HANDLEY PAGE HALIFAX HO-57/B-VI – Pakistan Air Force

Handley Page Halifax B.VI, 12º Squadron, Pakistan Air Force, 1949.

In Service (1948-1954)

Handley Page Halifax was one of the British front-line, four engine heavy bombers of the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War. A contemporary of the famous Avro Lancaster, the Halifax remained in service until the end of the war, performing a variety of duties in addition to bombing. The Halifax was also operated by squadrons of the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Royal Pakistan Air Force and Polish Air Force.

First two Halifax were delivered in 1948, used the aircraft was used during 1948 Kashmir War for night-time supply drop missions at Skardu and other northern areas of Pakistan. 6 ex-RAF Halifax B-VI were delivered in 1949, equipping No.12 Heavy Bomber Squadron raised in March 1950. Squadron converted to a composite squadron of four flights, including one flight of Halifax bombers, in September 1953.

Eventually all Halifax aircraft were transferred to long-term storage in 1954 and then disposed of as salvage.

H.P.61 Halifax VI

When the improved and more powerful Hercules 100 became available in 1944, the higher performance Mk.VI was introduced. With minimal changes from the Mk.III, the Mk.VI retained the same HP model number. Which featured Hercules 100 radials providing 1,250 kW (1,675 HP) take-off power, plus engine intake filters and a pressurized fuel system — the changes being mostly intended to support tropical operations in the Far East. They were otherwise similar to the B.Mk III in airframe configuration and equipment fit. Late production machines had a Boulton-Paul D.Mk II tail turret with twin 12.7-millimeter Browning machine guns.

A total of 643 B.Mk.VI machines were built.

During the war, many wondered why the Halifax remained in production when the Lancaster seemed the better bomber, but with the introduction of the B.Mk III, there wasn’t that much to distinguish the two in terms of range, ceiling, and speed. The Halifax did have a somewhat smaller bombload, about 85% that of the Lancaster, and the ultimate loss rate was higher — about one Halifax per 21 sorties, versus about one Lancaster per 27 sorties. However, this statistic was skewed by high losses of Halifaxes in the early days — the Halifax was in combat service about a year before the Lancaster became a real force — and in maturity, the odds of surviving being shot down in Halifax were almost twice as great as they were for a Lancaster. While the ultimate full load of bombs carried by the Halifax during the war was only about a third that carried by the Lancaster, it was still more than dropped by all other RAF bombers combined.

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