The Short S. The aircraft took its service name from the town latterly, city and port of Sunderland in North East England. Developed in parallel with the civilian S. As designed, it served as a successor to the earlier Short Sarafand flying boat.
Sharing several similarities with the S. The Sunderland was one of the most powerful and widely used flying boats throughout the Second World War. During the conflict, the type was heavily involved in Allied efforts to counter the threat posed by German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic.
Sunderlands also played a major role in the Mediterranean theatre, performing maritime reconnaissance flights and logistical support missions. During the evacuation of Creteshortly after the German invasion of the island, several aircraft were used to transport troops. During the post-war era, use of the Sunderland throughout Europe rapidly declined, while greater numbers remained in service in the Far Eastwhere large developed runways were less prevalent.
The RAF continued to use the Sunderland in a military capacity up to In Decemberthe French Navy retired their aircraft, which were the last remaining examples in military use within the Northern Hemisphere.
Several examples were preserved, including a single airworthy Sunderland which has been placed on display in Florida at Fantasy of Flight.
During the early s, there was intense international competition to develop suitable aircraft to operate new long-range intercontinental passenger service between the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Germany. Accordingly, inthe British Postmaster General declared that all first-class Royal Mail sent overseas was to travel by air, establishing a subsidy for the development of intercontinental air transport in a fashion similar to the U.
A corresponding contract was issued to Short Brothers of Rochester for their design, which became the S. While the Empire flying boat has often been credited as a predecessor of the Sunderland, according to aviation author Geoffrey Norris, this impression "is not strictly true".
The specification envisioned an aircraft, either a monoplane or biplanewhich would have to have performance equal to the recently delivered Short Sarafand flying boat, along with various other requirements, including the need to be powered by a maximum of four engines and to be much more compact than the Sarafand.
The release of Specification R. Chief Designer Arthur Gouge had originally intended for a COW 37 mm gun to be mounted in the bow of the craft to accompany the single Lewis gun installed in its tail.
As with the S. During OctoberShorts settled upon the general configuration and geometery of the design, opting for a monoplane configuration that bore a resemblance to the earlier Short Scion Senior flying boat. While the S. Rival firm Saunders-Roe had also designed and submitted their own flying boat, known as the Saro A. During Aprilthe Air Ministry was sufficiently confident in Short's submission that a development contract for an initial batch of 11 further S.
As construction of the prototype S. In terms of its armament, in response to feedback from Air Ministry and Royal Air Force RAF experts reviewing the project, it was decided to change its intended defensive weapons, resulting in the switch to a single 0.
On 16 Octoberthe initial S.Follow us on Twitter uboatnet. To meet requirement R. The S. The Sunderland had a deep hull, and the wings were set high on the fuselage, to keep the engines and propellers away from the water spray.
For the time, its size was very impressive. The hull had a single step, which served to break the suction of the water, and allow the flying boat to unstick. The characteristic blunt nose contained a two-gun turret, and the tail a four-gun turret.
To correct a problem with the center of gravity, the wings were given a slight sweepback; the result was that the engines were slightly toed out. This cost some engine efficiency, but an advantage was that it improved controllability with one engine out. The stabilizing floats under the wing tips were attached by two struts and wire-bracing. On the water the aircraft was steered by canvas drogues, which were deployed through the galley windows. The Sunderland was a pure flying boat, and if it had to be brought on shore special beaching wheels had to be fitted.
Usually the Sunderlands were moored to a buoy. For this purpose, the front gun turret was rolled back and a chain was ran out. An anchor was on board, too.
Daily maintenance was performed while the aircraft was moored. Supplies, fuel and ammunition were brought by boats, and some care was required to avoid damaging the hull. It was not uncommon for crews to live in their Sunderland between flights. If the aircraft was moored two men were required to be on board during the night, and during gales a pilot had to be on board because the engines were used to turn the aircraft in the wind.
Of course the bilges had to be pumped out regularly, and for this both a manual pump and a pump driven by an Auxiliary Power Unit were installed.Spring boot orchestration example
Interior shot, looking forward from the tail. The Sunderland Mk. The fuel for these engines was held in ten self-sealing fuel tanks in the wings, for a total of gallons liters. In addition to the guns in the nose and tail turret, the Mk. I had two guns in hatches on the upper aft fuselage. The Mk. II had slightly more powerful Pegasus XVIII engines with constant-speed airscrews, and late in its production run a dorsal gun turret was introduced, replacing the hatches.
II radar. The Pegasus engines and the dorsal turret were retained by the Mk.The aircraft of RAF Coastal Command were spread far and wide as the Allies sought to extend their surveillance of the seas. In turn of course the Germans were intent on fighting back.
They attempted to arm their U-boats with better anti-aircraft guns. And they brought in more aircraft to take on the U-boat hunters.
.:Special Hobby:. Sunderland Mk.III "U-Boat Killers" - decals
No sea area was contested more fiercely than the Bay of Biscay. Here RAF aircraft were proving remarkably successful in catching U-boats as they departed from their French bases or returned from patrols. But the hunters soon became the hunted as the Luftwaffe brought more planes back to the area. On 2nd June a Sunderland of Squadron R. F took on eight Ju 88 and won. It was a remarkable air battle, memorably recorded by Ivan Southall, a member of the Squadron at the time:.
The turrets moved slowly while eyes strained in the sunlight. This was indeed the Tiger Country, a slaughteryard, a stage for a play of suspense and savagery, where all men at one time or another knew the meaning of fear. Here there were no parachutes and no patriots in the back country. Goode, swinging his tail turret to the right, suddenly stopped.
Thirty degrees on the port quarter. Six miles. Up one thousand feet. Electric silence. A moment or two of shock. Simpson suddenly jumped to the astrodome.
Walker rammed his throttles wide and sounded the alarm. Dowling hauled on the pitch levers and the engines howled at twenty-six hundred revolutions a minute. Can you identify those aircraft? They came sweeping in at high speed. Attacked by eight JUs. No better. Have you got the bomb-racks out? Bombs gone. Run in the racks, close the doors, and get cracking with the galley guns.
Lane on the port. Three are on the Starboard beam; three port beam; one on each quarter. Range fifteen hundred yards; fifteen hundred feet up. Suddenly his voice was there again, precise, calm, yet — underlaid with urgency. One peeling off from each beam. Prepare to corkscrew. Twelve hundred yards. One thousand yards.Georg von Bitter U Follow us on Twitter uboatnet. The massive anti-aircraft guns on U In the beginning of the war U-boats had little to fear from allied aircraft.
Only 2 U-boats were lost to aircraft during but in alone 31 boats were lost to them. A sign of things to come. The aircraft eventually drove the U-boats submerged and forced them to stay there for extended periods of time thus greatly reducing their operational efficiency. This strategic victory was not without loss as can be seen in the table here below; more than aircraft and hundreds of men were lost in the fierce battles between the U-boats and their pursuing aircraft.
In a number of cases there were no survivors from either the aircraft or the U-boat. You should read more about the famous Fight Back order as it attempts to explain perhaps the most critical phase of the entire battle, the summer of This aircraft failed to return from a U-boat sweep in the eastern Mediterranean.
The aircraft attempted to reach the coast some 50 miles 80 km distant, but had to ditch only three minutes after the attack. About one hour later, HMS Stanley got an asdic contact and HMS Pentstemon carried out several depth charge attacks on U, causing serious damage and forcing her to surface due to chlorine gas from the batteries at hrs.
Unable to dive, Baumann tried to escape at full speed on the surface. After 20 minutes, a Martlet strafed the boat, but was brought down by flak and crashed into the sea, killing the pilot. In the meantime the escorts began shelling U from a distance of about 7 nautical miles, scoring several hits as they closed in. The boat returned fire at HMS Blankneybut without scoring any hits, and was eventually scuttled by the crew at hrs.
This was the only airship shot down during WWII. For more information see this page. The leading Mosquito first strafed U and then U, but its port engine stopped after being hit by flak and the aircraft was forced to return to base at Predannack, Cornwall, where it made a belly landing.
Pelka then made an attack run, but without firing, and the remaining aircraft were held off by an intense barrage of flak.
Five of the crew of U were wounded, two badly. The boat returned to base with U, whose doctor was transferred to treat the wounded on the way. The flight broke off the attack after the leading Mustang was shot down, killing the CO of the squadron.
At This was the last escort carrier aircraft lost to U-boat action in the Atlantic. The Germans observed several AA hits on the aircraft misidentified as a Lancaster and saw it emit smoke before they dived.
The Halifax and its crew of seven failed to return to base and presumably crashed shortly after this attack.Sygic license
Flak hits to the aircraft during the attack run apparently caused the depth charges to miss, but U was sunk by another Catalina a few hours later. Berg and a large hole in the hull forced the pilot to beach the Catalina after landing on the River Tay, damaging it beyond repair.This aircraft, which first flew inwas the flagship of Imperial Airways.Yamaha sidewinder cooling vents
By making changes to the original design, the Short Brothers Sunderland flying boat the RAF quickly approved it and the aircraft went operational in The pilot of a Short Sunderland of No. Sunderland On Take-Off Run. Photo and caption from Canadian Forces. Now in the public domain. By using a special hull design, Short Brothers maximized the ability of the Sunderland to become airborne.Mystery of the Sunken Nazi Submarines - Documentary
Even with that, it could be difficult in perfectly calm weather to get the plane into the air. Pilots would often rock their planes back and forth to break the surface tension. Taking off was never easy and sometimes the plane had to go quite a distance before it broke free from the hold of the water and became airborne. Once in the air, depending on weather and speed, the Sunderland could stay aloft for as long as fourteen hours. It carried a crew of A set of bunks, kerosene stove, and flush toilet were provided for the crew.
Photo by Mr. Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum.
Troop convoys always received the highest level of protection. Troop convoys always received the highest level of protection of any other type of convoy. This included air cover although aircraft could not stay over the convoy the entire time because the distance was too great until the arrival of Very Long Range Liberators in late Every troop convoy had both significant numbers of Royal Navy escorts and a Royal Navy battleship with its own screen of escorting destroyers.
Hensser photo courtesy of the Imperial War Museum. Royal Air Force Coastal Command, Date between and Took true bravery to smoke a cigarette in an airplane filled with high octane aviation fuel.Development of the type reached a peak during World War II, when large flying boats were fielded by most of the major combatants in substantial numbers. One of the most prominent of these aircraft was the British "Short Sunderland", an excellent machine that made a major contribution to the Allied war effort, particularly in the Battle of the Atlantic against German submarines or "U-boats".
This document provides a history and description of the Sunderland. Great Britain had nothing to match the new American Sikorsky flying boats that were making headlines all over the world, and the authorities in Britain felt something should be done to fix the imbalance.Used cargo van
Inthe British postmaster general declared that all first-class Royal Mail sent overseas was to travel by air, effectively establishing a subsidy for the development of intercontinental air transportation. In response, British Imperial Airways announced a competition for an order for 28 flying boats, each weighing The contract went almost directly to Short Brothers of Rochester in England.
Shorts had long experience in building flying boats for the military and for Imperial Airways. However, none of the flying boats built by Shorts to that time were in the class of size and sophistication requested by Imperial Airways. The business opportunity was too great to pass up despite the risk, and so Oswald Short, head of the company, began a crash program to design a flying boat far beyond anything the company had ever built.
The head of the design team was Arthur later Sir Arthur Gouge. The design he produced, the Short "S. The S. The big flying boat had two decks: an upper deck for the flight crew and mail, and a lower deck with luxury passenger accommodations. The first S. A total of 41 S. While the S. The British were so desperate to stay in the race for trans-Atlantic commercial flight that they then came up with an extraordinary scheme, in which a beefed-up variant of the S.
Inthe company delivered the first of an improved C-class boat, the "S. Eight S. Limited trans-Atlantic operations were conducted in coordination with Harrow tankers operating out of Ireland and Newfoundland, until World War II intervened and put a stop to the flights.
Another C-class variant, the "S. However, three of the bigger and better "S.Obsolescent by the end of the War, long range maritime patrol flying boats seaplanes were nevertheless produced and used by most of the major WW II maritime powers. No airfield meant no battle with enemy troops for possession of the land, no supply line to sustain the airfield and this made the seaplane's "base" much harder to detect.
As forward, long range reconnaissance aircraft, flying boats were ideal. They were also capable cargo and troop transports that did not require long, prepared runways and it is in this role that the later flying boats primarily served. Of course, all weapon systems have weaknesses and for seaplanes of any type these were primarily in the areas of performance. A land based airplane with retractable landing gear can be designed to be more aerodynamically efficient than a flying boat.
Because it is more efficient in the air, it can be faster with the same propulsive power and it can have a longer cruising range. Nautical equipment, including dingys, lines, winches, boat hooks, mooring gear and anchors, etc. Twin and single-engined seaplanes were numerous and served in many roles, including reconnaissance, as fighters and shipboard scouts.
Large, four-engined flying boats were technically complicated and comparatively expensive to manufacture.
Sunderland Vs Catalina
Consequently, they were far less common. However, they have a special fascination and grandeur all their own. For the Allied maritime powers, long range flying boats made a major contribution in the battle against the U-boats. They searched for U-boats on the high seas and provided critical anti-submarine protection for convoys. Flying boats also served as long range transports of valuable personnel and cargo and sometimes as rescue aircraft.
With a plentitude of secure land bases around the perimeter of the North Atlantic, the primary venue of the U-boat battle, the introduction of maritime patrol versions of heavy bombers, especially the long range PB4Y maritime patrol version of the B Liberatorsubstantially reduced the importance of the maritime patrol flying boat in the later stages of the war. In the great reaches of the Pacific, where the possession of island airfields sparked fierce land battles that cost both sides dearly, the long range flying boat remained an important naval weapon until the final stage of the war.
In the U. Development of turbine powered seaplanes continued far into the Cold War era by the U. The latter three nations still operate seaplanes. Post-war seaplane developments are, however, beyond the scope of this article. This article will examine the greatest flying boats that saw operational use during the war. It does not include amphibians or twin-engined seaplanes, such as the fine PBY-5a Catalina, only multi-engined flying boats.
The specifications for the great flying boats in this article were taken primarily from Janes Fighting Aircraft of World War II, supplemented by online data from Wikipedia. Their long range master was the Kawanishi H8K Type 2a high performance, four-engined bomber, reconnaissance and transport aircraft code named "Emily" by the Allies.
This was the best flying boat of the war with excellent performance, long range and good defensive armament. Emilys ranged the Pacific, providing valuable information about Allied movements and dispositions. They were also employed as long range bombers and Type 2 flying boats raided Honolulu, Hawaii in March Because of their long range, they were pressed into service as scouts for Japanese carrier striking forces, but they often suffered grievous losses at the hands of radar directed carrier-borne fighters when they approached U.Giants mod editor
Unlike most Japanese aircraft, the H8K-2 incorporated armor protection for the crew and protected fuel tanks in the wings and fuselage. Defensive armament included single 20mm cannon in the nose turret, dorsal turret, tail turret and port and starboard beam blisters. These were augmented by five. Offensive weapons included two torpedoes or pounds of bombs and depth charges.
Performance was excellent, the best of any of the big WW II flying boats. Top speed was almost mph at around 20,' and the service ceiling was over 28,'. After the Japanese developed radar, surface search sets were fitted to H8K patrol bombers. The prototype H8K's first flight took place in January and the first production version was the H8K-1, Type 2, Model 11, which entered service early in Improvements included up-rated engines, increased fuel capacity and a heavier defensive armament.
Four survived the war and one of these was brought to the U. This aircraft was returned to Japan in and can be seen today at the Kanoya Museum Kanoya airfieldKagoshima.
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