STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Armstrong Whitworth - UK
OPERATORS: United Kingdom; Soviet Union
LENGTH: 59.91 feet (18.26 meters)
WIDTH: 77.00 feet (23.47 meters)
HEIGHT: 15.58 feet (4.75 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 22,600 pounds (10,251 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 36,500 pounds (16,556 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Bristol Hercules XI 14-cylinder radial air-cooled piston engines developing 1,590 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 256 miles-per-hour (412 kilometers-per-hour; 222 knots)
RANGE: 1,350 miles (2,173 kilometers; 1,173 nautical miles)
CEILING: 17,999 feet (5,486 meters; 3.41 miles)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Transport / Tug Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 10/17/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle became one of those aircraft designs that evolved into a role not initially envisioned. The system was born from an earlier Bristol-designed reconnaissance platform that went nowhere and was further evolved by Armstrong Whitworth as a bomber. When that classification failed for the Albemarle, the system was relegated to dedicated transport and glider tug, taking part in some of the major offensives and invasions of World War 2. Generally regarded as unpleasant-an-aircraft as there ever was, the Albemarle would nevertheless become an integral part of the British war effort.
The Albemarle appeared in prototype form as early as 1939 with production sending early examples to frontline forces by 1941. The system failed to shine as a dedicated bomber through the first 42 systems delivered and many were switched over to the transport role. Construction was of a mix-wood and metal, incorporating a basic fuselage with heavy glazing along the nose. The twin engines were mounted along a mid-wing monoplane arrangement. A lone, manually-operated turret was fitted in a dorsal/middle-fuselage position and could be fitted with 2 x or 4 x 7.7mm machine guns as required. Twin rudder fins were set in the tail section. Power came from 2 x Bristol Hercules XI series, 14-cylinder radial piston engines which could generate up to 1,590 horsepower apiece. One unique aspect of the Albermarle's design was in her use of a tricycle landing gear system, something no other British production aircraft had fielded up to this point.
The Albemarle took part in the invasion of Sicily to which they were used to tow support gliders into action. Additionally, the system took part in the upcoming D-Day invasion landings of June 1944 (again as glider tugs) and served with airborne elements during the airdrops over Arnhem - one of three major points controlling three major bridges in British General Bernard Law Montgomery's far-reaching "A Bridge Too Far" campaign to end the war before Christmas. In the end, the Albemarle served with some subtle distinction in her not-too-glorious - yet ultimately detrimental - transport/utility role, a role never intended for the old girl at the outset.
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Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (256mph).
Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Mk II's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units