Designed to the same twin-engined specification B.9/32 as the Vickers Wellington. The first HP.52 prototype (K4240) first flew on June 21, 1936.
Nicknamed "the flying panhandle" because of its shape, which consisted of a long thin fuselage and twin tail fins. The HP. 52 or Hampden was faster than the Vickers Wellington and had a better range and bomb load capacity than the Bristol Blenhiem. The aircraft also possessed good maneuverability and had an improved performance over most of the other types available to Bomber Command at the time.
In August 1936, 180 aircraft were ordered from Handley Page. However, a further two years would pass before No. 49 Squadron, RAF would receive their first Hampden's. A total of ten "operational" squadrons being available to Bomber Command by the out break of the Second World War.
In addition to the heavy losses sustained by the Hampden squadrons in the daylight operations launched during the early stages of the war. Hampden crews also had to contend with the possibility of their aircraft being be mistaken by RAF fighters as a German Dornier Do.17 bomber. Numerous instances of Hampden's being attacked in error by so called "friendly" aircraft were recorded during its operational life. Sadly some of these combats resulted in the loss of both the Hampden and its crew.
Regardless of the aircraft's short comings. The first few years of the war saw Hampden equipped squadron's participate in day and nighttime bombing raids, leaflet dropping and helped to develop sea mine laying techniques.
The Hampdens' offensive career came to an end with an attack on Wilhelmshaven on September 14/15, 1942. The type was then relegated to training purposes and later totally removed from the RAF's inventory.
Handley Page Hampden Mk. I Data
Crew : Four
Engines : Two 1,000 hp Bristol Pegasus XVIII
Span : 69'-2" (21.08 m)
Length : 53'-7" (16.33 m)
Height : 14'-11" (4.55 m)
Empty Weight : 11,780 lbs. (5,343 kg)
Loaded Weight : 18,756 lbs. (8,508 kg)
Ceiling : 19,000 ft. (5,791 m)
Range : 1,855 miles (2,985 km) with 2,000 lbs (907 kg) of bombs.
One fixed and one movable 0.303" machine gun forward facing, upper and ventral gun positions each equipped with two 0.303" machine guns.
Maximum bomb load 4,000 lbs. (1,814 kg)
Bomber Command Squadron's equipped with the Hampden
7, 44, 49, 50, 61, 76, 83, 106, 144, 185, 207, 408, 420, 455