Short Sunderland

Few warplanes have been as graceful as the Short Sunderland flyineg boat, nor as consistently effective in performance. Evolved from the same company’s stately Empire flying boats, the Sunderland entered service with RAF Coastal Command in June 1938 as a long-range reconnaissance and antisubmarine patrol aircraft.
When war broke out the following year, it became a vital element in Britain’s desperate struggle to keep sea lanes open across the North Atlantic, escorting merchant convoys, and hunting down U-boats. On its long and lonely ocean patrols, the Sunderland needed to he able to defend itself unaided in any chance encounter with German aircraft.
The Germans learned to respect the fliying boat’s firepower and gave it the nickname “Flying Porcupine” because it bristled with up to 12 defensive guns. Many Allied soldiers and sailors owed their lives to the Sunderland, which saved the crews of torpedoed ships and carried out rescue operations during the evacuations of Norway, Greece, and Crete.
In total, 749 were built, and at the war’s end there were 28 SunderIand -equipped squadrons. In the postwar period Sunderlands were used in the Berlin Airlift and the Korean War. When they were retired in 1959, the RAF finally said farewell to flying boats.

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