D-Day 1944

The deadly failure of Allied heavy bombing on June 6

D-Day 1944 cover


An illustrated study of the little-known history of the failed Allied bombing campaign designed to shatter German defenses on D-Day.

D-Day is one of the most written-about events in military history. One aspect of the invasion, however, continues to be ignored: the massive pre-assault bombardment by the Allied Expeditionary Air Force (AEAF), reinforced by RAF Bomber Command and the US Eighth Air Force on June 6 which sought to neutralize the German defenses along the Atlantic Wall. Unfortunately, this failed series of attacks resulted in death or injury to hundreds of soldiers, and killed many French civilians.

Despite an initial successful attack performed by the Allied forces, the most crucial phase of the operation, which was the assault from the Eighth Air Force against the defenses along the Calvados coast, was disastrous. The bombers missed almost all of their targets, inflicting little damage to the German defenses, which resulted in a high number of casualties among the Allied infantry. The primary cause of this failure is that planners at Eighth Air Force Headquarters changed the aircraft drop times at the last moment, to prevent casualties amongst the landing forces, without notifying either Eisenhower or Doolittle. The book examines this generally forgotten event in detail, answering several fundamental questions: What was the AEAF supposed to accomplish along the Atlantic Wall on D-Day and why did it not achieve its bombardment objectives?

Offering a new perspective on a little-known air campaign meant to support one of the most famous offensive actions of World War II, this volume is packed with illustrations, maps, and diagrams exploring in detail the features and the ramifications of this mission.

Table of Contents

- The Allied Expeditionary Air Force (AEAF)
- RAF Bomber Command
- RAF Second Tactical Air Force and other British commands
- US Ninth Air Force
- US Eighth Air Force
- Ordnance
- Navigation and targeting
- Fortifications on the French coast
- Passive air defense
- Active air defense
- The vital beachhead
- The Joint Fire Plan
- The “air force” problem
- The invasion begins
- Operation Flashlamp
- Crisbecq Battery
- Eighth Air Force's tactical assault
- Change of plans
- Omaha Beach (2nd Bomb Division)
- Gold and Juno Beach (1st Bomb Division)
- 3rd Bomb Division
- Ninth Air Force

Product details

Published Jul 19 2022
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 96
ISBN 9781472847232
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations Illustrated throughout with around 60 photos and at least 14pp of colour illustrations
Dimensions 248 x 184 mm
Series Air Campaign
Short code ACM 28
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Stephen A. Bourque

Stephen Bourque left the US Army in 1992 after 20…


Edouard A. Groult

Edouard Groult grew up inspired by watching histor…


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