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Thread: Operations on 5 June 1944

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    Default Operations on 5 June 1944

    A bit of an open ended question, gentlemen, but I'd like to get some idea of daytime operations against targets in France during 5 June (not the night of 5/6th).

    Chester Wilmot, on page 229 of his "Struggle for Europe" (published 1954), records that in his weekly situation report written on 5 June, Rommel stated "Survey urgently needed of harbour moorings on the entire English south coast by air reconnaissance", Wilmot then adds that "... but on this critical day bad weather kept the Luftwaffe on the ground."

    Wlmot doesn't provide a source for this latter statement but I'm 99% sure it came from Gp Capt Stagg, Eisenhower's met advisor, as he includes a near identical statement in his after-action report - although on what authority goodness only knows.

    The weather maps for 5 June show good visiblity and scattered to broken CuSc at 2000-2500 ft over southern England, the Channel and north France - certainly no 'bad' weather.

    I've been unable to find if the Luftwaffe attempted any reconnaissance sorties on the 5th, so I'm taking a reverse approach by asking what Allied operations were flown and what did the summaries record in respect of the weather.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Brian
    (PS I appreciate the Allies enjoyed total air superiority, meaning any Luftwaffe reconnaissance sortie would have been rather hazardous.)

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    Default From Night Raid Report No. 624 June 4th-5th

    Hi Brian
    Main targets were Calais, Maisy, Sangatte , Boulogne & Cologne

    Weather forecast:
    Bases: - Variable cloud, thickening after midnight
    Continent - Much Strato-cumulus in N. France and N. Germany decreasing southward in both countries. Little cloud in southern France. Frontal cloud will clear the channel coast at about 0330, leaving thick medium cloud above 12,000' and patchy strato-cumulus below.

    Weather experienced
    Bases: Rain and thick cloud, often based below 1,000', moved southeastwards clearing East Anglia after 0100.
    French targets - 10/10ths. cloud at various levels; breaks in strato-cumulus at Calais. Moderate icing in cloud at 6-7,000'. Nearly full moon. Visibility moderate to poor.

    Enemy Defences
    Conditions at fighter airfields in occupied territory were poor, and enemy aircraft were airborne for only a short time. None of our aircraft were attacked. Flak was slight.
    Cheers
    Dave Wallace

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    Dave,

    I was after daytime conditions on the 5th - but you've actually provided something equally valuable. The night of 4/5th was the preferred night for the invasion, and one of the reasons it was postponed was a cold front was forecast to be over north France giving large amounts of cloud at the critical time for air operations. The weather charts are a bit ambiguous as to how much there was, and some metmen thought the invasion could have gone ahead that night - but your summary confirms the wisdom of the decision. Given those conditions it is doubtful if the airborne assault would have succeeded.

    Does the summary record which squadrons went to Maisy?

    Brilliant - thanks.

    Brian

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    All I have for Maisy is that 52 Lancasters from 5 Group were dispatched along with four Oboe Mosquitos. H-Hour there was 0340. All aircraft attacked the primary with the exception of one Mosquito that had an Oboe equipment failure.
    Dave
    I searched Hugh Halliday's RCAF Honours & Awards database information and found there that 57, 207 and 630 Squadrons were involved on the attack on Maisy.
    The other interesting thing about the attacks on the 4th-5th is the extent of the cloud. 109 Squadron sent out their Mosquitos to mark all of the French targets, their target runs were done from 18,000' to 30,000' and all of their aircraft reported being in thick cloud on the target run. 105 Squadron also went to all French targets & reported all of their aircraft in thick cloud during their Oboe runs as well, some had their ASI freeze up (They were operating at the same altitudes and on the same targets as 109 Squadron). One 109 crew described it as "flying in frontal cloud".
    Last edited by David Wallace; 4th September 2013 at 00:13. Reason: 5 Group Squadron info added

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    Brian

    for what its worth 78 Sqn only flew on night operations on both the nights of 4/5 and 5/6 June 44.

    Regards

    Daz

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    Very many thanks, Dave. Your description is eaxctly what I'm after for the night.

    Brian

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