The Battle of Britain and the Atlantic and the Blitz are invariably the focus of books and perceptions of the air war over and around Britain during the Second World War. Yet, it was Britain's more exposed eastern flank, from the South Foreland in the south to Bridlington in the north that faced nearly six years of unrelenting attacks by the Luftwaffe, the Kriegsmarine and, amazingly, the Corpo Aereo Italiano based in Belgium. The Italians alone launched some 150 raids on England hitting Great Yarmouth, Clacton, Harwich, Deal, Ramsgate and a host of other targets.This book chronicles the air war around the east coast as its principle focus but also incorporates the joint operations mounted by both the Allies and the Axis forces. It looks at the preparations for invasion, the defence of vital convoys, the air defences, the coastal blitz, ship and crew rescue and crucial docks and shipyards. With so much attention paid to the south coast, the air war over the east coast was often fought on a shoe-string although it was the coast that lay closest to Germany. It was not a war of vast fleets of warships and submarines, it was conflict staged by aircraft and smaller raiding craft.
It also saw the biggest mine-laying campaign in history and the largest battle fought between Axis E Boats and Allied Motor Torpedo Boats. As the tide turned in Britain's favour, the east coast became the staging post of the great bomber offensives against enemy occupied Europe and Germany itself. Yet the raiding and attacks on the east coast continued culminating in air-launched V1 attacks and finally V2 strikes. Jon Sutherland has written extensively on military history and warfare. Much of his previous work has concerned the American involvement in Europe in World War I and the European theatre of World Wars I & II. Diane Canwell has written works on European history and is much involved in the research for this book.