Warplane Wednesday

Warplane Wednesday: Vickers Wellington

“The question is not ‘will we win’ but when will the Italians give in?” reads the 5 August diary entry of Canadian Flying Officer Reginald C. F. Duffy. Duffy flew Wellington night bombers with No. 40 Squadron RAF. As part of the Strategic Air Force, he recognised that his crew’s targets were serving a dual purpose of damaging enemy supply lines and convincing Italy to surrender.

– Excerpt from Eagles over Husky

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The Vickers Wellington, affectionately known as the ‘Wimpy’, formed the core of the Allied night bomber force in the Mediterranean. Some Wellington squadrons served in the anti-shipping role with the Coastal Air Force. These aircraft struck Axis convoys, warships, and submarines. The bulk of the Wellington force served in Major-General James H. Doolittle’s Strategic Air Force. These squadrons—joined by the aircraft of No. 331 Wing RCAF in spring 1943—supplemented the large American daylight bombardment force in Tunisia. They bombed Axis airfields, marshalling yards, and ports in support of Operation Husky.


Specifications (Mk X)

Type: six-seat medium bomber

Powerplant: two 1249kW (1675hp) Bristol Hercules XI or XVI 14-cylinder two-row radial engines

Performance: maximum speed 410km/h (255 mph); climb to 4570m (15,000ft) in 27 minutes 42 seconds; service ceiling 6705m (22,000ft); range 3033.5km (1885 miles) with a 680kg (1500lb) bomb load

Weights: empty 10,194kg (22,474lb); maximum take-off 16,556kg (36,500lb)

Wingspan: 26.26m (86ft 2in)

Length: 19.68m (64ft 7in)

Height: 5.31m (17ft 5in)

Armament: two 7.7mm (0.303in) trainable forward-firing machine guns in the nose turret, four 7.7mm (0.303in) trainable rearward-firing machine guns in tail turret and one 7.7mm (0.303in) trainable lateral-firing machine gun in each beam position, plus an internal bomb or torpedo load of 2041kg (4500lb)


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The following units in Mediterranean Air Command flew Wellingtons:

Northwest African Coastal Air Force

  • No. 36 Squadron RAF
  • No. 211 Squadron RAF
  • No. 485 Squadron RAAF

Northwest African Strategic Air Force

  • No. 231 Wing RAF
    • No. 37 Squadron RAF
    • No. 70 Squadron RAF
  • No. 236 Wing RAF
    • No. 40 Squadron RAF
    • No. 104 Squadron RAF
  • No. 330 Wing RAF
    • No. 142 Squadron RAF
    • No. 150 Squadron RAF
  • No. 331 Wing RCAF
    • No. 420 Squadron RCAF
    • No. 424 Squadron RCAF
    • No. 425 Squadron RCAF

Air Headquarters Malta

  • No. 221 Squadron RAF
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