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Thread: D-Day night routes

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    Default D-Day night routes

    Hi all,

    first of all, Happy New Year to all members of this forum. All the best...

    I have very technical questions regarding the flights to the different LZ/DZ on D-Day night. I would like to know the routes followed by the following Squadrons:
    TARRANT RUSHTON: 298 Squadron & 644 Squadron to LZ N
    BROADWELL: 575 Squadron to DZ N
    FAIRFORD: 190 Squadron, 620 Squadron to DZ N
    BRIZE NORTON: 296 Squadron & 297 Squadron to DZ/LZ N
    297 Squadron to Battery
    HARWELL: 295 Squadron & 570 Squadron to DZ/LZ: N, K, V

    Thanks for your help,

    Ludo

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    Default

    Ludo, Hi,

    I can’t help much with the actual D-day aircraft routes. However, having been involved with the UK parachute force for some years I can give you some pointers.

    If you plot (on, say, GE) the direct, straight-line, routes from mounting a/f to DZ/LZ you will see that there is little route confliction. This was, I suspect, not accidental.

    The various navies tended to fire first and then worry about who’s side the a/c was actually on!! Thus, the air plan would need to have a very well defined ‘pathway’ from UK to Normandy to keep as clear as possible of the trigger-happy matelots! Selsey Bill to a point about 10 nm west of Le Havre would seem to be favourite. From there to the various IPs, and LZs/DZs There was, though a GAF(?) airstrip at Octeville (nr Le Havre), but whether this was serviceable at the time I do not know. If the route had been any further east up the Channel it might have interfered with the FORTITUDE spoofs.

    I would think that the paras transitted the Channel at about 2500 ASL. At the IP they would drop to release height (1200-1500AGL?, over even lower in them days!!). The glider-borne troops/stores would probably also transit the Channel at 2500 ASL (low as possible for radar reasons?), but would have to climb to 5000 ft before releasing the gliders (see Chester Wilmot. He was a War Correspondent at the time on such a glider!). The air plan would de-conflict the various waves/chalks by time/height. One tries to choose a transit route height that does NOT result in dropping a stick of very heavily armed paras who are too air-sick to fight properly – defeats the object!!

    As far as this is concerned I have very limited knowledge. But my colleague Lyffe, on this forum, is the expert on D-day weather. He might be able to give some enlightenment? The Harwell chalks contained 1st (Indep) Grds Para (then the parachute equivalent of the paras Spec Forces!). They were to mark the DZs/LZs with lights and REBECCA, etc, for the ‘heavy mob’ following on so they would have to have gone early. Just what the Tarrant Rushton lot were up to I don’t know. And where the Merville Battery coup de main glider insertion was in the progression of things again I don’t know – but they got to the right place(s) within single-figure minutes of the planned time. Not bad??

    Not a lot to go on I admit, but better than nothing. Somebody, somewhere, will know. You just have to hope you strike lucky

    HTH

    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 2nd January 2014 at 14:11.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    I'm no expert in this in any way, Ludo, but if you go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normandy_landings and scroll down you will find a map showing the tracks taken by both the seaborne and airborne forces. The American airborne forces, tasked with securing the right flank of the invasion, approached their DZ's on the Cherbourg penisula from the west, overflying Portland outbound towards the Channel Islands before turning southeast to the DZs. The British forces (tasked with protecting the left flank) approached from the east of the seaborne force, overflying the Littlehampton/Worthing area then flying south before turning south-southwest to their DZs northeast of Caen/southeast of Ouistreham.

    I had hoped that "One night in June: The story of Operation Tonga, the initial phase of the invasion of Normandy, 1944" by Kevin Shannon and Stephen Wright would provide some details of the routes taken by the British forces, but other than mentioning overflying Littlehampton or Worthing it is rather lacking in technical detail.

    I think Peter might have misunderstood Wilmot's version. Wilmot describes (several times) the glider in which he was a passenger as being tugged by an Albermarle, and flying at 2500 ft across the Channel. However, Wilmot's glider was actually part of the main force which arrived over the DZs at about 0330 DBST; the majority of the tugs releasing their gliders between 1500 and 2000 ft.

    The 5000 ft to which Peter refers was the coup de main force of six gliders, tugged by Halifaxes, which landed at about 0020 DBST to attack, and hold, Pegasus Bridge. I don't have any of the books written about this operation to hand, but my recollection is that these gliders were released at 7000 ft.

    What is clear is that the airborne and seaborne forces were kept well apart.

    Brian
    PS: The ORBs for the respective squadrons could well include details .
    PPS. There is a map in "Victory in Normandy" (Major-General David Belchem) that is almost identical to that in the link given above.
    Last edited by Lyffe; 2nd January 2014 at 21:28. Reason: changed ambiguous statement

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    Default Route

    Found the route for British forces here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spzabt/11667634576/

    Base - Littlehampton - 4959′45″N 0003′00″W - DZ - 4930′30″N 0030′00″E - Ypreville-Biville -
    Littlehampton - Base

    Tugs climbed to 6000 ft for return after releasing gliders/dropping paratroops.

    Brian

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    Default 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions' routes to the Cherbourg Peninsula

    Ludo,

    To complete the broad picture of the airborne assaults, the routes taken by the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions to the Cherbourg Peninsula are shown at http://warchronicle.com/dday/utah/assaultrte.jpg. The latitude and longitude markers along the edges of the map can be used to determine the turning points for the approaches to the DZ/LZs.

    Brian

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    Thanks a lot for Resmoroh & Lyffe your answers, this is really good information to me. This helps to understand the route from Harwell (295&570 Squadrons) to LZ K.
    Base - Mount Farm -Littlehampton - 4959′45″N 0003′00″W - DZ
    I would like to confirm the routes from the following bases to LZ/DZ N
    FAIRFORD (190&620 Squadrons) - ??WORTHYDOWN?? - BOGNOR REGIS - ???TURNING POINT??
    BROADWELL (575 Squadron) - ??NETHERAVON??- BOGNOR REGIS- ???TURNING POINT??
    BRIZE NORTON (296&297 Squadrons) - BOGNOR REGIS-???TURNING POINT??

    Thanks for your help,
    Ludo

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    Default

    Ludo,

    The information I've given comes from Google (which anyone could have done), if you need something more detailed I suggest you need to undertake some primary research yourself by obtaining copies of the ORBs for the respective squadrons from the National Archives. You can download these at 3.50 per squadron for June 1944. Your other option is to visit the National Archives and access the files for Operation Tonga (AIR 37/976. Air 37/553 and AIR 37/286).

    Brian

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    Brian,
    I have all ORBs plus some appendices.
    In the summarys of events, some squadrons mentionned their routes (48, 271, 233, 512 for DZ V); I also found that information in Glider Raid reports (298,644).
    But not all squadrons gave details. Thanks for the advice about the Reports on Operation Tonga at the National Archives.

    Ludo

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