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Thread: D-day bombing weather

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    Default D-day bombing weather

    The success of the D-day landings was due, in part, to the Allied forecast which offered the window of opportunity that allowed

    1. The initial airborne inland assault by glider and parachute to take proceed and
    2. The secondary, main, seaborne assault to take place as planned at dawn.

    However, there was a third phase - the bombing of enemy fortifications in support of the land forces.

    I'd always thought that the weather conditions were such that all three phases of the operation proceeded without meteorological hindrance (albeit with some difficulty), indeed, Gp Capt Stagg, Eisenhower's chief met advisor, wrote in his report:

    "by the time the heavy bombers were due to operate the cloud was sufficiently broken to allow the use of visual techniques. The medium and fighter bombers were not hampered."

    However, I have reports from a contemporary American source that this was not the case and that cloud cover did prohibit visual bombing from medium levels.

    Does anyone have an account/accounts/report of Bomber Command's operations on 6 June, and the difficulties (if any) encountered?

    I'm well-versed in all the other meteorological aspects of the operation and background other than this. Unfortunately weather reports from north France were a bit sparse during the morning and afternoon of 6 June 1944.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Brian

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    Hi Brian
    There is some fairly detailed D-day information on this 2008 thread: http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3468&highlight=St.+Pierre+du+mont
    I have the raid report at home and can look through it if you let me know what else you are looking for.
    Dave Wallace

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    Hi Brian,

    One of my guys, navigator Sgt. Morris Murray, RCAF, was lost that night bombing the guns at Mont Fleury in Halifax LW638. The 76 Sqn report says 10/10ths cloud. There was little damage done to the gun emplacement.

    I have copies of the ORB (from namrondooh) which I can send later.
    David

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    The RAF Little Staughton ORB has weather observations from each target as 109 Squadron marked at all of them. They would be referring to the conditions at H-Hour for each target as listed on the other thread.

    Maisy medium battery - "Weather 8/10ths alto stratus 22,000 ft. Good vis."

    St. Pierre du Mont (medium coastal battery) - "weather 10/10ths str. cu. above 10,000 ft. Vis good." 463 and 467 Squadrons were at this target and their ORBs are available online. You will get a very vivid picture of this target 's weather from them.

    Houlgate (heavy battery) - "Weather 10/10ths cloud layered at heights up to 22,000 ft. Good Vis."

    La Pernelle (battery) - "Weather 10/10ths thin stratus about 6,000'. Good vis."

    Ouistreham (medium coastal battery)-"Weather 10/10ths stratus about 10,000'. Good vis."

    Longues (light battery) - "Weather 10/10ths status cu. 10/11,000ft. Good vis." 582 squdron reported "9/10ths cloud, tops 8/10,000 ft."

    Mont Fleury (light coastal battery) - "Weather 10/10ths stratus 8/10,000 ft. Good vis." 582 Squadron reported "8/9/10ths cloud tops 6,000 ft. 10/10ths cloud above."

    Crisbec (medium battery) -"Weather 10/10ths str. cu. tops approx. 5,000ft. Vis good."

    Merville (medium battery) - "Weather 10/10ths str.cu tops approx. 10,000 ft. Vis good above."

    St Martin du Varreville(medium battery) - "Weather 10/10ths str.cu tops approx. 6,000 ft. Vis good."
    Last edited by David Wallace; 28th January 2010 at 14:53.

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    Thank you both gentlemen - that is exactly what I was seeking.

    DW. Am I correct in thinking your information comes from AIR 28/492? It's simply that I need to quote a reference from an official source.

    DF. I would appreciate a sight of the ORB.

    It all hangs together quite nicely; the RAF could attack from through cloud from altitude since they were over the targets before the landing and errors were not disastrous; USAAF were unable to do that as it was required to precision bomb just forward of the advancing troops. At least that's the way I read it.

    Brian

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    Yes that was from AIR 28/492

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    The raid report in AIR 14/3412 reports weather experienced as follows:
    "Bases mainly fit, but 2 minor troughs moved southwards, bringing cloud base to 2,000' and rain.
    French coastal batteries - 5-10/10ths strato cumulus, tops about 5,000'. Full moon. Wind at 7,000'; 310/35 m.p.h.; at 9,000', 300/40 m.p.h."

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    That's extremely helpful David. Very much appreciate your help.

    Brian

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    One of my grandfathers was a bomb aimer with 460 Sqdn during this period. The 460 Sqdn ORB for 5 Jun (Crisbecq and St Martin De Varreville) and late on 6 June 1944 (Vire) indicates a fair degree of cloud; both over UK and the target areas.

    The ORB has been digitised and can be freely viewed online at the National Archive of Australia (www.naa.gov.au, then use Record Search and type in relevant terms).

    Adrian
    Interests include Spitfires in Malta 1942 and 460 Sqdn 1943-44 (including Black Thursday)

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    Thank you Adrian. Everyone is telling me the same story, but it's also useful to have an online source of data.

    Brian

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