- Education and Science
British Avro Lancaster Heavy Bomber
The Avro Lancaster was a four engine, heavy bomber used by the RAF in World War II. Introduced in 1942 and nicknamed "Lanc", the Avro Lancaster became one of the most accomplished heavy bombers of WWII. The Lancaster ultimately flew approximately 156,000 missions and dropped over 608,000 tons of bombs.
It was the Lancasters that dropped the 12,000 lb Tallboy bomb and the 22,000 Grand Slam bombs. The Lancasters were also the aircraft that destroyed German dams by using "bouncing bombs" developed by Barnes Wallis.
Bouncing bombs were barrel, or drum shaped bombs that were "spun" at around 500 rpm, then dropped from low flying Lancasters. The bombs would "skip" across the water, toward an enemy dam, thereby evading underwater nets designed for defending the dam. Once the bomb hit the dam, the spin would drive the drums down toward the lower parts of the dam, making them more susceptible to damage from the explosions.
The Lancasters saw most of their action in the European theater, although they were planned to be used in an invasion of mainland Japan. They were also used to drop food, to a still occupied Netherlands.
The Lancaster was powered by 4, V12 Merlin Rolls Royce engines. The Merlin Rolls Royce V12 was also used in the British Supermarine Spitfire, Hawker Hurricane and the de Havilland Mosquito. The Lancaster had a maximum speed of 280 mph.The Lancaster had a service ceiling of 23,500 feet and a range of 3,000 miles. The Lancaster was armed with 8, 303 Browning machine guns and could carry "at the most" one 22, 000 lb Grand Slam bomb.