During the Second World War

During the Second World War, although British 600d polyester abrasion resistance anti-submarine efforts were disorganized and ineffectual at first, Sunderlands quickly proved useful in the rescue of the crews from torpedoed ships. On 21 September 1939, two Sunderlands rescued the entire 34-man crew of the torpedoed merchantman Kensington Court from the North Sea. As British anti-submarine measures improved, the Sunderland began to show its claws as well. A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Sunderland (of No. 10 Squadron) made the type's first unassisted kill of a U-boat on 17 July 1940.As aircrew honed their combat skills, the Sunderland Mark I received various improvements. The nose turret was upgraded with a second .303 (7.7 mm) gun. New propellers together with pneumatic rubber wing de-icing boots were also fitted.Although the .303 guns lacked range and hitting power, the Sunderland had a fair number of them and it was a well-built machine that was hard to destroy. On 3 April 1940, a Sunderland operating off Norway was attacked by six German Junkers Ju 88 medium bombers.
It shot one down, damaged another enough to send it off to a forced landing and drove off the rest. The Germans are reported to have nicknamed the Sunderland the Fliegendes Stachelschwein ("Flying Porcupine") due to its defensive firepower.Sunderlands also proved themselves in the Mediterranean theatre. They performed valiantly in evacuations during the German seizure of Crete, carrying a surprising number of passengers. One flew the reconnaissance mission to observe the Italian fleet at anchor in Taranto before the famous Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm's torpedo attack on 11 November 1940.New weapons made the flying boats more deadly in combat. In 1939, one 100 lb anti-submarine bomb hit HMS Snapper merely breaking its light bulbs whilst other bombs had reportedly bounced up and hit their launch aircraft. In early 1943, these ineffective weapons were replaced by Torpex-filled depth charges that would sink to a determined depth and then explode. This eliminated the problem of bounce back and the shock wave propagating through the water augmented the explosive effect.While the bright Leigh searchlight was rarely fitted to Sunderlands, ASV Mark II radar enabled the flying boats to attack U-boats on the surface. In response, the German submarines began to carry a radar warning system known as "Metox", also known as the "Cross of Biscay" due to the appearance of its receiving antenna, that was tuned to the ASV frequency and gave the submarines early warning that an aircraft was in the area. Kills fell off drastically until ASV Mark III radar was introduced in early 1943, which operated in the centimetric band and used antennae mounted in blisters under the wings outboard of the floats, instead of the cluttered stickleback aerials. Sunderland Mark IIIs fitted with ASV Mark III were called Sunderland Mark IIIAs. Centimetric radar was invisible to Metox and baffled the Germans at first. Admiral Karl Dönitz, commander of the German U-boat force, suspected that the British were being informed of submarine movements by spies.
In August 1943, a captured RAF airman misled the Germans by telling them that the aircraft were homing in on the signals radiated by the Metox, and consequently U-boat commanders were instructed to turn them off.In any case, the Germans responded by fitting U-boats with one or two 37 mm and twin quad 20 mm flak guns to shoot it out with the attackers. While Sunderlands could suppress flak to an extent by hosing the U-boat with their nose turret guns, the U-boats had the edge by far in range and hitting power. To help improve the odds, the Australians first fitted their aircraft in the field with an additional four .303s in fixed mounts in the nose, allowing the pilot to add fire while diving on the submarine before bomb release.
Publicado en Fashion en diciembre 01 at 07:25
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