chapter  12
24 Pages

Ultra, Air Power, and the Second Battle of the St. Lawrence, 1944

WithRoger Sarty

The official history of the Royal Canadian Air Force's coastal commands, demonstrated that air power directed by naval intelligence was the key to the ultimate success of the defense in late 1942 and all through 1944. Eastern Air Command had been established at the end of 1938. When war broke out in the following year, its meager order of battle included only seven reconnaissance aircraft biplane Supermarine Stranraer flying boats that could by any stretch of the imagination be considered modem. The Canadian submarine trackers had estimated that U 802 might pass through the Cabot Straits and push up to the Gaspé Passage and the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, where the 1942 boats had enjoyed their greatest success. Although transmission had been garbled, the essential point was clear: there was little traffic to be found within the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but "good chances" of success in the eastern approaches to the Cabot Strait, south of Newfoundland.