June 1 - 4
This first section covers an overview of the events of June, the rest of the month is broken down into smaller sections in detail. Each overview will feature a different section of the Allied Air Forces in greater detail.
Allied Strategic Bombers are used largely against tactical targets. RAF Bomber Command drops 56,000 tons mainly at night in direct support of the invasion armies. Two daylight raids were also made on E-Boat pens and the E-Boats themselves at Le Havre (June 14) and Boulogne (15 June). In these two attacks almost all enemy light naval forces in the Channel are put out of action. There were also 50 attacks on key rail and road points and 10 on coastal batteries.
2nd TAF and ADGB. Altogether both air forces drop 5,000 tons in offensive operations on the Normandy Front.
Coastal Command. In June 1944, 63 sqns are available with 16 and 19 Groups under Coastal Command control to support the invasion. This was made up of 51 RAF sqns with 549 serviceable aircraft and 12 Fleet Air Arm/US Navy/Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons with 129 serviceable aircraft. The two Groups were given seperate areas of responsibility. 19 Group, based in South West England, were to operate in the South West Approaches and 16 Group were to protect the Channel and the Thames Estuary.
The roles of the Coastal Command squadrons were threefold, the first being Operation Cork. This comprised continuous day and night air patrols between Southern Ireland, the Cornish Peninsula and Brest Peninsula with the aim of preventing U-Boats from breaking into the Channel and coastal waters around the South of England. Secondly, Coastal Command were to assist the Allied navies in protecting convoys against E-Boats and enemy light surface craft. Thirdly, the strike/attack squadrons were to cut enemy coastal supply lines.
During these operations, aircraft of Coastal Command flew 2,197 ASW (Anti-submarine Warfare) sorties in the Channel and Western Approaches. 72 submarines were sighted, 40 were attacked. Coastal Command anti-shipping and strike squadrons flew 1,672 recconaissance and 315 strike sorties.
1st to 4th June 1944
2-3 June Bomber Command attacked Trappes rail yards in south west Paris.
3/4 June Signals Targets - Urville-Hague. 100 aircraft from Bomber Command (96 Lancasters and 4 Pathfinder Mosquitoes from 5 Group) attack and destroy the HQ of the German Signals Intelligence Service at Urville-Hague near Cherbourg. The attack was memorable for the completeness with which the whole installation was permanently destroyed. No Allied aircraft were lost. It later transpired that this was the Chief ‘Y’ Intelligence listening Station in Normandy.
4 June Meteorological Support - Chief Meteorological Officer, Grp Capt Stagg, briefed the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D Eisenhower. Details of the briefing that decided the timing of D-Day is available by clicking here.
4 June Radar Station - Cap d’Antifer. A radar station 13 miles W of Le Havre was severely damaged by Spitfires IXbs of 144 Wing – 441, 442 and 443 sqns commanded by Wg Cdr Johnnie Johnson DSO, DFC and Bar. 23 Spitfires took off from Ford airfield and attacked the Wurzburg radar station, scoring 9 direct hits with 500lb bombs.
4/5 June Deception Sorties – Attacks on Coastal Batteries. On the night 4/5 June, 259 aircraft from Bomber Command attacked 4 gun positions with 125 Lancasters, 118 Halifaxes and 16 Mosquitoes from 1, 4, 5, 6 and 8 Groups. Three of the targets were deception targets in the Pas de Calais. The fourth was the Maisy Battery, which lay between Omaha and Utah beaches. The target was completely covered by cloud and could thus only be marked by Oboe sky markers. It was bombed by 52 Lancasters of 5 Group, no aircraft were lost.
Damage to the E-boat pens at Boulogne.
One of Coastal Command's most potent weapons, the Mosquito F.B.XVIII was fitted with a quick firing Molins 6lb cannon, one sinking a U-boat off the French coast in March. The cannon was short lived as the rocket projectile was introduced, increasing the Mosquito's firepower still further.
A German destroyer beached after an anti-shipping attack by Coastal Command aircraft.
A Seereise FuMO214 radar of the type attacked on 2 and 4 June. The Wurzburg Reise type radars were used for night fighter control, the Seereise was modified for gunnery direction.
Group Captain Stagg.
An abandoned German position at Cap Gris Nez in the Pas de Calais after a Bomber Command attack.
See June 5