Vildebeest, British Torpedo Bomber

Photograph of Vildebeest torpedo bomber

Royal Air Force. Via Wikipedia Commons

Vickers Vildebeest IV


Crew 2 or 3
Dimensions 49'0" by 37'8" by 14'8"
14.94m by 11.48m by 4.47m
Weight 4724-8500 lbs
2143-3900 kg
Maximum speed       156 mph at 5000 feet
251 km/h at 1500 meters
Climb rate 14 feet per second
4.3 meters per second
Service ceiling 19,000 feet
5800 meters
Power plant 1 825 hp (615 kW) Bristol Perseus VIII nine-cylinder radial driving a three bladed propeller.
Armament One 0.303 machine gun in nose
One 0.303 machine gun in rear cockpit
External stores 18" (46 cm) torpedo or 1000 lb (450 kg) bomb
Range 625 miles
1000 km
Production A total of 209 Vildebeeste and 197 Vickers by 1937,
Variants The Vincent was a variant with a larger fuel capacity used as an Army cooperation aircraft.

The Vildebeest was a biplane torpedo bomber which had the distinction of being even more obsolete than the Swordfish.  It was present in some numbers in Malaya in late 1941, mostly because it wasn't wanted anywhere else.

The design dated back to the late 1920s, the prototype flying in April 1928 and the first production aircraft being delivered in November 1932. A small number went to Spain. The Vildebeest was the only torpedo bomber in RAF service when war broke out in 1939, illustrating the shocking neglect by RAF of its Coastal Command.

All those operating in the Far East were lost by March 1942. A few continued patrols from Ceylon until August 1942.


Wilson (1998)

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