An addition to another popular pictorial history series. Text is limited to a brief introduction, captions and extended captions. – Highly Recommended.
NAME: Luftwaffe at War, Air war over the Atlantic FILE: R2506 AUTHOR: Manfred Griehl PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 72 PRICE: £12.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War 2, World War II, Second World War, maritime patrol aircraft, maritime attack aircraft, dive bomber, torpedo bomber, guided missiles, long range aircraft
IMAGE: B2506jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/kxxnzu4 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: An addition to another popular pictorial history series. Text is limited to a brief introduction, captions and extended captions. - Highly Recommended. The photo essay of Luftwaffe activity in the Atlantic includes rare photographs and some shot in full colour. This is another stunning selection of images. When WWII opened, the Luftwaffe was better equipped than the RAF Coastal Command. This was partly due to inter-war year paucity of funding for the RAF, but mainly because the RAF had been more interested in denying the Royal Navy its own aviation than in honouring the mandate and providing it effectively through Coastal Command. Even the name 'Coastal Command' suggested a total lack of understanding of the needs for air power at sea. Fortunately the Royal Navy had retained full control of ships capable of launching aircraft at sea and, in 1938, had finally rested control of shipboard aviation from the RAF. There were far too few carriers and aircraft, but at least the RN had control of its Fleet Air Arm and had a good understanding of carrier aviation. However, it still needed to have patrol and attack capabilities from flying boats and land-based long range aircraft. The RAF considered its maritime duty could be discharged by providing Coastal Command with an odd job collection of old bombers and flying boats to patrol close to the shores of the British Isles and for a few remote outposts of Empire. The Sunderland flying boat was almost a happy accident, based on the passenger carrying Empire Flying boats, but in the main the flying boat force was comprised obsolete biplane machines that carried a poor bomb load and defensive armament at slow speed, seriously limiting their ability to serve as maritime attack aircraft. As patrol and communications aircraft on the long air routes of Empire, they were individually adequate, but in insufficient numbers. Land-based aircraft were no better. The RAF was primarily tasked with strategic bombing, a theoretic function that had yet to be tried out. To meet that primary duty, the RAF had to rely on light and medium bombers that had less than sparkling performance, range and bomb load, and were sitting ducks for modern metal monoplane fighters. That meant that the RAF could not fulfil its primary duty even with every bomber on strength. There was nothing available for issue to Coastal Command except those old obsolete bombers that were not even good enough to make up the numbers in Bomber Command. To that was added the challenge of building and deploying an adequate number of modern fighters for home defence. In conserving those Hurricanes and Spitfires that had reached the Squadrons, for what was to become the Battle of Britain, meant that even fighter cover for coastal convoys was unavailable. In the opening months and through 1940, the Luftwaffe had very little opposition at sea. What was encountered was aircraft from those carriers that were loaned to convoy escort, or operating with the Fleet in contested waters. The Luftwaffe had a number of aircraft that made effective attack aircraft, where long range was not a requirement. The Stuka dive bomber was a very effective attack aircraft that could be deployed against capital ships and was more effective because it did not have to face modern fighters. The Ju 88 was able to carry an effective selection of weapons for use against ships, had a good speed and was capable of accurate bomb aiming. Even the He 111 was a useful maritime attack aircraft with medium range. The training of these crews, to closely support a fast moving mechanised army, translated well to maritime attack and the large modern fighter force was able to provide good escort service in coastal operations. In flying boats and long range land-based aircraft, the Luftwaffe began WWII with good equipment and, although it suffered later, along with the other military units, it continued to developed new types and new weapons that were generally ahead of technology available to the Allies. The increasing deficiency came through protracted development periods and insufficient numbers, while the Allies were producing so many aircraft they could afford to transfer modern first line heavy bombers and very capable flying boats to maritime patrol and attack. They were also taking aircraft to sea in increasing numbers, using small effective escort carriers. That production capacity saw escort carriers also becoming available to join hunter/killer groups of anti-submarine warships. As the U-Boats were coming under increasingly heavy attack in the Atlantic, the Luftwaffe was becoming a rare sight, except in attacking the final stage of Allied convoys to Russia, where Luftwaffe bases in Norway were close to the Russian ports and attack aircraft were able to follow the convoys in perpetual summer daylight from West of Norway. The first long-range Luftwaffe patrol aircraft was the Kondor, originally built as a fast passenger plane. It had good range capability, a defensive armament including 20mm canon, and an effective weapons load for attack. In the early days of war it ranged out over the Atlantic, directing U-Boats onto convoys and directly attacking warship escorts and merchantmen. It did have a technical weakness that saw main spars breaking on landing, and it was not available in the numbers needed to fully exploit its initial dominance, but it did fill a role effectively and was to later carry Fritz X guided bombs. Its dominance was challenged when the RN started operating escort carriers with US Wildcat fighters and flying clapped out ex-RAF Hurricanes on catapults mounted in the bows of merchant ships. To make things hotter for the Kondors, the RN continued to include MAC ships in convoys. These were merchant ships carrying a full cargo, but equipped with a full flight deck with fighters and Swordfish biplanes carried on deck, lacking only hanger space. The He 115 float plane proved an effective attack aircraft capable of carrying bombs and torpedoes, but the Luftwaffe also had a few giant Viking flying boats, more numerous Dornier and Blomm and Voss flying boats and a number of new Junkers designs that were built in very small numbers but were advanced aircraft with advanced guided weapons. This photo essay provides a good picture of the maritime operations of the Luftwaffe.