Handley Page Hampden

The Hampden was the last of the twin-engined medium bombers to go into service during the expansion of Bomber Command in the late 1930s and, together with the Wellington and Whitley, it bore the brunt of the Royal Air Force's attacks against Germany in the early years of the Second World War.

Better manoeuvrability and performance than its two contemporaries led to high expectations, but early war time operations proved the aircraft had serious deficiencies. Two particular problems were identified. The very narrow fuselage provided cramped accommodation for the crew causing fatigue on long missions. Unlike other British medium bombers the Hampden had no multi-gun power-operated turrets. Its fixed forward gun was next to useless and the three flexible gun mountings in the nose and fuselage had a limited traverse which produced a number of blind spots. Modifications were put in hand to provide more guns but the fuselage design remained a problem throughout its service life.

After a disastrous, but mercifully short, daylight campaign Hampdens were switched to night operations until 1942 when a number were converted to carry a torpedo. Eventually 144 aircraft were modified in this way and the type continued in service with Coastal Command as a torpedo bomber until December 1943.

Type: Four-Seat bomber (later torpedo bomber and minelayer).
Origin: Handley Page
Models: H.P. 52 Hampden I and H.P. 53 Hereford I
First Flight:
    Prototype H.P. 52: June 31, 1936
    Production Hampden I: May 1938
    Production Hereford I: December 1939
Service Delivery: 1939
Production Halted: March 1942
Number Produced:
1,430 Hampdens (Handley Page 500, English Electric 770, Canadian Associated Aircraft 150)

100 Herefords were built by Short Brothers but failed to achieve operational status, many rebuilt as Hampdens. 

Hampden I
  Model: Bristol Pegasus XVIII
  Type: 9-Cylinder air cooled radial
  Number: Two    Horsepower: 1,000 hp

Hereford I
  Model: Napier Dagger VIII
  Type: 24-Cylinder air cooled H-type
  Number: Two    Horsepower: 1,000 hp 

Wing span: 69 ft. 2 in. (21.98m)
Length: 53 ft. 7 in. (16.33m)
Height: 14 ft. 4 in. (4.37m)
Wing Surface Area: N/A

   Hampden: 11,780 lb. (5344 kg)
   Hereford: 11,700 lb. (5308 kg)
   Hampden: 18,756 lb. (8508 kg)
   Hereford: 16,000 lb. (7257 kg)

Maximum Speed:
   Hampden: 254 mph (410 km/h)
Initial Climb: 980 ft/min (300 m/min)
Service Ceiling: 19,000 ft. (5790m)
Range (Fully loaded): 1,095 miles (1762 km)  

One .303 in. Vickers fixed forward.
One .303 in. Lewis manually aimed from nose by
    nav/bomb aimer.
One .303 in. Lewis manually aimed by wireless
    operator from upper rear position.
One .303 in. Lewis manually aimed by lower
    rear gunner.

By January 1940 both rear positions refitted with twin Vickers and increased firing arcs.

4,000 lb. (1814 kg.) of bombs internally.

By January 1940 hardpoints were added for two 500 lb. bombs added below outer wings, provision for carrying mines or one 18 in. torpedo