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Thread: Halifax MKII

  1. #1
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    Default Halifax MKII

    Does anyone possess a listing which shows which MKII serial numbers were manufactured with and without the mid-upper turret?

    Also, were mid-upper turrets fitted to MKII post production; if so, was this at the manufacturers or could it be done "on station"?

    Any help would be much appreciated as always

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Default

    Mk.II series 1 will have been built with the Type C turret. I believe that some Mk.is will have been converted to Mk.I series 1 (Special)s.
    Mk.II series 1(Special) will initially have been built without the turret - at some stage the Type A turret was introduced on the production line but I've not seen a specific serial - which would differ on each production line, of course. Some Mk.II series I (Special) were converted to Mk.I Series 1a.
    Mk.II series Ia will have been built with the turret. Unless they were intended to be Special Duties aircraft, in which case without. These serials were interspersed with the bombers and GR aircraft.

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    Thanks Graham

    I am researching the earlier crews on No 35 Squadron (1941 / 1942) and was trying to work out if the 6 man crews were flying different versions to those that had 7.

    I am beginning to realise that this is a complicated subject which I may never get to the bottom of, so I may have to draw a line in the sand and move on with this aspect of my research

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Default

    For earlier arrivals over 1941/42, you can assume they were all just straight Mk.IIs, later known as series 1. The Specials will not have started arriving until late in 1942., and may then have been conversions of earlier aircraft rather than new build. Merrick specifically states that the first mission (Mk.Is) was flown with 6-man crews. I suspect that the 7-man crews will reflect either a 2nd pilot on his early missions or an early flight engineer. The early Mk.Is had - or could have - two central fuselage gunners, giving a total of four. I suspect these were only used on daylight missions, and soon abandoned, replaced by the dorsal gunner on the Mk.II. So perhaps the 7 man crew reflects the appearance of Mk.IIs in a fleet of 6-man Mk.Is? L9608 was the last Mk.I, later serials being Mk.IIs.

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    Graham

    Thanks again for the information; I note that there is a similar discussion on another forum relating to the Wellington.

    I am also researching the MKI Halifax, which again had a mixture of 6 and 7 man crews (as early as March 1941) so again I am looking to see if there were any differences in the make up of the aircraft that warranted the extra man.

    The principle 6 man crews appeared to be Pilot, 2nd Pilot, Observer, WOP/AG, Air Gunner and Flight Engineer. The WOP/AG and the Flight Engineer manned the beam guns as and when needed.

    The 7 man crews appeared to carry an extra Air Gunner (but I am not sure what role he performed [front turret?]

    This is one of those subjects that I either have to pursue to the bitter end or just accept that there was a mixture and focus on other aspects of my research ... an interesting dilemma for me

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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    Default

    if you have the beam guns manned, you'd also need the front turret manned. Presumably in your basic crew that would be the WOP/AG? So you'd still need an extra man. However, I'm surprised by the suggestion that there'd be a 2nd Pilot and a flight engineer. Mu understanding is that the need for a flight engineer was not foreseen, and initially these were recruited from squadron personnel. He then took over enough of the duties of the 2nd pilot for the latter to be redundant. There is another thread, recently, about the training for a flight engineer that touched on the early days of the trade.

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    Graham

    No 35 squadron utilised Fitter / Flight Engineers from March 1941 (as you say .... these were speedily trained Fitters) and, as previously stated, records show that they were utilised as well as the 2nd Pilot in the six man crew. This continued throughout 1941 and well into 1942.

    I have yet to establish when things changed or why, hence my initial question about the composition of the aircraft to see if this was one of the reasons for the change in make-up of the crews.

    My research is being hampered by lack of information about the "trades" of early No 35 Squadron personnel so I can't tell you at this stage exactly when the squadron stopped using 2nd Pilots, when navigators were introduced nor why some crews had the additional air gunner.

    It may well be an unanswerable question due to lack of available information.

    Regards

    Pete
    Main areas of research:

    - CA Butler and the loss of Lancaster ME334 (http://rafww2butler.wordpress.com/ )
    - Aircrew Training (Basic / Trade / Operational / Continuation / Conversion)
    - The History of No. 35 Squadron (1916 - 1982) (https://35squadron.wordpress.com/)

    [Always looking for copies of original documents / photographs etc relating to these subjects]

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