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Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle

The Armstrong Whitworth A.W.41 Albemarle was a twin-engine transport aircraft that was among the many aircraft that were commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

Originally designed as a medium bomber to fulfil Specification B.9/38, the Albemarle underwent extensive redesign mid-development due to military planners’ decision to de-emphasize the bomber role in favour of aerial reconnaissance and transport missions.

Its maiden flight was on 20 March 1940, but its entry into service was delayed by the redesign effort.

Consequently, the first RAF squadron to operate the Albemarle, No. 295 at RAF Harwell, did not receive the type in quantity until January 1943.

Plans to use the Albemarle as a bomber were abandoned due to the arrival of superior bombers such as the Vickers Wellington.

Instead, the Albemarle was primarily used by RAF squadrons for general and special transport duties, paratrooper transport, and glider towing, among other secondary duties.

Albemarle squadrons participated in Normandy and the assault on Arnhem during Operation Market Garden.

Although the Albemarle remained in service throughout the conflict, the final examples in RAF service were withdrawn less than a year after the war’s end.

In October 1942, the Soviet Air Force ordered 200 aircraft, but only a handful of Albemarles were delivered to the Soviets before the Soviet government suspended deliveries in May 1943 and later cancelled the order in favour of procuring the American Douglas C-47 Skytrain instead.





Ten troops


59 ft 11 in (18.26 m)


77 ft 0 in (23.47 m)


15 ft 7 in (4.75 m)

Wing area

803.5 sq ft (74.65 m2)

Empty weight

25,347 lb (11,497 kg)

Max take-off weight.

36,500 lb (16,556 kg)

Fuel capacity

769 imp gal (924 US gal; 3,500 L) normal,

1,399 imp gal (1,680 US gal; 6,360 L) with auxiliary tanks


2 × Bristol Hercules XI, 14-cylinder air cooled radial engines,

1,590 hp (1,190 kW) each


3 bladed de Havilland Hydromatic


Maximum speed

265 mph (426 km/h, 230 kn) at 10,500 ft (3,200 m)

Cruise speed

170 mph (270 km/h, 150 kn)

Stall speed

70 mph (110 km/h, 61 kn)

(Flaps and undercarriage down)


1,300 mi (2,100 km, 1,100 nmi)

Service ceiling

18,000 ft (5,500 m)

Rate of climb

980 ft/min (5.0 m/s)



Four × .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns in dorsal turret.

Two × .303 in (7.7 mm) machine guns in ventral turret (first prototype only)


Internal bomb bay for 4,500 lb (2,000 kg) of bombs.




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