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Thread: Halifax II or V freighter in Italy

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    Default Halifax II or V freighter in Italy

    I found a picture of a Halifax II or V freighter with a HUGE cargo pannier under the fuselage. The airplane has the old Triangular tail fin and Merlin engines. It was supposedly taken in Italy in 1944..
    Does anyone have any information about the possible identity of this rare beast?

    Link
    http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=45203

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    Can't access the thread to see the picture, so I may be way off the mark! But, have you considered a possible Special Duties slant? I'm thinking of the Operation Tombola jeep drops made by 148 Sqdn in April 1945, where a jeep was slung beneath a Halifax II on a pallet. The squadron was based at Brindisi, and the drops made at Quara in N Italy, in support of the SAS operation. Apologies if this is a red-herring, though.

    Cheers, Pat

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    There are a couple of photos of Halifax VII PP350 with something very similar in the book 'Handley Page Halifax - From Hell to Victory and Beyond' by Ken Merrick. The caption states that it's a dropping test of the 8000lb. 'Universal Freight Container', in March 1951. The U.F.C. was first trialled in 1947, however, and PP350 was a radial-engined and square-tailed Halifax.

    Regards

    Simon

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    BTW, the picture can be seen at the 12O'Clock Luftwaffe site
    Ok, I think I have a very likely unit. 296 Squadron flew Handley Page Halifax Mk.V -September 1944 Mar 1945. It was based at RAF Earls Colne. Essex but it was likely that Halifax V freighters flew to Italy as needed.
    What I find strange is the huge cargo pannier under the fuselage. The ground clearance appears to be minimum. If you look at Halifax III freighters flown after the war, they are much smaller and have better ground clearance.

    Also flying a Halifax under heavily loaded conditions and the old triangular fin seems a dangerous proposition. It was fin that was prone to cause spiral dives when the aircraft took violent evasive manouvers.

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    It looks to have a Messier undercarriage, so a Mk.II. I have another suggestion, however, and this is the use of weary bombers in the Middle East for carrying aircraft engines and - I think I recall seeing this - Spitfire fuselages. I've seen photos showing the inside of the bomb-bay but not (until now?) an exterior view. It does look more like a local mod rather than a factory one.

    Such an aircraft would be unlikely to be performing any severe evasive manoeuvres, so there'd be no need for worries about rudder locking.

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    Hello,

    I have a sneaking suspicion we are looking at Halifax B.Mk.II V9985. This aircraft was initially issued to No.10 Squadron - http://www.archieraf.co.uk/archie/9985zav.html

    It went back to the Makers, then on to AAEE, then 48 MU, being struck off charge on 28 February, 1944.

    Halifax V9985, is discussed at some length by Ken Merrick, in his, Handley Page Halifax From Hell to Victory and Beyond (pp.40-3 [photos],110 & 170-1). It seems the installation stemmed from the initial trials of the bulged bomb bay doors.

    Just a thought!

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 21st June 2016 at 13:54.

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    The photo of V9985 on p.42 shows it to have the same (or at least much the same) shape fairing as the later standard. This is confirmed by the text on P.110. P.170 states that the new pannier "bore a very close resemblance (to the deeper doors) and was almost identical in dimensions and contours."

    However, you are in the right book. On p.167 there is a description of modifications carried out at Maison Blanche, 144 MU, on several time-expired B Mk.IIs. (I'd tried to avoid the term "time-expired", but if it's good enough for Merrick....) "...to carry Merlin, Twin Wasp and Hercules engines or a Spitfire fuselage, semi-externally between sheet metal side plates that projected downwards from the bomb bay." The first was completed around March 1944 and a total of four were produced, operating very successfully. The photo surely shows one of these.

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