The first Handley Page Halifax prototype took off in 1939, and joined the Bomber Command in 1940. This aircraft was the only British heavy bomber to operate in the Middle-East. Less known (and to some extent eclipsed by) the Lancaster, the Halifax nevertheless equipped at its peak 34 squadrons of the RAF.
In some respects, this bomber was considered the best in its class and a very versatile military aircraft. Though it is mainly remembered for its night raids over Europe, the Halifax took on many other duties, acting as an ambulance, pathfinder, personal transport, glider-tug and maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
Even though the Lancaster got the glory, the Handley Page Halifax, according to its pilots, had a formidable striking power and, overall, was a superb heavy bomber.
|Type||Heavy bomber – Long-range maritime patroller – Transport|
|Power Plant||Four 4x 1,280hp Rolls-Royce Merlin X V-12 liquid-cooled|
|Max speed:||500 km/h (280 mph)|
|Ceiling:||7 315 m (24,000 ft.)|
|Range:||2 000 km (1,240 mi.)|
|Weight (empty):||17 345 kg (38,159 lb.)|
|Weight (loaded):||29 484 kg (64,865 lb.)|
|Wingspan:||31,75 m (98’10”)|
|Length:||21,82 m (70’1″)|
|Height:||6,33 m (21’)|
|Armament:||Height 7,7 mm (.303-cal) Browning machine guns and 6 577 kg (14,500 lb.) of bombs|