A busy week for Coastal Command

The crewman of a Focke Wulf 200 Condor stands on the wreckage after being shot down by a Lockheed Hudson from No. 233 Squadron. The convoy that it was attacking can be seen on the horizon.


Coastal Operations.

Coastal Command flew 252 patrols (364 sorties) and provided escorts for 94 convoys (264 additional sorties). Shipping protection patrols carried out by Fighter Command totalled 704 (1,476 sorties).

Several attacks on enemy shipping were made during the week by aircraft of Bomber and Coastal Commands, which were highly successful in spite of intense A.A. fire from Flak ships. On the 18th July, three Blenheims attacked off Gravelines a 6,000 ton tanker, which was protected by six Flak ships. Direct hits were scored, with the result that the ship was beached in a sinking condition.

On the following day, two more successful attacks took place. Eleven Blenheims bombed an enemy convoy of eight merchant vessels, escorted by six Flak ships, off the Hague, as a result of which four vessels, totalling 22,000 tons, were destroyed and one of 500 tons was damaged. A further eight Blenheims attacked another convoy of seven merchant vessels escorted by about six Flak ships off Nordeney. Direct hits were obtained on a tanker of 10,000 tons and on three merchant vessels of 8,000, 6,000 and 2,000 tons respectively, all of which were sunk, while another merchant vessel of 3,000 tons was damaged.

On the 20th, six Blenheims hit a tanker of 6,000 tons off Le Touquet with three H.E. bombs and several incendiaries, causing terrific explosions and huge columns of black smoke. The vessel was beached later near Berck-sur-Mer. Other enemy casualties include a merchant vessel of 4,000 tons at St. Nazaire, another of 1,500 tons off Egersund, and a third of 2,000 tons off Borkum, all of which received direct hits. Other vessels were attacked with bombs and machine gun fire, but results could not be accurately observed

On the 23rd, a Hudson on convoy escort shot down a Focke-Wulfe aircraft into the sea 107 miles W.S.W. of Achill Head. The crew of the aircraft were picked up by a naval unit.

A number of patrols were flown by aircraft of Coastal Command on the 22nd and on the morning of the 23rd to locate the Scharnhorst. At 0915 on the 23rd, a photographic reconnaissance showed her at La Pallice.

A total of 62 aircraft laid mines off Brest, Lorient, St. Nazaire, the Frisian Islands and in the mouths of the Elbe and Weser.

From the Naval Situation Report for the week ending 24th July 1941 see TNA CAB 66/18/2

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