Vickers Wellington specifications and other notes
The Vickers Wellington was primarily a Bomber aircraft sometimes also used for maritime reconnaissance. It carried a normal crew of six with the exception of the MKV and VI where a crew of three was used. Maximum speed was 235 mph (MK1c) 255 mph (MK III, X) and 299 mph (MK IIII). The normal operating range was 1805 miles (except MK III) which was 1470 miles. Armarment consisted of two 0.303 inch machine guns mounted in both the front and rear turrets. One 0.303 inch machine gun mounted in the beam gun position, one each side of the aircraft. Maximum bomb load 4,500 lbs. A total of 11,461 Wellington's of all variants were built, the most of any British multi-engined aircraft design.
It was designed by Sir Barnes Neville Wallis, also famous for the 'bouncing' bomb, which was used by the specially formed 617 Squadron of the RAF to destroy the Mohne and Eder Dams in Germany's Ruhr district in 1943. The design for the geodetic structure of the Wellington arose out of his earlier work on the R100 airship. His first aeroplane to use this unique Geodetic design in full was the Wellesley followed in 1936 by the Wellington bomber. The "Wimpy" as it came to be known, was almost completely fabric covered but under the flimsy outer skin, the geodetic construction enabled the aircraft to sustain tremendous amounts of battle damage; and still be capable of flying. Wimpy is from Popeye's friend Wellington Wimpy.
The Wellington was Vickers' response to the Air Ministry specification B.9/32 request for a twin-engined medium bomber. Designed to replace the RAF's obsolete Heyford bombers, the prototype Wellington (K4049) first flew in June 1936. It was an immediate success, almost doubling the performance of the Heyford. The Wellington was able to carry double the bomb load twice the distance agreed on in the initial contract specification. Two months after the prototypes first flight, the Air Ministry placed an order for 180 Production Mk.I's and in October 1938 the type entered service with RAF 99 Squadron stationed at Mildenhall. On 4 September 1939 fourteen aircraft of Bomber Command's only six fully equipped Wellington squadron's took part in the first bombing sorties over Germany.
During the wars first years, the main variant of the Wellington was the Mk.IC, a total of 2,685 being built. By middle 1941 Wellington Mk.II's and Mk.III's had also entered service and were soon to be the most prominent RAF medium bomber type. However, it was quickly becomming obsolete and It's main role in bombing operations finally came to a close when the last offensive sorties against Hanover on October 8/9, 1943 (08/10/1943) were carried out. In a lessor role the Wellington continued to play a part with both Coastal Command and as an aircrew training aircraft within Bomber Command. The Wimpy would not be fully retired from its bombing role until March 13th, 1945 when No. 40 Squadron, RAF dropped the 4,000 lbs. "cookies" on Trevisio in the Italian theatre.
Source : Various