In 1940, Bomber Command was asked to support Coastal forces, even though at that time in the war it overstretched itself.

The Command lost heavily during this period, but it succeeded in inflicting a decisive defeat on the U-boats. Warning signs after the First World War, that U-boats could become a serious threat once again, meant that aircraft would be the best counter to their operations. 53 and 59, were handed to Coastal Command in July 1940 for these tasks. However, A/S received more attention. The total tonnage sunk was 512,330 tons[10] and another 513,454 tons damaged. It airlifted British Army forces into Egypt during the Suez Crisis which was its major action during this period. The Soviet Union attempted to cut off all aid to the city which was jointly occupied by the four major powers, the Soviets in the east, and the Americans, French and British in the west.

[128], Prior to the Second World War, there was no British air-sea rescue (ASR) organisation for rescuing aircrew from the sea. Priority went to Coastal Command Anti-submarine warfare, units by this time. Maximum range for contact with a U-boat was 15 mi (24 km). Fighter and Bomber Areas became Fighter and Bomber Commands and Coastal Area was renamed Coastal Command. Portal insisted he would emphasis the Command's case. One Spitfire reached Gdynia, searching for the German battleship Tirpitz. On 23 September 1941 Air Marshal John Salmond took over the organisation. The tanker had several hundred British prisoners of war on board. This reduced the number of fit pilots, and the quality of pilots overall. While there, they undertook a major operation, Operation Bobcat, to prevent illegal Jewish migrants coming into Palestine. From Gibraltar, the lack of flying boats meant a lack of air cover after 100 miles. The daily operational strength of Coastal Command amounted to 298 aircraft, most unsuitable for maritime operations. A further 12 submarines from Norway joined 35 from French ports for operations, only to suffer 50 attacks on the first day. Later, in February 1942, Coastal Command identified the Luftwaffe Würzburg radar sets in France. [77], Along with Ultra breakthroughs, ASV also helped contain the U-boat threat in 1941. In later months, the Schnorchel, a device originated by the Dutch and later adopted by the Kriegsmarine after the Germans invaded the Netherlands were capable of allowing a U-boat to replace its air supply and vent its diesel exhaust without surfacing became available. 407 Squadron RCAF had the device fitted to supplement their Leigh Lights. By the time John Slessor succeeded de la Ferté as AOC-in-C, he identified 60 squadrons with a total of 850 aircraft, of which 34 were A/S squadrons, operating 450 machines. Other operations were mounted by Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper into British waters in 1940 with various success.

[111] Official wartime operations ceased at midnight on 4 June 1945. [18] When Admiral Sir Dudley Pound enquired about aerial assets in trade and commerce defence, Chief of the Air Staff Cyril Newall, 1st Baron Newall, replied that there was not enough "jam" [resources] to go around and stated it was more advisable to risk losses on trade routes than weaken the RAF's ability to protect Britain from air attack and bomb its enemies. [26] German medium bombers could also reach British ports on the westernmost and northernmost coasts. [130] By the end of 1943 Coastal Command had rescued 1,684 aircrew out of 5,466 presumed to have ditched in the sea. [36], Eventually the Command was given the investment it needed. It lacked the proper training, tactics and suitable aircraft to pose a serious threat to Luftwaffe operations until the beginning of 1942. It was more efficient to release a large stick of 250 lb (110 kg) DCs as the required lethal stick was four times the bombing error in range. By 15 January 1942, de la Ferté knew just one-fifth of his aircraft were operational. The Luftwaffe with its small, but valuable fleet of Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condors, could now operate from the same area. Five Spitfires and a Mosquito were lost on PR operations in December 1941.

[8] Anson engines were in limited supply in 1939. Not until 1942 did the ASO squadrons get the recognition needed, in the wake of the German Operation Cerberus. With a range of 2,350 miles it could have been invaluable. Meaningful German convoy reconnaissance had been nonexistent. No. What de la Ferté meant by "offensive operations" was interdiction of U-boats in transit, from the U-boat pens on the French Atlantic coast into the north Atlantic: The trunk of the Atlantic U-Boat menace, the roots being in the Biscay ports and the branches spreading far and wide, to the North Atlantic convoys, to the Caribbean, to the eastern seaboard of the North America and to the sea-lanes where the faster merchant ships sail without escort.

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