The Lockheed Hudson was an American-built light bomber and coastal reconnaissance aircraft built initially for the Royal Air Force shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War and primarily operated by the RAF thereafter. The Hudson was a military conversion of the Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra airliner, and was the first significant aircraft construction contract for the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation—the initial RAF order for 200 Hudsons far surpassed any previous order the company had received. The Hudson served throughout the war, mainly with Coastal Command but also in transport and training roles as well as delivering agents into occupied France. They were also used extensively with the Royal Canadian Air Force's anti-submarine squadrons and by the Royal Australian Air Force.
A-28 / A-29 / AT-18
|Lockheed A-29 Hudson|
|Role||Bomber, reconnaissance, transport, maritime patrol aircraft|
|Designer||Clarence "Kelly" Johnson|
|First flight||10 December 1938|
|Primary users||Royal Air Force|
Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Australian Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
|Developed from||Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra|
In late 1937 Lockheed sent a cutaway drawing of the Model 14 to various publications, showing the new aircraft as a civilian aircraft and converted to a light bomber. This attracted the interest of various air forces and in 1938, the British Purchasing Commission sought an American maritime patrol aircraft for the United Kingdom to support the Avro Anson.
The British Purchasing Commission ordered 200 aircraft for use by the Royal Air Force and the first aircraft started flight trials from Burbank on 10 December 1938. The flight trials showed no major issues and deliveries to the RAF began on 15 February 1939. Production was speeded up after the British indicated they would order another 50 aircraft if the original 200 could be delivered before the end of 1939. Lockheed sub-contracted some parts assembly to Rohr Aircraft of San Diego and increased its workforce, the company produced the 250th aircraft seven and a half weeks before the deadline.
A total of 350 Mk I and 20 Mk II Hudsons were supplied (the Mk II had different propellers). These had two fixed Browning machine guns in the nose and two more in the Boulton Paul dorsal turret. The Hudson Mk III added one ventral and two beam machine guns and replaced the 1,100 hp Wright R-1820 Cyclone 9-cylinder radials with 1,200 hp versions (428 produced).
The Hudson Mk V (309 produced) and Mk VI (450 produced) were powered by the 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder two-row radial. The RAF also obtained 380 Mk IIIA and 30 Mk IV Hudsons under the Lend-Lease programme.
By February 1939, RAF Hudsons began to be delivered, initially equipping No. 224 Squadron RAF at RAF Leuchars, Scotland in May 1939. By the start of the war in September, 78 Hudsons were in service. Due to the United States' neutrality at that time, early series aircraft were flown to the Canada–US border, landed, and then towed on their wheels over the border into Canada by tractors or horse drawn teams, before then being flown to Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) airfields where they were then dismantled and "cocooned" for transport as deck cargo, by ship to Liverpool. The Hudsons were supplied without the Boulton Paul dorsal turret, which was installed on arrival in the United Kingdom.
Although later outclassed by larger bombers, the Hudson achieved some significant feats during the first half of the war. On 8 October 1939, over Jutland, a Hudson became the first Allied aircraft operating from the British Isles to shoot down an enemy aircraft (earlier victories by a Fairey Battle on 20 September 1939 over Aachen and by Blackburn Skuas of the Fleet Air Arm on 26 September 1939 had been by aircraft based in France or on an aircraft carrier). Hudsons also provided top cover during the Battle of Dunkirk.
On 27 August 1941, a Hudson of No. 269 Squadron RAF, operating from Kaldadarnes, Iceland, attacked and damaged the German submarine U-570 causing the submarine's crew to display a white flag and surrender – the aircraft achieved the unusual distinction of capturing a naval vessel. The Germans were taken prisoner and the submarine taken under tow when Royal Navy ships subsequently arrived on the scene. A PBO-1 Hudson of the United States Navy squadron VP-82 became the first US aircraft to destroy a German submarine, when it sank U-656 southwest of Newfoundland on 1 March 1942. U-701 was destroyed on 7 July 1942 while running on the surface off Cape Hatteras by a Hudson of the 396th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). A Hudson of No. 113 Squadron RCAF became the first aircraft of the RCAF's Eastern Air Command to sink a submarine, when Hudson 625 sank U-754 on 31 July 1942.
In 1941, the USAAF began operating the Hudson; the Twin Wasp-powered variant was designated the A-28 (82 acquired) and the Cyclone-powered variant was designated the A-29 (418 acquired). The US Navy operated 20 A-29s, redesignated the PBO-1. A further 300 were built as aircrew trainers, designated the AT-18.
Following Japanese attacks on Malaya, Hudsons from No. 1 Squadron RAAF became the first Allied aircraft to make an attack in the Pacific War, sinking a Japanese transport ship, the Awazisan Maru, off Kota Bharu at 0118h local time, an hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Its opponents found that the Hudson had exceptional manoeuvrability for a twin-engine aircraft; it was notable for the tight turns achievable if either engine was briefly feathered.
Postwar, numbers of Hudsons were sold by the military for civil operation as airliners and survey aircraft. In Australia, East-West Airlines of Tamworth, New South Wales (NSW), operated four Hudsons on scheduled services from Tamworth to many towns in NSW and Queensland between 1950 and 1955. Adastra Aerial Surveys based at Sydney's Mascot Airport operated seven L-414s between 1950 and 1972 on air taxi, survey and photographic flights.
A total of 2,941 Hudsons were built.
The type formed the basis for development of the Lockheed Ventura resulting in them being withdrawn from front line service from 1944, though many survived the war to be used as civil transports, primarily in Australia and a single example was briefly used as an airline crew trainer in New Zealand.
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
The Ayatosan Maru (綾戸山丸 貨物船) was a 9,788 gross ton (10,930DWT) freighter that was built by Tama Shipbuilding Co., Tamano for Mitsui & Co. Ltd. launched in 1939. She had been intended to run the New York passenger and freight run, however she was requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy and fitted out as a high-speed transport, which was completed in May 1941.
During the invasion of Malaya she was damaged by Royal Australian Air Force Lockheed Hudson light bombers and a blaze broke out which was later extinguished. She was also damaged by a torpedo from the Dutch submarine HNLMS O-16.
While unloading troops and supplies at Gona on 21 July 1942, she was bombed by United States Army Air Forces and Royal Australian Air Force bombers and was sunk at 8°50′S 148°50′E, with the loss of forty lives and three vehicles. Two other transports that had completed unloading escaped with their escort. She became known as "The Gona Wreck" with allied patrols investigating and confirming the ship's identity. The wreck was later used to range artillery and as a bombing target by Allied forces.No. 113 Squadron RCAF
No. 113 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron was a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron that was active during the Second World War. It was originally formed as an Army Co-operation squadron and then a Fighter squadron before being disbanded in 1939 and then reformed in 1942. It was primarily used in an anti-submarine role and was based on the east coast of Canada and Newfoundland. The squadron flew the Lockheed Hudson and Lockheed Ventura before disbanding on 10 August 1944.No. 11 Squadron RCAF
No. 11 Squadron RCAF was a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron that was active during the Second World War. It was primarily used in an anti-submarine role and was based on the east coast of Canada and Newfoundland. In 1945 it moved bases to Patricia Bay, British Columbia. The squadron flew the Lockheed Hudson and Consolidated B-24 Liberator before disbanding on 15 September.No. 145 Squadron RCAF
No. 145 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron was a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron that was active during the Second World War. It was primarily used in an anti-submarine role and was based on the east coast of Canada and Newfoundland. The squadron flew the Lockheed Hudson and Lockheed Ventura before disbanding on 30 June 1945.No. 200 Squadron RAF
No. 200 Squadron of the Royal Air Force operated during the First and Second World War. The squadron was first formed in mid-1917 and during the First World War, it undertook a training role, before being disbanded in mid-1919. It was re-formed in 1941, and operated maritime patrol aircraft firstly from the United Kingdom, and then west Africa until early 1944 when it moved to India. In April 1945, the squadron was disbanded, having been renumbered No. 8 Squadron RAF.No. 206 Squadron RAF
No. 206 Squadron is a Test and Evaluation Squadron of the Royal Air Force. Until 2005 it was employed in the maritime patrol role with the Nimrod MR.2 at RAF Kinloss, Moray. It was announced in December 2004 that 206 Squadron would disband on 1 April 2005, with half of its crews being redistributed to Nos. 120 and 201 Squadrons, also stationed at Kinloss. This was a part of the UK Defence Review called Delivering Security in a Changing World; the Nimrod MR.2 fleet was reduced in number from 21 to 16 as a consequence.No. 224 Squadron RAF
No. 224 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force squadron that saw service in both the First and Second World Wars.No. 24 Squadron RAF
No. 24 Squadron (also known as No. XXIV Squadron) of the Royal Air Force is the Air Mobility Operational Conversion Unit (AMOCU). Based at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, 24 Squadron is responsible for aircrew training (C-130J Hercules and A400M Atlas) and engineer training (C130J Hercules, A400M Atlas and C17 Globemaster).No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF
No. 320 (Netherlands) Squadron RAF was a unit of the Royal Air Force during World War II formed from the personnel of the Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service.No. 459 Squadron RAAF
No. 459 Squadron RAAF was a Royal Australian Air Force squadron that operated during World War II. It was formed in early 1942 and served as a maritime patrol and bomber unit in the Mediterranean theatre until early 1945, operating mainly Lockheed Hudson aircraft. In early 1945, the squadron was transferred to the United Kingdom with the intention of being transferred to RAF Coastal Command and converting to Vickers Wellington bombers; however, due to a series of delays the conversion was not completed and the squadron was disbanded in April 1945.No. 62 Squadron RAF
No. 62 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was originally established as a Royal Flying Corps squadron in 1916 and operated the Bristol F2B fighter in France during the last year of World War I. After the war the squadron was disbanded and it was re-established in 1937 as part of the buildup of the RAF in the late 1930s. During World War II the Squadron was deployed to the Far East, operating the Bristol Blenheim from Singapore and Malaya. In 1942 No. 62 Squadron was re-equipped with the Lockheed Hudson and it moved to Sumatra, then Burma and then India. After the close of World War II the squadron disbanded for the second time. It was briefly re-established from 1946 to 1947 as a Dakota squadron and operated out of Burma and India. It final incarnation was as a Bristol Bloodhound missile unit in the early 1960s.No. 7 Squadron RAAF
No. 7 Squadron was an Australian flying training squadron of World War I and medium bomber squadron of World War II. The squadron was formed in England in October 1917 as part of the Australian Flying Corps, and disbanded in early 1919. It was re-formed by the Royal Australian Air Force on paper in June 1940, and operationally in January 1942. After seeing action during the Pacific War flying Lockheed Hudson and, later, DAP Beaufort bombers, the squadron was disbanded a second time in December 1945.No. 8 Squadron RAAF
No. 8 Squadron was an Australian flying training squadron of World War I and medium bomber squadron of World War II. The squadron was formed in England in October 1917 as part of the Australian Flying Corps, and disbanded in April 1919. It was re-formed by the Royal Australian Air Force in September 1939. After seeing action during the Pacific War flying Lockheed Hudson and, later, DAF Beaufort bombers, the squadron was disbanded a second time in January 1946.RAF Bircham Newton
Royal Air Force Bircham Newton or more simply RAF Bircham Newton is a former Royal Air Force station located 2.1 miles (3.4 km) south east of Docking, Norfolk and 13.4 miles (21.6 km) north east of King's Lynn, Norfolk, England.RAF Coastal Command order of battle during World War II
This article lists the order of battle of RAF Coastal Command throughout the Second World War in the European Theatre of World War II.RAF Docking
RAF Docking was a RAF Station of the Second World War a few miles from Bircham Newton in Norfolk.
It was a satellite airfield for the RAF Coastal Command station at RAF Bircham Newton and was mostly used for overflow from there.
A grass airfield, with eight blister hangars and one A1 hangar, was laid out soon after the outbreak of war and the first squadron to operate from there was No. 235 Squadron RAF using Bristol Blenheims for convoy escort and anti-shipping operations in the North Sea. These were then replaced by the Lockheed Hudson.
A meteorological observation unit No. 405 Flight of Bomber Command was set up as part of the effort to gain important weather information. When Coastal Command took over all the meteorological units this became No. 1401 (Met) Flight and received a greater variety of aircraft. As well as Blenheims it operated Spitfires, Gloster Gladiator biplanes and Hawker Hurricanes. These aircraft were all used to take measurements of temperature and humidity; from 40,000 ft downwards in precise areas. In August 1942 the Flight was made into a Squadron - No. 521 - with Hudsons Hampdens, Mosquitos and Venturas. The squadron's Mosquitos would operate deep into occupied Europe to take measurements over target areas; known as "PAMPA". In 1944 the squadron moved to the other satellite for Bircham Newton, RAF LanghamRAF St Eval
Royal Air Force St. Eval or RAF St. Eval was a strategic Royal Air Force station for the RAF Coastal Command during the Second World War (situated in Cornwall, England, UK). St Eval's primary role was to provide anti-submarine and anti-shipping patrols off the south west coast. Aircraft from the airfield were also used for photographic reconnaissance missions, meteorological flights, convoy patrols, air-sea rescue missions and protection of the airfield from the Luftwaffe.RCAF Eastern Air Command
Eastern Air Command was the part of the Royal Canadian Air Force's Home War Establishment responsible for air operations on the Atlantic coast of Canada during the Second World War. It played a critical role in anti-submarine operations in Canadian and Newfoundland waters during the Battle of the Atlantic. Eastern Air Command also had several fighter squadrons and operational training units under its umbrella.Sattler Airfield
Sattler Airfield is an abandoned airfield in the Northern Territory of Australia that was constructed 32 km (20 mi) to the south of Darwin during World War II in what is now the locality of Bees Creek. It was named after Flight Lieutenant Geoffery Sattler, the commander of a Lockheed Hudson A16-7, who died on 12 January 1942 at Keema Bay, North Celebes with the rest of his crew. On 2 April 1942, the then new Sattler RAAF airfield was bombed by the Japanese Imperial Forces. There was minimal damage. There were no Allied planes at the base as it was still under construction.
|Army/Air Force sequence|
1 Not assigned • 2 Unofficial designation
1 Not assigned
|Army/Air Force sequence|
|Revived original sequence|
|Patrol Torpedo Bomber|
1 Not assigned · 2 Designation reused