Thursday, 26 January 2012

Handley Page Halifax: the forgotten bomber

The Handley page Halifax was the first four-engined heavy bomber to enter service in the RAF, carrying out its first raid on the night of 11-12 March 1941.
The Halifax was overshadowed, for its entire career, by the Avro Lancaster. Air Marshal Harris, the commander of the Bomber Command, always favoured the Lancaster for its ability to carry a higher bomb load. 
Nevertheless, final variants of the Halifax had lower loss rates than the Lanc, offered their crew higher chances of survival when hit, and could perform many other roles besides stategic bombing. The Halifax was, in fact, used by No. 100 Group for electronic warfare, and by the SOE to parachute agents over enenmy territory.
These missions involved dangerous flight deep into the Reich and it eastern territories: in one of such missions, a Halifax of No. 138 Sqn dropped nine agents over Czech Republic on 28 December 1942. On 27 May 1942, these men attacked the car on which Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi Protector of Bohemia and Moravia and one of the planners of the Final Solution, killing him.
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