Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Lorraine M. Lees

Committee Member

Ingo Heidbrink

Committee Member

Michael Hucles

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47 B65 2010


The Battle of the Atlantic during World War II centered on the submarine guerre de course of the German Kriegsmarine, aimed at severing the maritime bridge between Great Britain and North America. From 1939 until mid-1943 all of the belligerents involved struggled to balance the scarce resources they could marshal for the fight. For the Allies the limited number and quality of escort ships and patrol aircraft they could muster reflected this scarcity. During the summer of 1943 the Allies achieved their turning point in the battle when a complex mix of factors coalesced. Prominent among those factors was the introduction of very long-range (VLR) antisubmarine (A/S) aircraft in sufficient number and quality to close the last operational sanctuary of the U-boat force in the Greenland-Iceland Atlantic air-gap.

The most capable VLR A/S aircraft available to the Allies, the B-24 Liberator heavy bomber, began its production run in the summer of 1941. Although sufficient aircraft were available earlier, adequate numbers of Liberators were not employed in closing the air-gap until mid-1943. The complex mix of elements that led to the delayed deployment of a sufficient force of VLR aircraft included the interplay between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, along with the conflicting views held by the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff on strategy and force allocation. Inter-service clashes over priorities and strategy also influenced decisions concerning the use of Liberator aircraft on both sides of the Atlantic.


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