What was the tactic used by Coastal Command for anti-shipping attacks, 1941 - 1942?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by freebird, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    As I've been looking at the statistics for British anti-ship attacks against Axis shipping during 1941 1942, I was wondering what the tactics were?

    Operating in the Baltic, off the coast of France, in the Adriatic central Med, did they operate mostly at night?
    It would seem that there were a fair number of ASV mk II available in Hampden, Whitley Wellingtons aircraft, so would they prefer to operate at night?

    Would they patrol individually or in a group of 3?
    Would they usually use torpedoes? Or bombs?
     
  2. mhuxt

    mhuxt Active Member

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    Remember that a good deal of the anti-shipping campaign was actually carried out by the light bombers of 2 Group, at that time part of Bomber Command.

    Not my area of expertise, however IIRC they flew 3 - 6 aircraft at a time in pre-set patrol areas, and attacked from low level.

    I believe that casualties among aircraft actually attacking, and, again IIRC, the campaign was effectively called off in August '42 after the loss of 23 out of 77 attacking aircraft.
     
  3. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello
    Nesbit has written several articles on shipping strikes in Aeroplane monthly and the book Strike Wing
    Barker? had written a book on subject, the Finnish edition is titled as Torpedolentäjät, so maybe the British title is Torpedopilots
    There is also a book based on writer's doctoral thesis. I cannot find my copy of it just now, a little messy here, but it was published about same time as Nesbit's Strike Wing and the writer is a woman. IMHO it's rather dull, I read it about ½-way and put it then aside to wait time when I have more time. But it covers time from 39 to 45.
    There is an article on subject in one of early Wings of Fame magazine.

    Juha
     
  4. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    Thanks Juha!
    Which book would you recommend as better, Nesbit or Barker?
     
  5. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Barker's book, it it was Barker's, is rather old, read it looong time ago. But I recall I liked it. Nesbit, while he maybe is a bit partisan, he served at a CC Beaufort sqn, maybe 42th, at least in 1942, describes also tactical developments, but it's mostly on strike wings so from 43 onwards, Baker began his story earlier, as it is mostly on torpedo pilots, strike wings used more and more rockets.

    Juha
     
  6. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    Barker's book is entitled "The Ship-Busters," and was published in 1957 by Chatto Windus. Being that age, it doesn't appear to have an ISBN (at least, I can't find one.)
     
  7. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Yes
    that was the book based on doctoral thesis I tried to find from my attic, made just a second try, without result. And yes, I find out my copy of the Finnish edition of Ralph Barker's book, and as Edgar wrote, it English title is "The Ship-Busters". But while I went through my books, I found one good canditate, Chris Ashworth's RAF Coastal Command 1936-1969 (1992) I had completely forgotten that one. There is a fair amount of info on CC torpedo strikes from the begining of WW II onwards.

    Juha
     
  8. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    I can reccomend "A Seperate Little War" this is about the Banf strike wing operating agianst Axis forces in Norway?denmark.

    Nesbitt also has a book called "The Armed Rovers" an account of Beaufort and Beaufighter sdn's in the Med, also mentions the Wellingtons!
     
  9. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello
    IIRC MTO units were outside CC control, CC being based on Home Islands.

    On Freebird's question, according to Table 3 in Goulter's book, found my copy at last, CC controlled a/c sank 6 ships in 40 and 170 in 44, so effectiveness of CC strikes increased significantly during the war.

    Juha
     
  10. yulzari

    yulzari Active Member

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    It is worth remembering that minelaying was a substantial part of the anti-shipping effort. Even Swordfish were laying mines in shallow water off the Dutch coast in 1941, until shorter nights meant darkness was too short for the slow Swordfish to make the journey in the dark. It is remembered as a torpedo plane but it was a dive bomber over NW France, half the Taranto Swordfishes used bombs, they laid mines from Belgium to Denmark and finished the war firing rockets at submarines. Of course most aerial mines were laid by the RAF bombers.
     
  11. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Very good point, Yulzari!
    Goulter also makes the point that mine-laying was clearly more cost-effective way to inflict losses to German shipping than torpedo attacks. That was helped by Ultra, which gave info of KM mine-clearing actions and which also made the fact obvious, because it gave info on German losses to mines.

    Juha
     
  12. Kryten

    Kryten Member

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    CC Sqdrns were sent to the med under desert air force and operating from Malta but thier role was still maratime strike as well as ground attack, the tactics evolved by the med Sqdrns were integrated into the CC units operations in the UK, which is why it's very relavant as the original post was regarding CC tactics.
     
  13. PJay

    PJay Member

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  14. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Freebird
    Did you get the statistics from Goulter's book from Amazon's site? If not, I can type the most importants for years 41 and 42.

    Juha
     
  15. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    No I don't have the book, if you do have some info it would be interesting to see.
    I'm looking at getting Barker's book if I can find it on ebay or somewhere. :)
     
  16. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Freebird
    It's 2:22 AM here now, I'll type some info after a sleep if my wife doesn't oveburden me "tomorrow" with all kind of garden etc work or demand transportation to shopping paradices/hells. IMHO Barker's book is fairly good despite its age. Also in Ashworth's book there is Chapter 4 War of Attrition - Anti-Shipping operations 1941-42 pp 48 - 65 and in Appendices the OoBs of CC on 3 Sept 39, on 1 Nov 40 and on 12 Feb 42, also on 15 Feb 43 etc.

    Juha
     
  17. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Freebird
    when I checked mhuxt's link, and went to look inside the Goulter's book, I could see the appendices, I only checked that the index and the maps were available and then went straight to the end, I recommended that you tried to check first the TABLE 3 on page 353, which gives the results and then maybe TABLE 2, which gives shipping available to Germans and only then begin to read the Introduction etc as long as it is allowed. If you don't get the info in Table 2, let me know, so I'll type them here, but the look inside optio seems to be easier option, at lest to me.

    Juha
     
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