Corgi AA32625 RAF Avro Lancaster B Mk. III Heavy Bomber - AJ-L, Flt. Lt. Shannon, No. 617 Squadron, Scampton, "Operation Chastise" Dams Raid, May 16th, 1943 (1:72 Scale)
"Apres moi le deluge" ("After me, the flood")
- Motto of No. 617 Squadron
Entering service at the beginning of 1942, 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 to the task. By upgrading to four Merlins, the resulting aircraft met the nation's needs and 7,366 Avro Lancasters were built during the war, the most of any British bomber. Armament included eight to ten Browning machine guns for fighter defense (depending on model variant) mounted in the nose, upper dorsal turret and the tail. Experience with a variety of bomb loads eventually led to adoption of the 'Grand Slam' 22,000-pound bomb, the largest carried by any aircraft in the war.
The majority of Lancasters built during the war years were manufactured by Avro at their factory at Chadderton near Manchester and test flown from Woodford Aerodrome in Cheshire. Other Lancasters were built by Metropolitan-Vickers (1080, also tested at Woodford) and Armstrong Whitworth. The aircraft was also produced at the Austin Motor Company works in Longbridge, Birmingham later in the Second World War and postwar by Vickers-Armstrongs at Chester. Only 300 of the Lancaster B II fitted with Bristol Hercules engines were constructed; this was a stopgap modification caused by a shortage of Merlin engines as fighter production was of higher priority. Many BII's were lost after running out of fuel.
The Lancaster B III had Packard Merlin engines but was otherwise identical to contemporary B Is, with 3,030 B IIIs built, almost all at A.V. Roe's Newton Heath factory. The B I and B III were built concurrently, and minor modifications were made to both marks as new batches were ordered. Examples of these modifications were the relocation of the pitot head from the nose to the side of the cockpit, and the change from de Havilland "needle blade" propellers to Hamilton Standard or Nash Kelvinator made "paddle blade" propellers.
Of later variants, only the Canadian-built Lancaster B X, manufactured by Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario, was produced in significant numbers. A total of 430 of this type were built, earlier examples differing little from their British-built predecessors, except for using Packard-built Merlin engines and American-style instrumentation and electrics. Late-series models replaced the Frazer Nash mid-upper turret with a differently configured Martin turret, mounted slightly further forward for weight balance. A total of 7,377 Lancasters of all marks were built throughout the duration of the war, each at a 1943 cost of 45-50,000 (approximately equivalent to 1.3-1.5 million in 2005 currency).
For the dam-busting strike in May 1943, the Lancaster dropped British designer Barnes Wallis's 'bouncing bombs' which skipped on the surface before impact. Wartime Lancaster sorties totaled about 156,000 during which roughly 608,000 tons of ordnance were dropped on the enemy.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a RAF Avro Lancaster B Mk. III heavy bomber that was piloted by Flt. Lt. Shannon, who was attached to No. 617 Squadron, then deployed to Scampton, May 1943, and participating in "Operation Chastise" the Dams Raid. Now in stock!
Release Date: August 2018
Historical Account: "Dam Busters" - As one of the most significant bombing raids in the history of warfare, the audacious 'Dambusters' raid was the culmination of months of planning and weeks of intensive flying training. When the nineteen specially modified Avro Lancaster B.III bombers of 617 Squadron took off from RAF Scampton on the night of May 16th, 1943, they were not only carrying specialist equipment designed to help them achieve their objective, but also the ability to score a huge propaganda victory with a high-profile Allied military statement of intent.
Striking at the very heart of the mighty German industrial manufacturing base in the Ruhr valley, their aim was to disrupt war production by breaching three of the huge dams in the area, depriving factories of water and power generation, whilst also wreaking devastation on an unprecedented scale. If they were successful, the torrent of water flooding the entire region would clearly indicate to the German people that the Allies had the ability to strike at the heart of their nation and that they would ultimately prevail in this war. Devastation on this scale would both seriously affect Germany's ability to keep its armed forces supplied with weapons and ammunition, whilst also making a mockery of Hitler's propaganda messages.