Tag Archives: D-Day

Before Deploying To Latvia, Two USAF A-10s from 107th FS Flew Over Normandy For D-Day 74 Ceremonies

Before deploying to the Baltic region, two A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft flew over the beaches of Normandy, France, as part of the commemoration ceremonies for D-Day 74.

Eight A-10C attack aircraft from the 107th FS of the 124th Fighter Wing Michigan Air National Guard, from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, arrived on stopover at RAF Mildenhall, UK, on Friday May 31, 2018. The Warthogs of the “Red Devils” were on their way to Latvia where they are scheduled to take part in Saber Strike, an annual exercise in the nations of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania along the Baltic Sea in northern Europe.

One of the aircraft, 81-0994/MI, is a “unique” special-colored A-10C unveiled at Air National Guard Paint Facility in Sioux City, Iowa, on Aug. 3, 2017. The aircraft is painted with a special livery that commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the Red Devils of the 107th Fighter Squadron, that is inspired to the P-51 (F-6A) of the 107th TRS, that flew the Mustang over Normandy during WWII.

The special colored A-10C lands in a cloudy RAF Mildenhall on May 31, 2018. Six aircraft continued to Latvia on Jun. 1, whereas two remained in the UK to take part in the D-Day 74 flyover. Image credit: Tony Lovelock

One of the eight A-10C with the 107th FS about to land in RAF Mildenhall on May 31, 2018. Image credit: Tony Lovelock

On Jun. 3, 2018, along with another 107th FS “Warthog”, the “full special color” A-10 flew over the French coastline and Omaha Beach, Normandy, as part of the commemoration ceremonies for D-Day 74 – the 74th anniversary of the D-Day invasion during World War II. The 107th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron flew multiple missions over Normandy during the lead up to D-Day and during the invasion itself. The flyover during the commemoration represents the first assigned mission for the 107th in France since World War II.

The shadows of two A-10 Thunderbolt II are seen on a French farm field during the D-Day 74 commemoration ceremony in Normandy, France, June 3, 2018. The A-10s are flown by the 107th Fighter Squadron, which participated in the D-Day invasion in 1944. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

Following the demonstration, the two aircraft continued to their destination in Latvia with the support of a KC-135 tanker.

A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from the 107th Fighter Squadron, Michigan Air National Guard, fly over the beaches of Normandy, France, as part of the mo ceremonies for D-Day 74 — the 74th anniversary of the D-Day invasion during World War II. The 107th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron flew multiple missions over Normandy during the lead up to D-Day and during the invasion itself. The flight during the commemoration represents the first assigned mission for the 107th in France since World War II. The unit also served in France during World War I. The 107th is assigned to Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Dan Heaton)

Photo comparison shows D-Day beaches as they were in 1944 and as they are today

RAF reconnaissance planes have taken shots of the D-Day beaches after 70 years. With today’s stand-off technology and higher resolutions.

RAF Tornado GR4 jets from II (AC – Army Co-operation) Squadron from RAF Marham have used today’s technology to emulate their World War II counterparts that, on D-Day, Jun. 6, 1944, took the first pictures of the Normandy landings.

The two Tornados flew at 400 mph and 20,000 feet over Gold, Juno, Utah and Sword beaches, replicating the images the same squadron and their Mustang brought back during the 36 reconnaissance sorties flown on D-Day.

70 years ago, II (AC) Squadron used bulky cameras loaded onto the bottom of the Mustangs to get panoramic images of the beaches. Today, a single Tornado sortie provides much better results using the RAPTOR (Reconnaissance Airborne Pod for Tornado) which takes aerial images and the Litening III Advanced Targeting Pod that is able to capture Full motion video.

Here’s the comparison between the quality of images taken today as compared to those of 1944.

 

Image credit: Crown Copyright

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[Special Feature] D-Day: a +1000 Aerial Armada (including troop-carrying gliders) to take back occupied Europe

At 22.15 on the evening of Jun. 5 1944, the first engine on the first plane spluttered into life announcing the biggest airborne operation ever undertaken: delayed by 24 hours due to poor weather conditions, the Allied forces were about to take back occupied Europe.

That night, some 13,000 U.S airborne troops comprising of the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions were to be transported in a vast fleet of 925 DC-3 Dakotas along with the British 6th Airborne Division (some 6,000 strong) and Canada’s 1st Parachute Battalion (some 500 in strength), over the English channel to the Cotentin Peninsula (Normandy).

Also a further 5,000 troops were transported into combat in some 700 gliders. Two were the main types of gliders used in the action. The first was the Waco CG-4A, a U.S designed and built assault glider which had first taken to the air during 1942 and became the most numerous built glider of WWII with about 13,900 examples built.

The other type used was the British Built and designed Airspeed Horsa Glider; smaller than the CG-4, the Horsa first flew in on Sept. 12, 1941 and was first used operationally in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. It could carry a squad of 25 troops with a later Mk2 version being larger with a hinged nose so that a Jeep could be carried.

Both Gliders were basically a wooden frame covered in a wax covered fabric to keep weight to a minimum; no armoured protection here, it meant that furniture manufacturers could assemble parts of the glider in vast numbers quickly.

The 1000+ fleet had the issue of flying in the dark without lights so mid-air collisions were a big risk. To minimise this, all aircraft took off from dozens of airfields all over southern England and used an air corridor that took them south to the Island of Guernsey where they then turned east and over the combat area.

Navigation was still in its infancy and was not very accurate and, once over France, the airborne troops were scattered. Because of the poor navigation and heavy flak that the aircraft encountered prior to their respective drop zones many airborne troops found themselves miles from their intended drop zone.

Many of the troops were killed whilst still in the air swinging from their chute; others drowned when they landed in flooded fields and were weighed down by the vast amount if kit that they wearing at the time.

Those that survived the jump found themselves on their own and had to form groups and fight objectives that they hadn’t trained for. Their ultimate objective was to secure an area inland from the landing beaches so that a beach head could be established.

Eventually, as history states, they succeeded. But at a huge cost.

The glider borne troops proved to be very effective, the large “Barn Door” flaps on the Horsa Glider gave it a very high rate of descent allowing the glider to be landed in a confined space.

A good exmple of this is that during the night of Jun. 5 and 6, 1944 a force of 181 men took off from RAF Tarrant Rushton Dorset, Southern England in Six Horsa Gliders with the task to capture Pegasus Bridge and its sister bridge a few hundred yards east, over the River Orne.

The operation was aimed to stop German armour attacking the landing forces and to capture the two strategically important bridges to cover the eastern flank of “Sword”, one of the landing beaches.

Five of the six gliders landed within 50 yards of the objective taking the defending German forces by complete surprise and completed their task within 10 minutes with the loss of two men.

That night, the sight of vast swarms of troop-carrying aircraft must have been impressive. Their overpowering numbers gave the Allied forces the upper hand.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: Wiki

This cool video shows what jumping from a flying Hercules looks like: D-Day 2012 from the paratrooper's point of view

On Jun. 3, U.S. paratroopers jumped from a C-130J Hercules at the La Fiere drop zone near Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France, to honor the 68th anniversary of D-Day, the Normandy landings during World War II.

Paratroopers of Task Force 68 from France, Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K., also participated in the jump.

This cool video shows what jumping from a flying Hercules over France during D-Day celebrations looks like.

H/T to Wings Over Iraq for the heads up