Several books have been written about US naval air patrol operations in World War II (1939-1945), but none do full justice to the role played by patrol squadrons of the US Navy in the longest, most bitterly fought campaign of the war, the Battle of the Atlantic. From the Arctic to the Equator, anti-submarine aircraft of the US Navy patrolled both sides of the stormy Atlantic alongside their Allied counterparts. They escorted merchant convoys through the submarine-infested waters, protecting the crucial lifeline from the United States to Great Britain and the Mediterranean that carried troops and supplies for the ultimate liberation of North Africa and Europe.
The PBY Catalina, in which most of these vital missions were flown, was the most successful flying boat ever designed. Built in greater numbers than any other, it served the maritime air forces of all principle Allied nations, as well as the four branches of the US military. Except for a handful of Martin PBM Mariners, the Catalina was the only long range patrol bomber in the US Navy's inventory when the USA entered World War II. Though considered obsolete in 1939, it served in significant numbers until war's end and for many years after. Its total contribution to victory can only be surmised and the number of ships and lives saved by the PBY's mere presence over convoys will never be known. However, US Navy PBYs sank 19 Axis submarines, all identified by the author from contemporary evidence. Photographs of the Catalina in service in the Atlantic are rare but the author has assembled over 80 through research in official archives and private collections.
Related Titles PV Ventura/Harpoon Units of World War II (Combat) Kriegsmarine U-boats 1939-45 (New Vanguard) Sunderland Squadrons of World War II (Combat)
"Osprey has now published two books covering both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. Units of the Atlantic War has 32 color plane drawings, Units of the Pacific War has 31 ... The combat history of the PBY Catalina in every theater of the war is more interesting than one would consider. The PBY books revealed information that I had not considered about the valuable contribution these planes made toward defeating Germany and Japan." -Michael Koznarsky, Historical Miniature Gamer (Issue 10)
"Besides providing a history of the development of seagoing aircraft, the author describes many of the combat actions in which the PBYs were involve, and the wealth of photos and color illustrations depict the unit markings and other features in fine detail."-WWII History Magazine (August/September 2008)
"Although several books have been written about WWII USN patrol aviation, none do full justice to the role played by USN patrol squadrons in the longest, most bitterly fought campaign of the war - the Battle of the Atlantic - [until now.]" -George Hulett, Warbirds International
"The author has compiled an excellent reference on these units as well as coast guard squadrons that operated from the North Atlantic bases after the Navy pulled out of those missions in 1943. There are quality period photos as well as a goodly number of fine profiles to get the creative juices flowing for modelers. In all, a superb book on a part of WWII that gets very little press. A book I can justifiably recommend to you." -Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (December 2007)
US Navy PBY Catalina Units of the Atlantic War by Ragnar J Ragnarsson