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Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle

Transport / Tug Aircraft

United Kingdom | 1941

"The Armstrong Albemarle failed to impress as a bomber and, as such, was relegated to glider tug and transport service during World War 2."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/17/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Mk II Transport / Tug Aircraft.
2 x Bristol Hercules XI 14-cylinder radial air-cooled piston engines developing 1,590 horsepower each.
256 mph
412 kph | 222 kts
Max Speed
17,999 ft
5,486 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
1,350 miles
2,173 km | 1,173 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Mk II Transport / Tug Aircraft.
59.9 ft
18.26 m
O/A Length
77.0 ft
(23.47 m)
O/A Width
15.6 ft
(4.75 m)
O/A Height
22,600 lb
(10,251 kg)
Empty Weight
36,500 lb
(16,556 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Transport / Tug Aircraft .
2 OR 4 x 7.7mm Vickers machine guns in manually-operated dorsal turret

Up to 4,500lb of ordnance held internally.
Notable series variants as part of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle family line.
Mk I - Initial Production Models; 42 being completed as bomber types whilst remaining 558 built to transport specifications.
Mk II - Transport Variant
Mk V - Glider Tug
Mk VI - Glider Tug
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 600 Units

Contractor(s): Armstrong Whitworth - UK
National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of the United Kingdom

[ United Kingdom; Soviet Union ]
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Image of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
High-angled right side top view of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle in flight
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Image of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
Left side view of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
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Image of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
Left side profile view of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
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Image of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
Front left side view of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle in flight

Going Further...
The Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Transport / Tug Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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