HANDLEY PAGE HALIFAX BY NUMBERS
The Halifax proved a rugged and reliable heavy bomber, but it is a type that has since been eclipsed by the mighty Avro Lancaster. John Ash explores the key numerics telling the Halifax story
THE SECOND OF 3
British development of a four-engine heavy bomber began as early as 1936. Although initially not included in the tender, Short Brothers were invited to submit a design and their Stirling was selected as the RAF’s first heavy bomber. More than 2,300 Stirlings were built and these served admirably in a variety of roles from 1940-46.
Just three months after the Stirling entered service, the Handley Page Halifax first reached RAF squadrons – specifically 35 Squadron. Though the second of the ‘heavies’ to be produced, it was the first to bomb Germany. Originally designed as a twin-engine bomber to meet the Air Ministry’s P.13/36 specification, what became the Halifax was upscaled for four Rolls-Royce Vulture engines. A late change was made to use the Rolls-Royce Merlin and produce a bigger aircraft with a large bomb bay and additional bomb cells in the wing roots.