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Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 3 months ago

Yateley and D-Day - 6th June 1944 - Air Support

The planning for the Normandy Invasion, Operation Overlord, took more than two years. The Allied air campaign had 3 main objectives: (a) to gain air supremacy over the invasion area; (b) to isolate the battlefield area by "interdicting" road, rail and communication networks; and (c) once the invasion began, to provide close battlefield support for the ground forces.

In the the first five months of 1944 Allied heavy bombers effectively destroyed the Luftwaffe, and crippled aircraft and petroleum production. At D minus 60 interdiction raids began against rail centres; from D minus 46 the bridges on the Seine and Loire were bombed; and from D minus 21 German airfields within a radius of 130 miles of the landing area were attacked, the aircraft from Hartford Bridge playing a key role.

On the day before D-Day the medium bombers of 137 Wing were fitted with special smoke canisters so that they could fly close to the sea along the beaches, laying a protective smoke screen.

By D-Day RAF Hartford Bridge was home to at least two other squadrons of 141 Wing of fighters: No 264 Squadron flying the nightfighter version of the Mosquito, and No 322 (Dutch) Squadron flying the brand new Spitfire XIV. Before D-Day the Dutch had been tasked with preventing any German reconnaissance aircraft overflying England and so learning of the build-up to D-Day.

During and after D-Day 2TAF claimed 9,896 sorties destroying 3,597 enemy armour and vehicles, a vivid witness to the courage, skill and endurance of the aircrews.


Back to Yateley Common in WW2


Back to RAF Hartford Bridge in the Military Topic on this website

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