Handley Page Hampden


Handley Page Hampden

infobox Aircraft
name = HP.52 Hampden
type = Medium bomber
manufacturer = Handley Page




caption = No. 455 Squadron (RAAF) Hampden
designer = Gustav Lachmann
first flight = 21 June 1936
introduction = 1938
retired = 1945
status =
primary user = RAF
more users = RCAF
produced = 1936-1941
number built = 1,430
unit cost =
variants with their own articles =

The Handley Page HP.52 Hampden was a British twin-engine medium bomber of the Royal Air Force serving in the Second World War. With the Whitley and Wellington, the Hampden bore the brunt of the early bombing war over Europe, taking part in the first night raid on Berlin and the first 1,000-plane raid on Cologne. The newest of the three medium bombers, the Hampden, known as the "Flying Suitcase" because of its cramped crew conditions, [ Crosby 2007, p.104.] was still unsuited to the modern air war and, after operating mainly at night, it was retired from Bomber Command service in late 1942.

Design and development

Handley Page designed the Hampden to the same specification as the Wellington (Air Ministry Specification B.9/32) and the first prototype flew on 21 June 1936. The first production batch of 180 Mk I Hampdens was built to specification 30/36.

The Mk I had a crew of four: pilot, navigator/bomb aimer, radio operator and rear gunner. Conceived as a fast, manoeuvrable, "fighting bomber", the Hampden had a fixed .303 in Vickers K machine gun in the forward fuselage. To avoid the weight penalties of powered-turrets, the Hampden had a curved Perspex nose fitted with a manual .303 inch Vickers K gun and two more single Vickers K installations in the rear upper and lower positions. The guns were thoroughly inadequate for defence, consequently, by 1940, the single guns had been replaced by twin Vickers K guns.

A total of 1,430 Hampdens were built: 500 by Handley Page, 770 by English Electric at Samlesbury in Lancashire; and in 1940–41, 160 in Canada by the Canadian Associated Aircraft consortium (although some were retained in Canada, 84 were shipped by sea to the United Kingdom).

Operational history

No. 49 Squadron received the first Hampdens in September 1938. Throughout the operational history of the type they remained the most famous operators, with Flight Lieutenant Rod Learoyd being awarded the Victoria Cross (the only VC awarded to Hampden aircrew) for the attack that he lead on the 12 August 1940. A total of 226 Hampdens were in service with eight squadrons by the start of the Second World War. Despite its speed and agility, in operational use the Hampden was no match for Luftwaffe fighters. Consequently its career as a day bomber was brief, but Hampdens continued to operate at night on bombing raids over Germany, and mine-laying (code-named "gardening") in the North Sea.

Almost half of the Hampdens built – 714, were lost on operations, taking with them 1,077 crew killed and another 739 missing. German flak accounted for 108; one became the victim of a German barrage balloon; 263 Hampdens crashed due to "a variety of causes," and 214 others were classed as "missing." Luftwaffe pilots claimed 128 Hampdens, shooting down 92 at night. [ Moyle, 1989.] Guy Gibson spent most of the first two years of his wartime service flying Hampdens, and his book "Enemy Coast Ahead" gives a strong flavour of the trials and tribulations of taking these aircraft into action.

After being withdrawn from Bomber Command in 1942, it operated with Coastal Command through 1943 as a long-range torpedo bomber (the Hampden TB Mk I with a Mk XII torpedo in an open bomb-bay and a single 500 lb [227 kg] bomb under each wing) and as a maritime reconnaissance aircraft. No. 144 Squadron RAF and No. 455 Squadron RAAF were involved in the escort of Convoy PQ-18 operating out of Soviet airbases and left their 23 aircraft in the USSR afterwards. These were then used by the 3rd squadron of the 24 MTAP (Anti-shipping Wing) of the Soviet Navy until at least 1943. The Hampden was also used by the RCAF and the RNZAF.

After war service in Europe, about 200 "war-weary" Hampdens were flown to Canada where they were used for bombing and gunnery training.

Variants

The Hampden was powered by two 980 hp Bristol Pegasus XVIII 9-cylinder radial engines. A Mk II variant was developed as the HP.62 by converting two Hampdens to use the 1,000 hp Wright Cyclone engine in 1940 but no more was done of the project.

Interest in the HP.52 by the Swedish for placing a potential order led to the HP.53 prototype, which was subsequently used as a testbed for a pair of 1,000 hp Napier Dagger VIII 24-cylinder H-block water-cooled inline engines.

In 1936, the RAF ordered 150 Dagger-engined Hampdens as the Hereford. Problems with engine cooling resulted in most of those built (by Short & Harland) being re-engined as Hampdens. The surviving Herefords served in training units only.

The Hampden in popular culture

The HP Hampden had a featured role in the "Big Blockade" (1941) starring Michael Rennie, a Second World War propaganda film showing "blockade" bombing and its effects on the German war industry. [ [http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/148338 The Big Blockade (Movie)] ]

The trials of flying Hampdens in the early years of World War Two are also described in the 2002 book "Damned Good Show" by Derek Robinson.

urvivors

No Hampdens remain in flying condition today, although two wrecks are in the process of being restored. Hampden I "P1344" awaits reconstruction in Great Britain having crashed into a mountain in Sweden in 1942, and rediscovered and salvaged in 1976 ["Dagens Nyheter", (Swedish newspaper), Aug 18, 1976] . The remains are presently stored in the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre at the Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford.

The other surviving Hampden, "P5436", is being reconstructed largely from parts of the last Canadian-built example recovered from 600 feet of water in Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island in 1989, as well as recovered components from two other Hampden crashes in Canada. The aircraft was ditched on a training flight in 1942 when the pilot lost control after a torpedo drop. As of 2007, the reconstruction of the aircraft is about 97 per cent complete, and is currently the showpiece exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Flight at Langley, British Columbia, in the Fraser Valley, east of Vancouver.

Operators

;AUS:
* Royal Australian Air Force
** No. 455 Squadron RAAF Used between July 1941 and December 1943, Codeletters UB

;flag|Canada|1921:
* Royal Canadian Air Force
** No. 408 (Goose) Squadron RCAF Used between July 1941 and September 1942, Codeletters EQ
** No. 415 (Swordfish) Squadron RCAF Used between February 1942 and November 1943, Codeletters GX
** No. 420 (Snowy Owl) Squadron RCAF Used between December 1941 and August 1942, Codeletters PT
** No. 32 Operational Training Unit RCAF Used between MAy 1942 and February 1944, Codeletters DK, LB, OP and RO

;NZL:
* Royal New Zealand Air Force
** No. 489 Squadron RNZAF Used between February 1942 and November 1943, Codeletters XA

;USSR:
* Soviet Naval Aviation
** No. 24 MTAP

;SWE:
* Swedish Air Force operated a single HP.52 aircraft for evaluation.

;UK:
* Royal Air Force
** No. 7 Squadron RAF Used between April 1939 and April 1940, Codeletters LT (pre-War) and MG (Wartime)
** No. 44 Squadron RAF Used between February 1939 and December 1941, Codeletters JW (pre-War) and KM (Wartime)
** No. 49 Squadron RAF Used between October 1938 and April 1942, Codeletters XU (pre-War) and EA (Wartime)
** No. 50 Squadron RAF Used between December 1938 and April 1942, Codeletters QX (pre-War) and VN (Wartime)
** No. 61 Squadron RAF Used between February 1939 and October 1941, Codeletters LS (pre-War) and QR (Wartime)
** No. 76 Squadron RAF Used between March 1939 and April 1940, Codeletters NM (pre-War) and MP (Wartime)
** No. 83 Squadron RAF Used between November 1938 and January 1942, Codeletters QQ (pre-War) and OL (Wartime)
** No. 97 Squadron RAF Used between July and August 1941, Codeletters OF (Wartime)
** No. 106 Sqaudron RAF Used between March 1939 and March 1942, Codeletters XS (pre-War) and ZN (Wartime)
** No. 144 Squadron RAF Used between March 1939 and October 1942, Codeletters NV (pre-War) and PL (Wartime)
** No. 185 Squadron RAF Used between June 1939 and April 1940, Codeletters ZM (pre-War) and GL (Wartime)
** No. 207 Squadron RAF Used between July and August 1941, Codeletters EM (Wartime)
** No. 517 Squadron RAF Used between August and November 1943, Codeletters unknown
** No. 519 Squadron RAF Used between August and November 1943, Codeletters Z9
** No. 521 Squadron RAF Used between September and December 1943, Codeletters 5O
** No. 5 (C)OTU RAF Used between July 1942 and September 1943, Only individual Codeletters and numbers
** No. 14 Operational Training Unit Used between 5 May 1940 and December 1942, Codeletters AM, GL and VB
** No. 16 Operational Training Unit Used between 18 April 1940 and September 1942, Codeletters GA, JS and XG
** No. 25 Operational Training Unit Used between February and December 1941, Codeletters ZP
** No. 1401 (Meteorological) Flight RAF at Bircham Newton/Docking
** No. 1402 (Meteorological) Flight RAF at Aldergrove
** No. 1403 (Meteorological) Flight RAF at Gosport/Bircham Newton/Gibraltar
** No. 1404 (Meteorological) Flight RAF at St. Eval
** No. 1406 (Meteorological) Flight RAF at Wick
** No. 1407 (Meteorological) Flight RAF at Reykjavik

pecifications (Hampden Mk I)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
ref=
crew=4
capacity=
payload main=
payload alt=
length main= 53 ft 7 in
length alt=16.33 m
span main=69 ft 2 in
span alt=21.08 m
height main=14 ft 4 in
height alt=4.37 m
area main= 688 ft&sup2
area alt= 63.9 m²
airfoil=
empty weight main=11,780 lb
empty weight alt= 5,344 kg
loaded weight main=18,756 lb
loaded weight alt= 8,508 kg
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main=
max takeoff weight alt=
more general=
engine (prop)=Bristol Pegasus XVIII
type of prop=9-cylinder radial engine
number of props=2
power main= 980 hp
power alt=730 kW
power original=
max speed main= 265 mph at 15,500 ft
max speed alt= 410 km/h at 4,724 m
cruise speed main=
cruise speed alt=
stall speed main=
stall speed alt=
never exceed speed main=
never exceed speed alt=
range main= 1,095 miles
range alt=1,762 km
ceiling main= 19,000 ft
ceiling alt= 5,790 m
climb rate main= 980 ft/min
climb rate alt= 300 m/min
loading main=27.3 lb/ft²
loading alt=133 kg/m²)
thrust/weight=
power/mass main=0.104 hp/lb
power/mass alt=0.172 kW/kg
more performance=
armament=
*4 to 6 x .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K machine guns. one flexible and one fixed in the nose, one or two each in dorsal and ventral positions
*4,000 lb (1,814 kg) bombs or 1 x 18 in torpedo or mines
avionics=

ee also

aircontent
related=
* Handley Page Hereford

similar aircraft=
* Armstrong Whitworth Whitley
* Vickers Wellington
* PZL.37 Łoś

lists=
*List of aircraft of the RAF
*List of aircraft of the RNZAF

see also=

References

Notes

Bibliography

* Barnes, C.H. and James, Derek N. "Handley Page Aircraft since 1907". London: Putnam & Company Ltd., 1987. ISBN 0-85177-803-8.
* Bowyer, Chaz. "Hampden Special". Shepperton, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Ltd., 1976. ISBN 0-7110-0683-0.
* Clayton, Donald C. "Handley Page, an Aircraft Album". Shepperton, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Ltd., 1969. ISBN 0-7110-0094-8.
* Crosby, Francis. "The World Encyclopedia of Bombers". London: Anness Publishing Ltd., 2007. ISBN 1-84477-511-9.
* Donald, David and Lake, Jon., eds. "Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft". London: AIRtime Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1-880588-24-2.
* Green, William. "Famous Bombers of the Second World War". London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd., 1977. ISBN 0-356-08333-0.
* Green, William and Swanborough, Gordon. "WW2 Aircraft Fact Files: RAF Bombers, Part 2". London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 2nd edition revised 1981. ISBN 0-7106-0118-2.
* Gunston, Bill. "Classic World War II Aircraft Cutaways". London: Osprey, 1995. ISBN 1-85532-526-8.
* Mondey, David. "The Hamlyn Concise Guide to British Aircraft of World War II". London: Hamlyn/Aerospace, 1982. ISBN 0-600-34951-9.
* Moyes, Philip J.R. "Bomber Squadrons of the RAF and their Aircraft". London: Macdonald and Jane's, 1964 (2nd edition 1976). ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
* Moyes, Philip J.R. "The Handley Page Hampden (Aircraft in Profile 58)". Leatherhead, Surrey, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1965.
* Moyes, Philip J.R. "Royal Air Force Bombers of World War Two, Volume Two". Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, UK: Hylton Lacy Publishers, 1968. ISBN 0-85064-000-8.
* Moyle, Harry. "The Hampden File". Tonbridge, UK: Air-Britain Historians Ltd., 1989. ISBN 0-85130-128-2.
* Postlethwaite, Mark. "Hampden Squadrons in Focus". Walton on Thames, UK: Red Kite, 2003. ISBN 0-9546201-0-0.
* Roberts, Nicholas. "Crash Log: Handley Page Hampden & Hereford". Earl Shilton, Leicestershire, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1980. ISBN 0-904597-34-2.

External links

* [http://www.mablehome.com/aviation/museums/langley/hampden.htm Hampden at the Canadian Museum of Flight]
* [http://www.jaapteeuwen.com/ww2aircraft/html%20pages/HANDLEY%20PAGE%20HP52%20HAMPDEN.htm Handley Page Hampden]
* [http://www.handleypage.com/Aircraft_hp52.html Hampden at Handley Page site]


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