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Merlin’s At Sunset
The Lancaster’s design grew out of a failed predecessor, the Avro Manchester. While its’ airframe offered a stable platform for heavy bombing assignments, the Manchester’s twin engine design was inadequate. By upgrading to four Merlin's, the resulting aircraft met the nation’s needs and 7,366 Avro Lancasters were built during the war, the most of any British bomber. The first RAF squadron to convert to the Lancaster was No. 44 Squadron RAF in early 1942.Lancasters flew 156,000 sorties and dropped 608,612 long tons (618,378 tonnes) of bombs between 1942 and 1945.
The Lancaster Bomber
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Just 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations each, and 3,249 were lost in action. The most successful survivor completed 139 operations, and was scrapped in 1947.Lancs took part in the devastating round-the-clock raids on Hamburg during Air Chief Marshal Harris' "Operation Gomorrah" in July 1943. A famous Lancaster bombing raid was the 1943 mission, codenamed Operation Chastise, designed to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley. The operation was carried out by 617 Squadron in modified Mk IIIs carrying special drum shaped bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. The story of the operation was later made into a film, The Dam Busters. Also famous was a series of Lancaster attacks using Tallboy bombs against theGerman battleship Tirpitz, which first disabled and later sank the ship.