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Thread: Halifax HP 59 B MKII (Series 1 Special)

  1. #1
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    Default Halifax HP 59 B MKII (Series 1 Special)

    Does anyone know if there is a definitive list of Halifax HP 59 B MKII (Series 1 Special) serials?

    My research suggests that due to the metamorphosis of the Halifax during this period, it is not possible to say which batches of serial numbers fell within the HP 59 B MKII (Series 1 Special) category, but I thought I would give it one more try before I gave up on my 35 Squadron listing and just classify them all as HP 59 B MKII (Series 1)

    Any suggestions would be most welcome
    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 Re: Halifax HP 59 B MKII (Series 1 Special)

    Hello Pete,

    I have made some investigations in this matter and, besides photographs and Combat Reports (that may indicate the lack of a mid-upper turret), I have found two useful sources:
    - the Night Raid Reports often list the number of detailed a/c by groups, distinguishing between "Halifax II", "Halifax IIZ" and "Halifax IA". Since 35 Sqdn was the only Halifax PFF Squadron, they may provide interesting data.
    - the Summaries of aircraft damaged by enemy action at night 1942 Dec. – 1945 (AIR 14/3460) give the exact type of the damaged Halifaxes.

    Surely, I would be very glad to hear about other documents with additional information.

    Best wishes,

    Jérémie

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    Default Re: Halifax HP 59 B MKII (Series 1 Special)

    Pete,

    It looks like it's uphill, all the way:

    Handley Page was all in favour, having long held that turrets were needed only for self-defence by day and were not worth the resulting loss of performance by night. The improvement in speed and range was very urgently needed for fast long-range sirties across Germany to Poland to supply the Polish resistance movement with arms, equipment and special agents for liaison tasks. These were flown by No. 138 Squadron, based at Tempsford, to whom three cleaned-up Halifax IIs were to be delivered as quickly as possible; the first to be converted was W7774, which was flown at Park Street on 15 August, 1942, subsequent conversion kits being made up and installed at the Rawcliffe repair depot on Halifaxes flown in from the squadrons. Thus came into being the 'Tempsford nose' (Mod 398), aircraft so converted being designated Halifax II series I (Special), although the new nose fairing was generally applied throughout No. 4 Group and not restricted to to the SOE squadrons. At the same time the external fuel jettison pipes were deleted (because the former landing weight restrictions no longer existed) and various improved flame-damping exhaust shrouds were tried out, though without much success at first,

    See:
    Handley Page Aircraft since 1907
    Barnes, C H.
    London:Putnam,1995 (2nd ed. rep.)
    p.396

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 24th July 2020 at 13:11.

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    Default Re: Halifax HP 59 B MKII (Series 1 Special)

    Hi,

    I have had a look during the week-end at the Night Raid Reports and found the following:
    - Halifax IIZ - Halifax with 'Z' nose, i.e. Halifax II Series 1 (Special) - are mentioned from 6/7 February 1943 (Gardening operation).
    - They gradually replaced Halifax II, first in 4 Group, then in 6 Group.
    - The last operation involving Halifax II is possibly Hamburg, 3/4 March 1943.
    - The first operational sorties of Mks II Series 1A are probably on 22/23 March 1943 (Saint-Nazaire). It's difficult to be sure as Halifax II Series 1A are not identified as such in this period, but the "Halifax II" HR753 lost on 27/28 March is definitely a Mk II Series 1A.
    - All the Halifaxes operating with PFF (35 Sqdn) from 11/12 February till end of April 1943 are Halifax IIZ.
    - First Halifax V Series 1 (Special) sortie is on 8/9 April 1943 (Duisbourg).
    These records are possibly not 100% accurate, but they provide interesting information.

    Best wishes,

    Jérémie

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to Jérémie Tarpon For This Useful Post:

    PeteT (27th July 2020)

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    Default Re: Halifax HP 59 B MKII (Series 1 Special)

    Jérémie

    Thank you for your time and effort; it is very much appreciated

    I will have a look through my database to see if I can tie this information in ..... I recognise that this is not going to be a precise science, but it would be good to correctly identify as many of the 35 Squadron aircraft as I can (as I know there are currently errors on my website regarding the serials regarding the variants)

    Regards

    PeteT
    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 Re: Halifax HP 59 B MKII (Series 1 Special)

    If you do list them under one name, then just use B.Mk.II, as the term series 1 would be ambiguous. I suspect that some early aircraft will have been converted at least partially to the new standard, as they were later to the series 1A, although the reference to a landing weight limit may restrict the removal of the dump pipes if this was dependent on a newly-introduced modification not a blanket lifting. There was a major attempt to clean-up and reduce the weight of the Halifax, caused (in part) by surplus equipment being specified for every aircraft even when not always required in each role. How much of this can be linked directly to a single change in production standard (and hence a new Mark number) I don't know but suspect at least some "hybridisation".

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