D-Day and air power

A black and white photo of propeller fighter aircraft on a field with a church spire in the background.
The spire of a French church can be seen beyond Canadian Spitfires from 412 Squadron on an RCAF forward airfield in France on June 8, 1944—two days after D-Day. PHOTO: DND Archives, PL-30268

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June 6, 2019, marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day—the Allied invasion of Normandy. The successful invasion marked the turning point in the Second World War.

From the outset of planning for Operation “Overlord” (the codeword for the Invasion of Normandy), it was recog­nized that the Allied air forces would have a vital role.

Previous amphibious landings in the Mediterranean Theatre had underlined the fact that “when critical land operations are in progress, army cooper­ation is not simply a specialized activity of part of an air force. It is the function of the entire force, with all its available strength”. The top allied planners took this to heart when putting together the mountain of details necessary for a successful landing in Occupied France.

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