The Lysander was a stroke of genius that accommodated the allies in a time of peril almost perfectly for covert work. It was as described the SOE mainstay aircraft that landed special agents in France and other parts of Europe to "set Europe ablaze ".It could take off and land in the most difficult of terrain. It was a shuttle to and from occupied Europe and was an incalculable aid in helping resistance movements in Western Europe. It was a slow moving craft :
- designed for hard work
- it could fly at low altitude below radar
- it had the abilityto disappear from sight
- famous SOE operatives were landed by Lysanders including Violette Szabo and the 'White Rabbit'
- Many flew out of Tangmere airbase in East Sussex
- they were used to bring out escaping airmen
- note the statistics on speed, crew, landing, and altitude
- it also carried 2 supply canisters
THE LYSANDER THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL OF THE AIR
The Lysander was the mainstay of the Special
Operations Executive (SOE) during World War Two.
The Lysander was used to transport SOE operatives to and from occupied Europe -
a mission that was fraught with danger - so that they could help resistance movements
The Lysander was ideal for covert work. In an era when planes
were flying faster and faster and when people were becoming attuned to this, the
Lysander was a slow moving plane, designed for hard work - being able to take
off and land in the most difficult of terrain. The Lysander also flew at a low
altitude - below radar - which, at night, gave it more ability to 'disappear'
Some of the most famous SOE operatives were landed by Lysanders -
Violette Szabo and the 'White Rabbit. Many flew out of Tangmere airbase in
East Sussex. As well as taking in SOE operatives, the Lysander was also used to
bring out escaping airmen.
The Lysander had a maximum speed of 206 mph and
had a crew of 2. It needed just 250 meters for a take off to 50 feet and it
needed just 320 meters for a landing from an altitude of 50 feet. The Lysander
was armed in case of attack - two .303 Browning machine guns were fitted into
the two wheel spats and some had a Lewis machine gun in the rear cockpit. Along
with its human cargo, the Lysander could also carry two supply canisters. To the
SOE, the Lysander was known as the 'scarlet pimpernel of the air'.