Operations of Bomber Command on the night of June 5 to 6, 1944
D-Day aerial operations
The beginning of the Battle of Normandy
On the night of 5-6 June 1944, 1,012 aircraft (551 Lancaster, 412 Halifax and 49 Mosquito) were deployed to bombard the coastal batteries at Fontenay, Houlgate, La Pernelle, Longues, Maisy, Merville, Mont Fleury, Hoc, Ouistreham and Saint-Martin-de-Varreville.
946 planes completed their bombing, three aircraft were lost (two Halifax of group number 4 during the Mont Fleury raid and a Lancaster of group number 6 during the raid on Longues).
The meteorological situation was merciful only above La Pernelle and Ouistreham. All other bombardments were carried out by OBOE marking.
No less than 5,000 tons of bombs were dropped, the biggest tonnage dropped overnight during the war (this is due to the relative proximity of targets to aerodromes, allowing to carry a minimum of fuel and a maximum of bombs).
The count of operations
110 aircraft of Groups 1 and 100 carry out extensive exits bomber-support operations.
24 Lancaster equipped with “Airborne Cigar” (ABC) of Squadron No. 101 patrol against night fighters. Their British radio operators, speaking German, intercept instructions from German controllers.
The No. 100 Group realizes:
– 34 RCM (Radio Counter Measure) outputs;
– 27 Serrate outposts (German radar intercept patrol);
– 25 outputs “Intruder patrol” Mosquito.
Two Mosquito “Intruder” and one Lancaster ABC are lost.
58 aircraft of Groups 3 and 5 carry out deception operations aimed at deceiving the Germans on the true location of the landing.
16 Lancaster of the No.617 Squadron and 6 Stirling of the No.218 Squadron equipped GH drop a dense screen of “Windows” (aluminum strips) across the Channel (Operation Glimmer) to simulate a large amphibious convoy approaching the French coast between Boulogne and Le Havre, north of the actual convoy.
As these flights required precise navigation control, this operation required more than one month of preparation and training.
The second maneuver of disappointment was made by Halifax and Stirling of 90, 138, 149 and 161 Squadrons in Operation Titanic. These aircraft dropped false parachutists and firecrackers in time to simulate an airborne assault on areas that were not to be invaded.
2 Stirlings of No. 149 Squadron are lost during this operation.
31 Mosquitos bombard Osnabrück without any loss.
Balance of the operations
The total effort of the Bomber Command for the night is 1,211 aircraft deployed.
8 aircraft (0.7%) are lost. The number of deployed units is a new record.