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British Normandy Memorial

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British Normandy Memorial

Old 9th Jun 2021, 13:55
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Had the bombers effectively carried out their assigned task of bombing the beaches to provide craters for cover for the Infantry and detonated more mines and perhaps destroying some beach obstacles...and remove barbed wire defenses....Omaha might not have seen the slaughter it did.

Using Heavy Bombers in a tactical role did not work well during the War.

Operation Cobra is another example in addition to the D-Day Beach bombing effort.

Technology and tactics were still rather primitive which limited the capability of the Air Force to put bombs onto limited areas as happened in both D-Day and in Cobra.
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Old 9th Jun 2021, 18:05
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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To this day I wonder why 8th AF and Bomber Command did not come in low during the night and pulverize the defensive positions. It's true that by June 1944 that there were many mobile and deadly radar-controlled AAA units, but they could still only fire at one target at a time and seems like a few hundred buffs would have made quite a dent in the Nazi defensive capability.
I guess the early parachute drops made for more tricky timing than they already had to deal with, and bombing too early would give away the exact landing beaches.
I think you answered your own question in your last sentence and, as SASless points out, strategic bombers didn't then make good tactical ones, especially by night. The strategic bombers had already contributed enormously to D-Day (and the Soviet advance) by locking up the majority of Luftwaffe fighters and heavy AA in defending the skies over the Reich. The absence of the Luftwaffe in France was the elephant in the room, and greatly enabled the successful invasion of Europe by the Allies.

As to a few hundred Buffs, if only!
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Old 9th Jun 2021, 18:32
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
"Hope Britain proles realized how brutal and important Normandy was. Most proles here in the Colonies just remember a movie or two."

D-Day is remembered as a great victory - the word has entered the English language.) played down.
Quite right. For a very long time however, I wondered what the "D" stood for, until I later discovered it was simply the "D" of "Day.. In French D-Day is not Jour-D but Jour-J.
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Old 9th Jun 2021, 18:54
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Salute!

Good points, Chug.

I only saw good results of tactical bombing with the B-52's twice - the Khe San defense in 1967-68 and then the An Loc batle in 1972. In both battles they dropped very close to the friendlies, mainly trying and succeeding to keep the enema from gathering strength and "charging".

The An Loc bombing was much more effective than the Khe San effort. By 1972 we had very accurate targeting data from the grunts at the camp, and the Buffs had refined their dropping accuracy. The drops over Hanoi in 1972 resembled WW2. Not massive "carpet bombing" but specific targets, and when we could not go visually, we used LORAN pathfinders for the sky puke. I dropped once visually, and twice on the wing of a F-4 LORAN bird. I had boots on the ground BDA from a friend that was released a few months later, and he told me we pulverized the railyard that day.

I still think a good Mossie pathfinder or two and some flare markers would have allowed the Lancs and Libs and Forts to pulverize the beach head at 0000 hours and then have the airborne folks drop a few miles inland an hour later. At 3,000 feet or so it's hard to miss.

Other great point by Chug: the elephant in the room....... The U.S. did not have air superiority contested after Pearl Harbor, and that objective was incorporated into USAF doctrine. I have heard of a few LW planes sticking their noses into the fray, but nothing to write home about.

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Old 9th Jun 2021, 19:03
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
The great planning somehow overlooked what kind of terrain lay behind the beaches in Normandy and did not appreciate the effect the Hedgerows would provide the defenders.
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I have never quite understood why that happened..

Anybody familiar with the Normandy bocage (and you'd assume somebody on the staff would have been) would have noticed that there were obvious parallels with the field and especially the lane/road side hedge construction there with the earth/stone lane/roadside banks you see enclosing many of the small fields in areas of the South Hams in the county of Devon in the UK..where it just so happened many US units were accommodated in the run up to D-Day....so you would have hoped somebody would have gone ..as you say it got overlooked..

https://www.devon.gov.uk/historicenv...c-environment/

Hedges in Devon are an important part of the distinctive character of the County with medieval hedges in particular contributing to the irregular and sinuous network of small fields and deep lanes which define the rural landscape.
http://www.totnes-today.co.uk/articl...earchyear=2019
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Old 9th Jun 2021, 19:25
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D = Deliverence (day)
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Old 10th Jun 2021, 07:49
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It was just D for Day
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Old 10th Jun 2021, 08:00
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All the accumulated evidence for beach landings up to June 44 showed the necessity for ship based support fire. Air support wasn't accurate enough nor as responsive. Air was best used to cut communications with the landing areas and take out one or two large, fixed targets and to provide air cover to protect the landings.

AFAIK the terrain behind the beaches in Normandy was not factored in at all - the importance was a large area of good beaches so that they could get a large force ashore within 24 hours and not get hung up by a single point of failure (such as the problems at Omaha). They should have prioritised a rapid push inland within 24 hours but once ashore they dug in (as at Salerno). Although fighting in the bocage was tough I don't think it was as bad as the terrain in Italy where the Allies struggled for nearly two years making very very slow progress
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Old 10th Jun 2021, 10:22
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Italy was made for defense....and the German Army was very good at that.

Once. Patton's Third Army broke out....it became a race to the Rhine limited by the ability of the logistical organization to keep the Allied Armies supplied.

Germany fighting a War on two fronts was doomed to defeat as it just did not have the fighting power to deal with the Allied Armies in the West and the Soviets in the East.
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Old 10th Jun 2021, 14:47
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Salute!

@astur... The Allies did not improve or even develop decent close air support in the Euro theater like the Pacific USMC and even Army units for all their beach heads prior to Normandy.. As much as I appreciate the naval gunfire, and being a serious, experienced, combat CAS puke, there is no substitute for seeing the enama tracers or even troops climbing the fence. I saw the New Jersey in 'nam with naval support fire and besides minutes to coordinate a firing, and then 100 meter accuracy at best, the grunts liked a good tacair plane nearby and a strike could be made within less than a minute.

My wingie and I were awarded a decoration one day by the army unit we helped because we dropped on the point of attack while artillery was still raining down at the Y-Bridge battle (1968). No big deal, and we hit the bad guys while the smoke trails from their RPG's were still visible, and we were in perfect position to roll in, which we did. No naval support would have been as timely or accurate, nor the artillery just 4 miles away.

On D-Day, we had plenty of P-47's and Hurricanes that could have provided rapid and accurate delivery provided we had the tactical network we developed within the next few months. The air superiority speaks for itself, as the "leader" had dictated air defense of the homeland uber all else.

The CAS doctrine developed quickly in WW2 and then over in Korea 6 years later. I really feel the USMC did the most development of actual tactics. logistics and the communication infrastructure required for effective close air support due to the Pacific Theater landings.

In any case, many brave souls were lost on the beaches. The outcome would have been very bad had we not had so many of those that gave their all.

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Old 11th Jun 2021, 22:39
  #31 (permalink)  
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Can we get back to D Day and the Normandy campaign?

I believe that no specific campaign was issued, but looking at my Grandfather's medals, the Atlantic Star has the clasp "France and Germany".

Last edited by WE Branch Fanatic; 15th Jun 2021 at 17:58.
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Old 11th Jun 2021, 22:51
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by SASless View Post
The great planning somehow overlooked what kind of terrain lay behind the beaches in Normandy and did not appreciate the effect the Hedgerows would provide the defenders.
It wasn't overlooked, but it was very much a secondary concern. The primary issue was making the landings on beaches that were less heavily defended so that the initial landings would be successful. If the initial landings didn't succeed, what laid behind the beaches wouldn't matter.
That's why they didn't go to Calais or to a channel port - those were much heavier defended than the Normandy beaches.
Lots went wrong at Omaha - perhaps the biggest being that the DD tanks were offloaded too far from shore and were swamped by the heavy seas. Something like 90% of the DD tanks at Omaha sank. Had even half of them made it, their firepower would have made a big difference.
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Old 12th Jun 2021, 02:22
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See my post 17 and this video here. An huge amount of planning and deception went into fooling the German defenders. That is one of the reasons why the Normandy beaches were less well defended.
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Old 12th Jun 2021, 02:29
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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The choice of Normandy was also decided by simple geography....The Netherlands and Belgium were low lying areas filled with canals and other water obstacles with most sites being on peninsulas, around Calais was too close to the Great Britain to facilitate the naval and air traffic....as well as being the heaviest defended and the Area of Operations for the 15th Army....and that left Normandy with nice sandy beaches and with sea ports close by.

One D-Day...the troops landing on Utah were swept about a mile away from their intended landing points which turned out to be a blessing as they landed at less well defended positions.

Some strategists were advocating not even doing Overlord and just waiting for the Strategic Bombing Campaign and the Russian's to bring Germany to its knees.

Churchill favored a Mediterranean avenue of advance and not doing Overlord for quite a while.

Other Operational Plans, amongst them Operation Rankin A,B, and C, were drafted ahead of Overlord which was an independent effort done by separate planners.

The US 101st Airborne Division was to be dropped into France to seize a seaport which would then be used to insert Allied ground forces should the German defenses be seen to be collapsing.

It makes one wonder if the Normandy Campaign with its tremendous losses could have been avoided had the Strategic Bombing campaign had not been suspended for the four months or so it was to support the lead up and immediate aftermath of D-Day.


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Old 12th Jun 2021, 02:42
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On D-Day, we had plenty of P-47's and Hurricanes that could have provided rapid and accurate delivery provided we had the tactical network we developed within the next few months.
The Allies did not improve or even develop decent close air support in the Euro theater like the Pacific USMC and even Army units for all their beach heads prior to Normandy..
By D-Day the Hurricane was well and truly gone from RAF service in the ETO. You might be confusing the Hurricane with the Typhoon. I think you will also find that Eidenhower's Deputy Supreme Commander had already developed the tactical airforce and the cab rank concept in the desert and bought that concept to the Normandy campaign. D-Day fire support was largely a naval affair. The CAS mission was established once airfields within the bridgehead were established. There were no aircraft carriers off the coast of Normandy, thats what England was for.

Strategic bombers were used in the opening stages of the invasion especially on the American beaches but the bombing was largely ineffective as the bombs fell inland. The idea was that the bombs would provide instant foxholes but due to bomb creep completely missed the beaches.

I think any commemoration of D-Day is a good thing as the knowledge of what happened, within the general public, is woeful. There is a particular game show that I watch called Tipping Point where the general knowledge questions that relate to WW2 are invariably wrong. Questions such as "In what 20th Century conflict was the Battle of Britain?" "World War One" was the reply.
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Old 17th Jun 2021, 16:10
  #36 (permalink)  
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Is it easy to find out at which beach specific ships and other units were present on D Day? My Grandfather was aboard HMS Belfast.
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Old 17th Jun 2021, 17:10
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From https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/8-thi...fast-and-d-day "On 6 June 1944, HMS Belfast was the flagship of Bombardment Force E, supporting troops landing at Gold and Juno beaches. Her first target was the German gun battery at La Marefontaine. As a result of HMS Belfastís bombardment, the battery played no meaningful role in the defence of the beaches."
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Old 17th Jun 2021, 18:22
  #38 (permalink)  
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Thank you.
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Old 17th Jun 2021, 18:31
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Originally Posted by WE Branch Fanatic View Post
Is it easy to find out at which beach specific ships and other units were present on D Day? My Grandfather was aboard HMS Belfast.
I don't know if you can access this or not, but the Belfast plays a staring role in the Season 1, Episode 4 "D Day" episode of "Combat Ships" on the Smithsonian Channel.
https://www.smithsonianchannel.com/d...ships/season-1
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Old 18th Jun 2021, 08:25
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"Is it easy to find out at which beach specific ships and other units were present on D Day? My Grandfather was aboard HMS Belfast.?"

Start with Roskills Official history
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