D-Day: The RCAF and Bomber Command

An aircraft flies over a patchwork of fields from which smoke rises.
Smoke rises from the French countryside after Halifax bombers from No. 6 (RCAF) Bomber Group struck German “flying bomb” installations. PHOTO: DND Archives, PL-30780

Tags: | | |

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.

Bomber Command was placed under the control of the United States’ General Dwight D. Eisenhower on April 14, 1944. Until this date it had been pursuing a strategic campaign against Germany itself, directed by Air Chief Marshal Arthur Harris from his headquarters at High Wycombe. Unacceptable loses early in the war had resulted in the Royal Air Force (RAF) opting for a policy of night-bombing to increase the bombers’ chances against German fighters. Due to the difficulties associated with identifying precise targets at night, Bomber Command concentrated on area, as opposed to precision bombing, when striking German targets. The very nature of this type of bombing cast doubts as to its suitability in support of D-Day, but Eisenhower felt he needed the extra “punch” that the more than 1,400 bombers, primarily Lancasters and Halifaxes, could deliver. Read the rest of the article . . .

Date modified: