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Thread: Lancaster B.1(FE)

  1. #1
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    Lancaster B.1(FE)

    I'm doing a bit of research to try and understand why a post-war unit would re-equip with the Lancaster B.1(FE), previously having operated the Lancaster B.1. Does anyone have the details of what the Lancaster B.1(FE) conversion actually entailed ? From various references, all I can turn up is that it involved a bomb-bay fuel tank (thus longer range) and a revised navigation, radio and radar fit. Can anyone supply details of the latter ? Just wondering what advantages the B.1(FE) variant had.

    thanks in advance,

    abadonna

  2. #2
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    Did the FE bit refer to 'Far East' by chance? Was this the type modified for Tiger Force duties?
    Martin

  3. #3
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    Didn't it also have the mid upper turret removed?

    Regards,

    kev35
    The Forums only '"blithering anorak" as endorsed by ZRX61

  4. #4
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    hi,
    according to Harleyford's Lancaster story of a famous bomber B.1.s comming off delivery from V.A,and A.W,went to 38 MU at Llandow then flown to Shorts at Belfast for conv these being then FE.for the Tiger force.
    Tropicalised included mid-upper turret removed to compensate for a extra fuel tank 400gallon in bomb bay,also change of radio to SCR.522.
    9,+617 sq,s included to drop Grand slams and Tallboys on Japanese targets.

    regards
    jack...

  5. #5
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    Jack,

    thanks for that.

    abadonna

  6. #6
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    Wouldnt it be a simple matter that at the end of the war, the B1 FE's were new and un-used and available in storage, having not been used for the Far East, and that B1 production would had stopped by then to give way to the Lincoln?, and that the majority of all other B1s in store or available would be well worn? veterans?, and probably mothballed ready for scrapping?, or being retired from service? as apparantly occured here?

    regards

    Mark Pilkington
    Last edited by Mark_pilkington; 14th January 2013 at 20:42.
    "Never has a Country so Big!, owed so Much!, to those who Flew!"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev35 View Post
    Didn't it also have the mid upper turret removed?
    The B.I FE retained the mid upper turret.

    Two squadrons equiped with the type from 1945 to 1949/50, 7 at Upwood and 35 at Graveley & Stradishall. It was this latter unit that performed the 16 a/c 'Operation Goodwill' tour of the 'States in the summer of 1946. I'm wondering if the extra range of this version facilitated that.

    I would agree with Mark, in that these new aircraft would be in storage and available for use.

    Edit, 207 at Stradishall might have used the B.I FE as well, but can't establish if it was that mark or the B.VII FE
    Last edited by pagen01; 14th January 2013 at 22:38.

  8. #8
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    207 had mk.I+III,s as well as I.FE,s till 1949 when they received Lincolns.
    3 such were PA440,SW303-A,TW869-D.as quoted in Bomber Sq,s of the RAF and there a/c.
    regards
    jack...
    Last edited by Peter; 15th January 2013 at 15:09.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_pilkington View Post
    Wouldnt it be a simple matter that at the end of the war, the B1 FE's were new and un-used and available in storage, having not been used for the Far East, and that B1 production would had stopped by then to give way to the Lincoln?, and that the majority of all other B1s in store or available would be well worn? veterans?, and probably mothballed ready for scrapping?, or being retired from service? as apparantly occured here?

    regards

    Mark Pilkington
    in Harleyfords Lancaster it says "while flight refuelling experiments were still being conducted,they were not pressed for the Tiger Force.The production of the required installation would set back Lincoln production still further and delay development of the Lancasters.It was finally agreed that the force standard for Lancasters would be initially mk,s I,III and VII.
    With upper turrets removed to compensate for a 400gallon tank in the bomb bay,also a change of radio's from the British to the US SCR-522,amongst other minor changes".
    Also it states "Lancaster B.I's coming off delivery from Vickers Armstrong and Armstrong Whitworth were ear marked to FE standard."

    regards
    jack...

  10. #10
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    There were two Lancasters modified with long range dorsal saddle tanks,HK541 and SW244. I always thought this was a mod for the FE Lancasters ? Would this have been used if they had went over? Awful looking modifcation , and wouldn't have fancied sitting under all that fuel !!!

  11. #11
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    Thanks Jack, found a nice pic of 207 B.I FE (A, possibly SW303) after I posted!

    Just to clarify about the turrets, the FEs retained the mid upper turrets in squadron service.
    Whether the initial idea of the Tiger Force mods was to remove them to save weight I really don't know, but when that idea was cancelled the Lancasters retained the armament.
    One quick way to tell a B.I FE from a B.IIV FE is by the large shrouded upper turret of the early mark, as opposed to the more forward located and smaller turret of the VII.

    The saddle tank idea was part of the FE force idea, but unsure if it might have been devised before?

    Nice to see a thread about these early post-war Lancasters as you don't see an awful lot about them.
    They are one of my favourite schemed variants in the dramatic white over black undersides.

    Has anyone here seen a photo of an FE in the later full roundels?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lestweforget View Post
    There were two Lancasters modified with long range dorsal saddle tanks,HK541 and SW244. I always thought this was a mod for the FE Lancasters ? Would this have been used if they had went over? Awful looking modifcation , and wouldn't have fancied sitting under all that fuel !!!
    Also from Harleyfords Lancaster-an experiment in long range ops,1,200gallons,HK541 was a standard sevice a/c in for repair then modified by A.V.Roe then sent to Hucknell where R.R changed the Merlin 22 engines to 24,s,then to B.Down for tests.
    It then went to India for further trials,and on 24th May t/off at 72,000lbs-which included 1000 and 500lb bombs which were then jettisoned in the sea.
    Endurance flights of 11hrs were flown,it then returned to the UK on 12/6/45. SW244 was modified after leaving Wordford on 24/11/44,then to B.Down for tests and out to Perth,Australia in August via Ceylon.Returning to the UK and going to 10 MU.in Dec 1945 to be scraped Nov 1946.

    regards
    jack...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_pilkington View Post
    Wouldnt it be a simple matter that at the end of the war, the B1 FE's were new and un-used and available in storage, having not been used for the Far East, and that B1 production would had stopped by then to give way to the Lincoln?,
    Ah - I think that was the bit I was missing. I'd assumed that FE conversions were applied to in-service aircraft. Had not realised that it was applied to new aircraft straight from production. Makes sense now. Thanks.

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