Utah Beach – Air support
After Action Reports
Western Task Force – D-Day – Battle of Normandy
INVASION OF NORTHERN FRANCE
WESTERN TASK FORCE
From: Commander Assault Force “U”
Enemy Air Activity. Enemy air activity against shipping in the UTAH area in the period 6-17 June 1944 was confined largely to night operations. It is believed that these operations were principally concerned with mine laying; bombing, including radio-controlled bombing of shipping, was incidental. Attacks against both shipping and beaches were sporadic and harassing in nature. There was no heavy concentrated air attack on the UTAH area during this period. No enemy air attack was directed against Force “U” on the approach or during D-day, 6 June, but enemy aircraft were operating over UTAH area during the nights following.
Types of Attack:
- Mines are believed to have been dropped during raids on 10 nights.
- Bombs are reported to have been dropped on the following 6 nights: 7/8, 9/10, 10/11, 13/14, 14/15, 15/16 June. These attacks were chiefly level attacks or, at most, shallow glide bombing attacks. The one reported exception is the attack at 0400, 10 June on the Charles Morgan by a single dive bomber.
- Radio-controlled bomb activity in the area was reported by RCM officer aboard Bayfield on the following 7 nights:
7 June Bayfield jammed 3 times, between 0440 and 0445.
8 June Bayfield jammed 5 times, between 0107 and 0154.
10 June Bayfield jammed 14 times between 0346 and 0444.
4 of these times Bayfield had received “Vermin” (radio-controlled bomb warning broadcasts) reports; in addition, Bayfield received another “Vermin” warning but picked up no signals to jam.
11 June Bayfield jammed 9 times between 0336 and 0410. In addition, Bayfield received 2 “Vermin” warnings but picked up no signals to jam.
Air Defenses: The protection afforded by the 9th Air Force and by the 9th Tactical Command during the period of this operation has been so perfect that during the period, only one ship, the Charles P. Morgan was hit and sunk by dive bomber, one LCT #447 was slightly damaged by a near miss and the USCG Bayfield was slightly damaged by a near miss which threw water aboard. The Air Liaison was under frequent gunfire from long range guns during the first few days of the operation. Air missions were delivered against suspected gun positions repeatedly on short notice in order to knock out these offending batteries.
Air Bombardment: It has been impossible thus far to assess the effect of air bombardment prior to H-hour in softening up the beach line defenses. This has been due to the inability to locate observers who actually saw bombs fall in the beach area. However, there is reason to believe that air bombing played its part in the demoralized condition of the beach defenders when the initial troops landed.