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.
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Vickers - UK Manufacturer(s)
Australia; Canada; Czechoslovakia; France (Free French); Nazi Germany; Greece; New Zealand; Poland; Portugal; South Africa; United Kingdom Operators
2 x 7.7mm machine guns in nose turret
4 x 7.7mm machine guns in tail turret
2 x 7.7mm machine guns in beam positions
Up to 4,500 lb of internally-held conventional drop bombs.
Mk I - Initial Production Model Series; fitted with Pegasus radial engines.
Mk IA - Fitted with Nash & Thompson type nose and tail turrets.
Mk IC - Ventral turret replaced by lateral position guns.
Mk II - Fitted with Merlin powerplants.
Mk III - Fitted with either Hercules III or Hercules XI type powerplants.
Mk IV - Fitted with Twin Wasp powerplants.
Mk V - Pressurized cabins for high-altitude operation; fitted with Hercules powerplant; did not see combat service.
Mk VI - Pressurized cabins for high-altitude operation; fitted with Merlin powerplant; did not see combat service.
Mk X - Fitted with Hercules XVIII; final production version of bomber type; last flown in 1943.
DW.Mk I - Maritime Variant; anti-mine equipment
DW.Mk IC - Dedicated Mine Layer
GR.Mk VIII - Fitted with ASV radar system and Pegasus powerplant.
GR.Mk XI - Torpedo Bomber; fitted with Hercules engines.
GR.Mk XII - Torpedo Bomber; fitted with Hercules engines.
GR.Mk XIV - Torpedo Bomber; fitted with Hercules engines.
T.Mk XVII - Trainer Variant
T.Mk XVIII - Trainer Variant
C.Mk XV - Transport Conversion Models of the Mk IC model.
C.Mk XVI - Transport Conversion Models of the Mk IC model.
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