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Fighter / Attack:
   Bell P-39 Airacobra
   Bell P-63 Kingcobra
   Brewster Buffalo
   Chance-Vought F-4U Corsair
   Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
   Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
   Douglas A-1 Skyraider
   Douglas A-26 Invader
   Douglas SBD Dauntless
   Fairey Firefly
   Focke-Wulf Fw 190
   Grumman F4F Wildcat
   Grumman F6F Hellcat
   Grumman F7F Tigercat
   Grumman F8F Bearcat
   Grumman TBF Avenger
   Hawker Hurricane
   Hawker Sea Fury
   Lockheed P-38 Lightning
   Messerschmitt Bf-109
   Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen
   North American P-51 Mustang

   Polikarpov I-16
   Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
   Supermarine Spitfire
   Yakovlev Yak-3
   Yakovlev Yak-9

Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan (C-45)
   Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
   Boeing / Stearman PT-17

   Commonwealth CA-25 Winjeel
   Commonwealth CA-1 Wirraway
   DeHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk
   DeHavilland DH-82 Tiger Moth
   Fairchild PT-19 Cornell
   Hunting / Percival Provost
   Meyers OTW
   Nanchang CJ-6
   Naval Aircraft Factory N3N
   N. Am. BT-9 / BT-14 / Yale
   N. Am. T-6 Texan / SNJ / Harvard
   N. American T-28 Trojan

   Piaggio P149
   Ryan PT-22 Recruit

   Scottish Aviation T1 Bulldog
   Vultee BT-13 Valiant
   Yakovlev Yak-11
   Yakovlev Yak-18
   Yakovlev Yak-52

   Avro Lancaster
   Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
   Boeing B-29 Superfortress
   Bristol Blenheim / Bolingbroke
   Consolidated B-24 Liberator
   Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

   Douglas A-3 Skywarrior
   DeHavilland Mosquito
   Fairey Swordfish
   Heinkel He-111 / Casa 2.111

   Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon / Ventura
   Martin B-26 Marauder
   North American B-25 Mitchell

   Beechcraft C-45 (AT-11)

   Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter (KC-97)
   Curtiss C-46 Commando
   Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota
   Douglas C-54 Skymaster

   Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar
   Fairchild C-123 Provider
   Grumman C-1 Trader (S-2)
   Lockheed C-60 Lodestar
   Lockheed C-69 Constellation

Utility / Observation / Special Duty:
   Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper
   Aeronca L-16 Grasshopper
   Antonov AN-2 Colt
   Auster AOP 6/9
   Avro 652 Anson
   Avro Shackleton
   British Taylorcraft I-V
   Cessna L-19 / O-1 Bird Dog
   Cessna O-2 Super Skymaster
   Cessna T-50 / UC-78 Bobcat
   Consolidated PBY Catalina

   DeHavilland U-6A / L-20 Beaver
   Fairey Gannet
   Fairey Swordfish
   Fieseler Fi156 Storch
   Grumman S-2 Tracker (C-1)
   Grumman HU-16 Albatross
   Grumman OV-1 Mohawk
   Junkers Ju 52/3m

   Lockheed P2V Neptune
   Max Holste M.H.1521 Broussard
   Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

   Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman
   North American L-17 Navion
   N. Am./ Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
   Piper L-4 Grasshopper
   Stinson L-5 Sentinel
   Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper
   Westland Lysander

   Aero L-29 Delfin
   Aero L-39 Albatros
   Aermacchi MB-326
   Avro Vulcan
   BAC Strikemaster
   Blackburn (BAC) Buccaneer
   Canadair Tutor
   Cessna A-37 Dragonfly
   DeHavilland Vampire
   DeHavilland Venom
   English Electric Canberra
   English Electric Lightning
   Folland Gnat
   Fouga CM-170 Magister
   Gloster Meteor
   Grumman F9F Panther
   Hawker Hunter
   Hispano HA-200 Saeta
   Hunting Jet Provost
   Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
   Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star
   McDonnell-Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
   McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom
   Messerschmitt Me-262
   Mikoyan MiG-15
   Mikoyan MiG-17
   Mikoyan MiG-21
   N. Am. F-86 Sabre / FJ-4 Fury
   N. Am. F-100 Super Sabre
   N. Am. / Rockwell T-2 Buckeye
   Northrop T-38 Talon / F-5
   PZL / WSK TS-11 Iskra
   Saab J35 Draken
   Soko G-2A Galeb
   Temco Pinto & Super Pinto

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Bristol Blenheim / Bolingbroke

(Variants/Other Names: See History below)

Bristol Blenheim / Bolingbroke
(Photo courtesy Paul Vitone)

History: The Blenheim was originally built in in England in 1934 as one of the first executive planes for the proprietor of the Daily Mail, Lord Rothermere, who wanted a fast plane capable of carrying six passengers, a pilot and a co-pilot. Equipped with two Bristol Mercury engines, the Bristol Type 142, as it was then called, was 30 mph (48km/h) faster than the RAF's new biplane fighter, the Gloster Gauntlet.

Bristol began designing a military version of their new aircraft, the Type 142M. The Air Ministry placed an order for 150 aircraft in the summer of 1935, and a second order for 434 more followed in July of 1937. The Type 142M, or Blenheim I, as it was now called, had a bomb aimer's station in the nose, an internal bomb bay, and a dorsal machine gun turret for self-defense. There was also a single machine gun in the port wing. The Blenheim was of all-metal construction, with the nose of the plane barely extending beyond the engines. It was equipped with two Bristol Mercury engines. When first revealed to the public, the Blenheim's speed attracted great notice and led to the belief Britain was armed with the best bomber in the world. This myth became self-perpetuating and soon two new production lines had to be set up as orders for still more aircraft were placed. A total of 1,552 Blenheim Is were built and equipped 26 RAF squadrons at home and in British possessions in the Middle East (e.g. Egypt, Iraq, Aden) and the Far East (e.g. India, Malaya/Malaysia, Singapore).

During the early stages of development the Bristol company designed a derivative of the Blenheim, the Type 149, in response to an Air Ministry request for a coastal reconnaissance and light bomber aircraft to replace the Avro Anson. The Type 149 was a Blenheim with greater fuel capacity and a lengthened nose for an observer and his gear. The Air Ministry then began to worry that this new aircraft would interfere with the production of the Blenheim I already underway. Instead, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) ordered production in Canada as the Bolingbroke Mk I, and the prototype was shipped to Canada to help start the production lines at Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. The Type 149 would enter production in the UK as the Blenheim Mk IV. By 1939, most Blenheim Is had been replaced in Britain by the new Mk IV. The Mk Is continued to serve as trainers and a number were converted into night fighters.

The night fighter version, the Blenheim IF, was equipped with a special under-fuselage pack that housed four machineguns, and an airborne interception radar. It was a Blenheim IF that made the first radar-assisted kill of the war in July of 1940. The Blenheim would also become the first aircraft to make reconnaissance and bombing raids into Germany during the opening stages of the war in the west. The Blenheim Mk IV would equip 70 squadrons at its height of popularity, and continue to serve in the Middle and Far East until the last years of the war. A Blenheim Mk V was also built, with extra armor and weapons, but the same engines. This meant it was an extremely slow aircraft and after serious losses in Italy, it was withdrawn from service.

Today only a single Blenheim Mk.1 remains airworthy. It is owned and operated by the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford, UK, and returned to flying condition in 2014.

Nicknames: Blenburgher (early Blenheim nickname); Bisley (nickname for the Mk.V version; Refers to the home of the National Rifle Association in the UK); Boly (Canadian nickname for the Bolingbroke).

Specifications (Blenheim Mk IV):
        Engines: Two 905-hp Bristol Mercury XV radial piston engines
        Weight: Empty 9,790 lbs., Max Takeoff 14,400 lbs.
        Wing Span: 56ft. 4in.
        Length: 42ft. 7in.
        Height: 9ft. 10in.
            Maximum Speed: 266 mph
            Cruising Speed: 198 mph
            Ceiling: 27,260 ft.
            Range: 1,460 miles
        Armament: Three 7.7-mm (0.303-inch) machine guns, plus up to 1,000 pounds of bombs internally and 320 pounds externally.

Number Built: 4,422

Number Still Airworthy: One

Aircraft Restoration Company (UK) -- Blenheim Page -- The only airworthy Blenheim.
Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum -- Bolingbroke
RAF 211 Squadron (Bomber) -- Don Clark's very informative site on a WWII Blenheim squadron.
Wikipedia -- Bristol Blenheim
Wikipedia -- Bristol Bolingbroke



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All text and photos Copyright 2016 The Doublestar Group, unless otherwise noted.
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