792 British Bombers

Really, WordPress? REALLY? Whole paragraphs of text disappeared just now!

Inferno, p. 78: The first plane to leave the ground, destination Hamburg, was “Sergeant P. Moseley’s Stirling of 74 (New Zealand) Squadron at 9:45 p.m.”

Lowe then goes on to describe each type of plane involved in the attack (Self absolutely loves these details):

The “Short Stirling” was a “gentleman’s aircraft” because “it was easy to handle, and capable of absorbing an enormous amount of punishment before it succumbed to flak or fighter fire . . . it was also relatively easy to escape from — which was fortunate, because its lamentable ceiling of only 16,000 feet made it the first target of all the German flak batteries.”

There was even a plane “made only of plywood”: the De Havilland Mosquito. It had “no defensive armament whatsoever but these . . . were so fast, and were capable of flying at such extreme altitudes, that they were in fact virtually untouchable.” There were eleven Mosquitos that took off with the main bombing force: “All of them would return to England the next morning, completely unscathed.”

The Rolls Royce of aerial bombers was the Avro Lancaster: “a huge, sleek machine capable of flying to Berlin and back laden with over six tons of bombs . . . Four Rolls Royce Merlin engines along its wings could carry it to a height of 22,000 feet and above, and at speeds of 226 mph.”

In fact, she has seen this engine. Four years ago, she went to London’s Imperial War Museum for the first time: Polished and gleaming, in its own display case on the ground floor, was a Merlin engine. At the time, she wondered why an airplane engine — even one made by Rolls Royce — deserved its own display case. Now she knows.

Stay cool, dear blog readers. Stay cool.

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