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Thread: Bomb loading and fuelling of R.A.F 'heavies'?

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    Default Bomb loading and fuelling of R.A.F 'heavies'?

    Hello everyone

    I'm currently struggling manfully with the Airfix Lancaster Mk.II kit, and working on the bomb bay and bomb load, which got me pondering.

    How long before an Op. was a Lancaster (or Halifax, Stirling etc.) likely to have been fuelled and loaded with bombs? And what would go in first - the fuel or the bomb load? I'd guess they wouldn't want an airfield of fully fuelled and bombed up aircraft sitting around for too long.

    Many thanks

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hi Simon

    Many variables.

    I assume you're considering a 'typical' night raid? But then depending upon the target and route (flight duration) and time of year (length of hours of darkness), take-off's could be any time from late afternoon till gone midnight. The a/c would generally have been air-tested beforehand (maybe either morning or early afternoon to allow any technical snags to be sorted if possible), then I guess fuelling and bombing-up would generally have been a mid-afternoon job.

    Possibly. :)

    I have no idea which (fuel or bombs) would go aboard first, or maybe even at the same time.

    Have to dig out the 'Night Bombers' DVD again and see if that shows us.

    Ian

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    Radio operators would test their equipment, and the increase in activity tipped the Germans that a raid was being planned for that night.

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    Thank you for the replies.

    The specific aircraft I'm making is Lancaster II LL716 A2-G, lost on a daylight mission on August 3rd 1944. The ORB Form 540 states that on that date air tests were carried out, then 19 aircraft were sent off to attack Bois de Casson, leaving between 11.15 and midday.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Thanks to Ian's heads-up, I got a copy of 'Night Bombers' through the post today. Fascinating stuff, and some great reference material. From the film, they were fuelled up first, then armed.

    In amongst the footage there's a shot of a tractor towing some bomb trolleys at the 13.20 mark, and it's painted up in R.A.F. blue-grey with a yellow bonnet top. Isn't this a post-war colourscheme?

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hi Simon

    Yes it's good isn't it.

    Haven't watched it for quite a while (recommended viewing!), but much of it was filmed live at the time (Winter '43) at Hemswell.

    I've seen online that some clips were 'recreated later' for fuller continuity and effect so maybe the tractor scene was post-war.

    Either way, you do wonder watching it what became of the crews appearing in the film, don't you. Which of them survived and who later died on ops?

    Ian
    Last edited by ianh; 23rd March 2017 at 10:36.

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    Hi all,

    It was actually filmed a year later, over the winter of '44-'45, at Hemswell. In the debrief scene towards the end of the film, a number of crews are shown being interviewed by the IOs. A former 170 Squadron Rear Gunner, who appears in that film in those scenes, lives a couple of hundred yards down the road from me. He's 95 now, and I see him every Friday afternoon for a couple of hours, and a couple of whiskies, and he regales me with recollections of his time at Hemswell :)

    L/O

    Greg
    "You can take the boy out of Wales,
    But you can't take Wales out of the boy!!"

    Greg Harrison
    100 Squadron and 100 Squadron Association Historian
    100 Squadron Researcher 1917 - present day
    1 Group Researcher 1940 - 1945

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