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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 (RAF) station in Uxbridge , within the London Borough of Hillingdon , occupying a 44.6-hectare (110-acre) site that originally belonged to the 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 . Hillingdon House served as the group's headquarters. A bunker, subsequently known as the 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 in May 1940 (Operation Dynamo ) and the D-Day landings (Operation Overlord ). It was here that 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. RAF Uxbridge closed on 31 March 2010 as part of a reduction in the number of Ministry of Defence properties in the Greater London area. Many of its remaining military units were relocated to nearby RAF Northolt the following day
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RAF High Wycombe
RAF HIGH WYCOMBE is a Royal Air Force station , situated in the village of Walters Ash , near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire , 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 in Latin is 'Non Sibi', which translates as 'not for ourselves'. CONTENTS* 1 History * 1.1 Construction * 1.2 Cold War * 2 Current operations * 3 Current units * 3.1 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. The wooded area near Naphill , Walters Ash and Lacey Green was suggested by Wing Commander Alan Oakeshott as ideal for this purpose, since the trees could provide natural camouflage from the air. Buildings were designed to resemble other uses, such as the Officers' Mess which was built to look like a manor house
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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 , as opposed to the 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 In British phraseology, FORTRESS EUROPE meant the battle honour accorded to 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 to the Normandy invasion . Simultaneously, the term FESTUNG EUROPA was being used by Nazi propaganda, namely to refer to Hitler 's and the 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 . This use of the term Fortress Europe was subsequently adopted by correspondents and historians in the English language to describe the military efforts of the Axis powers at defending the continent from the Allies
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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 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 LIFEPortal was born at Eddington House, Hungerford , Berkshire , the son of Edward Robert Portal and his wife Ellinor Kate (née Hill). His younger brother Admiral Sir Reginald Portal (1894–1983) joined the 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 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. FIRST WORLD WARAt the beginning of the First World War , Portal joined the British Army and served as a dispatch rider in the motorcycle section of the Royal Engineers on the Western Front . Portal was made a corporal very soon after joining the Army and he was commissioned as a second lieutenant only weeks later. Around the same time, Portal was commended in Sir John French 's first despatch of September 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 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 in the Second World War . In 1942, the British Cabinet agreed to the "area bombing" of German cities . Harris was tasked with implementing 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 Charles Portal in carrying out the 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 . He joined the Royal Flying Corps , with which he remained until the formation of the Royal Air Force in 1918, and he remained in the Air Force through the 1920s and 1930s, serving in India , Mesopotamia , Persia , Egypt , Palestine , and elsewhere. At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Harris took command of No. 5 Group RAF in England, and in February 1942 was appointed head of Bomber Command. He retained that position for the rest of the 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 (RAF) as a monoplane successor to the earlier 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 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. For an aircraft which had been viewed to possess a high level of pre-war promise, the Battle quickly became one of the most disappointing aircraft in RAF service
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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 (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 (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 and 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 , taking part in the first night raid on Berlin and the first 1,000-plane raid on 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 at Brooklands near Weybridge , Surrey, for the Royal Air Force . While it was obsolete by the start of the Second World War and unsuited to the European air war, the Wellesley was operated in the desert theatres of East Africa , Egypt and the Middle East . It was one of two planes named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington , the other being the Vickers Wellington . CONTENTS * 1 Design and development * 2 Operational history * 3 Variants * 4 Operators * 5 Specifications (Wellesley) * 6 See also * 7 References DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT Wellesley wing damaged in action, showing the geodesic construction in duralumin The design originated from the Air Ministry Specification G.4/31 which called for a general purpose aircraft, capable of carrying out level bombing, army co-operation, dive bombing , reconnaissance , casualty evacuation and torpedo bombing . The biplane Vickers Type 253 design, which used a radical geodesic airframe construction, derived from that used by Barnes Wallis in the airship R100 , was ordered by the Ministry and tested against the specification along with the Fairey G.4/31 , Westland PV-7 , Handley Page HP.47 , Armstrong Whitworth A.W.19 , Blackburn B-7 , Hawker P.V.4 and the Parnall G.4/31 . The Type 253 was declared the winner, with 150 being ordered
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