The Forgotten Bomber The Blenheim Bristol

Discussion in 'Modelling' started by jameson2106, Nov 25, 2005.

  1. jameson2106

    jameson2106 Junior Member

    Hi everyone I am looking for a die cast model of Blenheim Bristol Mk1 bomber which my uncle would have flown in Singapore 1942 he was a Squadron Leader in 34 Squadron

    Any thoughts on where I can get one already made/painted you wonderful modelling whizzzz's ? (respectfully)
    I would get an air fix kit but I am part disabled and it would look like downed one if I made it LOL

  2. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Haven't a clue, James, but welcome to the boards, and thank you for your uncle's service to Crown and Country in time of war.
  3. Jamie Holdbridge-Stuart

    Jamie Holdbridge-Stuart Senior Member

    Jameson, Corgi's next die-cast release in 1/72 is going to be the Bristol Blenheim... Good Hunting.
  4. Ferahgo

    Ferahgo Senior Member

    I haven't heard of the Bristol, and i think it would be hard to find one in itself. It may be the same as the Bristol Bolingbrook, which was the same as the Blenheim but with a few minor differences. Please can you elaborate on 'Blenheim Bristol'? The Blenheim was made by bristol...or am i confusing myself, are those two names the wrong way round?
  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    or am i confusing myself

    Yes you are.
    It's the Bristol Blenhiem .
    I wouldn't worry this thread dates from 2005.
  6. Ferahgo

    Ferahgo Senior Member

    oh yes.... lol silly me (senior moment at 18 :s) there was however a bristol Bolingbrooke...
  7. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    The plane was made by the Bristol Aeroplane Company at Filton, near Bristol.
    The factory is the current Bae Factory, still involved in aircraft production.
    hence the shortened name Bristol Blenheim.

  8. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Why "forgotten bomber"?
  9. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I too, was wondering the same thing, but as the thread is 3 years old I only replied to the question regarding the name of the Factory.

    As far as I know it was a very well liked plane by those who could fly her, as it was not an easy plane by all accounts to fly.

    When first produced it was fast, faster than most contempory fighter planes, but as WW2 broke out it was too slow and underarmed.
    That is why so many were shot down on unescorted missions early on the conflict.

    I do not think that it was ever a forgotten aircraft.

  10. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    At least a quite famous one in North Africa...
  11. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    The Blenheim was invented quite a few years before WW2 and by the time war broke out it was out of date but in relatively plentiful supply, with a smaller bomb load, little armour and few guns in the mark l. Even the later mark 4 had the usual double .303 machine gun to defend itself against the 20mm German cannons.

    Nevertheless, they went on many missions, usually alone to the target or part of a circus, with many casulties.

    Not sure whether you guys saw 90 years of the RAF. It went from the Battle of Britain to the Lanc. in '42. No mention was made of the Blenheim or many of the other troopers such as the Stirling and Whitney which first took the war back to Germany.

    This is very typical of many such documentaries.

    And, yes, l am biassed!


  12. Ferahgo

    Ferahgo Senior Member

    It is the forgotten bomber because when you ask people to name a british bomber of ww2 they never say 'Blenheim'. For instance the average man-on-the-street will know of Dresden and Berlin...maybe... but he will not know of the disastrous, almost suicide, raids made by Blenheims against targets like bridges in a futile attempt to stop the Blitz of France. I went to the Bristol aircraft museum at Kemble, that was pretty good stuff. The Bolingbrook was a Blenheim variant that had better engines, but by the time it came out aircraft like the wellington had taken it's role. There was no need for a day-time light bomber, the Farey Battle and the Blenheim had proved this.

    Forgotten fact about the Forgotten Bomber- it made the first hostile action between Britain and Germany. A single Blenheim flew to a port on the Germany/North Sea coast and dropped bombs or mines, i forget which, into the port.
  13. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    139 squadron on a look-see was the first action.
  14. Jamie Holdbridge-Stuart

    Jamie Holdbridge-Stuart Senior Member

    Must admit to being one who'd forgot it too... till I read this book and got my opinion changed quicksharp.
    Valiant wings : the Battle and Blenheim squadrons over France 1940 by Norman Franks.
  15. duncr

    duncr Member

    On the subject of forgotten bombers...........the other one which did much sterling work at the beginning of the war...........the HP Hampden
  16. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Welcome to the forum.
    Yes the Hampden was also out of date but well loved by the pilots for its excellent handling.
    It was such a cold aircraft though and not much room.
    It was also one of the most streamline planes that really should have been called the Flying Pencil! not The Do 17!

  17. duncr

    duncr Member

    Thanks for the welcome............not had much time sinse I registered to say hello, but I'll be on for the next few weeks...........hope I can add something to the site in that time................

  18. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    Sorry for bringing an aircraft back to the notice of everyone:-
    The Bristol Blenheim aircraft, first saw service in March 1937 and was considered at that time to be an outstanding aircraft when compared to the older biplanes that most of the pilots and crew had just moved over from. It was the first all metal stressed skinned monoplane (single winged) that the RAF had ever ordered, and was ordered in large numbers, with a top speed of 307 mph, some 50 to 60 mph faster than the RAF’s frontline fighters of the time. At the time and at the start of the war the aircrew were very happy to be flying the Blenheim compared to all the ancient bombers that were still in service.

    But with the imminent danger of war, the development of much more advanced, faster, more manoeuvrable and better armed fighter aircraft was already underway, in fact on the outbreak of war, the Blenheim was already outdated when compared to its main adversaries, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and 110, which were much faster than the Blenheim at that time. They were also armed with 20mm cannon with an effective range of 1,000 yards compared with the Blenheim’s single 0.303 calibre or Vickers machine guns with an overall range of 300 yards at the most.

    The Bristol Blenheim was the front line light bombers right from the beginning of the war. In fact, as Neville Chamberlain was broadcasting to the nation on 3 September 1939 stating that the nation was at war with Germany, a Blenheim IV of 139 Squadron, from Wyton in Huntingdonshire was flying the first British sortie of the war over enemy territory and was already on its way to take photographs of the German Fleet at Kiel and Wilhelmshaven.

    The following day, the first defensive sortie of the war was mounted by 15 Blenheim’s of 2 Group Bomber Command, of these, 5 failed to locate the target, German shipping in Schilling Roads, due to poor weather and off the 10 that found the target, 5 were shot down by anti-aircraft fire. The bombs did little damage to the target and this proved quiet typical of the bravely executed but largely ineffective and very costly Blenheim bombing raids that were to follow. In this action, Sergeant George Booth, an observer with No.107 Squadron became the first British Prisoner of World War 2 when his Bristol Blenheim was shot down over the German coast on 4th September 1939.

    The Blenheim was also as a night fighter, the first aircraft in the world to carry radar and the first aircraft to carry out successful interception of the enemy both by day and at night. An invaluable tool to the conclusion of the Battle of Britain at night.

    The Bristol Blenheim was a remarkable aircraft, flown by a remarkable bunch of servicemen. At the start of World War 2 the RAF had more Blenheim’s than any other aircraft. It was the only true multi role combat aircraft to serve in every RAF command, serving in all the theatres of war within the Second World War, being used as a daylight and night bomber, a long range fighter, night intruder and fighter, photo reconnaissance, finally being used for the operational and advanced training of pilots before they went on to their front line Squadrons. The last operational sorties were in August 1943 in the Far East in Burma operating from India. A great aircraft but not a war machine.

    During the Battle of Britain and afterwards the Spitfires and Hurricanes defended the shores of Britain from the constant attack from the enemy but it was the bombers of RAF Bomber Command that continually carried out attacks on the airfields from where the attacking force departed and on the impending invasion fleet, round the clock, by night and day, these crew members of both Bomber Command and Coastal Command losing considerably more aircrew through that period than that of Fighter Command. They played a vital role in destroying the German invasion barge fleet during the Battle of Britain, being amassed on the French coast and harassing enemy shipping in the Channel. They also formed a large part of the night fighter squadrons at this time.

    In the early years of the war, however, most of the operations were done without fighter escort at very low level, 50 feet, to avoid detection and the devastating effects of the German anti-aircraft guns, whether attacking land targets or shipping. This also presented less of a target for the ever present German fighter force. Clear sky, whilst obviously assisting the crews to find the target was also one of the Blenheim crews biggest nightmares, as this meant that the Blenheim’s could be seen and targeted by both the anti-aircraft guns and the fighters. Generally the view was that if there was no cloud cover over the target then it would make for a very difficult assault, as the Blenheim’s would be looking to drop out of cloud cover over the target, deliver their ordinance and them seek to hide back in the cloud cover quickly afterwards as they head for home.

    Despite these tactics, the Blenheim’s proved very vulnerable to the German fighter aircraft and the losses were devastating, including many of the Countries pre-war most valuable, highly trained and experienced professional RAF crews. During the battle for France 200 Blenheim’s were lost alone in a matter of a few weeks, leading to a statement in May 1940 by the Senior Officer Commanding Bomber Command, Charles Portal, which said “I am convinced that the proposed use of these Blenheim units is fundamentally unsound and that if it is persisted in it is likely to have disastrous consequences on the future of the war in the air”

    But realistically, there was no alternative and the Blenheim had to be pushed to the forefront of the daylight bombing campaign, as the Wellington, Hampden and Whitley quickly proved too vulnerable to be used other than at night. This produced a great deal of respect for the Blenheim crews within the RAF, who’s service was known to be so hazardous that their bravery earned them the highest respect from their peers in the RAF to whom they became known as the Blenheim Boys. Did they really realise that the losses were as high as they were.

    The first deep penetration daylight bombing raid into Germany of the war was carried out by a force of 54 Blenheim’s on Cologne’s two power station’s on 12th August 1941, with losses of 12 aircraft. The fighter escort could not support the bombers, having to leave them at the Dutch coast making them very vulnerable to attack by fighter aircraft.

    Blenheim crews suffered the highest proportionate losses of any bomber crews during the war but delivered many success stories which were badly needed by the British propaganda machine, even though the trues losses were glossed over by the Government.

    Despite these losses, the Blenheim crews remained resilient and determined in their duty, bravely carrying on. Taking to the skies daily in their effectively obsolete aircraft, that were outclassed and out gunned by their adversaries but never faltered.

    In the Summer of 1941, there was a number of voices against increased bombing raids on German cities, together with the resulting increase in German civilian casualties, but in July 1941 in a public speech at County Hall London he declared:-

    “If tonight the people of London were asked to cast their vote whether a convention should be entered into to stop the bombing of all cities...the people of London with one voice would say to Hitler: “You have committed every crime under the sun. Where you have been the least resisted there you have been the most brutal.... We will have no truce or parley with you, or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst—and we will do our best. Perhaps it may be our turn soon; perhaps it may be our turn now”

    The bombing offensive continued but it was not aimed at civilians, but against the industrial might of Germany and the railway centres. But losses continued at an alarming rate. In a daylight raid on German shipping in Rotterdam in August 1941 seven out of the seventeen bombers were lost. This loss was reflected in a letter from Churchill to the Chief of the Air Staff, when he voiced his concern.

    Churchill further recognised the bravery of these pilots when he wrote:-

    “The devotion and gallantry of these attacks on Rotterdam…are beyond all praise. The Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava is eclipsed in brightness by these almost daily deeds of fame.”
  19. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    Sorry for bringing an aircraft back to the notice of everyone:-

    Nothing to be sorry for! :)

    It shows how rapidly technology advanced during WWII.

    The only thing I didn't like about it was the asymmetrical nose canopy.
    Always seemed 'not quite right'. Just like the He 111 glass.

  20. NickFenton

    NickFenton Well-Known Member

    So much glass, imagine how you felt with the flak, but l think the mark IV was better than the Mark I, sorry restoration guys.

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