Avro Lancaster B I – 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF, Nettleton VC, Augsburg Raid, April 17 1942
1 in stock
1 in stock
Corgi Aviation 1/72 scale AA32603; Lancaster B.Mk I of 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron RAF, Waddington, Lincs, as flown by John Nettleton VC on the costly Augsburg Raid, April 17 1942
Length 11.75 inches Wingspan 17 inches
PLEASE NOTE: Box has a light crush to one corner some scuff marks to edges, typical for the size and age and nothing that badly detracts.
The Augsburg commenced on the afternoon of 17 April 1942, when Nettleton led six Lancaster bombers from RAF Waddington south in two flights of three. A few miles away at RAF Woodhall Spa, six more Lancasters from 97 Sqn took to the air and headed south as well. The two groups did not link up, which was not required as part of their mission. Both groups reached Selsey Bill independently, flew out over the channel and turned toward the French coast. The 97 Squadron group caught sight of the 44 Squadron aircraft as they approached the continent, but the 44 Squadron aircraft were running a course slightly to the north of what was planned and the 97 Squadron commander chose not to close up. Shortly after Nettleton’s group crossed the French coast near Dieppe, German fighters of Stab and II./JG 2, returning after intercepting a planned diversionary raid which had been organised to assist the bombers, attacked the 44 Sqn aircraft a short way inland. Four of the Lancasters were shot down. Nettleton continued towards the target, and his two remaining aircraft attacked the factory, bombing it amid heavy anti aircraft fire. Both aircraft dropped their bombs but were hit as they flew away from the target. Nettletons aircraft limped back on three engines. His companions Lancaster caught on fire and crashed. At the end of his return flight Nettletons aircraft overflew the United Kingdom and was out over the Irish Sea before turning back and finally landing near Blackpool. He was awarded the Victoria Cross, gazetted on 24 April 1942
Avro’s chief designer, Roy Chadwick knew that the twin engined Manchester was a good aircraft. Designed to cope with the stresses of dive bombing and to carry torpedoes, it had immense strength and a large, partition free bomb bay. But it was dogged by the under developed Rolls Royce Vulture engine, whose construction (bolting two 12 cylinder engines round a common crankshaft) led to catastrophic unreliability.
Faced with the ignominious Air Ministry instruction to build Halifax bombers instead, Chadwick worked feverishly in association with Rolls Royce and produced what was arguably the greatest bomber of WWII. With a ceiling of up to 24,000 feet and an eventual load carrying ability greater than its entire weight, the ‘Lanc’ was not only prized by the Brass hats, but much loved by its crews for its ability to get them out of trouble with near fighter agility, yet take off, cruise and land with genteel docility.
From its first operational sortie in March, 1942, some 7,377 aircraft were made, flew 156,000 missions and dropped 608,612 tons of ordnance-that’s two thirds of all the bombs dropped by Bomber Command during the war. But there was always a price to be paid. Over 4,000 Lancasters, together with their seven man crews, were lost.
The Lancaster was far from a blunt instrument. That capacious bomb bay allowed Barnes Wallis to design the bouncing Upkeep bomb, the 12,000lb Tallboy and the 22,000lb Grand Slam all of which were specific, tactical weapons. Arguments over the effectiveness of these weapons miss the point; that Bomber Command and its leader, Arthur Harris, would always adopt new technology that would aid precision bombing. Lancasters also played a crucial role in daylight operations before, during and after D-Day and additionally, were the preferred aircraft for the Pathfinder forces and in developing the first effective air-to-ground Radar navigation system; H2S.