Georg von Bitter U Follow us on Twitter uboatnet. The massive anti-aircraft guns on U In the beginning of the war U-boats had little to fear from allied aircraft. Only 2 U-boats were lost to aircraft during but in alone 31 boats were lost to them. A sign of things to come.
The aircraft eventually drove the U-boats submerged and forced them to stay there for extended periods of time thus greatly reducing their operational efficiency.
This strategic victory was not without loss as can be seen in the table here below; more than aircraft and hundreds of men were lost in the fierce battles between the U-boats and their pursuing aircraft. In a number of cases there were no survivors from either the aircraft or the U-boat. You should read more about the famous Fight Back order as it attempts to explain perhaps the most critical phase of the entire battle, the summer of This aircraft failed to return from a U-boat sweep in the eastern Mediterranean.
The aircraft attempted to reach the coast some 50 miles 80 km distant, but had to ditch only three minutes after the attack. About one hour later, HMS Stanley got an asdic contact and HMS Pentstemon carried out several depth charge attacks on U, causing serious damage and forcing her to surface due to chlorine gas from the batteries at hrs.
Unable to dive, Baumann tried to escape at full speed on the surface. After 20 minutes, a Martlet strafed the boat, but was brought down by flak and crashed into the sea, killing the pilot. In the meantime the escorts began shelling U from a distance of about 7 nautical miles, scoring several hits as they closed in.
The boat returned fire at HMS Blankneybut without scoring any hits, and was eventually scuttled by the crew at hrs. This was the only airship shot down during WWII. For more information see this page.
The leading Mosquito first strafed U and then U, but its port engine stopped after being hit by flak and the aircraft was forced to return to base at Predannack, Cornwall, where it made a belly landing. Pelka then made an attack run, but without firing, and the remaining aircraft were held off by an intense barrage of flak.
Five of the crew of U were wounded, two badly. The boat returned to base with U, whose doctor was transferred to treat the wounded on the way. The flight broke off the attack after the leading Mustang was shot down, killing the CO of the squadron.
At This was the last escort carrier aircraft lost to U-boat action in the Atlantic. The Germans observed several AA hits on the aircraft misidentified as a Lancaster and saw it emit smoke before they dived. The Halifax and its crew of seven failed to return to base and presumably crashed shortly after this attack.
Flak hits to the aircraft during the attack run apparently caused the depth charges to miss, but U was sunk by another Catalina a few hours later. Berg and a large hole in the hull forced the pilot to beach the Catalina after landing on the River Tay, damaging it beyond repair. The navigator was lost and the pilot rescued by U which transferred him to the Vorpostenboot V Unitas 5 before continuing its patrol.
The pilot was landed at Bergen and handed over to the local authorities, who executed him.The aircraft of RAF Coastal Command were spread far and wide as the Allies sought to extend their surveillance of the seas. In turn of course the Germans were intent on fighting back. They attempted to arm their U-boats with better anti-aircraft guns. And they brought in more aircraft to take on the U-boat hunters.
Sunderland 3-0 Wolves
No sea area was contested more fiercely than the Bay of Biscay. Here RAF aircraft were proving remarkably successful in catching U-boats as they departed from their French bases or returned from patrols. But the hunters soon became the hunted as the Luftwaffe brought more planes back to the area. On 2nd June a Sunderland of Squadron R.
F took on eight Ju 88 and won. It was a remarkable air battle, memorably recorded by Ivan Southall, a member of the Squadron at the time:. The turrets moved slowly while eyes strained in the sunlight. This was indeed the Tiger Country, a slaughteryard, a stage for a play of suspense and savagery, where all men at one time or another knew the meaning of fear.
Here there were no parachutes and no patriots in the back country. Goode, swinging his tail turret to the right, suddenly stopped.
Thirty degrees on the port quarter. Six miles. Up one thousand feet. Electric silence. A moment or two of shock. Simpson suddenly jumped to the astrodome. Walker rammed his throttles wide and sounded the alarm.The Short S. It took its service name from the town latterly, city and port of Sunderland in northeast England. Based in part upon the S. It was one of the most powerful and widely used flying boats throughout the Second World War and was involved in countering the threat posed by German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic.
It also took part in the Berlin airlift. Sunderlands converted for civil use, known as Short Sandringhamscontinued in airline operation until A single airworthy example remains on display in Florida.
The early s saw intense competition in developing long-range intercontinental passenger service between the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Germany, but the United Kingdom had no equivalent to the new American Sikorsky S flying boats or the German Dornier Do X.
However, inthe British Postmaster General declared that all first-class Royal Mail sent overseas was to travel by air, establishing a subsidy for the development of intercontinental air transport in a fashion similar to the U. The contract went to Short Brothers of Rochester and while the first example of the new type, the S.
The Air Ministry Specification R. The new aircraft had to have four engines but could be either a monoplane or biplane design. Specification R. As with the S.
Sunderland Flying Boat Protects Convoys From U-Boat Attack
Saunders-Roe also designed a flying boat, the Saro A. The initial S. The S. As construction proceeded the armament was changed to a single 0. Then there was a change in the tail turret to a powered version and Gouge had to devise a solution for the resulting movement aft of the aircraft's centre of gravity. The unarmed prototype K first flew, on 16 October The crew was originally intended to be seven but increased in later versions to 11 crew members or more.
It was of all-metal, mainly flush-riveted construction except for the control surfaces, which were of fabric-covered metal frame construction. The thick wings carried the four nacelle-mounted Pegasus engines and accommodated six drum fuel tanks with a total capacity of 9, litres 2, Imperial gallons2, U.
Four smaller fuel tanks were added later behind the rear wing spar to give a total fuel capacity of 11, litres 2, Imperial gallons, 3, U. The ordnance was stored inside the fuselage in a bomb room and was winched up to racks, under the wing centre section, that could be traversed out through doors on each side of the fuselage above the waterline to the release position.
These were later upgraded to 0. There were two different nose turret weapons, the most common, later, being two Browning machine guns. The nose weapons were later augmented by four fixed guns, two each side, in the forward fuselage that were fired by the pilot.
Portable beaching gear could be attached by ground crew so that the aircraft could be pulled up on land. The gear consisted of a pair of two-wheeled struts that could be attached to either side of the fuselage, below the wing, with a two- or four-wheel trolley and towbar attached under the rear of the hull.
As with all water-based aircraft, there was a need to be able to navigate on water and to control the craft up to and at a mooring. In addition to the standard navigation lights, there was also a demountable mooring mast that was positioned on the upper fuselage just aft of the astrodome hatch with a degree white light to show that the aircraft was moored.
The crewmembers were trained in common marine signals for watercraft to ensure safety in busy waters. The craft could be moored to a buoy by a pendant that attached to the keel under the forward fuselage. When the craft was off the buoy, the forward end of the pendant was attached to the front of the hull just below the bomb aimer's window.Follow us on Twitter uboatnet.
To meet requirement R. The S. The Sunderland had a deep hull, and the wings were set high on the fuselage, to keep the engines and propellers away from the water spray. For the time, its size was very impressive. The hull had a single step, which served to break the suction of the water, and allow the flying boat to unstick.
The characteristic blunt nose contained a two-gun turret, and the tail a four-gun turret. To correct a problem with the center of gravity, the wings were given a slight sweepback; the result was that the engines were slightly toed out.
This cost some engine efficiency, but an advantage was that it improved controllability with one engine out. The stabilizing floats under the wing tips were attached by two struts and wire-bracing. On the water the aircraft was steered by canvas drogues, which were deployed through the galley windows. The Sunderland was a pure flying boat, and if it had to be brought on shore special beaching wheels had to be fitted. Usually the Sunderlands were moored to a buoy. For this purpose, the front gun turret was rolled back and a chain was ran out.
An anchor was on board, too. Daily maintenance was performed while the aircraft was moored. Supplies, fuel and ammunition were brought by boats, and some care was required to avoid damaging the hull. It was not uncommon for crews to live in their Sunderland between flights. If the aircraft was moored two men were required to be on board during the night, and during gales a pilot had to be on board because the engines were used to turn the aircraft in the wind.
Of course the bilges had to be pumped out regularly, and for this both a manual pump and a pump driven by an Auxiliary Power Unit were installed. Interior shot, looking forward from the tail. The Sunderland Mk. The fuel for these engines was held in ten self-sealing fuel tanks in the wings, for a total of gallons liters.This aircraft, which first flew inwas the flagship of Imperial Airways.
By making changes to the original design, the Short Brothers Sunderland flying boat the RAF quickly approved it and the aircraft went operational in The pilot of a Short Sunderland of No. Sunderland On Take-Off Run. Photo and caption from Canadian Forces. Now in the public domain. By using a special hull design, Short Brothers maximized the ability of the Sunderland to become airborne. Even with that, it could be difficult in perfectly calm weather to get the plane into the air.
Pilots would often rock their planes back and forth to break the surface tension. Taking off was never easy and sometimes the plane had to go quite a distance before it broke free from the hold of the water and became airborne. Once in the air, depending on weather and speed, the Sunderland could stay aloft for as long as fourteen hours.
It carried a crew of A set of bunks, kerosene stove, and flush toilet were provided for the crew. Photo by Mr. Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum. Troop convoys always received the highest level of protection. Troop convoys always received the highest level of protection of any other type of convoy. This included air cover although aircraft could not stay over the convoy the entire time because the distance was too great until the arrival of Very Long Range Liberators in late Every troop convoy had both significant numbers of Royal Navy escorts and a Royal Navy battleship with its own screen of escorting destroyers.
Hensser photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum. Royal Air Force Coastal Command, Date between and Took true bravery to smoke a cigarette in an airplane filled with high octane aviation fuel. Note the cigarette in the photo above.The Short S. The aircraft took its service name from the town latterly, city and port of Sunderland in North East England. Developed in parallel with the civilian S.
As designed, it served as a successor to the earlier Short Sarafand flying boat. Sharing several similarities with the S.
The Sunderland was one of the most powerful and widely used flying boats throughout the Second World War. During the conflict, the type was heavily involved in Allied efforts to counter the threat posed by German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. Sunderlands also played a major role in the Mediterranean theatre, performing maritime reconnaissance flights and logistical support missions. During the evacuation of Creteshortly after the German invasion of the island, several aircraft were used to transport troops.
During the post-war era, use of the Sunderland throughout Europe rapidly declined, while greater numbers remained in service in the Far Eastwhere large developed runways were less prevalent.
The RAF continued to use the Sunderland in a military capacity up to In Decemberthe French Navy retired their aircraft, which were the last remaining examples in military use within the Northern Hemisphere. Several examples were preserved, including a single airworthy Sunderland which has been placed on display in Florida at Fantasy of Flight.
During the early s, there was intense international competition to develop suitable aircraft to operate new long-range intercontinental passenger service between the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Germany.
Accordingly, inthe British Postmaster General declared that all first-class Royal Mail sent overseas was to travel by air, establishing a subsidy for the development of intercontinental air transport in a fashion similar to the U. A corresponding contract was issued to Short Brothers of Rochester for their design, which became the S. While the Empire flying boat has often been credited as a predecessor of the Sunderland, according to aviation author Geoffrey Norris, this impression "is not strictly true".
The specification envisioned an aircraft, either a monoplane or biplanewhich would have to have performance equal to the recently delivered Short Sarafand flying boat, along with various other requirements, including the need to be powered by a maximum of four engines and to be much more compact than the Sarafand.
The release of Specification R. Chief Designer Arthur Gouge had originally intended for a COW 37 mm gun to be mounted in the bow of the craft to accompany the single Lewis gun installed in its tail. As with the S. During OctoberShorts settled upon the general configuration and geometery of the design, opting for a monoplane configuration that bore a resemblance to the earlier Short Scion Senior flying boat. While the S. Rival firm Saunders-Roe had also designed and submitted their own flying boat, known as the Saro A.
During Aprilthe Air Ministry was sufficiently confident in Short's submission that a development contract for an initial batch of 11 further S. As construction of the prototype S. In terms of its armament, in response to feedback from Air Ministry and Royal Air Force RAF experts reviewing the project, it was decided to change its intended defensive weapons, resulting in the switch to a single 0. On 16 Octoberthe initial S.
Parker later declared his satisfaction with the basic design. On 21 Aprilthe first Sunderland Mark 1 of the development batch conducted its first flight. By this point, manufacturer testing of the prototype had already been completed and the prototype had been transferred to the Seaplane Experimental Station at FelixstoweSuffolk for its official evaluation by the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment MAEE ; on 8 Marchit was joined by the second production aircraft.
At this speed and altitude, a consumption rate of gallons per hour gave the aircraft an endurance of 18 hours, during which it could cover miles. The design of the S. The Sunderland featured all-metal, mainly flush- riveted construction, except for the flight control surfaceswhich used a fabric-covered metal frame construction.Credit: Image copyright www.
Credit: Image from the Public Domain. The Short Sunderland was the premiere flying boat of British military aviators during World War 2 Oft-regarded as one of the best flying boats of the conflict, the Sunderland played up to some inherent design strengths including a potent defensive armament scheme and excellent operational range. Both of these qualities played a large part in countering the lethal presence of marauding German U-boat attack submarines through infested waters in and around Allied interests.
It was through these head-on engagements with the enemy that the Sunderland series would become famous for. Designed from the airliner transport Short C-class "Empire" model, the Short Sunderland became the militarized version of the same flying boat.
Fitted with four engines the aircraft became an integral part of Search and Rescue SAR missions, maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare throughout the course of the war. Crew accommodations amounted to 10 personnel including pilots and machine gunners as well as systems and missions specialists as needed.
Standard armament consisted of 2 x bow-mounted 7. This defensive array allowed the Sunderland to repel enemy fighters when she herself was attacked and she proved quite the capable aircraft for such work. Her network of machine guns earned her the nickname of "Porcupine" from German pilots.
However, it was in her ordnance-carrying capacity that the Sunderland would truly shine. She could be outfitted with naval mines, depth charges and conventional drop bombs - enemy submarines being her primary targets. The aircraft series was so feared by German U-boat crews, in fact, that they worked hard to avoid direct entanglements with Sunderlands whenever possible. Short Sunderlands gained a mighty reputation for their capabilities - most often remembered for their anti-submarine role - but equally respected for their search and rescue capabilities.
Operational groups based from England could reach out across Greece and Crete airspace as well as other areas in the operating radius. A multitude of British squadrons fielded this versatile flying boat and most were often seen accompanying advancing Allied convoys at sea - a testament to its effectiveness in large scale operations.
‘Battle in the Bay’ – Sunderland v Ju 88s
Year: Status Retired, Out-of-Service. Crew 9 to Length: Width: Height: Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Short S.
Empty Weight: 36, lb 16, kg.