Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services 

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Category: Air support/WW2/Allied

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Handley Page Halifax

The Halifax shared with the Lancaster the major burden of Bomber Command's night bombing campaign against Nazi Germany but unlike the Lancaster, which only served as a bomber during the war, the Halifax was used extensively on other duties including glider-tug, agent dropping transport and general reconnaissance aircraft in Coastal Command.

It was the second British four-engined bomber to enter service in the Second World War. Nevertheless the first to bomb Germany when one took part in a raid on Hamburg on the night of 12-13 March 1941. Due to mounting losses on Bomber Command operations over Germany Halifax bombers were restricted to less hazardous targets from September 1943.

However, between 1941 and 1945 the Halifax made over 75000 bombing sorties and dropped 227610 tons (231300 tonnes) of bombs; more than a quarter of all bombs dropped on Germany by the Royal Air Force.

The Halifax was in the process of being replaced as a front line bomber in 1945 but it continued in service with Coastal and Transport Commands after the war. The last operational flight was made by a Coastal Command Halifax in March 1952 while operating from Gibraltar.

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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces