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Rolls Lancs vs Packard


wschurr
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No external differences*. Internal differences are the slow running cut off switches on the instrument panel and the engine cylinder banks, generator and the carburetors/carburettors. Early & mid production Mk.I engine bearers and radiators appear to have been painted a quite dark grey-green while on the Mk.III they were a very pale blue-grey. Later on these appear to have been silver.

 

http://www.wingnutwings.com/ww/v98C7274C/www/products/model_kitsets/32043/colour_photos/AvRo Lancaster B.Mk.I~III engine details (IWM).jpg

 

*Except that some of the very earliest airframe details like the FN.64 lower turret had been deleted before the Mk.III entered production. 

Edited by wmcgill
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Avro produced Lancaster I from October 1941 to April 1943, then September 1944 to March 1945, Mark III December 1942 to October 1945.

Metropolitan Vickers produced Lancaster I from January 1942 to April 1943, July 1943, then September 1943 to August 1945, Mark III April to September 1943 and November 1943.

 

Armstrong Whitworth produced Lancaster I from November 1943 to March 1944, then June 1944 to January 1946, plus 1 in June 1946, Mark III March to June 1945, mark II August 1942 to March 1944.

 

Austin produced mark I March 1944 to April 1945, Mark VII April 1945 to December 1945.

 

Only produced Mark I, Vickers Castle Bromwich November 1943 to August 1945, Vickers Chester June 1944 to September 1945.

 

Note the overlaps time wise, whatever standard the mark I at the time was being delivered to the same would normally apply to the mark III.

 

If you like Mark I was in production from October 1941 to December 1945, except for May, June, August and September 1943, plus a final 1 in June 1946, the mark III was in production from December 1942 to October 1945.

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All the various mods/tweaks made to the Lancaster during production, such as paddle blade props and enlarged bomb aimer's blister, were done irrespective of Mark so the only way you can be sure if you are looking at a B.I or B.III is to check the serial number. The exception being some of the early production B.I's which may have had the ventral turret, no coaming around the mid-upper gun turret and a very sooty black finish.

 

I'm not entirely sure but I think only the B.I had the early/flatter bomb aimer blister fitted but I could be wrong?

 

Regards

Colin.

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There were examples of B.I/III Lancasters that started out being fitted with all of one engine but were later fitted with one or more of the other engine. It all depended on what was available at that particular moment.

 

 

 

Chris

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Technically a Lancaster could start life as either a B.I or B.III but end up becoming the other when it went in for its major service if the engines were of the other type.

 

Regards

Colin.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, dogsbody said:

There were examples of B.I/III Lancasters that started out being fitted with all of one engine but were later fitted with one or more of the other engine. It all depended on what was available at that particular moment.

 

 

 

Chris

I know this is often talked about but is there any concrete proof of Mk.Is being re-engined with Mk.III engines or vice versa in the records? I'm not suggesting it did not happen but there were some instrument panel, and therefore internal wiring, differences between a Mk.I and Mk.III as they left the factory so it was not necessarily as simple as replacing an engine, or four. Generally, units tended to be equipped with one or the other type and not normally both at the same time. Newer model engines were frequently installed but my understanding was that they still didn't cross-pollinate between UK & US engine types so retained their Mk.I or Mk.III identities.  

Edited by wmcgill
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I think the issue is around what particular section of the aircraft retained its original identity when it went in for a major service or re-build, was it the rear fuselage with the serial number or was it the nose section which would have had its individual bomb score and any personal insignia?

 

I'm sure I read somewhere that it was the nose section that kept its original serial number/identity but that doesn't mean to say this is correct, however what is certainly correct is that it is extremely unlikely that an aircraft would re-emerge with all of its original major components as they would have just taken the next one available when re-building. This being the case it is perfectly possible/reasonable that a B.I could re-emerge as a B.III and vice versa.

 

Regards

Colin.

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22 minutes ago, fishplanebeer said:

I think the issue is around what particular section of the aircraft retained its original identity when it went in for a major service or re-build, was it the rear fuselage with the serial number or was it the nose section which would have had its individual bomb score and any personal insignia?

 

I'm sure I read somewhere that it was the nose section that kept its original serial number/identity but that doesn't mean to say this is correct, however what is certainly correct is that it is extremely unlikely that an aircraft would re-emerge with all of its original major components as they would have just taken the next one available when re-building. This being the case it is perfectly possible/reasonable that a B.I could re-emerge as a B.III and vice versa.

 

Regards

 

The famous Mk.I Lancaster R5868 PO-S was completely rebuilt in late 1944, retaining only her nose section, but remained a Mk.I.

 

But none of that is simply replacing the engines to change an aircraft from a Mk.I to a Mk.III or vice versa. Are there any official records of this happening as often as modellers claim in conversations such as this one?

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A very good question which sadly I don't have a definitive answer to as just because something could have happened in theory is no proof that it actually did in reality. I guess I'm thinking that if say PO-S was being rebuilt and the engines available at the time were Packards would they have put her and other B.I's to one side until RR ones became available or would they have just gone ahead and fitted what they had given the pressures of war? I can't find any reference to re-builds being Mark specific as in I's went to factory X and III's went to factory Y so I'm just presuming they would have fitted the Merlins they had at the time. However it's also quite possible that these factories/facilities could have had both types of Merlin available in order to retain the original spec and integrity - umm?

 

I know this doesn't advance things any further but it's an interesting conundrum.

 

Regards

Colin.

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I've done a bit more digging and apparently R5868 went in for a major service/overhaul in late 1944, which included the replacement of all 4 engines, and became available for service again with 467 squadron on the 3rd December. Interestingly ED888, the highest scoring Lanc and a B.III,  went in for major servicing in March 1944 where all 4 engines were also replaced along with up-grade mods.

 

Those aircraft that required re-build after sustaining operational damage were sent to a facility at Bracebridge Heath and the components farmed out to various work shops and then returned to Langar for re-assembly. The aircraft's log book was sent from Bracebridge to Langar but as the components were then re-assembled as they arrived/became available the log book was often the only original part of the aircraft that eventually emerged.

 

Regards

Colin.

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Somewhere, in one of these books, it does say something about the engine/mark switching, but i don't remember which one and I don't have the time or inclination to go through them and look.

 

49623171802_c2e3f942d4_b.jpg

 

49622386223_63d2b4153c_b.jpg

 

49622386293_baae4a3130_c.jpg

 

49623171847_5fbcc92704_b.jpg

 

 

 

 

Chris

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This pic suggests that Lancasters repaired after major damage carried the identity of the tail section where they had been rebuilt using parts from differing airframes

 

IMG_1192

 

 

from here

 

IMG_1191

 

(The cheapo version of Lancaster at War 1 and 2)

 

Now there's no mention in this case of this airframe originally having RR engines and then receiving Packards.

 

Slightly OT, I'm sure I've read that the Packard engines came with a much better toolkit than the RR Merlins, and that these kits were greatly prized by the engine fitters?

 

SD

 

SD

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34 minutes ago, SafetyDad said:

Slightly OT, I'm sure I've read that the Packard engines came with a much better toolkit than the RR Merlins, and that these kits were greatly prized by the engine fitters?

That is mentioned in the original Lancaster at War book.

 

As for differences in the engine itself I don’t know about the bolt on bits, but the rocker covers on RR engines had “Rolls Royce” on them and the Packard units were blank. 
 

Trevor

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8 minutes ago, Max Headroom said:

That is mentioned in the original Lancaster at War book.

 

Trevor

Thanks Trevor. Like Chris above, I have a number of Lancaster references, and sometimes working out where a specific piece of information originates is not always easy!

 

SD

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3 hours ago, SafetyDad said:

Slightly OT, I'm sure I've read that the Packard engines came with a much better toolkit than the RR Merlins, and that these kits were greatly prized by the engine fitters?

 

 

2 hours ago, Max Headroom said:

As for differences in the engine itself I don’t know about the bolt on bits, but the rocker covers on RR engines had “Rolls Royce” on them and the Packard units were blank. 
 

AFAIK, RR and Packard Merlin's were not compatible, The Packard built ones use US Imperial decimal size bolts,  which also meant the Packard tool kits were only of use with their engines.

 

IIRC SOMEWHERE in one of the Lancaster at War books their is something about engine interchange ability,  but I'm not about to try to find that right now....

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Max Headroom said:

That is mentioned in the original Lancaster at War book.

 

As for differences in the engine itself I don’t know about the bolt on bits, but the rocker covers on RR engines had “Rolls Royce” on them and the Packard units were blank. 
 

Trevor

No, Lancaster Merlin engines did not have Rolls-Royce logos on their rocker covers. Not on the UK made Merlin XX or on the US made Merlin 28 or on the subsequent variants that found their way into Lancasters during WWII. There is not a single WWII Lancaster photo that I am aware of that shows that logo on the engines. But there are numerous photos  confirming that they were not there.This also is true for almost all Merlin Spitfire engines as well (except for the very earliest marks).  

 

The Rolls-Royce Merlin engine logos were restricted to very few marks (usually the very earliest) and restorations and modellers (and aftermarket manufacturers) imaginations.

 

http://www.wingnutwings.com/ww/v98C7274C/www/products/model_kitsets/32043/colour_photos/AvRo Lancaster B.Mk.I~III engine details (IWM).jpg

Edited by wmcgill
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This is an interesting article

https://www.autoweek.com/car-life/classic-cars/a30763715/rolls-royce-vs-packard-who-built-a-better-merlin/

 

and this mentions some of it plus more

https://www.key.aero/forum/historic-aviation/35732-packard-vs-rolls-royce

 

Seems I was wrong in my statement about US bolt sizes though. 

 

One point,  while it was possible to fit a Lanc with both RR% and Packard Merlins,  I don't know if there was a policy of mixing Bi and B.III on a squadron, just for the practicalities of parts  supply,  which was the point of having  B.I and B.III marks,  in the same way a Spitfire IX and XVI are 'the same' apart from the engine fitted.

 

Hopefully someone will have time to trawl through the Lancaster at War books,  as I'm sure there are a few more snippets in there.

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When VR-A flew over to visit the UK, they ended up with an issue that required an engine replacement. The BBMF lent/sold them a replacement but as it was a RR Merlin and VR-A was equipped with Packard Merlins, they had to do quite a bit of work to make it fit. Some of it is documented in the DVD about the trip. 

 

Carl

 

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Likewise I have quite a few books on the Lancaster, the ones shown plus the Harleyford Press book and 'The Definitive Record' by Harry Holmes, both of which are pretty detailed as well, but it will take a while for me to trawl through them all so perhaps a project for when the nights are longer!

 

In the meantime I might drop an e-mail to the Avro Heritage Museum to see if they can come up with something more definitive from their own records as if anyone knows it should presumably be them.

 

Regards

Colin.

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According to The Design And Development of The Avro Lancaster, Royal Aeronautical Society publication D.C. Wood C.Eng FRAeS " The Merlin engine itself underwent changes for production reasons (Merlin 22 1280 bhp with two-piece cylinder block) and power development, ( Merlin 24 1620 bhp). Sub-contract manufacture by Packard produced the Merlin 28 (1300 bhp with Bendix carburetters), Merlin 38 (1390 bhp version of Rolls Royce Merlin 22) and the Merlin 224 (Packard version of Rolls Royce Merlin 24). All these engines were directly interchangeable although Lancasters with Packard built engines were designated Lancaster Mk III as they required a different set of engine maintenance tools."

Hope this helps.

Mike

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9 hours ago, SafetyDad said:

Slightly OT, I'm sure I've read that the Packard engines came with a much better toolkit than the RR Merlins, and that these kits were greatly prized by the engine fitters?

 

 

I heard this many years ago from a wartime fitter. He told me that was the only difference between the RR and Packard iterations of the same version of engine.

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19 hours ago, fishplanebeer said:

Those aircraft that required re-build after sustaining operational damage were sent to a facility at Bracebridge Heath

Where I now work! It's on the South side of Lincoln, close to Waddington. The sheds went on to become Vulcan assembly hangars later in life AFAIK.

Nowadays, classic car parts company Rimmer Brothers still use one. I work for a drinks retailer in new buildings, but on the original site.

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16 minutes ago, fishplanebeer said:

I've dropped the Avro Heritage Museum the question so will see what they are able to come back with.

 

Regards

Colin.

Hopefully they might be able to provide some documented cases of Mk.Is being re-engined as Mk.IIIs or vice versa.

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