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  • Lancaster Bomber - on board

    The earlier thread about the BBMF prompted me to post these shots, taken at East Kirkby, on board the Lancaster Bomber "Just Jane". As photographs, just record shots; but they do show what it's like.

    First one is the cockpit; it shows someone in the pilot's seat, and you can just see someone else in the bomb aimer position in the nose:
    [IMG][/IMG]

    I could touch both sides easily - it's that narrow.

    The instrument panel:
    [IMG][/IMG]

    The view forward from the entry door - you can see a lady struggling over the main wing spar to go forward:
    [IMG][/IMG]

    View out:
    [IMG][/IMG]

    The rear turret:
    [IMG][/IMG]

    And a Vulcan cockpit for comparison:
    [IMG][/IMG]

    I hope you find these an interesting addition to an already interesting thread. I definitely wouldn't have wanted to serve in either a Lanc or a Vulcan, thank you!

    In the Lancaster, there was an Elsan toilet just forward of the rear gunner - he had to slide over it to get into the turret; in the Vulcan the toilet was just a rubber bag......

  • #2
    Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

    I did not know there was no co-pilot with controll columne of his own in a Lancaster. Seems odd for such a big bird. Do I see the "wires" you were only supposed to break in an emergency - above the throttle levers? Nice in-sights, thanks for sharing these.
    I am not afraid of Tits

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    • #3
      Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

      Originally posted by Falk View Post
      I did not know there was no co-pilot with controll columne of his own in a Lancaster. Seems odd for such a big bird. Do I see the "wires" you were only supposed to break in an emergency - above the throttle levers? Nice in-sights, thanks for sharing these.
      None of the four engined bombers had a co-pilot! They had a flight engineer, who sat next to, and just behind the pilot. When the FE's seat was hinged down so that he could sit on it, the guy in the nose was stuck in there, with no escape unless the FE got up and lifted his seat again.

      Even worse was the Liberator; the main crew escape route was between the fuel tanks, which were along the sides inside the fuselage - and there wasn't room for them to wear parachutes whilst going through the gangway.. They didn't call them flying coffins for nothing! The pilot and FE could escape through the cockpit roof.

      Incidentally, there were no ejector seats for the three observer/bomb aimers in the Vulcan, either.

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      • #4
        Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

        I feel quite ambivalent about the Lancaster.

        On the one hand it was a fine piece of engineering, but on the other was a machine causing dreadful destruction, particularly of Hamburg:

        "In January 1946, Major Cortez F. Enloe, a surgeon in the USAAF who worked on the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS), said that the fire effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki "were not nearly as bad as the effects of the R.A.F. raids on Hamburg on July 27th 1943". He estimated more than 40,000 people died in Hamburg."

        [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Hamburg_in_World_War_II"]Bombing of Hamburg in World War II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

        Jim

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        • #5
          Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

          Originally posted by Jim Ford View Post
          I feel quite ambivalent about the Lancaster.

          On the one hand it was a fine piece of engineering, but on the other was a machine causing dreadful destruction, particularly of Hamburg:

          "In January 1946, Major Cortez F. Enloe, a surgeon in the USAAF who worked on the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS), said that the fire effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki "were not nearly as bad as the effects of the R.A.F. raids on Hamburg on July 27th 1943". He estimated more than 40,000 people died in Hamburg."

          Bombing of Hamburg in World War II - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

          Jim
          You have Churchill and Harris to thank for that. The British Bombing Survey Unit showed that area bombing of cities caused little reduction in war materiel production - about 5% in the Blitz - yet they continued to do it. And a quote from Harris: "Only about 20% of my crews are any good - the rest are just there to give the Germans something to shoot at." I wonder what they would have thought if they'd known. The Yanks targeted in order of priority: oil installations, transport, communications. And they had far fewer casualties doing it, along with a far greater effect on Germany's ability to wage war. It is also a fact that 3/4 of the tonnage of bombs dropped on Germany were in the last 8 months of the war, when it was clear that they could not win.

          You should read Professor Richard Overy's book "The Bombing War"; he blows away the myths about it all using the government's own figures and reports.

          My (much older) brother was stationed outside Hamburg in 1947-48 at Uterson. I remember his descriptions of the damage, and that there were still black crosses on the heaps of rubble then. In the St Pauli district, he said, there were just two buildings standing in an area of 12 miles by 1 approx.

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          • #6
            Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

            Pictures of the Vulcan show "progress" interestingly and what many don't realise is that the Vulcan was AVROs replacement to the Lancaster. Apparently there were still some Lancs flying when the Vulcan was brought into testing!

            I seem to remember that only a fraction of the Vulcan was crew, the rest payload and fuel. 1/13 rings a bell... Another marvel of the air.

            Hanover has an interesting model in the town hall showing the state of the city at different times, one just post war brings home the destruction.

            Jim, they say war brings about the most rapid change in technology, such a shame.
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            • #7
              Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

              Originally posted by KeithL View Post
              My (much older) brother was stationed outside Hamburg in 1947-48 at Uterson. I remember his descriptions of the damage, and that there were still black crosses on the heaps of rubble then. In the St Pauli district, he said, there were just two buildings standing in an area of 12 miles by 1 approx.
              I read "The Night Hamburg Died" by Martin Caidin some years ago. A statistic that stuck in my mind was that 30,000 acres of Hamburg were destroyed, contrasting with just 100 in Coventry - and yet people say that 'Coventry got hit badly'!

              Jim

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              • #8
                Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

                A timely and awesome post, Keith.
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                * mark * Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia **
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                • #9
                  Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

                  Some excellent inside shots there. Not likely to see that in person so thanks for posting.
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/flip_photo_flickr/

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                  • #10
                    Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

                    Originally posted by Jim Ford View Post
                    I read "The Night Hamburg Died" by Martin Caidin some years ago. A statistic that stuck in my mind was that 30,000 acres of Hamburg were destroyed, contrasting with just 100 in Coventry - and yet people say that 'Coventry got hit badly'!

                    Jim
                    You would find "Inferno" by Keith Lowe interesting. Some very good photographs of it, too. For Coventry raids: [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coventry_Blitz"]Coventry Blitz - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] is a decent source.

                    Well, I was born in Coventry, and remember it as a child around 1949. There were actually two large raids on Coventry: 14/15 Nov 1940 and IIRC, April 8/9 1941. The second one was if anything larger, but had a much smaller proportion of HE, because the Germans were short of it, and had to reduce its use.

                    One statistic that perhaps puts the bombing in perspective is that there was more weight of bombs dropped on Rome than on the whole of the UK. Incidentally, almost 3/4 of the bombs dropped on Italy were after the Italians had surrendered.

                    In both Dresden and Berlin there was more than 80% destruction over just in excess of 13 square miles. In Dresden, the raids were timed so that the next wave hit as the firefighters and rescuers were active dealing with the results of the first raid. Coventry and Dresden were/are twin cities, and Coventry had the golden ball made that tops the Frauenkirche, to complete its restoration. There is apparently a move to restore some of the baroque streets there now.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

                      Thanks for sharing these shots of the Lancaster from the inside Keith.
                      Very interesting.
                      Regards Huw


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                      • #12
                        Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

                        I'm glad you all like the post; not many people get to see inside planes like this. I'll put the set of Vulcan shots on later. I have some of the Shackleton, Hastings, Canberra and one or two others, too. I have some more Lanc ones, too.

                        One thing that surprised me was that the controls are quite light; you wouldn't expect that. The stick particularly is quite a nice weight, damped probably by the wire ropes that connect it to the control surfaces, and I imagine it would be nice to fly.

                        BTW, I have a set of government instructional films on DVD that explain how to start and stop the engines on the Wellington; how to arm/disarm the guns and operate the Frazer-Nash turrets, load the ammunition belts etc. Titled "Target for Tonight", a propaganda film made I think in 1941, which is included. What really brings it alive is things like: it says you must close the turret doors behind you in the right order, or when you rotate the turret, you'll fall out, since they won't be latched! And don't drop the ammo belt hook, because you won't be able to reach it, and won't be able to load, cock, and fire the guns without it. Fascinating stuff. Definitely very different to the cinema films about it all!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

                          Excellent, please do. I've been in a Vulcan, hardly room to swing a cat
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                          • #14
                            Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

                            I reckon you could just about swing the cat...but you wouldn't be too popular if you did! I'll do me best to shrink 'em and post 'em.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Lancaster Bomber - on board

                              I've posted this before:

                              At Pitstone Museum in Beds. you can go in an accurate reproduction of the front end of a Lancaster:

                              http://website.lineone.net/~norman.groom/

                              You can sit in the flight engineer's seat and flick the mag. switches on and 'start' each engine in turn (for authenticity, you ought to shout 'clear one', 'clear two' etc.!) You get a good sound of each engine starting in turn and ground idling. You can then advance the throttles to a satisfying roar (they reduced the original engine volume, because it used to frighten the kids!). The instruments all work, including the rev counters and oil pressure gauges. Close your eyes and you're on the way to Berlin!

                              It's well worth a visit!

                              Jim

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