On January 9, 1941, the premier British bomber of World War II, the Avro Lancaster, made its maiden flight. “The Lanc,” as it was known, was the main British bomber that carried the war to Germany.
With its enormous bomb bay, the Lancaster was capable of carrying the biggest bomb load and the largest single bomb. It was the only airplane of the war that could haul “blockbuster” giant bombs of 8,000, 12,000, and 22,000 pounds, while also carrying all the conventional bombs as well as anti-ship mines, incendiaries (fire bombs), and the “dam buster” specialty bomb for attacking dams. The versatile 4-engine heavy bomber was powered by the famous Rolls-Royce Merlin engines that also powered the Mustang and Spitfire fighters.