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RAF Bomber Command
1939: Battle , Blenheim , Hampden , Wellesley , Wellington , Whitley . 1942: Manchester , Stirling , Halifax , Lancaster , Mosquito . 1945: Lincoln 1950: Washington B.1 1951: Canberra . 1955: Vickers Valiant
Vickers Valiant
1956: Avro Vulcan 1958: Handley Page Victor . RAF BOMBER COMMAND controlled the RAF 's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. Along with the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
, it played the central role in the strategic bombing of Germany in World War II . From 1942 onward, the British bombing campaign against Germany became less restrictive and increasingly targeted industrial sites and the civilian manpower base essential for German war production. In total 364,514 operational sorties were flown, 1,030,500 tons of bombs were dropped and 8,325 aircraft lost in action. Bomber
Bomber
Command crews also suffered a high casualty rate: 55,573 were killed out of a total of 125,000 aircrew (a 44.4 percent death rate), a further 8,403 were wounded in action, and 9,838 became prisoners of war. Bomber
Bomber
Command stood at the peak of its post-war military power in the 1960s, the V bombers holding the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent and a supplemental force of Canberra light bombers. In August 2006, a memorial was unveiled at Lincoln Cathedral
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Royal Air Force
The ROYAL AIR FORCE (RAF) is the United Kingdom's aerial warfare force . Formed towards the end of the First World War
First World War
on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world. Following victory over the Central Powers
Central Powers
in 1918 the RAF emerged as, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Since its formation, the RAF has taken a significant role in British military history , in particular, playing a large part in the Second World War
Second World War
where it fought its most famous campaign, the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
. The RAF's mission is to support the objectives of the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), which are to "provide the capabilities needed: to ensure the security and defence of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and overseas territories, including against terrorism; to support the Government’s foreign policy objectives particularly in promoting international peace and security". The RAF describe its mission statement as "... An _agile_, _adaptable_ and _capable_ Air Force that, person for person, is second to none, and that makes a decisive air power contribution in support of the UK Defence Mission". The mission statement is supported by the RAF's definition of air power , which guides its strategy
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Strategic Bomber
A STRATEGIC BOMBER is a medium to long range penetration bomber designed to drop large amounts of air-to-ground weaponry onto a distant target for the purposes of debilitating the enemy 's capacity to wage war . Unlike tactical bombers , penetrators , fighter-bombers , and attack aircraft , which are used in air interdiction operations to attack enemy combatants and military equipment , strategic bombers are designed to fly into enemy territory to destroy strategic targets (e.g., infrastructure , logistics , military installations , factories and cities ). In addition to strategic bombing , strategic bombers can be used for tactical missions . There are currently three countries that operate strategic bombers: the United States
United States
, Russia
Russia
, and China . The modern strategic bomber role appeared after strategic bombing was widely employed , and atomic bombs were first used in combat during World War
War
II . Nuclear strike missions (i.e., delivering nuclear -armed missiles or bombs ) can potentially be carried out by most modern fighter-bombers and strike fighters , even at intercontinental range , with the use of AERIAL REFUELING , so any nation possessing this combination of equipment and techniques theoretically has such capability
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Raf Uxbridge
RAF UXBRIDGE was a Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
(RAF) station in Uxbridge
Uxbridge
, within the London Borough of Hillingdon , occupying a 44.6-hectare (110-acre) site that originally belonged to the Hillingdon House
Hillingdon House
estate. The British Government purchased the estate in 1915, three years before the founding of the RAF. Until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the station was open to the public. The station is best known as the headquarters of No. 11 Group RAF , which was responsible for the aerial defence of London and the south-east of England during the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
. Hillingdon House served as the group's headquarters. A bunker, subsequently known as the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
Bunker , was built nearby to house the 11 Group Operations Room, which controlled fighter squadrons operating within the group. The Operations Room was also responsible for providing air support during the evacuation of Dunkirk
Dunkirk
in May 1940 (Operation Dynamo ) and the D-Day landings ( Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord
). It was here that Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
first said, "Never was so much owed by so many to so few ", which he repeated in a speech to Parliament four days later
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Raf High Wycombe
RAF HIGH WYCOMBE is a Royal Air Force station
Royal Air Force station
, situated in the village of Walters Ash , near High Wycombe
High Wycombe
in Buckinghamshire , England
England
. It houses Headquarters Air Command , and was originally designed to house RAF Bomber Command in the late 1930s. The station is also the headquarters of the European Air Group . The location of the station was originally suggested by Wing Commander Alan Oakeshott when the Air Ministry was seeking a new, secure, site for Bomber Command away from London. Wing Commander Oakeshott was killed in combat in 1942 and is commemorated on the Naphill war memorial and in the name of the station's welfare centre, opened in 2011. The motto of RAF High Wycombe
High Wycombe
in Latin
Latin
is 'Non Sibi', which translates as 'not for ourselves'. CONTENTS* 1 History * 1.1 Construction * 1.2 Cold War
Cold War
* 2 Current operations * 3 Current units * 3.1 Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
* 3.2 Other * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 Sources * 7 External links HISTORYCONSTRUCTIONPrior to the outbreak of the Second World War, the Air Ministry sought a safe location for RAF Bomber Command away from London
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Battle Honour
A BATTLE HONOUR is an award of a right by a government or sovereign to a military unit to emblazon the name of a battle or operation on its flags ("colours"), uniforms or other accessories where ornamentation is possible. In European military tradition, military units may be acknowledged for their achievements in specific wars or operations of a military campaign . In Great Britain and those countries of the Commonwealth which share a common military legacy with the British, battle honours are awarded to selected military units as official acknowledgement for their achievements in specific wars or operations of a military campaign . These honours usually take the form of a place and a date (e.g. "Cambrai 1917 "). THEATRE HONOURS, a type of recognition in the British tradition closely allied to battle honours, were introduced to honour units which provided sterling service in a campaign but were not part of specific battles for which separate battle honours were awarded. Theatre honours could be listed and displayed on regimental property but not emblazoned on the colours. Since battle honours are primarily emblazoned on colours, artillery units, which do not have colours in the British military tradition, were awarded HONOUR TITLES instead. These honour titles were permitted to be used as part of their official nomenclature, for example _13 Field Regiment (Chushul)_. Similar honours in the same tenor include unit citations
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Fortress Europe
FORTRESS EUROPE (German : Festung Europa) was a military propaganda term used by both sides of the Second World War which referred to the areas of Continental Europe occupied by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
, as opposed to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
across the Channel . CONTENTS * 1 World War II defenses * 2 Post war usage * 2.1 Controlled external borders * 3 See also * 4 References WORLD WAR II DEFENSES Main article: Atlantic Wall D-day assault map of Normandy and northwest coastal France
France
In British phraseology, FORTRESS EUROPE meant the battle honour accorded to Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
and Allied squadrons during the war, but to qualify, operations had to be made by aircraft based in Britain against targets in Germany, Italy and other parts of German-occupied Europe , in the period from the fall of France
France
to the Normandy invasion . Simultaneously, the term FESTUNG EUROPA was being used by Nazi propaganda, namely to refer to Hitler
Hitler
's and the Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
's plans to fortify the whole of occupied Europe, in order to prevent invasion from the British Isle\'s troops. These measures included the construction of the Atlantic wall , along with reorganization of the Luftwaffe for air defense
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Air Marshal
AIR MARSHAL (AIR MSHL or AM) is a three-star air-officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. Air marshal
Air marshal
is a three-star rank and has a NATO
NATO
ranking code of OF-8, equivalent to a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy
Navy
or a lieutenant-general in the British Army
Army
or the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
. In other NATO
NATO
forces, such as the United States Armed Forces
United States Armed Forces
and the Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Armed Forces
, the equivalent three-star rank is lieutenant general . The rank of air marshal is immediately senior to the rank of air vice-marshal and immediately subordinate to the rank of air chief marshal . Officers in the rank of air marshal typically hold very senior appointments such as commander-in-chief of an air force or a large air force formation. Officers in the ranks of air chief marshal and air vice-marshal are also referred to generically as air marshals. Occasionally, air force officers of marshal rank are considered to be air marshals
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Charles Portal
Marshal of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
CHARLES FREDERICK ALGERNON PORTAL, 1ST VISCOUNT PORTAL OF HUNGERFORD, KG , GCB , OM , DSO he then became chairman of the British Aircraft Corporation . CONTENTS * 1 Early life * 2 First World War * 3 Inter-war years * 4 Second World War * 5 Post-war * 6 Family * 7 References * 7.1 Notes * 7.2 Bibliography * 8 External links EARLY LIFE Portal
Portal
was born at Eddington House, Hungerford
Hungerford
, Berkshire
Berkshire
, the son of Edward Robert Portal
Portal
and his wife Ellinor Kate (née Hill). His younger brother Admiral Sir Reginald Portal
Portal
(1894–1983) joined the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
and also had a distinguished career. The Portals had Huguenot origins, having arrived in England in the 17th century. Charles Portal, or "Peter" as he was nicknamed, was educated at Winchester College and Christ Church, Oxford . Portal
Portal
had intended to become a barrister but he did not finish his degree and he left undergraduate life to enlist as a private soldier in 1914
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Air Chief Marshal
AIR CHIEF MARSHAL (AIR CHF MSHL or ACM) is a four-star air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force , where it is the most senior peacetime air force rank. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries that have historical British influence and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. Air chief marshal is a four-star air officer rank and has a NATO ranking code of OF-9. An air chief marshal is equivalent to an admiral in the Royal Navy or a general in the British Army or the Royal Marines . In other forces, such as the United States Armed Forces and the Canadian Armed Forces , the equivalent four-star rank is general . The rank of air chief marshal is immediately senior to the rank of air marshal but subordinate to marshal of the air force . Air chief marshals are sometimes generically considered to be air marshals
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Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet
Marshal of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
SIR ARTHUR TRAVERS HARRIS, 1ST BARONET, GCB , OBE , AFC (13 April 1892 – 5 April 1984), commonly known as "BOMBER" HARRIS by the press and often within the RAF as "BUTCHER" HARRIS, was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) RAF Bomber Command during the height of the Anglo-American strategic bombing campaign against Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
in the Second World War . In 1942, the British Cabinet agreed to the "area bombing" of German cities . Harris was tasked with implementing Churchill
Churchill
's policy and supported the development of tactics and technology to perform the task more effectively. Harris assisted British Chief of the Air Staff Marshal of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
Charles Portal
Charles Portal
in carrying out the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
's most devastating attacks against the German infrastructure and population, including the Bombing of Dresden . Harris emigrated to Southern Rhodesia in 1910, aged 17, but returned to England in 1915 to fight in the European theatre of the First World War
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Bomber
A BOMBER is a combat aircraft designed to attack ground and sea targets by dropping air-to-ground weaponry , firing torpedoes or deploying air-launched cruise missiles . CONTENTS* 1 Classification * 1.1 Strategic * 1.2 Tactical * 2 History * 2.1 The first bombers * 2.2 Strategic bombing * 2.3 World War II * 2.4 Cold War * 2.5 Modern era * 3 See also * 4 References * 5 External links CLASSIFICATION A Russian Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber. STRATEGIC Further information: Carpet bombing and Strategic bomber Strategic bombing is done by heavy bombers primarily designed for long-range bombing missions against strategic targets such as supply bases, bridges, factories, shipyards, and cities themselves, in order to diminish the enemy's ability to wage war by limiting access to resources through crippling infrastructure or reducing industrial output. Current examples include the strategic nuclear-armed strategic bombers : B-2 Spirit , B-52 Stratofortress , Tupolev Tu-95 'Bear', Tupolev Tu-22M 'Backfire'; historically notable examples are the: Gotha G.IV , Avro Lancaster , Heinkel He-111 , Junkers Ju 88 , Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress , Consolidated B-24 Liberator , Boeing B-29 Superfortress , and Tupolev Tu-16 'Badger'
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Fairey Battle
The FAIREY BATTLE was a British single-engine light bomber designed and manufactured by the Fairey Aviation Company . It was developed during the mid-1930s for the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
(RAF) as a monoplane successor to the earlier Hawker Hart
Hawker Hart
and Hind biplanes . The Battle was powered by the same high-performance Rolls-Royce Merlin piston engine that powered various contemporary British fighters . However the Battle was weighed down with a three-man crew and a bomb load. Despite being a great improvement on the aircraft that preceded it, by the time it saw action the Battle was relatively slow, limited in terms of range and was quickly found to be highly vulnerable to both anti-aircraft fire and hostile fighters, possessing only two defensive .303 in machine guns. The Fairey Battle
Fairey Battle
participated in direct combat missions during early stages of the Second World War . During the " Phoney War ", the type achieved the distinction of attaining the first aerial victory of an RAF aircraft in the conflict. However, by May 1940, the Battle had suffered heavy losses, frequently in excess of 50 percent of sortied aircraft per mission. By the end of 1940, the type had been entirely withdrawn from active combat service, instead being mainly relegated to use by training units overseas
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Bristol Blenheim
The BRISTOL BLENHEIM is a British light bomber aircraft designed and built by the Bristol Aeroplane Company that was used extensively in the first two years of the Second World War . It was originally developed as the civil-orientated Type 142 in response to Lord Rothermere 's challenge to produce the fastest commercial aircraft in Europe. The Type 142 first flew in April 1935, and the Air Ministry , impressed by its performance, ordered a modified design as the Type 142M to serve in the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
(RAF) as a bomber. Deliveries of the newly named Blenheim to RAF squadrons commenced on the 10th of March 1937. The Blenheim was one of the first British aircraft to feature an all-metal stressed-skin construction, retractable landing gear , flaps , a powered gun turret and variable-pitch propellers . The design of the Blenheim proved to be readily adaptable, and was modified to serve in roles such as an interim long-range fighter and as a night fighter , pending the availability of a more advanced fighter derivative of the Blenheim, the Beaufighter . A more capable bomber derivative, the Beaufort , was also developed, being both larger and heavier than the Blenheim. A Canadian-built variant named the Bolingbroke was used as an anti-submarine patrol aircraft and trainer
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Handley Page Hampden
The HANDLEY PAGE HP.52 HAMPDEN was a British twin-engine medium bomber of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
(RAF). It was one of a trio of then-large twin-engine bombers procured for the RAF, the other two being the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley
Armstrong Whitworth Whitley
and Vickers Wellington
Vickers Wellington
. The newest of the three medium bombers, the Hampden, was often referred to by aircrews as the "Flying Suitcase" because of its cramped crew conditions. The Hampden served in the early stages of Second World War , bearing the brunt of the early bombing war over Europe
Europe
, taking part in the first night raid on Berlin
Berlin
and the first 1,000-plane raid on Cologne
Cologne
. As the war went on, it became clear that the Hampden was unsuited to combat missions in the modern air war and, after a period of mainly operating at night, it was retired from RAF Bomber Command service in late 1942. While the Hampden was powered by Bristol Pegasus radial engines , a short-lived variant known as the HANDLEY PAGE HEREFORD instead featured in-line Napier Daggers
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Vickers Wellesley
The VICKERS WELLESLEY was a British 1930s light bomber built by Vickers-Armstrongs
Vickers-Armstrongs
at Brooklands near Weybridge