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The War in the Air: Volume 4—A History of the RFC, RAF & RNAS Engaged in Anti-Submarine & Other Naval Operations & on the Western Front from the Battle of Messines, 1917 to the German Spring Offensive, 1918

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The War in the Air: Volume 4—A History of the RFC, RAF & RNAS Engaged in Anti-Submarine & Other Naval Operations & on the Western Front from the Battle of Messines, 1917 to the German Spring Offensive, 1918
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Author(s): H. A. Jones
Date Published: 04/2019
Page Count: 452
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-78282-807-5
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-78282-806-8

The fourth volume of the history of air warfare—focusing on the war at sea and the Western Front

This outstanding, multi-volume examination of aerial warfare during the First World War from the perspective of British air forces continues in volume four with accounts of two different theatres. As the war progressed Germany increasingly invested resources in the expansion of its submarine fleet. German surface warships were comparatively ineffective strategically, since Germany is poorly placed geographically as regards access to the seaways. Allied surface fleets meanwhile remained powerful with free access to supplies and ports across the globe. Escorted merchant ships carrying essential war materiel and other goods continued to dock in and depart from the British Isles. The German solution to disrupt seaborne traffic and so compromise the effectiveness of Allied armies in the field initially proved to be brutally effective and measures to defeat the undersea menace of the U-Boats were of paramount importance. The work of the RFC and the RNAS in countering the scourge of the submarine and other naval threats is described here in thorough detail. The second part of this volume continues the examination of the war in the air as it was fought over the trenches of the Western Front. The war had reached a point of stalemate on the ground which made its aggressive prosecution in the skies essential and this volume, which covers the period from the Battle of Messines to the German Spring Offensive of 1918, includes many riveting accounts of aerial combat.

Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.

The flying-boat reached the North Hinder at 8 a.m. and then began to search in a southerly direction. After twenty-eight minutes, the wireless operator in the flying-boat reported that he was intercepting signals from some type of enemy vessel less than ten miles distant. Within six minutes a submarine, in full buoyancy, and showing a mast and a gun, was sighted a mile ahead. Recognition signals, fired from the flying-boat, went unanswered, and the pilot thereupon steered direct for the U-boat.
A 230-lb. bomb was dropped on her, from 600 feet, but before it exploded a shell from the submarine’s gun burst fifty feet from the flying-boat. Then, looking down, the crew of the aircraft saw their bomb blow in a part of the U-boat’s deck. Meanwhile fire from another direction was opened on the aircraft and three U-boats, with a destroyer and seaplane escort, were seen approaching through the mist. The pilot of the flying-boat thereupon made a second run over the crippled U-boat and completed her destruction with another 230-lb. bomb. She was the U.C.6, a mine-laying craft from Zeebrugge. The flying-boat, with no bombs left, made direct for home, but as she went she sent out a wireless message giving the position of the U-boat and destroyer formation. The message was received at Felixstowe and three ‘Large Americas’ were dispatched independently, but although they found the destroyers and the seaplanes, they could not get into position for effective attack.
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