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Osprey Combat Aircraft 5 : Blenheim Squadrons of World War 2

Built in large numbers in the years leading up to World War 2, Bristol's Blenheim saw use as both a fighter and bomber thanks to its high speed in relation to the biplane types it was then replacing. The first Mk Is entered service with No 114 Sqn in March 1937, a staggering 1552 eventually being built before the RAF ordered the revised Mk IV into production. By September 1939, most UK-based Blenheim squadrons had replaced their Mk Is with the latter variant, which had grown out of an Air Ministry requirement for a reconnaissance type with greater crew accommodation and an increased range. As the backbone type in Bomber Command at the start of hostilities, it fell to the Mk IV to make both the first reconnaissance incursion into German airspace and the first bombing raid. Aside from its work as the staple medium RAF bomber from 1939 through to 1942, Belnheims also served as pioneer radar-equipped nightfighters in 1940/41 and long-range patrol aircraft with Coastal Command. Obsolete in Europe by the end of 1940, the Blenheim continued to serve as a frontline bomber in North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Far East well into 1943. Text by Jon Lake with illustrations by Chris Davey.

    Contents
  • Genesis of the Blenheim
  • 'Phoney War' and Blitzkrieg
  • On the Offensive
  • Fighter Command
  • Coastal Command
  • Middle East and Mediterranean
  • Blenheims East of Suez
  • Appendices

 

Osprey Combat Aircraft


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