Halifaxes tow gliders over landings

Chief Meteorological Officer Reports

Chief Meteorological Officer Reports

Grp Capt J M Stagg (Chief Meteorological Officer to Eisenhower) made the following report at 0415 hrs on Sun 4th Jun to the Supreme Allied Commander:

"Wx becoming so unsettled that was difficult to make any certain predictions for a long time ahead. But Westerly wind at 16 kts set in over the Channel almost immediately with 10/10th cloud at 500’ in the UK and over the Assault Area. No prospect of improvement until Wednesday but on the other hand the position was finely balanced and a slight tip in either direction could make a great difference."

Eisenhower postponed D-Day by one day because;

  • heavy cloud would impede bombing.
  • high wind would stop the departure of last forces from S Eng.
  • low cloud and high winds impede airborne operations.

It was also pointed out that Overlord was taking place with ground forces which, when compared with strength of enemy, were not overwhelmingly powerful. In fact, the operation in the present form was only feasible because of the Allies' great air superiority. The position was summed up in the statement, "If the air can not operate then it must be postponed."

At 2100 hrs on 4 Jun Grp Cpt Stagg met with Eisenhower again and reported:

"Rapid and unexpected developments over the Atlantic. After the front passing at the moment - fair conditions, with less than 5/10th broken cloud and base at 2-3,000’ and reduced winds until dawn Tues."

At 0415 on 5 June Stagg re-affirmed this report and his conclusions. In what must be the lonliest military decision ever made considering what was riding on the operation, Eisenhower said go, and sent the following message to the combined Chiefs of Staff:

“Exercise Hornpipe - Halcyon Y plus 5 finally and definitely confirmed”
(Halcyon Y = 1 June)

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