Bristol Beaufort (Warpaint Series 50)
By Tony Buttler
Publisher: Warpaint Books Ltd 2000 44 Pages
PDF 25 MB
On 25 June 1936 the first Bristol Type 142M Blenheim medium bomber made its maiden flight and, in the process, also marked the appearance of the first of a series of twin-engined bomber and fighter designs to be produced by the Bristol firm during a period which lasted beyond the end of World War 2 - following the Blenheim came the Beaufort, Beaufighter, Buckingham and Brigand. The Blenheim gave great service during the early years of the conflict, the Beaufighter proved a major success and the only failure was the Buckingham medium bomber. The Beaufort also gave sterling service but often seems to get overlooked by historians.
The Bristol Beaufort, together with its rival the Blackburn Botha, was the result of three different specifications. The first, M. 15/35, requested a shore-based torpedo bomber while G.24/35 called for a general purpose land-based reconnaissance aircraft and both
were approved for issue to tender by the Ministry's Director of Technical Development in September 1935. Designs to M. 15/35 were submitted by Avro, Blackburn, Boulton Paul, Bristol (the Type 150), Handley Page and Vickers and, after official assessment, Blackburn's proposal was favoured. Designs to G.24/35 were forthcoming from Avro, Blackburn, Boulton Paul, Bristol (an un-numbered project), Gloster and Westland.
In due course these documents were combined into a new specification 10/36 because the Air Ministry felt that the best solution was to produce a single basic design that could be converted during production to fit either of the two different roles. In fact from the start Bristol's Leslie Frise, one of the company's design team, had visualized producing a single aircraft that would combine the functions of both general reconnaissance and torpedo bombing and he communicated these ideas to the Air Ministry.