The U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II

Air Power versus U-boats
Confronting Hitler's Submarine Menace in the European Theater

A. Timothy Warnock

More than fifty years after World War II, America's major air power to the war in Europe--in efforts such as Big Week, Regensburg, and Patton's dash across Europe---live on in the memories of airmen and students of air power. Never before had air space over the battlefield; strategic bombardment, destroying the enemy's industrial and logistical network; air-ground support, attacking targets on the battlefield; and military airlift, delivering war materiel to distant bases.

Perhaps one of the least known but significant roles of the Army Air Forces (AAF) was in antisubmarine warfare, particularly in the European-African-Middle Eastern theater. From the coasts of Greenland, Europe, and Africa to the mid-Atlantic, AAF aircraft hunted German U-boats that sank thousands of British and American transport ships early in the war. These missions supplemented the efforts of the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force Coastal Command, and the U.S. Navy, and helped those sea forces to wrest control of the sea lanes from German submarines.

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