Bomber Command Aircraft Inter-War Light/Day Bombers
Inter-War Light/Day Bombers
The Fawn was designed as a replacement for the DH9A day-bomber and was first flown in March 1923. Fifty aircraft were ordered for three home-based squadrons (Nos 11, 12 and 100), the first arriving for No 12 Squadron in March 1924. The Fawn lasted operational squadrons until December 1926, but a Special Reserve Squadron (No 503) and an Auxiliary Squadron (No 603) did fly the type until 1929.
Length: 32ft 1in (9.78m) Span: 49ft 3in (15.01m) Height: 11ft 11in (3.63m) Max Speed: 114mph (183km/h) Engine: One 468hp Napier Lion V Bombload: 460lb (209kg) Armament: Single synchronised Lewis gun on the nose and either one or two Lewis guns in rear cockpit.
The Horsley was one of the first aircraft to be designed by one of Britain's great aviation pioneers,Sydney Camm. Of all-metal construction, a single prototype was ordered in 1924 and flew in Spring 1925 and production aircraft began to reach the first squadron, No 100, from August 1927 before eventually serving with Nos 11, 15, 33 and 504 (Auxiliary Air Force) Squadrons in the day-bomber role until March 1934. The type was also used as a torpedo-bomber.
Length: 38ft 10in (11.84m) Span: 56ft 6in (17.22m) Height: 13ft 73/4in (4.16m) Max Speed: 126mph (202km/h) Engine: One 665hp Rolls Royce Condor IIIA Bombload: 1,500lb (681kg) Armament: One forward-firing (synchronised) and one rear-mounted Lewis machine guns.
A remarkably graceful aircraft, the Fox caused something of a stir when it entered service with No 12 Squadron (the only squadron to fly the aircraft) in June 1926 as it was faster than RAF fighters of the time (a situation not remedied until 1929 with the introduction of the Bulldog fighter). So that a more 'balanced' situation existed in air exercises, No 12 was ordered not to fly its aircraft faster than 140mph to give defending fighters some chance of interception. Persistant problems with the original Felix engine meant that the Fox suffered from a high rate of crashes throughout its career, and No 12 Squadron rarely held its full complement of 12 aircraft. But when everything was working the aircraft was a great success and No 12 took great pride in its mount. The Fox was retired in 1931.
Length: 28ft 3in (8.61m) Span: 37ft 8in (11.48m) Height: 10ft 8in (3.25m) Max Speed: 160mph (257km/h) Engine: One 490hp Rolls Royce Kestrel IIA Bombload: 500lb (227kg) Armament: One synchronised Lewis gun on front fuselage, one Lewis gun in rear cockpit.
In terms of numbers built, the Fairey IIIF is second only to the Hawker Hart for aircraft serving wit h the RAF between the Wars (over 560 built). The type was originally designed for the Fleet Air Arm as a reconnaissance aircraft, but later adapted as a 'general purpose' aircraft for the RAF, and as such served with Nos 35 and 207 (Bomber) Squadrons between 1927 and 1932. The Fairey IIIF will be best remembered for the service it gave overseas where it survived until the mid-1930s.
Length: 36ft 8½in (11.19m) Span: 45ft 9in (15.16m) Height: 14ft 2in (4.32m) Max Speed: 120mph (193km/h) Engine: One 455hp Napier Lion XIA Bombload: 500lb (227kg) Armament: One Vickers and one Lewis gun.
The Hart was chosen as the RAF's standard day bomber in April 1929 after a competition with two other types (the Avro Antelope and de Havilland Hound). A total of 459 Harts were built, a testament to the adaptability of the simple airframe, and served at home and abroad with distinction for many years. The first aircraft arrived at No 33 Squadron in January 1930 and served until their eventual replacement by the Hind in 1936.
Length: 29ft 4in (8.94m) Span: 37ft 3in (11.35m) Height: 10ft 5in (3.18m) Max Speed: 184mph (295km/h) Engine: One 525hp Rolls Royce Kestrel IB Bombload: 500lb (227kg) Armament: One forward-firing (synchronised) Vickers and one rear-mounted Lewis machine guns.
The Gordon was a development of the Fairey IIIF (its original designation was the Fairey IIIF Mk V) fitted with a Jaguar radial engine although this was later changed to a Panther. A number of original IIIFs were converted to Gordons and saw service with Nos 40, 35 and 207 (Bomber) Squadrons (replacing IIIFs in the latter two units) between 1931 and 1937. In the Middle East, Gordons helped defend the RAF airfield at Habbaniya in Iraq in May 1941 whilst serving with No 4 Flying Training School!
Length: 36ft 8½in (11.19m) Span: 45ft 9in (15.16m) Height: 14ft 2in (4.32m) Max Speed: 145mph (233km/h) Engine: One 525mph Armstrong Siddeley Panther IIA Bombload: 500lb (227kg) Armament: One forward-firing (synchronised) Vickers gun and one Lewis gun in rear cockpit.
Building on the success of the Hart, Hawker produced a total of 527 Hinds in 2 years. Production coincided with the expansion of the RAF, and Bomber Command in particular, and the type was used as a day-bomber and trainer with more RAF squadrons in peacetime than any other aircraft. The Hind employed the same fabric-covered tubular airframe as the Hart, but was fitted with an improved engine which gave marginally better performance. The main differences were under the skin where a prone bomb-aiming position was provided, and it was on the Hind that virtually all of Bomber Command's wartime crews cut their teeth before the arrival of the monoplanes such as Battles, Blenheims and Whitleys. A total of 26 bomber squadrons flew the Hind (plus 13 auxiliary squadron) between December 1935 and May 1939.
Length: 29ft 7in (9.02m) Span: 37ft 3in (11.35m) Height: 10ft 7in (3.23m) Max Speed: 186mph (299km/h) Engine: One 640hp Rolls Royce Kestrel V Bombload: 500lb (227kg) Armament: One forward-firing (synchronised) Vickers and one rear-mounted Lewis machine guns.