Coastal Command 1939 - 1945
Coastal Command 1939 – 1945
RAF Coastal Command was a formation within the RAF that came to prominence during the Second World War.
RAF Coastal Command was a formation within the Royal Air Force. Founded in 1936, it became the RAF’s only maritime arm when the Fleet Air Arm was transferred to the Royal Navy in 1937. It came to prominence during the Second World War. Naval aviation had been neglected in the inter-war period, due to the RAF having control of the aircraft flying from Royal Navy carriers. As a consequence Coastal Command did not receive the resources it needed to develop properly or efficiently.
During the Second World War, Coastal Commands’s primary task became the protection of Allied convoys from attacks by the German U-boats. It also protected Allied shipping from aerial attacks by the Luftwaffe. The main operations of Coastal Command were defending supply lines in the Battle of the Atlantic, as well as the Mediterranean, Middle East, and African theatres. It also had an offensive capacity. In the North Sea, Arctic, Mediterranean. Strike wings attacked German shipping carrying war materials from Italy to North Africa and from Scandinavia to Germany. By 1943 Coastal Command finally received sufficient Very Long Range [VLR] aircraft it needed and it’s operations proved decisive in the victory over the U-boats.
These aircraft were Consolidated B-24 Liberators and, from early 1943, these, and other Coastal Command aircraft, were fitted with Mark III ASV [air-to-surface vessel] centimetric radar, the latest depth charges, torpedoes mines and rockets. The Command saw action from the first day of hostilities ,until the last day of the Second World War. It completed one million flying hours, 240,000 operations and destroyed 212 U-boats. Coastal Command’s casualties amounted to 2,060 aircraft to all causes. From 1940 to 1945 Coastal Command sank 366 German transport vessels and damaged 134. The total tonnage sunk was 512,330 tons; and another 513,454 tons damaged. 10,663 persons were rescued by the Command, comprising 5,721 Allied crew members, 277 enemy personnel, and 4,665 non-aircrews. 5,866 Coastal Command personnel were killed in action.
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