D-Day 80th Anniversary: Honoring the Contribution of Allied Air Forces

PEACHTREE CITY, USA – June 6 marks the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings along the Normandy coast of France in 1944 during World War II, in what would be the largest amphibious invasion in history.

While most are familiar with the Allied soldiers storming the beaches from their naval vessels, Aventure would like to draw attention to the critical role played by Allied air forces. 

Months before the landings, the Allies bombed German supply lines, artillery batteries, and supported the French Resistance from the air with ammunition and equipment. They carried out raids to test the German Air Force defensive capabilities, and learned they could achieve air superiority.

The Allies had around 12,000 aircraft to support the landings of over 133,000 troops. One of the first phases to weaken enemy defenses included heavy bombers and attack aircraft, such as the British Lancaster, Hawker Typhoon, and American B-17 Flying Fortress. 

Hundreds of American C-47 transports flew that day, carrying some 13,000 paratroopers. A modified airliner, the C-47 was rugged and reliable. Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower said it was one of the most significant military assets responsible for the Allied victory.

Another important aircraft was the Waco CG-4 Hadrian, a cheap and simple to fly glider used to land thousands of troops behind enemy lines, as well as their artillery and Jeeps.

The Martin B-26 Marauder, an American medium bomber, was used to inflict damage to German positions in support of the troops arriving on the beach. 

The contributions of the Allied air forces to the success of D-Day and liberation of Europe can’t be understated.

Three World War 2 cargo aircraft in the sky launching paratroopers with parachutes