The Short Stirling was the first four-engined heavy bomber to be introduced into service with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. It entered squadron service in early 1941, and was praisedfor its ability to out-turn enemy night fighters and its favourable handling characteristics, although the altitude ceiling was often a subject of criticism. The Stirling was relegated to second line duties from late 1943, due to the increasing availability of the more capable Handley Page Halifax and Avro Lancaster, which took over the strategic bombing of Germany.

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