This is the definitive account of the Avro Manchester based upon detailed research by Dr Robert Kirby. This new and greatly expanded edition follows on from Dr Kirby's original edition of 1995, containing 30 per cent of additional text and is richly illustrated with more than 200 black and white photographs.
In the early dark days of the Second World War, RAF Bomber Command was obliged to operate for 18 months deep into occupied Europe with the under-developed, Rolls-Royce Vulture-powered Avro Manchester. It was the largest and only Allied bomber to use the Vulture operationally. This account draws out, chronologically, the airframe and engine development intermixed with personal experiences from pilots and other personnel. Early evolution was protracted, and unrealistic multiple roles were abandoned. All flying surfaces required extension to provide an adequate flight envelope and progress was further set back by severe Vulture problems. Avro Manchesters entered squadron service without significant type-testing being undertaken and in the first eight months witnessed four groundings. Rolls-Royce themselves contributed this illuminating aspect.
Eventually, seven RAF squadrons, using 202 Manchesters with 538 Vultures contributed 1,260 sorties, mainly day and night bombing and mining. A contrasted highlight is the stunning aircrew accounts, fearful of weather, flak and fighters, but perpetually nursing and cajoling their temperamental Vultures through hostile skies. Through the narrative several threads reveal the ultimate wisdom of persisting with a type which ultimately blossomed into the 'war-winning' Lancaster. The book also included fascinating reviews of second line duties and six appendices provide essential reference.