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I've come across "Combat Codes: A full explanation and listing of British, Commonwealth and Allied air force unit codes since 1938 by Vic Flintham and Andrew Thomas" stating 1663 HCU as having a Halifax Mk.IIIa (MZ294, SV-Z).

Does anyone know the difference between a Mk.III and Mk.IIIa?

 

Thanks,

Dan

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Could the 'a' be for Airborne? There's mention in Warpaint no.46 of the Halifax A.Mk.III which had the nose gun and mid upper turret removed, the HS2 radar removed and paratrooping and glider towing equipment installed (pages 34-35).

Mark

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FWIW, I went through all of my Halifax references, and none of them even listed a BMk IIIa, but did mention that some Mk III's, along with other marks, were converted to glider tugs.  I'm guessing maybe the  BMK IIIa might have been a Mk III modified as a glider tug, as @MarkH206 posted.  I don't have a copy of Halifax at War, but maybe someone who has that reference can check to see if the Mk IIIa is mentioned. None of the serial number searches for Halifax production that I could find listed Mk IIIa's- just Mk III's. Could the late production Mk III's that had the extended wingtips possible be Mk IIIa's? Maybe @Graham Boak or @tonyot might be able to help you? (If an RAF/RAAF airplane's name began with an 'H' then Tony has built at least two of them!)

Mike

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Posted (edited)

MZ294 was a B Mk.III initially with 466 Sq. then 1652 HCU followed by 1663 HCU s.o.c. 14.6.45.  So no use in any Airborne unit only as a bomber and then trainer.  I've never encounter the term Mk.IIIa before, or indeed any suffix applied to a Halifax version.  I suspect this is either an error or something specific to one of the training units.  There's nothing in Air Britain's Flying Training and Support Units for 1652 or 1663 to offer any help.  However AB's The Halifax file has MZ294 at 1663 HCU as a Mk.III with no suffix.  A Mk.IIIs appear to have been built as such rather than converted, but none by the London Transport Board in their batch MZ281 to MZ495, or indeed any other from them.

Edited by Graham Boak
typing errors
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Thank you all for your replies.

 

The reason I started to query the 'Mk.IIIa' was because I found it in the game War Thunder:

Spoiler

shot+2020.05.21+02.16.30.jpg

They have called it the Halifax B Mk IIIa and as @72modeler stated, it must relate to the extended wing tips as this 3D model has them. I thought this but wasn't sure if it was to also do with the H2S fitting, wing tips seems to be a more obvious reason.

 

The reason I linked MZ294 was because having it being the only Mk.IIIa reference I found I thought there might be an actual Mk.IIIa designation but it seems to me it's not official.

Thank you for the info on the A (Airborne) prefix but the image above clearly states B (Bomber) so that's cleared that up.

 

Unless anyone has evidence of the Mk.IIIa being a true variant of the Halifax then I think it calls for a bug report for them to correct the name to Halifax B Mk III in War Thunder.

 

Thanks again,

Dan

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Could it be B mk?? series IIIa. Halifax variants used the term series I have seen B mkII series Ia in the literature though it's not by any means something I know much about.

Edited by AltcarBoB
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As far as I know the Series ___ was stopped after the Mk.II, with the exception of the Mk.V also having Mk.V Series I Special

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Halifax B.Mk.I series 1, 2 and 3.  B Mk.II series I, I(Special), 1a and II.  Only a single example of the last.  B Mk.V series 1(Special), series Ia.  The Mk.V series were identical (other than the undercarriage) to the Mk.II but I don't think that it appeared until the series I configuration was no longer in use.

 

Use of the "series" term to identify subvariants was rare but also seen on Hurricane Mk.IIA, Mosquito B Mk.IV, and the Tempest F Mk.V.  In these cases only series I and II (or i and ii) were used, and generally dropped quite quickly as only a few series I were produced.  Perhaps someone can identify others?

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15 hours ago, WhitleyZ6743 said:

The reason I started to query the 'Mk.IIIa' was because I found it in the game War Thunder:

In fact, when I was looking for references on the 'net to answer the op, the War Thunder site was the only one of many that I examined that even made mention of a Halifax Mk IIIa; it is not mentioned on any site I examined or reference I have in my library  that listed the details for any of the versions built/modified. 

Mike

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Cannot find mention of a Mk IIIA in Rapier's Halifax at War or Merrick's The Handley Page Halifax.

 

There is mention of a Mk IIIA in the Haynes Halifax Workshop Manual at page 30 in the sub-heading  'GR Mk IIIA, Met Mk II/1A, V/1A, III and VI' but no further details in that source can be found.

 

Michael

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Posted (edited)

I suggest that the reference to Met Mk.II/1A and Mk.V/1a are a shortened form of the Mk.II Series 1a and Mk.V Series 1A.  The GR Mk.IIIA is baffling - it is not as though there were a lot of GR Mk.IIIs anyway.  My great wish was always to find a Hercules Halifax in Coastal White, and those Mk.IIIs seemed the best chance, but they were largely used for night attacks in Norwegian waters so retained their BC camouflage.  A photo did eventually crop up, but of an A.Mk.IX used as a trainer.

 

PS  Thank you, I didn't know that there was a Haynes manual on the Halifax.  I don't suppose that it will have anything I don't have already, MK.IIIA excepted) but hey it's a Halifax book and it's only money.  Now ordered.

 

Edited by Graham Boak
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1 hour ago, Graham Boak said:

I suggest that the reference to Met Mk.II/1A and Mk.V/1a are a shortened form of the Mk.II Series 1a and Mk.V Series 1A.  The GR Mk.IIIA is baffling - it is not as though there were a lot of GR Mk.IIIs anyway.  My great wish was always to find a Hercules Halifax in Coastal White, and those Mk.IIIs seemed the best chance, but they were largely used for night attacks in Norwegian waters so retained their BC camouflage.  A photo did eventually crop up, but of an A.Mk.IX used as a trainer.

 

PS  Thank you, I didn't know that there was a Haynes manual on the Halifax.  I don't suppose that it will have anything I don't have already, MK.IIIA excepted) but hey it's a Halifax book and it's only money.  Now ordered.

 

Nothing in Victor Bingham's excellent Halifax: second to none either.

 

Your observations on the 'A' are the most plausible explanation, insofar as it has crept onto the Mk III narrative by error.

 

Michael

 

 

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I'll look into contacting War Thunder to change the aircraft name so it is stated as Mk.III, they seem to be the main source of this mess! 🤣

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Sussed.  I received the Haynes Manual.  It appears (as said above) in a list as GR Mk.IIIA, Met Mk.II/IA, V/1A...   So it is a misprint for GR MK.II/1A, or strictly GR Mk.II series 1a.

Just browsed the rest of the book, a few photos I haven't seen before, but those gliders are not at Normandy - they lack D-Day stripes and the Halifax tugs have round wingtips  Try the Rhine crossings.

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