A Dictionary of Coastal Command 1939-1945

This new book provides a very different approach to presenting the story of Coastal Command, with a good selection of images. The Royal Navy was able to regain control of most British naval aviation in 1938. The exception was Coastal Command which remained part of the RAF. A very readable book that is engrossing but which can be dipped into as required. A valuable companion to any collection of WWII aviation books.


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NAME: A Dictionary of Coastal Command 1939-1945
FILE: R2456
AUTHOR:  Geoff Simpson
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES:  151
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War Two, World War 2, 1939-1945, 
maritime patrol, maritime attack, marine aviation, RAF
ISBN: 1-47387-271-5
IMAGE: B2456.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/z5gw2w6
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: This new book provides a very different approach to 
presenting the story of Coastal Command, with a good selection of 
images.  The Royal Navy was able to regain control of most British 
naval aviation in 1938. The exception was Coastal Command which 
remained part of the RAF. A very readable book that is engrossing but 
which can be dipped into as required. A valuable companion to any 
collection of WWII aviation books.

The battle between the Royal Navy and the RAF for control of naval 
aviation rumbled on between the two World Wars. The experiences of 
WWII at sea demonstrate the need for a navy to have control of all 
of the available naval aviation assets. The RAF leadership was never 
very interested in providing naval aviation, only in preventing any 
other service from taking over. The primary mission of the RAF from 
1918 was to provide a strategic bombing capability. The next priority 
was to provide point defence fighters to protect its airfields and 
prevent an enemy strategic bombing campaign from succeeding. Coastal 
Command was the Cinderella service, depending on hand-me-downs from 
Bomber Command and taking a back seat in the queue for aircraft 
factory capacity. Had it not been for the extreme bravery of Coastal 
Command aircrews, the RAF could have cost Britain the war.

As a dictionary, this book allows the reader to start at page one and 
keep turning pages to the end, or dip in as required, quickly 
locating the desired information. It is a novel approach to the 
subject and makes the book an ideal reference work for all readers 
who are interested in aviation and naval warfare. It tells the story 
of great achievement by Coastal Command crews who had to fly lengthy 
missions it testing conditions, mostly in aircraft that were close to 
or past their sell-by date.

In the early years of WWII, the Royal Navy was very  hard pressed to 
maintain the vital convoys between North America and the British Isles, 
and between the globally scattered Empire and Britain. Much of the 
food required by the British was delivered by sea, as was the bulk of 
its vital raw materials and manufactured munitions and equipment. This 
vast maritime trade was an obvious and attractive target for the 
Germans and they did come close to cutting the sea routes which would 
have starved Britain and could have forced surrender. The lack of 
adequate Coastal Command resources came very close to helping the 
Germans win the Battle of the Atlantic. The Royal Navy was very short 
of convoy escorts and extremely short of carriers. This meant that a 
large part of the Atlantic and much of the Indian Ocean and Pacific 
were completely without air cover. The Royal Navy responded by 
employing some desperate measures including fitting catapults to 
merchant ships and equipping them with worn out Hawker Hurricane 
fighters that were little better than suicide aircraft but worked in 
discouraging German long range aircraft. Some merchant ships were 
fitted with a flight deck to allow them to carry Swordfish torpedo 
bombers and single seat naval fighters. To these emergency measures 
was added the brilliant Escort Carrier that was basically a merchant 
ship rebuilt or constructed from scratch with a hanger and full flight 
deck. Then Coastal Command slowly began to receive modern long range 
landplanes and improved flying boats to close the Atlantic air gap.

 As the war progressed, the Coastal Command staff began to improve 
their co-ordination with the Royal Navy and the war began to turn 
against the U-boats. Thousands of lives, hundreds of ships and 
millions of tons of vital cargo could have been saved if the Royal 
Navy had either been given control of all naval aviation, or the RAF 
had taken its responsibilities seriously and established reliable co-
operation with the RN from the start of hostilities. It was a case 
of politics being allowed to interfere with war planning and command. 
It just did not do justice to the aircrews who achieved in spite of 
the senior officers.