Coastal Command in action against German shipping

A heavily armed German escort vessel photographed off the Dutch coast on 27th December 1940 during a torpedo attack by No. 22 Squadron, this attack was unsuccessful. A later attack by Squadron Leader Francis seriously damaged this ship but his Beaufort was shot down and all the crew lost.

Bristol Beaufort Mark I, L4474, on patrol over the Atlantic Ocean. While serving with No. 217 Squadron RAF, L4474 was lost during a bombing raid on Lorient, France, on 20 December 1940.

Bristol Beaufort Mark I, L4474, on patrol over the Atlantic Ocean. While serving with No. 217 Squadron RAF, L4474 was lost during a bombing raid on Lorient, France, on 20 December 1940.

RAF Coastal Command was very much overshadowed by RAF Fighter Command during 1940, and later by RAF Bomber Command. Yet from an early stage in the war it had been engaged in offensive operations against Germans shipping. Many of its attacks were intended to disrupt a potential invasion force, which many people assumed would be attempted some time in 1941. Low level attacks on armed shipping were inherently dangerous and the Command was never immune from significant losses.

coastal command aircraft

Sunderland Mark I, L2163 ‘DA-G’, of No. 210 Squadron RAF based at Oban, Argyll, banking over the Atlantic while escorting Canadian Troop Convoy 6 (TC.6), inbound for Greenock.

coastal command aircraft

Hudson Mark I, T9277 ‘QX-W’, of No. 224 Squadron RAF based at Leuchars, Fife, in flight off the Scottish coast. This was a late production Mark I, fitted with Hydromatic propellers and early ASV Mark 1 radar. T9277 went missing while on a patrol off Norway on 9 December 1940.

Aircraft of Coastal Command flew 144 patrols involving 441 sorties (including 193 convoy escorts), in addition to the bombing operations already referred to. No fewer than six attacks were made on enemy merchant vessels on the 27th December; a Hudson bombed a ship of about 4,000 tons at anchor in Egersund Harbour and secured at least three direct hits; another ship in convoy North of Ameland was possibly hit, and near misses were reported on two merchant vessels off Dieppe and another off Fecamp.

From the weekly Air Situation report.

coastal command aircraft

Beaufort L4516 of No 22 Squadron with an array of torpedoes at North Coates in early December 1940. This aircraft was lost later in the month when it crashed on take-off.

coastal command aircraft

Low-level oblique photograph taken from one of 3 Bristol Beauforts of No. 86 Squadron RAF, attacking shipping in St Peter Port, Guernsey. The aircraft are passing over St Julian’s Pier at its junction with White Rock Pier: bombs can be seen falling from the aircraft in the left-hand corner, which was itself nearly hit by bombs dropped from the photographing aircraft (seen exploding at the bottom).

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