The Cinderella Service: RAF Coastal Command 1939-1945, Andrew Hendrie

The Cinderella Service: RAF Coastal Command 1939-1945, Andrew Hendrie

This history of RAF Coastal Command during the Second World War is based on the author's PdD thesis, and is thus backed by some impressive original research in the archives (demonstrated by the over 940 footnotes and 21 appendices. Perhaps rarely in a book with such a solid academic basis, it also has a solid personal basis, for the author flew operationally with Coastal Command from 1942 until the end of the war.

Hendrie's academic approach means he is able to support some unexpected conclusions with solid fact - one example being his suggestion that small-scale 'smash and grab' anti-shipping strikes were more effective than the massed attacks of the strike wings, which often suffered disproportionately high losses for the results they achieved. Another nice touch comes at the very end of the last appendix, which gives the Command's casualty figures - here the figures are the updated ones produced in May 1947, by which time the number of the missing had been reduced from 141 to only 5, after 136 had been found safe and well.

A number of features of Coastal Command's war stand out in the text. The poor quality and limited availability of aircraft in 1939 is well known, but the poor quality of the anti-submarine and anti-shipping weapons available to the command less so. The high quality and value of 'operational research', where the boffins worked directly with the fighting men, also becomes clear, and saw a dramatic improvement in the quality of equipment available to the command, and in tactics for its use.  

Hendrie has produced a very valuable study of Coastal Command and the vital role it played during the Second World War, well backed by his extensive research in the archives as well as the author's own experiences.

Chapters
1 - Aircraft
2 - Armament
3 - Anti-Submarine Warfare 1939-41
4 - Anti-Submarine Warfare 1942-45
5 - Anti-Shipping Operations - Merchant Shipping
6 - Anti-Shipping Operations - Warships
7 - 'Cinderella' Units
8 - Coastal Command in Retrospect
9 - Conclusions

Appendices
1 - Coastal Commander's Commanders
2 - Summary of Planned Expansion of the RAF, 1934-1936
3 - Coastal Command Order of Battle, 10 September 1939
4 - Aircraft in Service with Coastal Command, 10 September 1939; Establishment, Strength and  Average Daily Availability during September 1939
5 - Coastal Command Order of Battle, 1 November 1940; Establishment and Average Daily Availability during November 1940
6 - Coastal Command Order of Battle, 15 June 1941; Establishment and Average Daily Availability during June 1941
7 - Coastal Command Aircraft Wastage, September 1939 to June 1941
8 - Sightings and Attacks on U-Boats, September 1939-June 1941
9 - Coastal Command Order of Battle, 15 June 1941; Establishment and Average Daily Availability during June 1941
10 - Coastal Command Order of Battle, 15 October 1942; Establishment and Average Daily Availability during October 1942
11 - Coastal Command Order of Battle, 15 February 1943; Establishment and Average Daily Availability during February 1943
12 - Coastal Command Order of Battle, Establishment, Strength and Availability, 1 March 1943
13 - Coastal Command Order of Battle, Establishment, Strength and Availability, 1 January 1944
14 - Distribution between Anti-U-Boat and Anti-Shipping Operations, 1 March 1945
15 - Coastal Command Order of Battle, Establishment, Strength and Availability, 1 April 1945
16 - Summary of Coastal Command, 1 April 1945
17 - Distribution between Anti-U-Boat and Anti-Shipping Operations, 1 April 1945
18 - U-boats sunk or damaged by Coastal-Command-Controlled Aircraft
19 - Enemy-Controlled Ships Sunk or Damaged, and Mines Laid by Coastal-Command-Controlled Aircraft
20 - Coastal-Command-Controlled Aircraft Lost during the Second World War
21 - Coastal Command Casualties, 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945

Author: Andrew Hendrie
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 272
Publisher: Pen & Sword Aviation
Year: 2010


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