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Battle of the Atlantic

Royal Australian Air Force in Coastal Command 1939-1945

(3 customer reviews)
Authors: John Quaife
170mm x 245mm

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No 3 in The Australian Air Campaign Series

At the outbreak of World War II, somewhat by accident — and just as the first shots of the war were fired — young Australian airmen from the Royal Australian Air Force were engaged in operations that would become known collectively as the Battle of the Atlantic. Arguably lesser-known than air campaigns in other theatres, large numbers of Australians who volunteered for service with Royal Australian Air Force, found themselves fighting in this battle. Australians were there at the outbreak and many would go on to fly some of the final missions of the war in Europe.

This book captures some of the experiences of the Royal Australian Air Force members who served with Coastal Command and, through the weight of numbers alone, stories of the Sunderland squadrons and the Battle of the Atlantic dominate the narrative. Being critical to Britain’s survival, the battle also dominated Coastal Command throughout the war but Australians served in a surprising variety of other roles. The nature of many of those tasks demanded persistence that could only be achieved by large numbers of young men and women being prepared to ‘do what it took’ to get a tedious and unrewarding job done. Over 400 did not come home.

John Quaife

John Quaife

John Quaife grew up in Melbourne and as a kid just loved military aviation. He lived the dream. John spent 28 years with Royal Australian Air Force as a fighter pilot. He is a graduate of the RAAF’s ‘top gun’ training course who went on to become one of Australia’s most senior military commanders. John […]

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3 reviews for Battle of the Atlantic

  1. If you liked John Quaife’s book Viking Boys about the missions flown by Australians loaned to British Coastal Command for operations in the North Sea during World War II, then you are really going to appreciate this superbly written and detailed account of RAAF 10 SQN and RAF 461 (RAAF) SQN personnel serving in the harshest of conditions, in the most vital battle for the survival of Britain, the Battle of the Atlantic.

  2. … for levels of detail, interest, and readability – it really is an exceptionally good read. Profiling the key players from Allied and Nazi sides, and their respective aircraft, tactics and successes, this evidence-based book remains factual and is very educational to readers of all levels who hold interests in military aviation and military history. It includes illustrations and photographs, technical data of the aircraft used by the opposing sides during the lengthy and arduous campaign detail the dimensions, power-plants, armaments, weight, and performance characteristics of the key Allied aircraft (Short Sunderlands, Consolidated Catalinas, B24 Liberators, Wellingtons, and Handley-Page Halifaxes), as well as Nazi machines ( U-boats and aircraft including Junker JU-88’s, and Focke-Wulf Condor).

  3. The Battle for the Atlantic saw over 400 Australians serving in Coastal Command killed, and over 100 injured, in a campaign that stretched from Iceland to Gibraltar. These gallant warriors sought to close the Air-Sea gap and provide air cover to convoys of supply shipping providing essential food, aid, and war materiel to an increasingly-isolated Britain.
    The unit histories and debrief of returned airmen provide the stories not only of ASDIC anti-submarine warfare (ASW) battles against the enemy, but also against the elements – extreme weather necessitating many ‘hair-raising’ search and rescue missions, reconnaissance sorties and patrols (with mixed success), including the recovery of eleven personnel adrift for days in a six-man life raft. Incredible!

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