5 Facts About Britain’s Forgotten Heavy Bomber

5 Facts About Britain’s Forgotten Heavy Bomber | World War Wings Videos

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Here are five facts that you need to know about the Armstrong Whitworth A.W 38 Whitley- Britain’s Forgotten WWII heavy bomber: 

1. It was designed as a heavy night bomber but remained obscure

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The bomber remained criminally obscure even though it was perfectly capable and quite successful in its intended roles. It was officially declared obsolete in early 1944.

2. It was a victim of rapid advances made in aviation technology during that time

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Its design was first drawn in 1934 and then it first flew in 1936. However, within just a year or so, it was already halfway to becoming obsolete.

Newer designs like the Hanley Page Halifax and the Avro Manchester were already in development. 

3. When it first rolled out, Whitley’s prototype wasn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing

YouTube / Rex’s HangarIt had thick wings, angular lines everywhere, and the profile of its nose gave it the elegance of a brick. However, in terms of construction, it was a breakaway from previous Armstrong Whitworth designs and was considered a novelty. 

It was the first aircraft with a stressed metal fuselage to go into production for the RAF. 

4. The Whitley was the first RAF plane to ever breach German airspace

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On the first night of the war, ten Whitley Mk. IIIs from the 51 and 58 Bombing Squadrons were sent to a mission to drop 5.5 million propaganda leaflets marking the beginning of numerous sorties under Operation Nickel. 

5. It would go on to set many aviation firsts for the RAF

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It was the world’s first fully trained night bomber and became the first service aircraft to make use of two-speed superchargers.

Although it was declared obsolete during that time, it still formed the cornerstone of British bombing offensives during the first years of WWII. 

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