The Wellington was one of the most important warplanes in the British inventory at the start of World War II, and bore the brunt of the British bomber effort until large numbers of four-engined heavy bombers became available in the later stages of 1941. The type then found an important second career in maritime reconnaissance, and to a lesser extent in the transport and training roles, until a time well after the end of the war in 1945. Production totalled 11,461 aircraft from three factories, the last machine not being delivered until 13 October 1945, and this was the largest number of any British bomber type ever placed in production. The origins of the Wellington can be found in the Air Ministry's B.9/32 requirement for a twin-engined bomber, and Vickers decided to create such a type using the type of geodetic structure created by Dr Barnes Wallis for the R100 airship. The Ministry contracted for a single prototype of the Type 271 design as a fabric-covered monoplane with tailwheel landing gear, including main units retracting into the underside of the nacelles for the wing-mounted engines, turreted defensive armament and provision for the carriage of nine bombs.
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