The Crucible of War, 1939-1945, Volume 3
Some 40 per cent of RCAF aircrew who served overseas during the Second World War did so in RACF squadrons. This is their story. The first RCAF squadron to see action in the Second World War was No. 1 Fighter Squadron, later to be No. 401, which from 18 August 1940 participated in the Battle of Britain. The last, in a still active theatre, were Nos. 435 and 436, delivering supplies in Burma until late August 1945. In between, RCAF squadrons served in all the major commands and in most major theatres of war. They were engaged by day and by night in air-to-air combat, strategic bombing, photo-reconnaissance, anti-shipping strikes and anti-submarine patrols, close air support, interdiction, and tactical airlift supply.
The Crucible of War is divded into five parts: Air Policy, the Fighter War, the Maritime Air War, the Bomber Air War, and the Air Transport War. The authors break new ground by deomstrating the influence of senior RCAF officers in shaping the execution of Canadian air policy, and they show how senior RCAF officer were permitted to determine the pace of Canadianization of the RCAF.
Many operations are described in detail from a wide variety of documentary sources, among them the unsuccessful battle of attrition that resulted from Fighter Command's offensive over France in 1941-42, and the actions of the RCAF's No 83 Group in Second Tactical Air Force, which provided air support for the British Second Army. Overdue notice is accorded the anti-shipping strike squadrons of Coastal Command. No 6 Group's battle with German night-fighters is recounted within the framework of complex electronic measures and counter-measures developed by both sides.
The RCAF, with a total strength of 4061 officers and men on 1 September 1939, grew by the end of the war to a strength of more than 263,000 men and women. This important and well-illustrated new history shows how they contributed to the resolution of the most significant conflict of our time.
The other volumes in the Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force are Canadian Airmen and the First World War by S.F. Wise (available) and The Creation of a National Air Force by W.A.B. Douglas (out of print)
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September 1939May 1941
RCAF Squadron Strength 193945
RCAF Bases and Targets during Circus and Ramrod Operations January
Operation Jubilee Dieppe Raid 19 August 1942
Squadron June 1942 May 1945
RCAF Overseas Order of Battle Fighter and Army Cooperation 1801
National Labour Effort Expended
Group Bases in the Vale of York between 616 and 617
RCAF Overseas Order of Battle Bomber Command
Wing Operations in the Mediterranean 26 June6 October
Accuracy of Night Bombing of German Cities excluding Berlin
German NightFighter Defences and Bomber Command July 1943
Loss Rates by Group on Halifax Night Operations January 1943
Major 1943 Additions excluding Window
Fighter Ranges from Tangmere and Group Boundaries for Operation
RCAF Wings in Northwest Europe in Relation to the Front Line on Specific
RCAF Overseas Order of Battle Maritime Reconnaissance and Strike
Maritime Air Operations in Northwest Europe 19415 between
RCAF Antishipping Operations Norwegian Coast 19435
German NightFighter Defences and Bomber Command May 1940
German NightFighter Defences and Bomber Command March 1941
The German Defensive System 31 December 1941
Theoretical and Actual Distribution of Losses in Bomber Command Squad
Relation between Loss Rate and Percentage of Crews Surviving 10 20
Bombing Accuracy in Night Operations 19424
RCAF Group Headquarters June 1944