The H.P. 52 Hampden was a twin engined bomber used by the RAF during the early months of World War 2.

Piece of CakeEdit

Following an encounter with three aircraft in the Faulquemont-Morhange-Dieuze area, CH3 insisted that the third aircraft encountered was a Hampden, and not a Dornier Do-17 as stated by Squadron Leader Rex.[2]


The Hampden was a truly outstanding aircraft that was one of the last bombers to enter RAF service before the outbreak of WWII. This aircraft was so fast and manoeuverable that the makers dubbed it "a fighting bomber" and gave the pilot a fixed gun to fire. The three movable guns were considered sufficient without the weight penalties of heavy turrets. Nearly the equal of the larger Whitley and Wellington in regards to range and payload, it was nearly as fast as the Blenheim and carried twice the load twice as far.

The Hampden was a pleasant aircraft to fly and thanks to flapped and slatted wings had a relatively slow landing speed of 73 mph. One of the only drawbacks of the type was the relatively cramped crew positions which led the air crews to dub it "the flying suitcase". The Hereford was an attempt to improve the performance of the Hampden and 100 were built by Shorts Brothers but never became operational. These were later converted to the Hampden standard.

Initially used in daylight raids against German targets, the Hampden suffered heavily when faced with single-engined fighters despite its performance. The type was withdrawn from operations and refitted with heavier armament and armor. This refitted type resumed operations but was limited to night bombing missions though some were used in minelaying roles as well as a torpedo bomber over the North Sea.[3]



  1. Infobox details apply to Hampden unless stated otherwise.
  2. By January 1940 both rear positions were refitted with twin Vickers with increased firing arcs.[1]
  3. By January 1940, hardpoints were added for two 500 lb. bombs added below outer wings, together with provision for carrying mines or one 18 in. torpedo internally.[1]
  4. 100 Herefords were built by Short Brothers but failed to achieve operational status. Many were rebuilt as Hampdens.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Hampden entry on Warbird Resource Group website
  2. Robinson, Derek. Piece of Cake. 1983. Page 234
  3. Gunston, Bill. The Encyclopedia of the World's Combat Aircraft, 1976, Chartwell Books, Inc., New York. ISBN 0890090548 1976