More aircrews were said to have lost their lives in Blenheims during WW2 than any other type

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by CL1, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    "More aircrews were said to have lost their lives in Blenheims during the Second World War than any other aircraft."

    Tributes to Jaguar's king of speed

    After being called up for service following the outbreak of war in September 1939, where he flew in the Bristol Blenheim Mk IV planes on various sorties over enemy territory. Having lost many good friends, he rarely talked about the war, and he was invalided out of active service in 1942 after sustaining kidney damage in battle. The illness may have saved Norman's life – more aircrews were said to have lost their lives in Blenheims during the Second World War than any other aircraft.
  2. Vintage Wargaming

    Vintage Wargaming Well-Known Member

    More aircrews or more aircrew - two different things. If a complete crew was 3 and 100 aircraft lost with all hands that’s 100 aircrews and a total loss of 300 aircrew. I suspect they meant aircrew.
  3. Juha

    Juha Junior Member

    I doubt that, 3,249 or 3431 (depending on the source) Lancasters were lost during ops plus those lost during training and other non-combat missions. And Lanc had 7 men crew
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    I think that the loss statistic is from the Blenheim Mark 1V service in France from September 1939 as two squadrons being the sole strength of the Air Component until the fall of France and from No 2 Group BC which had 7-10 Blenheim squadrons on strength from the same date until the type was withdrawn from front line operations on 18 August 1942.The Air Component losses are small compared to the losses of No 2 Group Bomber Command which was a Blenheim Mark 1V Group.

    The Blenheim Mark V was used in a front line operational role for Operation Torch,the invasion of Vichy North Africa and recorded a poor performance leading to heavy operational losses.The Blenheim Mark V also saw front line service in the Far East until August 1943.

    As regards the period of front line service, the operational aircrew losses have to be compared with the Battle in France Blenheims and those of No 2 Group BC against the Whitleys, Hampdens and Wellingtons operating from home bases in Bomber Command which were on front line operations at the same period of time as the Blenheim Mark 1V

    It would appear(Bill Chorley source) that the most Bomber Command aircraft type lost was in 1940 with the Blenheim Mark 1Vs of No 2 Group which lost 280 aircraft on operations and 33 aircraft on non operations.The operational losses would be accounted for the heavy losses in France after the Blitzkreig when the Group was heavily involved in daylight support operations for the BEF from British home bases.

    Aircrew losses would be arrived at by researching the individual losses and determining the fate of the aircrew for each aircraft.
    ozzy16 and CL1 like this.
  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    thank you for your replies
    always interesting one line in a news report relating to WW2 without much in the way of background research
  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Delving further into the wholly aircraft losses of Bomber Command during the war and their effectiveness in delivering bomb loads revealed interesting statistics.These are found in Jonathan Falconer's "Bomber Command Handbook 1939-1945" and are from well known sources.I would think that this data would have been originally generated by the Air Ministry Operational Research resources.

    The overall returns of the Manchester head the list expressed as a loss percentage against total sorties of 5.8%....its sorties being small compared to the Lancaster which were 1185 compared with the Lancaster's total of 156,192 sorties. The Stirling is second with with a loss of 3.81% and the Blenheim third with 3.62%

    Looking at the two principal heavies,the Halifax returned a loss rate of 2.28% and the Lancaster 2.13%...others had lower rates such as the Lightening,Fortress and Liberator but their sorties were insignificant compared to those who were the back bone of Bomber Command and can be discounted.

    However the Mosquito achieved the low loss rate of .63% of its sorties which amounted roughly to 25% of the those of the Lancaster and 50% of the Halifax.
  7. Jagan

    Jagan Junior Member

    Crew numbers by aircraft type? I got your answers

    Look at the last Pie chart in these pages

    1939 - Wellington 1st, Blenheim 2nd
    1940 - Blenheim 1st, Wellington 2nd, Hampden 3rd
    1941 - Wellington, Blenheim, Hampden

    I havent got the charts for the other years as they are still hovering around 50% completion.. But with nearly 60% data (And most of the Bomber Command data in ) for all years
    All years
    All Years
    Lancaster 1st, Halifax 2nd, Wellington 3rd, Stirling 4th, Blenheim 5th
    CL1 likes this.
  8. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    I'm surprised the Fairey Battle didn't make it into the 1940 loss listings? Presumably the data should include the AASF and Air Component in France?
  9. Jagan

    Jagan Junior Member

    It's included. In the 1940 chart it appears as Battle (190) and Battle1 (53)

    Still overwhelmed by the bomber losses
  10. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Cheers, I meant that the Battle wasn't in the top three listings for type. I suppose it was as they were withdrawn from the front line before half the year was through.

    Overwhelming losses as you say.

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