Handley Page Halifax B III – Expensive Babe, 51 Sqn RAF, Snaith 1945 (100 Missions)
1 in stock
1 in stock
Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72 scale AA37209: Handley Page Halifax B.III LV937/MH-E ‘Expensive Babe’ of 51 Squadron RAF based at Snaith in March 1945. One of only 5 Halifax Centurions (100 plus missions). Limited edition of 1,000 pieces.
Length 12 inches Wingspan 17.25 inches
One of the most significant factors in reducing the effectiveness of Luftwaffe bombing operations during the Second World War was their lack of a capable heavy bomber which could be deployed in large numbers. By comparison, the Allies were almost spoilt for choice and following the introduction of the four engined Short Stirling, Bomber Command’s operations took on a new dimension of offensive capability. The second four engined ‘Heavy’ to enter squadron service was the Handley Page Halifax, an aircraft which would go on to see constant development throughout the rest of the war and result in more than 6,000 aircraft eventually being produced. Underlining the incredibly dangerous missions these mighty aircraft were designed to undertake, out of this number, only five Halifax’s would manage to set the impressive mark of completing 100 or more operational sorties and taking their place in the annals of Bomber Command history. Handley Page Halifax B.III LV937 ‘Expensive Babe’ was one of those five aircraft – entering RAF service with 578 Squadron in March 1944, she only served one month with this unit, before being transferred to 51 Squadron at Snaith the following month. She would see extensive service with this squadron over the next few months, recording her landmark 100th operation on 25th March 1945, on a raid to Osnabrück. Highlighting the international contribution to Bomber Command during WWII, the crew on this significant date was made up of Australian, New Zealand and British airmen, who were all greeted by the station commander on their return. As well as the nose artwork and impressive mission tally, this Halifax also features a single white swastika on the port front fuselage and represents a Luftwaffe Ju88 claimed as destroyed.
LV937 suffered a tail wheel collapse when it was bounced on landing at High Ercall on 1st July 1945. The veteran bomber was struck off charge and scrapped three weeks later.
Designed to meet an Air Ministry specification for a twin-engined “world-wide use” medium bomber, the Handley Page Halifax first flew on September 24, 1939. This aircraft was one of the first British bomber designs to use four engines. During WWII, it flew 82,773 operations for the RAF Bomber Command, dropping 224,207 tons of bombs. It also served as a glider tug and in special operations missions such as parachute drops of arms and agents over occupied Europe. Under the RAF Coastal Command, the aircraft served in reconnaissance and meteorological roles, and in anti-submarine warfare. After the war, Halifaxes went on to serve as freighters for British airlines.
The Handley Page Halifax was the second of Britain’s four-engined heavy bombers to enter RAF service and the first to drop bombs on German soil. Often regarded as an inferior aircraft to the more famous Avro Lancaster, there is no doubting that the initial introduction of the Halifax was troublesome and operational loss rates were unacceptably high. Successive upgrades resulted in a much better aircraft, which was to shoulder a significant responsibility in the bomber offensive against Germany and served right through to the end of the war. Operating at lower altitudes than the Lancaster, many crews learned to love their Halifax and over the years, there has been heated debate amongst former aircrew as to which aircraft was the best heavy bomber of WWII – we should leave this discussion to the experts, the brave aircrew who flew both the Lancaster and the Halifax.