Nostalgia USA June 2016 Nostalgia USA June 2016 - Page 13

June 6th 1944 air raids in N or m andy ArmyAIRcO RPSO nD-day D-Day operations At the first hours of June 6, 1944, in middle of the night, the 8th and 9th Air Force of the U SAAF belonging to the 2nd Tactical Air Force, supported by British and Combined forces bombers (and in particular Free France crews), are charged, within the framework of the N eptune O peration, to destroy all the important objectives targeted the previous months of the D-Day by reconnaissance aircraft. T hus, 360 heavy bombers supported by 269 light bombers fly over the transport convoys and the warships which move towards the N ormandy coasts. T hese bombers attack the fortifications of the Atlantic Wall, in spite of the presence of many clouds, which handicap the location of the targets. 92 radar stations are bombarded, from the point of Barfleur to Le H avre, so that the allied armada can't be noticed by the radio operators of the Kriegsmarine. 74 stations are destroyed by aviation, the operation is rather a success. But the bombardments of certain objectives on the coast (artillery batteries, support batteries, strongpoints), proved to be a relatively difficult operation. Indeed, the large number of clouds obstructed the bombers crews. 67 of the bombers cancelled their mission because of the bad atmospheric conditions, while the others tried to achieve their mission. All the landing beaches are bombarded by the allied planes, and many objectives are destroyed or damaged. For example, the American sector of U tah beach is massively bombarded, in particular the coastal artillery batteries of the Cotentin located near Azeville and Crisbecq. But between Longues-sur-M er and Grandcamp-M aisy, the targets were not reached, or only a little, by the bombardments. T he landing beach of this sector is O maha Beach, where soldiers from the 1st and 29th american American and Allied glider pilots did m to help win the war in Europe. T fragile planes, towed behind C-47s or o powered aircraft, were responsible putting large numbers of infantry troop the ground during major assaults. P behind their tow-planes, these pilots o found themselves released early off-course, often under fire, and had to down wherever they could find an space. Landings were dangerous frequently fatal.