Remembering D-Day and the Typhoon.

On this, the 80th anniversary of D-Day, we salute all those who landed on the beaches of Normandy and in the fields beyond, the aircrews who flew in support of the troops fighting their way inland, and those individuals in the ships providing offshore support. You shall never be forgotten.

Typhoon operations were crucial in the build up to D-Day, as outlined in our article on here last month. But Typhoons also operated during ‘The Longest Day.’ As the 5th East Yorkshires and 6th Green Howards landed on Gold Beach at 07:25, above them the first Hawker Typhoons, now featuring their hastily painted identification stripes, that arrived to offer support were the ‘Bombphoons’ of 143 Wing RCAF.

As they approached the coast, they radioed in the headquarters ships to ask if any targets had been called in by the troops just assaulting the beaches. These targets were strong points just behind the beaches being assaulted by the British and Canadians. 438 ‘Wildcat’ Squadron attacked blockhouses overlooking Gold Beach. The low cloud and smoke from the naval bombardment meant that they dived through the cloud and released their 1000lb bombs at only 2000 ft.

Targets destroyed, the Typhoons raced home to England to refuel and rearm, witnessing the landing craft hitting the beaches below them. The other Typhoons of 2nd Tactical Air Force had been at readiness since dawn, with nine of the eighteen Typhoon squadrons being designated as ‘Air Alert’. This meant that three squadrons at a time could be called upon. The other squadrons had an extensive target list. Gun sites inland from the beaches, as well as the radar sites that they had visited before, were tasked to the squadrons who were in action from late morning.


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