1942. The Mk.IIs would eventually be supplemented and replaced by newer Halifaxes such as the Mk.III and the Avro Lancaster from 1943 onwards, but they would play their part in other roles until the end of the war.




Handley Page Halifax B Mk.II srs I

Four Rolls-Royce Merlin XX liquid-cooled V-12 engines
Wing span, 30.12m; length 21.36m, wing area 111.48m2
Empty weight 16320kg, maximum take-off weight 24950kg
Speed 325km/h at 5410m
Range 4475km with 1360kg of bombs, 1600km with 5440kg
Service ceiling 5486m
Armament ten .303 guns and up to 5897kg of bombs

Conclusion: I believe that this would make for a great bomber in game, possessing great historical importance, in addition to the additional defensive armament that it can receive.



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+1 more british bombers are always appreciated, could be a nice 3.7 bomber or around that area!