Did Coastal Command use Stirlings

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by fastmongrel, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Did Coastal Command ever use the Short Stirling for ASW work. I have read all I can find on the internet about the Stirling but found no mention of its use which seems odd to me. Coastal Command used quite a range of aircraft often cast offs from Bomber and Fighter Command but no Stirlings. By mid 1943 Bomber Command was withdrawing it from raids on Germany because of its poor ceiling and inability to carry the big blast bombs. Stirlings were then put onto other duties like minelaying, paratroop dropping and transport, surely Coastal Command could have used a hundred or so Stirlings to help with the Battle of the Atlantic.

    It seems to have had a decent range which could possibly have been increased by fitting overload tanks in the very thick wing or in part of the 40 foot long bomb bay. Every account says it was a tough airframe and relatively easy to fly by the standards of the day certainly easy compared to the Liberator. Converting a Stirling to ASW work cant have been difficult remove the nose and dorsal turrets to save some weight and cut drag, fit low level Hercules engines and ASV radar. The Stirling had a roomy fuselage for all the electronics and operators needed it seems to me to have been absolutely ideal for Coastal Command.
     
  2. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Why would you want to remove the nose turret? That would come in handy for suppression fire when attacking U-boats, would it not?
     
  3. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I agree with everything that has been said, but to the best of my knowledge the Sterling wasn't used for Coastal Command.
     
  4. tail end charlie

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    Maybe inter service rivalry the stirling was in Bomber command, the deficiencies of the Stirling were mainly to do with service ceiling, it was basically a good plane and although not used on bombing missions later it was used for all sorts of things from dropping mines chaff and secret agents.
     
  5. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    wasn't it both Wellingtons and Stirlings with Coast Command to seek out the German Navys Schnellboots and radio in their co-ordinates for the Mossies/Beuas to attack them ? Also think they were used in low-level gardening operations in the north
     
  6. tail end charlie

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    Maybe it was a case of needs must. I would have thought mine laying was a coastal command job but at the start they didnt have the planes to do it.
     
  7. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I know that Wellingtons were used in this and similar missions over Europe until the end of the war, but I have not heard of Sterlings being used in this manner.
     
  8. antoni

    antoni Banned

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  9. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Some of the Liberators without nose turrets had 4x20mm cannons in a pack under the nose for just such a job. That might be a bit overkill so perhaps a smaller pack with 4x.50s would have been better for suppression fire.
     
  10. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link antoni that looks like just the job I will register and try my luck.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I am taking a guess here here but the Stirling might not have offered that much of an improvement over the Whitleys and Wellingtons. While it could lift 14,000lb or better it seems to have been rated at a much lower figure for long range. How much do you need for anti-sub work? 3-4000lb should be enough? if the Sterling can only manage another few hundred miles with the same load while four engines instead of two and with the much higher fuel burn it might not have been worth it.
    Timing may have played a part. 1943 was the critical year, in what part of 1943 did the Sterling start to be replace in large numbers and in what part of 1943 did the U-boat battle turn the corner? It would take a number of months for squadrons to re-equip and become operational with replacement aircraft after bomber command turned them loose.
     
  12. Snautzer01

    Snautzer01 Well-Known Member

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    The Stirling was one the one plane that could tow a horsa or hamilcar glider that wasnt a 1 st line bomber and had the range to take the glider to their projected drop zones in europe.
     
  13. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Snautzer beat me to it. The Stirling was the only type available for glider towing on the scale that the Allies needed, so there was no chance of Coastal Command getting their hands on any. Besides, the Wellington could already do the job perfectly well for CC, and there were far more of those about, with smaller crews and lower maintenance requirements due to smaller engines. So the Stirling wasn't really necessary for the ASW role.
     
  14. Nikademus

    Nikademus Member

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    Went through Clay Blair's volumes on the Uboat war. The indexes leave much to be desired but fortunately there were portraits of the "primary players" involved in the critical Air-ASW arena.

    Swordfish
    Avenger
    Hudson
    Ventura
    Catalina/PBY
    Mariner
    Sunderland
    Martlet/F4F
    B-17
    VLR B-24/Liberator (the statistical champ)
    Halifax
    Whitley
    Wellington
    Beaufighter
    Mosquito


    This is by no means a complete list but does seem to cover the "Major" players. (for example B-18's and B-25's were mentioned in the text as conducting ASW in the Americas)

    No Stirlings.
     
  15. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Ansons in the Gulf of St Laurence on training missions out of Summerside were always on the lookout for u-boats.
     
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