Royal Air Force 1939-1945

Volume 3: The Fight is Won

By Hilary St. George Saunders


The final chapter of this volume was written jointly by Hilary St. George Saunders and Denis Richards

Crown Copyright Reserved

Printed and Published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: POINTBLANK and Area Attacks

Chapter 2: The U-boat in the Atlantic and the Bay

Chapter 3: Stratagems and Spoils

Chapter 4: Before the Curtain Rose

Chapter 5: D Day

Chapter 6: The Battle for France

Chapter 7: Flying Bombs and Rockets

Chapter 8: Bag and Baggage

Chapter 9: From Brussels to the Rhine

Chapter 10: The End in Italy

Chapter 11: The Balkans and the Middle East

Chapter 12: Oil and the Climax

Chapter 13: Over the Rhine to the Elbe

Chapter 14: The Long Road Back to Burma

Chapter 15: Arakan, Kohima, and Imphal

Chapter 16: The Rising Sun Sets

Chapter 17: The Balance Sheet


Appendix I: Members of the Air Council, 1944-1945

Appendix II: Principal Air Commanders, 1944-1945

Appendix III: Royal Air Force Command Organization, June 1944

Appendix IV: Royal Air Force Command Organization, January 1945

Appendix V: First-Line Aircraft of the British and German Air Forces, June 1944 and January 1945

Appendix VI: German and Italian Submarines Destroyed by Allied Shore-Based Aircraft

Appendix VII: Enemy Surface Vessels Destroyed in the Atlantic and North-West European Waters by Aircraft under Royal Air Force Control, 1939-1945

Appendix VIII: Principal Operational Aircraft of the Royal Air Force, 1944-1945

Appendix IX: Principal Operational Aircraft of the German Air Force, 1944-1945

Appendix X: Principal Operational Aircraft of the Japanese Air Force, 1944-1945

Appendix XI: Order of Battle, Allied Expeditionary Air Force, ‘D Day’, 6th June 1944

Appendix XII: Order of Battle, Air Command, South-East Asia, 1st July 1944

Appendix XIII: Glossary of Code Names and Abbreviations


Maps and Diagrams

The Battle of the Atlantic (VI), June–August 1943

The Battle of the Atlantic (VII), September 1943–April 1944

The Air Plan for the Landings in Normandy, 6 June 1944

The Battle for France, July–September 1944

Deployment of Defences against the Flying Bomb, 13 June and 20 July 1944

Air Operations against Walcheren, 3 October–8 November 1944

Air Operations up to the German Frontier, September–December 1944

The Campaign in Italy, 8 June 1944–2 May 1945, and the Liberation of the South of France, 15 August–12 September 1944

The Balkans

The Indian Ocean

Principal Targets Attacked by Bomber Command, 1 January 1944–5 May 1945

The Battle of the Atlantic (VIII), May 1944–May 1945

The Advance into Germany, January–May 1945

The First Arakan Campaign, December 1942–May 1943

The First Chindit Expedition, February–June 1943

Air Supply Operations in the Second Arakan Campaign, February 1944

Japanese Attacks on Imphal and Kohima, March–April 1944

The Second Chindit Expedition and the Northern Front in Burma, December 1943–August 1944

The Reconquest of Burma, November 1944–May 1945

RAF Bomber Command. Distribution of Effort Between Principal Target Systems, 1940–1945

Annual Tonnages of Bombs Dropped by the RAF Bomber Command and the U.S. Eighth Air Force 1939–1945


Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Lord Portal of Hungerford—Wing Commander G. L. Cheshire—A ‘Kill’ in the Bay—Flying Officer L. A. Trigg—The Railway Yards at Aulnoye before and after an attack by Bomber Command—Amiens Prison after the Mosquitos had struck—Pre ‘D-Day’ Bombing. Tours Airfield—Horsa Gliders in Normandy after the Airborne Landings—Wreckage of German Transport near Chambois—AEAF Daily Conference, August 1944—The Flying Bomb (V.1)—A V.2 being prepared for Launching—Arnhem—The Gestapo Headquarters at Aarhus after No. 2 Group’s Attack—A Synthetic Oil Plant at Bohlen after Bomber Command’s Attack—Oil Refinery at Bremen under attack by Lancasters—The Last of the Tirpitz—Beaufighters Attacking a Minesweeper off Borkum—The Railway Viaduct at Bielefeld after Bomber Command’s Attack—A Battered Target in the Patch of the Allied Advance—Bocholt—A Beaufighter attack on a Japanese Storage Dump—Bombing of Japanese Dock Installations at Surasdilani—A Japanese Tanker Hit by RAF Liberators—Heavy Bombers Attacking Japanese Positions on Ramree Island—A Bridge over the Myitnge River after Attack by RAF Thunderbolts—The Docks at Rangoon, shattered by Allied Bombing