Vickers Wellington

Vickers Wellington

infobox Aircraft
name = Wellington
type = bomber, anti-submarine aircraft
manufacturer = Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd.

caption = Wellington B Mk. IA. The geodesic construction is evident through the perspex windows along the aircraft's side.
designer = R. K. Pierson
first flight = 15 June avyear|1936
introduction = October avyear|1938
retired =
status = Retired
primary user = Royal Air Force
more users = RCAF, RNZAF, RAAF
produced = 1936–1945
number built = 11,464
unit cost =
variants with their own articles = Vickers Warwick
Vickers VC.1 Viking

The Vickers Wellington was a British twin-engine, medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, by Vickers-Armstrongs' Chief Designer, R. K. Pierson. It was widely used as a night-time bomber in the early years of World War II, before being displaced as a bomber by the larger four-engined "heavies" such as the Avro Lancaster. The Wellington continued to serve throughout the war in other duties, particularly as an anti-submarine aircraft. It was the only British bomber to be produced for the entire duration of the war. The Wellington was popularly known as the "Wimpy" by service personnel, after J. Wellington Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons and a Wellington "B for Bertie" had a starring role in the 1942 propaganda film "One of Our Aircraft Is Missing".The Wellington was one of two bombers named for Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (Victor over Napoleon), the other being the Vickers Wellesley

Design and development

The Wellington used a geodesic construction method, which had been devised by Barnes Wallis for use in airships, and had previously been used to build the single-engined Vickers Wellesley bomber. The fuselage was built up from a number of aluminium alloy (duralumin) channel-beams that were formed into a large framework. Wooden battens were screwed onto the aluminium, and these were covered with Irish linen, which, once treated with many layers of dope, formed the outer skin of the aircraft. The metal lattice gave the structure tremendous strength because any one of the stringers could support some of the weight from even the opposite side of the aircraft. Blowing out one side's beams would still leave the aircraft as a whole intact; as a result, Wellingtons with huge areas of framework missing continued to return home when other types would not have survived; the dramatic effect enhanced by the doped fabric skin burning off, leaving the naked frames exposed (see photo).

However, the construction system also had some distinct disadvantages, in that it took considerably longer to complete a Wellington than for other designs using monocoque construction techniques. Also, it was difficult to cut holes into the fuselage to provide additional access or equipment fixtures. The Leigh light, for instance, was deployed through the mounting for the absent FN9 ventral turret. Nevertheless, in the late 1930s Vickers succeeded in building Wellingtons at a rate of one per day at Weybridge and 50 per month at Chester. Peak wartime production in 1942 saw monthly rates of 70 achieved at Weybridge, 130 at Chester and 102 at Blackpool.

The Wellington went through a total of 16 variants during its production life plus a further two training conversions after the war. The prototype serial K4049 designed to satisfy Ministry specification B.9/32, first flew as a Type 271 (and initially named "Crecy") from Brooklands on 15 June avyear|1936 with J. Summers as pilot. After many changes to the design, it was accepted on 15 August 1936 for production with the name "Wellington". The first model was the Wellington Mk I, powered by a pair of 1,050 hp (783 kW) Bristol Pegasus engines, of which 180 were built, 150 for the Royal Air Force and 30 for the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The Mk I first entered service with No. 9 Squadron RAF in October 1938. Improvements to the turrets resulted in 183 Mk IA Wellingtons and this complement of aircraft equipped the RAF Bomber Command heavy bomber squadrons at the outbreak of war. The Wellington was initially out-numbered by its twin-engined contemporaries, the Handley Page Hampden and the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, but would ultimately outlast them in productive service.The number of Wellingtons built totalled 11,461 of all versions, the last of which rolled out on 13 October avyear|1945.

Operational history

The first RAF bombing attack of the war was made by Wellingtons of No. 9 and No. 149 Squadrons, along with Bristol Blenheims, on German shipping at Brunsbüttel on 4 September, 1939. During this raid, the two Wellingtons became the first aircraft shot down on the Western Front. Numbers 9, 37 and 149 Squadrons saw action on 18 December avyear|1939 on a mission against the Schillig Roads and Wilhelmshaven. Luftwaffe fighters destroyed 10 of the bombers and badly damaged three others; thus highlighting the aircraft's vulnerability to attacking fighters, having neither self-sealing fuel tanks nor sufficient defensive armament. As a consequence, Wellingtons were switched to night operations and participated in the first night raid on Berlin on 25 August avyear|1940. In the first 1000-aircraft raid on Cologne, on 30 May 1942, 599 out of 1046 aircraft were Wellingtons (101 of them were flown by Polish aircrew).

With Bomber Command, Wellingtons flew 47,409 operations, dropped 41,823 tons of bombs and lost 1,332 aircraft in action.

Coastal Command Wellingtons carried out anti-submarine duties and sank their first enemy vessel on 6 July avyear|1942. DWI versions (see below) fitted with a 48 ft (14.63 m) diameter metal hoop were used for exploding enemy mines by generating a powerful magnetic field as it passed over them. In 1944, Wellingtons of Coastal Command were deployed to Greece, and performed various support duties during the RAF involvement in the Greek Civil War. A few Wellingtons were operated by the Hellenic Air Force.

While the Wellington was superseded in the European Theatre, it remained in operational service for much of the war in the Middle East, and in 1942, Wellingtons based in India became the RAF's first long-range bomber operating in the Far East. It was particularly effective with the South African Air Force in North Africa.

In late 1944 a radar-equipped Wellington was modified for use by the RAF's Fighter Interception Unit as what would now be described as an Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraftcite book |title=Britain's Greatest Aircraft |last=Jackson |first=Robert |year=2007 |publisher=Pen & Sword Books Ltd. |location=Barnsley |isbn=978-1-84415-383-1 |pages=217 ] . It operated at an altitude of some convert|4000|ft|m|0 over the North Sea to control de Havilland Mosquito fighters intercepting Heinkel He 111 bombers flying from Dutch airbases and carrying out airborne launches of the V-1 flying bomb.


Bomber variants

;Type 271: The first Wellington bomber prototype.

;Type 285 Wellington Mk I: Pre-production prototype. Powered by two Bristol Pegasus X radial piston engines.

;Type 290 Wellington Mk I: The first production version. Powered by two 1,000 hp (746 kW) Bristol Pegasus XVIII radial piston engines. Fitted with Vickers gun turrets.

;Type 408 Wellington Mk IA: Production version built to B Mk II specifications with provision for either Pegasus or Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, although only the two 1,000 hp Pegasus XVIII engines were used in practice. [cite book|last=Andrews|first=C. F.|title=The Vickers Wellington I & II|editor=Martin C. Windrow|publisher=Profile Publications|date=1970|series=Aircraft in Profile|volume=6|pages=44-56|id=ASIN B0017QJQ6K] Main landing gear moved forward 3 in (7.6 cm). Fitted with Nash & Thomson gun turrets.

;Type 416 Wellington Mk IC: The first main production variant was the Mk IC which added waist guns to the Mk IA. A total of 2,685 were produced. The Mk IC had a crew of six; a pilot, radio operator, navigator/bomb aimer, observer/nose gunner, tail gunner and waist gunner.

;Type 406 Wellington Mk II: The B Mk II was identical with the exception of the powerplant; using the 1,145 hp (855 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin X engine instead—400 were produced at Weybridge.

;Type 417 Wellington B.Mk III: The next significant variant was the B Mk III which featured the 1,375 hp (1,205 kW) Bristol Hercules III or XI engine and a four-gun tail turret, instead of two-gun. A total of 1,519 Mk IIIs were built and became mainstays of Bomber Command through 1941. ;Type 424 Wellington B.Mk IV: The 220 B Mk IV Wellingtons used the 1,200 hp (895 kW) Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engine and were flown by two Polish squadrons.

;Type 442 Wellington B Mk VI: Pressurised with a long wingspan and 1,600 hp (1,190 kW) Merlin R6SM engines, 63 were produced and were operated by 109 Squadron and as Gee radio navigation trainers.

;Type 440 Wellington B Mk X: The most widely produced variant of which 3,804 were built. It was similar to the Mk III except for the 1,675 hp (1,250 kW) Hercules VI or XVI powerplant and a fuselage structure of light alloy, instead of steel. The Mk X was the basis for a number of Coastal Command versions.

Coastal Command variants

;Type 429 Wellington GR Mk VIII: Mk IC conversion for Coastal Command service. Roles included reconnaissance, anti-submarine and anti-shipping attack. A Coastal Command Wimpy was the first aircraft to be fitted with the anti-submarine Leigh light.

;Wellington GR Mk XI: Maritime version of B Mk X with an ordinary nose turret and mast radar ASV Mk II instead of chin radome, no waist guns.

;Wellington GR Mk XII: Maritime version of B Mk X armed with torpedoes and with a chin radome housing the ASV Mk III radar, single nose machine gun.

;Wellington GR Mk XIII: Maritime version of B Mk X with an ordinary nose turret and mast radar ASV Mk II instead of chin radome, no waist guns.

;Wellington GR Mk XIV: Maritime version of B Mk X with a chin radome housing the ASV Mk III radar and added RP-3 explosive rocket rails to the wings.

Transport variants

;Wellington C Mk XV: Service conversions of the Wellington Mk IA into unarmed transport aircraft. Able to carry up to 18 troops.

;Wellington C Mk XVI: Service conversions of the Wellington Mk IC into unarmed transport aircraft. Able to carry up to 18 troops.

Trainer variants

;Type 487 Wellington T Mk XVII: Service conversions of the Wellington bomber into training aircraft. Powered by two Bristol Hercules XVII radial piston engines.

;Type 490 Wellington T Mk XVIII: Production version. Powered by two Bristol Hercules XVI radial piston engines. 80 built, plus some conversions.

;Wellington T Mk XIX: Service conversions of the Wellington Mk X used for navigation training. Remained in use as a trainer until 1953.

;Type 619 Wellington T Mk X: Postwar conversions of the Wellington Bomber into training aircraft by Boulton Paul in Wolverhampton. For navigation training the front turret was removed and replaced by a fairing and the interior re-equipped. Some were sold to France and Greece.

Experimental and conversion variants

;Type 298 Wellington Mk II prototype : One aircraft L4250. Powered by two 1,145 hp (854 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin inline piston engines.

;Type 299 Wellington Mk III prototype. : Two only.

;Type 410 Wellington Mk IV prototype. : Serial R1220. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp radial piston engines.

;Type 416 Wellington (II): The original Wellington II prototype was converted with the insstallation of a 40-mm Vickers gun in the dorsal position.

;Type 418 Wellington DWI Mk.I: Conversion of four Wellington Mk IAs to minesweeping aircraft. Fitted with Ford V-8 petrol engine and Maudsley electrical generator to induce magnetic field in a 48 ft (14.63 m) diameter loop mounted under fuselage. They had a solid nose with a bracket supporting the loop, which was also supported under the rear fuselage and the wings, outboard of the engines. DWI stood for "Directional Wireless Installation" – a cover story for the true purpose of the loop.

;Type 419 Wellington DWI Mk.II: DWI Mk I aircraft upgraded by installation of De Havilland Gipsy engine for increased generation power. At least 11 further aircraft converted to this standard. [ [ "Pewter Aircraft Wellington DWI page."] Pewter Aircraft. Retrieved: 14 January 2008.]

;Type 407 and Type 421 Wellington Mk V :Second and first protypes respectively: Three were built, designed for pressurised, high-altitude operations using turbocharged Hercules VIII engines.

;Wellington Mk VI: One high-altitude prototype only.

;Type 449 Wellington Mk VIG: Production version of Type 431. Two aircraft only.

;Wellington Mk VII: Single aircraft, built as a test-bed for the 40 mm Vickers S machine gun turret.

;Type 435 Wellington Mk IC: Conversion of one Wellington to test Turbinlite.

;Type 437 Wellington Mk IX: One Mk IC conversion for troop transport.

;Type 439 Wellington Mk II: One Wellington Mk II was converted with the installation of a 40-mm Vickers gun in the nose.

;Type 443 Wellington Mk V: One Wellington was used to test the Bristol Hercules VIII engine.

;Type 445 Wellington (I): One Wellington was used to the Whittle W2B/23 turbojet engine, the engine was fitted in the tail of the aircraft.

;Type 454 and Type 459 Wellington Mk IX: Prototypes with ASV.Mk II, ASV.Mk III radars, and powered by two Bristol Hercules VI and XVI radial piston engines.

;Type 470 and Type 486 Wellington: This designation covers two Wellington Mk II aircraft fitted with the Whittle W2B and W2/700 respectively.

;Type 478 Wellington Mk X: One Wellington was used to test the Bristol Hercules 100 engine.

;Type 602 Wellington Mk X: One Wellington was fitted with two Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines.

;Wellington Mk III: One Wellington was used for glider tug, for glider clearce for Hadrian, Hotspur and Horsa gliders.


*Royal Australian Air Force
** No. 458 Squadron RAAF Code letters "FU"
** No. 460 Squadron RAAF Code letters "UV" and "AR"
** No. 466 Squadron RAAF Code letters "HD"

*Royal Canadian Air Force
** No. 405 Squadron RCAF 'Vancouver Squadron' Code letters "LQ"
** No. 407 Squadron RCAF
** No. 415 Squadron RCAF
** No. 419 Squadron RCAF 'Moose Squadron' Code letters "VR"
** No. 420 Squadron RCAF 'Snowy Owl Squadron' Code letters "PT"
** No. 424 Squadron RCAF 'Tiger Squadron' Code letters "QB"
** No. 425 Squadron RCAF 'Alouette Squadron' Code letters "KW"
** No. 426 Squadron RCAF 'Thunderbird Squadron' Code letters "OW"
** No. 427 Squadron RCAF 'Lion Squadron' Code letters "ZL"
** No. 428 Squadron RCAF 'Ghost Squadron' Code letters "NA"
** No. 429 Squadron RCAF 'Bison Squadron' Code letters "AL"
** No. 431 Squadron RCAF
** No. 432 Squadron RCAF 'Leaside Squadron' Code letters "QO"

*Czechoslovakian Air Force in exile in Great Britain
** No. 311 (Czecho-Slovak) Squadron Code letters "KX"

;flagicon|France|free Free France
*Free French Air Force
** No. 326 Squadron RAF
** No. 344 Squadron RAF
*Aeronavale (Postwar)

*Luftwaffe (captured)

*Hellenic Air Force (Postwar)

*Royal New Zealand Air Force 30 Mk1 pre war, the first 18 of which were training with the RAF, when in August 1939 they were loaned, together with aircrew, to the UK, forming the unit which later became No. 75 Squadron RNZAF, (Code letters "AA", ""JN").

*Polish Air Forces in exile in Great Britain
** No. 300 Polish Bomber Squadron "Land of Masovia" Code letters "BH"
** No. 301 Polish Bomber Squadron "Land of Pomerania" Code letters "GR"
** No. 304 Polish Bomber Squadron "Land of Silesia" Code letters "NZ" and "2"
** No. 305 Polish Bomber Squadron "Land of Greater Poland" Squadron Code "SM"

;flag|South Africa|1928
*South African Air Force

Royal Air Force
* No. 7 Squadron RAF
* No. 8 Squadron RAF
* No. 9 Squadron RAF
* No. 12 Squadron RAF
* No. 14 Squadron RAF
* No. 15 Squadron RAF
* No. 24 Squadron RAF
* No. 36 Squadron RAF
* No. 37 Squadron RAF
* No. 38 Squadron RAF
* No. 39 Squadron RAF
* No. 40 Squadron RAF
* No. 57 Squadron RAF
* No. 69 Squadron RAF
* No. 70 Squadron RAF
* No. 75 (NZ) Squadron RAF Code letters "AA"
* No. 93 Squadron RAF
* No. 99 (Madras Presidency) Squadron RAF
* No. 101 Squadron RAF
* No. 103 Squadron RAF
* No. 104 Squadron RAF
* No. 108 Squadron RAF
* No. 109 Squadron RAF
* No. 115 Squadron RAF
* No. 138 Squadron RAF
* No. 142 Squadron RAF
* No. 148 Squadron RAF
* No. 149 Squadron RAF
* No. 150 Squadron RAF
* No. 156 Squadron RAF
* No. 158 Squadron RAF 1942 only
* No. 161 Squadron RAF
* No. 162 Squadron RAF
* No. 166 Squadron RAF
* No. 172 Squadron RAF
* No. 179 Squadron RAF
* No. 192 Squadron RAF
* No. 196 Squadron RAF Code letters "ZO"
* No. 199 Squadron RAF
* No. 203 Squadron RAF
* No. 214 Squadron RAF
* No. 215 Squadron RAF
* No. 218 Squadron RAF
* No. 221 Squadron RAF
* No. 232 Squadron RAF
* No. 242 Squadron RAF
* No. 244 Squadron RAF
* No. 281 Squadron RAF
* No. 294 Squadron RAF
* No. 524 Squadron RAF
* No. 527 Squadron RAF
* No. 544 Squadron RAF
* No. 547 Squadron RAF
* No. 612 Squadron RAF
* No. 621 Squadron RAF
Fleet Air Arm


There are two surviving complete Vickers Wellingtons; both are on display in the United Kingdom.Simpson, Andrew. ["Vickers Wellington X MF628/9210M: Museum Accession Number 69/A/17."] Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved: 13 January 2008.] Some other substantial parts also survive.

*Wellington IA Serial Number N2980 is on display at the Brooklands Museum of Motor Sport and Aviation at Brooklands, Surrey - This aircraft lost power on a training flight in 1940 and ditched in Loch Ness. All the crew survived, and the aircraft was recovered from the bottom of Loch Ness in September 1985. [ [ "Environmental Impact - Crashed Planes."] World War Two in the Highlands. Retrieved: 14 January 2008.] [cite web |url = |title = The Wellington Bomber |publisher = Loch Ness & Morar Project |accessdaymonth = 14 January |accessyear = 2008 ]
*Wellington T Mk X Serial Number MF628 is on display at the Royal Air Force Museum, London. It was delivered to RAF No.18 MU (Maintenance Unit) at RAF Tinwald Downs, Dumfries, as a Wellington Mk X, on 11 May 1944. In March 1948 the front gun turret was removed in its conversion to a T Mk X for its role as a trainer aircraft; however, the museum has refitted the front gun turret in keeping with its original build as a Mk X. [ "Vickers Wellington X."] Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved: 13 January 2008.]

pecifications (Wellington Mk IC)

aircraft specifications

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
ref=Fact|date=May 2008
length main=64 ft 7 in
length alt=19.68 m
span main=86 ft 2 in
span alt=26.26 m
height main=17 ft 6 in
height alt=5.33 m
area main=840 ft²
area alt=78.04 m²
empty weight main=18,556 lb
empty weight alt=8,417 kg
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
max takeoff weight main=28,500 lb
max takeoff weight alt=12,927 kg
engine (prop)=Bristol Pegasus Mk. XVIII
type of prop= radial engine
number of props=2
power main=1,050 hp
power alt=783 kW
max speed main=235 mph
max speed alt=378 km/h
range main=1,805 miles
range alt=2,905 km
ceiling main=18,000 ft
ceiling alt=5,486 m
climb rate main=1,050 ft/min
climb rate alt=320 m/min
loading main=34 lb/ft²
loading alt=168 kg/m²
power/mass main= 0.08 hp/lb
power/mass alt= 0.13 kW/kg
guns= 8x .303 Browning machine guns:
** 2 in nose turret
** 2 in tail turret [ 4 x from Mark III onwards]
** 2 in waist positions [deleted from Mark III onwards]
bombs=4,500 lb (2,041 kg) bombs

ee also

* Vickers Warwick
* Vickers VC.1 Viking
similar aircraft=
* Armstrong Whitworth Whitley
* Handley Page Hampden
*List of aircraft of the RAF
*List of aircraft of the RNZAF




* Andrews, C.F. "The Vickers Wellington I & II (Aircraft in Profile 125)". Leatherhead, Surrey: Profile Publications Ltd., 1967. No ISBN.
* Bowman, Martin. "Wellington, The Geodetic Giant". Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1989. ISBN 1-85310-076-5.
* Bowyer, Chaz. "Wellington at War". Shepperton, Surrey: Ian Allan Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7110-1220-2.
* Bowyer, Chaz. "Wellington Bomber". London: William Kimber & Co Ltd., 1986. ISBN 0-71830-619-8.
* Cooksley, Peter G. "Wellington, Mainstay of Bomber Command". Wellingborough, Northhamptonshire: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1987. ISBN 0-85059-851-6.
* Crosby, Francis. "The World Encyclopedia of Bombers". London: Anness Publishing Ltd., 2007. ISBN 1-84477-511-9.
* Delve, Ken. "Vickers Armstrong Wellington". Ramsbury, Wiltshire, UK: The Crowood Press Ltd., 1998. ISBN 1-86126-109-8.
* Flintham, V. "Air Wars and Aircraft: A Detailed Record of Air Combat, 1945 to the Present. Facts on File". (1990) ISBN 0-81602-356-5.
* Hall, Alan W. "Vickers Wellington, Warpaint Series No. 10". Husborne Crawley, Berfordshire: Hall Park Books Ltd., 1997. No ISBN.
* Lihou, Maurice. "Out of the Italian Night: Wellington Bomber Operations 1944-45". Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 2003. ISBN 1-84037-405-5.
* Lumsden, Alec. "Wellington Special". Shepperton, Surrey: Ian Allan Ltd., 1974. ISBN 0-7110-0527-3.
* Mackay, Ron. "Wellington in Action, Aircraft Number 76". Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1986. ISBN 0-89747-183-0.
* Ovčáčík, Michal and Susa, Karel. "Vickers-Armstrongs Wellington Medium Bomber variants". Prague, Czech Republic: 4+ Publications, 2003. ISBN 80-902559-7-3.

External links

* [ Example of durability of Vickers Wellington]
* [ Wellington Bomber Crews and Their Experiences]
* [] A Wellington bomber crashes on Buckden Pike, Yorkshire during a blizzard. Joseph Fusniak, rear air gunner is the sole survivor.

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