Vickers Wellington Medium Bomber Aircraft
The Vickers Wellington was the primary medium bomber of the Royal Air Force at the start of World War 2.
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The Vickers Wellington was the primary bomber of the Royal Air Force at the start of World War 2, serving up until late 1943 when it was relegated to second line roles. The Wellington saw production numbers exceed 11,400 and found its mark as a night bomber. Outlasting many of its 1930s-designed contemporaries, the Wellington proved a vital and successful additional to the Royal Air Force's offensive reach early in the war.
The Wellington was designed as early as 1932 to meet a RAF requirement for a medium-class, two-engined bomber. The resulting prototype first flew in 1936 and joined Bomber Command in production form for 1938 - in time for the opening phases of World War 2. Still utilizing construction and design technology that would prove obsolescent by the middle years of the war, the Wellington nonetheless soldiered on. The series would go on to be powered by a mix of Hercules, Pegasus and Merlin engines throughout her career, these powerplants mounted on the monoplane wings which straddled the streamlined fuselage. The whole crew complement reached up to six personnel. An internal bomb load capacity was limited to 4,500 lb of conventional drop ordnance while defensive armament became a mix of 7.7mm machine guns - two fitted to a forward turret, four at a rear turret, and an additional two machine guns mounted at beam (waist) positions. Despite the defensive-minded network of machine guns, this array was soon found to be inadequate as Wellingtons suffered from large defenseless angles about her design. As such, early daylight bombing raids proved disastrous for the type.
It would not be until the Wellington was featured as a night time bomber that the aircraft shined. Wellingtons would go on to form a powerful addition to Bomber Command plans going forward, the primary mission being to derail German war capabilities during hard-to-defend, low-light hours. As much as the Wellington progressed throughout its time in the war, it was nonetheless becoming outclassed by the addition of new bombers to the Allied cause along with new Axis fighters used in interception sorties. The Wellington would fly its last offensive mission in October of 1943. Even so the type would go on to serve in other forms such as that of maritime patrol - this version armed with two torpedoes and specialized equipment. Other Wellingtons served in the dedicated transport role, as crew trainers, and even as research platforms concerning development of turbojets.