Airfields in Europe
Airfields in Europe
Just a few miles from the place where I live, the remains of an aircraft was discoverd during dredgingwork. First few things that has been secured (a non-used parachute and some iron parts) gave the idea that it might be a missing aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), a Wellington. There are no other missing aircrafts reported within the borders of Dronten
1939-09 overview month
1939-10 overview month
1939-11 overview month
1939-12 overview month
"Fighting First Division"
1940-01 overview month
50 (Northumbrian) Infantry Division (UK)
52 (Lowland) Infantry Division (UK)
51 (Highland) Infantry Division (UK)
1940-02 overview month
1940-03 overview month
1940-04 overview month
53 (Welsh) Infantry Division (UK)
49 (West Riding) Infantry Division (UK)
1940-05 overview month
43 (Wessex) Infantry Division (UK)
1940-06 overview month
1940-07 overview month
1940-08 overview month
2 Infantry Division (Can)
1940-09 overview month
1940-10 overview month
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1940-12 overview month
1941-01 overview month
First flight 9 January 1941
Everything about the Lancaster was big. True, it was no bigger than the Short Stirling and Handley Page Halifax which preceded it into service, yet the scale of effort to introduce it into widespread use, and to produce the tens of thousands of aircrew to fly and crew this truly classic aircraft was unprecedented anywhere in the world. Yet only fourteen months elapsed between the prototype’s first flight in January 1941 and the Lancaster’s first operational mission in March 1942.
The secret of the Lancaster’s success lay largely in its superb power plants, the reliable and well-tried Rolls-Royce Merlins, which were introduced into the airframe after failure of the Vulture in the similar but smaller Manchester bomber. Indeed it was the expedient of substituting four Merlins in place of two Vultures that not only bestowed the increased safety and survival factors, but permitted the carriage of hitherto unheard-of bomb loads. Of all bombs delivered by RAF Bomber Command during World War II, Lancasters dropped 63.8 per cent (over 600,000 tons). No wonder Sir Arthur Harris spoke of it as ‘the greatest single factor in winning the war’.
The customary bomb-load of the Lancaster was around 12,000lb, usually including a single 4,000lb ‘Blockbuster’ and combinations of 1,000lb, 500lb or 250lb bombs, or 250lb Small Bomb Containers (carrying incendiary bombs). Other combinations included 14 1,000lb bombs (GP short-tail type), six 1,500 lb mines, six 2,000lb High Capacity bombs, or a single 8,000lb and six 250lb bombs. Lancasters with bulged bomb doors were able to accommodate the 12,000lb ‘Tallboy’ deep-penetration bomb and - the ultimate in conventional bomber arsenals of the war – the 22,000lb ‘Grand Slam’ was lifted by specially modified Lancaster.
In its normal configuration the Lancaster was crewed by seven men (compared with ten in the American B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator), comprising the pilot (captain), navigator, flight engineer, radio operator, bomb-aimer/front gunner, mid-upper gunner and rear gunner. There were early variations to this crew, principally as a leftover from the days when wireless operators doubled as gunners, and also when the Lancaster was occasionally equipped with a central gun turret, or special jamming equipment. Unlike the crews of German bombers, who tended to be grouped together in a compartment in the nose, the British heavy bombers of World War II, including the Lancaster, featured dispersed crew stations, some crew members being physically isolated from their colleagues, except for the intercom, for eight or ten hours of cold, discomfort and danger. Being in an unpressurised aircraft, each man breathed oxygen throughout the flight, and failure of the supply of oxygen might well prove fatal unless a periodic crew check on the intercom brought no response, when the mid-upper gunner would be sent aft to discover the trouble.
Apart from the loneliness endured by the rear and mid-upper gunners, most of the crew had to contend with extreme cold, for the Lancaster was quite widely regarded as a draughty aircraft, the icy slipstream managing to penetrate numerous small cracks and apertures in the fuselage, particularly the front turret, cockpit canopy and bomb-bay; once again the unfortunate rear gunner suffered most. Irvin jackets, fleece-lined boots and electrically heated suits alleviated the discomforts, but occasional malfunctions in the heating circuits either caused burns and blisters through over-heating, or frostbite through total failure. While the rear gunner might be shivering, the radio operator, on the other hand, would probably be sweating, for his crew position was located above the two hot-air louvers from the wing centre section. The rear fuselage obtained none of this hot air as a bulkhead was designated to retain the heat, or at least most of it, in the forward half of the fuselage.
Before attempting to describe a typical Lancaster mission, it is necessary to set out the principal duties of the crew members to demonstrate that it was entirely the result of a tight knit team that such missions were possible. This teamwork and comradeship existed from the moment the crews assembled during their training until they were eventually disbanded or shot down. It permeated their whole lives on the ground and in the air. Prior to the introduction of the RAF’s four-engined heavy bombers, there had been no necessity for such mutual trust and dependence among so many men assembled in a single aircraft.
Unlike the American B-17 and B-24, the Lancaster came to feature only a single pilot, assisted on certain occasions by the flight engineer. Although the pilot was frequently an NCO with officer crewmembers, he was invariably the aircraft captain, responsible in the final resort for decisions regarding mission aborts, crew safety and overall defence against the enemy. (This was occasionally not the case in different Canadian units). His position, high in the nose of the aircraft, was the only one in the aircraft with armoured protection – a single sheet of armour behind his back. Apart from the obvious job of flying the aircraft, the pilot actively commanded his crew, calling crew checks on the intercom, and being responsible for the crew’s proficiency in emergency and dinghy drills. In the event of the crew being ordered to bale out, the pilot was the last to go – often holding the aircraft steady until the last moment.
The flight engineer, as his title indicates, was responsible to the pilot for the general functioning of the engines and systems, assisting the pilot during take-off, managing the distribution of fuel throughout the flight, carrying out running repairs – where possible – to components in the hydraulic, electrical and oxygen systems. His crew station, surrounded by fuel gauges and cocks, ammeters, system switches and warning lights, was immediately behind and to the right of the pilot, through a fold down seat on the right-hand side of the fuselage enabled him to operate the throttles and pitch controls during take-off.
The navigator, occupying a compartment behind the pilot, was fully engaged throughout the flight with frequent course checks, taking fixes, maintaining the flight log, passing checks and changes of course to the pilot and, being the only crew member whose station was illuminated, was curtained-off. So engrossed in his work was many a navigator that he was – and undoubtedly preferred to be – oblivious to the noises and hazards of battle that raged about the aircraft.
With radio silence almost invariably imposed on bombing operations, it might be thought that the radio operator, in his crew station opposite the wing leading edge, would normally have little to do. Yet throughout the flight he had not only to keep a listening watch on his Group frequency in case of recall, but also detect enemy radio traffic between intercepting fighters and their controllers on the ground, and operate such jamming equipment that was carried in his aircraft. Later on in the war the radio operator also managed and employed the H2S radar equipment for navigation purposes, and the Monica tail warning radar, which gave indications of enemy fighters astern.
In the nose the bomb aimer had three principal duties – apart from notifying the pilot of approaching landmarks during the flight, for his field of vision was the best in the aircraft. (Although he was not supposed to take up his position in the nose until after take-off, it was extremely difficult to negotiate a way past the flight engineer in full parachute harness, and most bomb aimers did in fact install themselves in their crew station before take-off). On the outward flight he would most likely man his turret and keep a look-out for enemy fighters. It was however, his job to release the numerous bundles of Window at pre-briefed intervals (often as frequently as two or three times every minute) during the approach to the target, an unpopular chore owing to the large piles of these bundles that cluttered his already restricted compartment. On the actual bombing run he was of course responsible for fusing and selecting his bombs, guiding the pilot up to the point at which he assumed limited control through the automatic control system. After release of the bombs a photoflash would be discharged to synchronise with a photo taken by a camera under the cockpit, operated by the pilot, to show ground details of the point of impact of the aircraft’s bombs.
The duties of the two gunners were of course vital for the survival of the aircraft and its crew. Just prior to crossing into enemy airspace they would fire a short burst to test their guns, but thereafter they would be scanning the sky to watch for other aircraft – friendly aircraft that might inadvertently stray dangerously close, and enemy aircraft. Theirs was the responsibility to maintain a commentary of enemy tactics so that the pilot could take effective evasive action. The majority of Lancasters in RAF service were not armed with the ventral turret, indeed could not be so armed when equipped with H2S radar whose large radome occupied the position otherwise taken by the turret. This almost universal absence of ventral defence rendered the Lancaster terribly vulnerable, a fact the Luftwaffe eventually exploited with its introduction of the upward firing cannons in their night fighters.
The mid-upper gunner was provided with twin rifle-calibre Browning machine guns in a Frazer-Nash turret usually firing only ‘ball’ ammunition without tracer. His hydraulically operated turret possessed a 360-degree traverse with taboo track to prevent him firing at parts of his own aircraft in the heat of action. The rear gunner was located within an enclosed cylindrical turret with hinged doors at his back (to bail out he simply turned his turret sideways and pushed himself backwards through these doors). Almost throughout the war the tail Frazer-Nash turret was armed with four 0.303in Browning, although later on some aircraft were fitted with enlarged Rose turrets mounting two 0.5 Browning guns. The ammunition boxes for the rear turret were located approximately aft the mainplane trailing edge with long chutes passing down each side of the rear fuselage to a point under the centre of the turret mounting ring.
So much then for the duties of a Lancaster crew. Mere words can give no more than an impression of these duties in the reality of a dark night in a hostile sky. No amount of training could fully condition these young men to the sudden onset of unseen dangers, death and destruction and constant fear.
It was not uncommon for news of a raid to be received twelve hours before take-off, a period of daylight in which the aircrew could do little but try to rest and relax. Elsewhere however the bomber base would be seething with activity. Daylight hours were spent in the countless preparations for the raid, during which the base was sealed off from the outside world for security purposes. While a small army of engine and airframe fitters exhaustively checked and re-checked every part of the aircraft itself, armourers examined and tested turrets and guns. At the bomb dump the loads to be carried were assembled with the various pyrotechnics and the bombs fused and loaded onto the trolleys for delivery to each aircraft at its distant dispersal bay. At the various sections of the base specialist officers worked out signaling procedures, examining weather forecasts and target information. Others assembled all the latest information on enemy defences and tactics, on diversion airfields and on other Bomber Command activity, such as spoof raids designed to distract German fighters. Elsewhere equipment stores were checking parachutes and other emergency kits.
It was fairly common for an RAF Bomber Command base to accommodate two Lancaster squadrons, each of which might be required to dispatch twenty aircraft on a night raid. Thus an evening’s effort would involve some 280 aircrew members. The preparation of their aircraft demanded a carefully co-ordinated timetable of preparation in case an air test was required after an aircraft’s inspection.
Pre-raid briefing of all aircrew was undertaken by a number of specialists, introduced by the station commander, namely the armament officer, navigation officer, intelligence officer, signals officer and meteorological officer. The following raid was one of many launched during the war against Berlin – ‘the Big City’ – the Bombers’ track lying out across the North Sea before turning south-east across northern Germany towards the target. Window was to be dropped before crossing the enemy coast and for much of the remainder of the outward journey. Most of the bombers carried a single ‘Blockbuster’ and incendiary bombs for a typical ‘area bombing’ attack. The high explosive bomb was intended to smash the city’s water and electricity services and block streets with rubble, thereby preventing the civil defence forces from reaching the countless fires started by the tens of thousands of incendiaries. Diversionary raids were to be carried out by small forces of bombers against southern Norway and France in attempts to disperse the German fighter opposition.
The main briefing over, the various crewmembers dispersed to their own briefings and then to their messes for an evening meal. After donning their flying clothing in the locker rooms and collecting their personal safety equipment and flight snacks, they made their way to their dispersed aircraft – often well over a mile from the station buildings - to await the moment to embark. With the knowledge of a long, hazardous flight ahead, this waiting time strained the nerves to the utmost. Some crews played football with the ground personnel; others played cards, smoked a cigarette or even tried to snatch a few moments’ sleep.
About half an hour before take-off each crew assembled at the rear of the Lancaster to enter the aircraft through the door on the starboard side. A quick final check of their personal equipment and each man climbed the short ladder and made his way to his crew station. Those in the nose probably barked a shin on the great wing spar that constricted the midships passageway. As each man carried out his pre-flight checks, the pilot and flight engineer prepared to start the engines.
It was customary to start the two inboard engines first, followed by the outer. The ground starter battery was plugged in and the ground/flight switch set to ‘ground’, throttle set about half-an-inch open, propeller pitch set fine, slow-running switches off, supercharger in M-gear, air-intake control on cold, radiator shutters in automatic and the fuel tank selector cock on No 2 tank. As the groundcrew operated the priming pump, the ignition and booster coil was switched on and the starter button pressed. As the engine gave a few preliminary bangs, the groundcrew continued to pump away until the Merlin picked up on the carburettor and fired regularly. This process was repeated on the other engines.
As darkness gathered over the station, the air was full of noise as eighty, 1,200hp Merlins started and each pilot ran up against the chocks to 1,500rpm to check the eight magnetos and then to 3,000rpm to check boost. Further checks followed, prior to taxying. Flaps were selected down and up, bomb doors checked closed, booster pumps off, radiator shutters open, brake pressure at least 250lb/sq in, altimeter set to airfield height, vacuum pumps for instrument panel showing minus 4 ½ lb/sq in and navigation lights on.
Waving away the chocks, the pilot gunned the throttles to move his 25-ton aircraft out of dispersal to join the queue of other Lancasters taxying slowly towards the end of the runway. No weaving was necessary as his view over the front turret was sufficient to see the aircraft ahead. A check call was made on the intercom to ensure all crew members were ready for take-off and that their equipment, including oxygen supply, was functioning satisfactorily. As each Lancaster turned onto the runway, it was cleared for take-off by a green Aldis light from the control tower (no radion could yet be used). Take-off checks included auto-pilot clutch in, cock out, DR compass set, pitot head heater on, trim set (elevator slightly forward, rudder and aileron neutral), propeller pitch fine. Fuel was checked (contents OK, master cocks on, selector cocks on No 2 tanks, crossfeeds off, booster pumps in and 2 tanks on). Superchargers were set in M air intakes at cold, radiator shutters on auto and flaps selected at about 15 degrees down.
On receiving take-off clearance, the pilot released the brakes and advanced the throttles slowly, the flight engineer assisting and leading with the port levers to check a slight tendency to swing to port. With throttles wide open and held there by the flight engineer and the engines at puls-9 boost and 3,000rpm, the pilot eased forward on the control column, at the same time applying fairly coarse right rudder to hold the swing. At around 100mph indicated airspeed, he began a firm but gradual backward pressure on the column and the Lancaster became airborne. Applying the brakes momentarily to stop the wheels spinning, the undercarriage was retracted and, after gaining at least 500 feet, the flaps were raised. Safety speed was about 125 mph indicated and once this speed was reached, the throttles were pulled back to give plus-6 boost and 2,850rpm for the initial climb to operating height.
The Norfolk coast was crossed and the H2S radar gave a clear indication of Yarmouth, enabling the navigator to make a rough check on the briefed wind speed and direction. At this time it was not realised in Bomber Command that the operation of the H2S equipment would be detected by the Germans at very long range, thereby giving ample warning of the assembly and approach of a large raid. Later on in the war, orders were given that the H2S should only be switched on as the enemy coast was crossed.
Soon the first wind information at the head of the bomber stream was passed back to Britain by the ‘windfinders’. This was collated and broadcast to the bombers following. The radio operator received the information and passed it to the navigator, who made the necessary adjustment to his course and informed the pilot.
Arriving at 22,000 feet the pilot throttled back slightly to maintain a speed of just over 200mph indicated. After about three hours’ flying the navigator warned that the change of course towards the German coast must be made shortly and gave the anticipatory instructions to the pilot. One by one the gunners asked permission to fire a short burst from their guns to clear any icing and the clatter of gunfire would be heard over the background hum in the crew’s earphones.
The turn towards the enemy coast was followed almost immediately by the first discharge of Window bundles. The bomb aimer started to push the brown paper packages down the chute, to be caught and burst open by the Lancaster’s slipstream. Notwithstanding this effective means of confusing the enemy’s radar, the pilot now warned his gunners to be particularly alert for enemy fighters.
Conscious of the fact that theirs was only one of several hundred similar bombers, all flying an identical course in a great invisible corridor in the sky, the pilot and gunners strained to catch a glimpse of other aircraft. Suddenly out of the corner of his eye the pilot sighted a line of white specks some distance to port; at once the mid-upper gunner reported a bomber being attacked by a night fighter. Not waiting to watch the result of the attack, the pilot started to fly an erratic course, corkscrewing gently so as to provide a more fleeting target for any other fighter that may be stalking his Lancaster from astern. There was no further call from the gunner and the crew took comfort in the belief that perhaps the bomber managed to evade the German fighter.
Five minutes later the radio operator passed a further wind broadcast from home to the navigator, who told the pilot that the Lancaster was crossing the German coast, a fact confirmed on the H2S. Crossing in near Hamburg, the coastline easily recognised at this point, Berlin was still an hour’s flying time away. The German fighter assembly beacon nearby was passed, but another assembly point was not far distant to port of the bomber stream. At this stage there was little flak and no searchlights penetrated the cloud below.
Suddenly a great burst of light exploded ahead and above the Lancaster, casting a weird, flickering glow on the surrounding cloud tops and momentarily lighting the cockpit. Someone in the crew reported a ‘scarecrow’; a pyrotechnic thought to be fired from the ground to simulate an exploding bomber. It transpired that no such devices were ever fired by the Germans during the was and it was likely that these explosions were either bombers exploding, or large flares dropped above the bomber stream by German reconnaissance fighters.
The gunners now started calling in to report tracer being fired at aircraft on both sides of the Lancaster, which was still weaving gently from side to side. The mid-upper broke off suddenly in mid-sentence and then called urgently to warn of a single engine fighter sweeping in from the rear quarter. As the pilot banked sharply towards the attack, he was immediately aware of minute shafts of light passing close ahead. There was an angry clatter of gunfire from the mid-upper. Five seconds later the gunner reported that the fighter had disappeared. Pilot and flight engineer anxiously scanned their instruments to spot any telltale loss of power or pressure and there was a quick check of crewmembers on the intercom. Fortunately the fighter had overshot the Lancaster and disappeared.
Events now occurred in swift succession as the navigator warned the pilot that the target was only ten minutes away. The bomb aimer reported that he had completed his Window dropping and was taking his position at his bombsight. At this moment the rear gunner reported another aircraft closing in from astern, but the pilot, sensing rather than seeing cloud towering ahead, warned the gunners to hold their fire in the hope of evading the enemy fighter. There was a brief clattering sound from somewhere aft and then the Lancaster was swallowed up in the grey shroud. The pilot banked the aircraft sharply one-way and then the other. Moments later the Lancaster emerged from the towering cumulus and the bomb aimer reported that he could see the ground ahead. The crew was conscious of a vibration that passed right through the Lancaster, and the mid-upper called back to report sparks streaming back from the starboard outer engine. The flight engineer reported a loss of power on the engine and that its coolant temperature was climbing fast. A fire warning light flickered on. The vibration was getting worse and the pilot ordered the engine to be stopped. The flight engineer immediately switched off the Merlin’s master fuel cock, operated the fire extinguisher on that engine, feathered the propeller and switched off.
As the pilot re-trimmed the aircraft to counteract the drag from the stopped engine, he was aware that there had been no further word from the rear gunner and, receiving no reply to a check on the intercom, ordered the mid-upper gunner aft to find out what had happened. The Lancaster was approaching the target area, and with the flak intensifying there seemed less chance of being attacked by enemy fighters. The climax of the flight approached, as the bomb-aimer reported that he could see the first target indicators. All around the ground was a sea of flashing explosions, among the countless pinpoints of white twinkling incendiaries huge shimmering bowls of fire erupted as the huge blast bombs shattered the streets far below.
As he had to keep the Lancaster steady on a straight course, the pilot completed his final trimming as the great bomb doors were opened, causing a slight nose-up tendency. These were the most hated moments of the whole flight as the crew sensed that every German gunner on the ground was aiming at their own aircraft as it flew up to the point at which it released its deadly load of bombs. Making his own fine control corrections on the auto control, the comb aimer was oblivious to the noise and chaos about him as the Lancaster rocked from the explosions of nearby shell bursts. Suddenly the great bomber seemed to be lifted by some invisible hand. ‘Bombs gone’, came the call from the bomb aimer. Still the pilot had to maintain a steady course for some moments until the photoflash recorded the impact point of thebombs.
The all-important photograph taken, the navigator passed a new course to clear the target area. The mid-upper gunner reported to the pilot that the rear gunner had been slightly wounded in the arm, that the oxygen supply to the rear turret was no longer functioning and that the turret was partly jammed. He assisted the gunner forward into the fuselage and gave him a portable oxygen set. The pilot ordered the mid-upper to remain in his turret and told the radio operator to help the wounded gunner further forward and attend his wound.
Although the Lancaster was perfectly capable of maintaining altitude on three engines, the crew was painfully aware that it still had a long flight home. With the airspeed reduced to about 160mph indicated and a strong headwind, it would be covering enemy territory at only about 120mph. Experience on previous raids suggested that the German night fighters had concentrated their efforts upon the bomber’s approach to the target, and that only occasional attacks were made on the returning stream. Nevertheless, aware that his defences had been severely reduced, the Lancaster’s captain warned the mid-upper to keep a sharp lookout for other aircraft. The bomb-aimer volunteered to keep watch astern. The navigator passed a new course for base.
Time passed slowly. Soon the Lancaster was again flying over unbroken cloud. After eight hours in the air there was a perceptible lightening in the east as dawn approached over eastern Germany. The pilot ordered the bomb aimer forward to his position in the nose as the navigator reported that the H2S showed the aircraft to be crossing the Belgian coast. The radio operator called up to say that the wounded gunner had lost a lot of blood and, though conscious, was in some pain despite a morphia injection. Calling for a course to steer for Manston, the pilot decided to make for the nearest diversion airfield to get medical help for the gunner as quickly as possible.
Another ten minutes passed and the bomb aimer reported that the cloud was breaking up below. Easing back the throttles, the pilot started descending towards the Kent coastline. Still he dared not break radio silence in case there were enemy intruders over south-east England awaiting the bombers’ return.
At 4.30 it was already beginning to get light. At 5,000 feet the bomb aimer called up with a sighting of the coast. The pilot now called Manston for permission to land, stating that he had a wounded crewmember aboard. The airfield replied, giving landing instructions; the huge runway was quite adequate even for a Lancaster without brakes.
With the runway lights in sight, the pilot started a wide circuit to the left, thereby keeping the two good port engines on the inside of his turns. Lowering of the undercarriage caused a slight nose-down trim change, but this was corrected with selection of 20 degrees of flap. Keeping the speed at about 140 mph, the pilot turned onto the approach about two miles from the runway with plenty of power. Now he eased off throttle to reduce speed to about 125 mph, gradually winding off the course rudder trim and maintaining his heading by use of rudder. Once over the runway threshold at about 50 feet, he selected a bit more flap and firmly eased back on the control column. As the Lancaster touched down at about 90mph the flight engineer closed the throttles and the pilot started applying the brakes. The great bomber slowed rapidly and the engineer shut down the remaining outer engine for taxying on the inner Merlins.
The Lancaster (courtesyhttp://www.ixb.org.uk/lancaster3.htm)
1941-02 overview month
1941-03 overview month
1941-04 overview month
1941-05 overview month
1941-06 overview month
Guards Armoured Division (UK)
1941-07 overview month
3 Infantry Division (Can)
1941-08 overview month
Article published in the journal “Heidebloemke Genk " (volume 48 - No. 5 - October 1 - 1989)
1941-09 overview month
"Red Diamond Division"
1941-10 overview month
1941-11 overview month
5 Armoured Division (Can)
15 (Scottish) Infantry Division (UK)
1941-12 overview month
1942-01 overview month
1942-02 overview month
1 Armoured Division (Poland)
1942-03 overview month
1942-04 overview month
1942-05 overview month
1942-06 overview month
1942-07 overview month
1942-08 overview month
4 Armoured Division (Can)
"Fighting First Division"
79 Armoured Division (UK)
1942-09 overview month
1942-10 overview month
"Blue and Gray Division"
1942-11 overview month
1942-12 overview month
1943-01 overview month
1943-02 overview month
1943-03 overview month
1943-04 overview month
1943-05 overview month
1943-06 overview month
“Er reed een trein naar Sobibor. Deze vertrok op 1 juni 1943 vanuit Westerbork, volgepropt met 3006 Joden in vijftig veewagens. Ik was een van hen”.
In de maand juni 2013 is het 70 jaar geleden dat er een grote, viermotorige Lancaster bommenwerper neerstortte op de Bakermark in Baak.
1943-07 overview month
1943-08 overview month
1943-09 overview month
1943-10 overview month
"Bloody Bucket Division"
"Second to None Division"
1943-11 overview month
"Hell on Wheels"
1943-12 overview month
1 Airborne Division (UK)
"All American Division"
1944-01 overview month
4 Armored Division (USA)
1944-02 overview month
"Old Hickory Division"
1944-03 overview month
Dame Vera Lynn
Combat Demolition Units of the Atlantic Theatre of Operations.
1944-04 overview month
"Alamo Division" or "Tough Ombres"
"Cross of Lorraine Division"
"Thunderbolt Division" or "Ohio Division"
1944-05 overview month
"Sante Fe Division"
1944-06 overview month
The aim of Mulberry
6 Airborne Division (UK)
The Invasion of Normandy
Crossing the English Channel on "D-Day", 6 June 1944
Malcolm Petfield "Lofty"
The American airborne operation, which happened behind UTAH Beach by the 82nd and the 101st Airborne divisions was near to a disaster.
D-Day in a nutshell
Some time ago I had contact with this remarkable person and asked him to tell me more about his landing on Omaha beach, June 6th 1944
Here is his story:
Quite a story. Thanks for sharing it with me."
This is the story of Donald H.Weisel buried on the American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France (just behind Omaha Beach, looking over the landing beaches)
Cecil Breeden en de Bedford Boys.
The terms D-day and H-hour are used for the day and hour on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated.
by Rob and Katie Vogels (who have taken up the honourable task to make these ‘Clinton Kwaak Memorial Pages’ on Back to Normandy.)
Medal of Honour recipients
The 10th BATTALION The HIGHLAND LIGHT INFANTRY (CITY OF GLASGOW REGIMENT) 1944 - 1945
1944-07 overview month
The 113th Cavalry Group, known from its coat of arms as the Red Horse Cavalry, was launched into action against the Germans for the second time in its history on July 4, 1944 in the St Jean de Daye area.
"Blue Ridge Division"
1944-08 overview month
2 Armored Division France
94 Infantry Division (USA)
"Lone Star Division" or "Panther Division"
9 Armored Division (USA)
1944-09 overview month
44 Infantry Division (USA)
Don Wills Story, Loss of Lancaster LM675
INTO THE DRAGON'S TEETH (743 Tank Battalion (USA))
Recovery of a tank
CRASH DATE:23/24 SEP 1944
LOCATION: Zuna District, 7 miles west South West of Almelo, Wierden, Holland
PO (A/FO) W BEGG 179702 Runnymede Memorial
Sgt E HASKINS 2211443 Runnymede Memorial
F/Sgt H H J BROMLEY 1601558 Runnymede Memorial
Sgt J MORETON 1684628 Runnymede Memorial
PO T A HARRINGTON Can J/90524 Joint Grave 12 Wierden General Ctry
Sgt A D JONES 2220848 Joint Grave 12 Wierden General Ctry
Sgt F WILCOCK 1897947 Grave 13 Wierden General Ctry
All crew members were killed. F/Sgt. Harrington, Sgt. Jones and Sgt. Wilcock are all buried in Wierden cemetery. The rest of the crew who have no known grave are alle commemorated at the RAF Memorial, Runnymede.
No. 9 Squadron is a famous squadron and started to attack the enemy on the day after war was declared when six Wellingtons were despatched to bomb German warships at Brunsbuttel. Three aircraft bombed a warship with no observed results, one aircraft jettisoned its bombs over the harbour and set fire to a merchant vessel and two aircraft failed to return.
The aircraft was shot on its way there, it hit the ground very hard and exploded. A gigantic crater was the result and dozens of windows from nearby farms bursted. Only three crew members could be identified. They were buried in Wierden. (Besides the surnames Cornelissen mentions also the first names.) The other four have never been found (....)
Information on Sgt A.D. Jones, service number 2220848.
Sgt A.D. Jones was the mid upper gunner in the crew of Sgt (later F/O) W. Begg. The remaining crew members were also Sgt’s. As the 9 Squadron movement orders only show officers I cannot be exact as to when this crew joined 9 Squadron at RAF Bardney in Lincolnshire but their first operation was on the 31st July 1944 so it must have been a few days before that date.
The details of their operation whilst on 9 Squadron are as follows.
During the later part of August 9 Squadron became a special Squadron and were equipped with the new “Tallboy” 12000lb bomb. 9 and 617 Squadrons were the only Squadrons to be equipped with this special bomb. Their first operation using this bomb was on the 15th September 1944 when the majority of the Squadron flew to Russia as a forward base to attack the German battleship. “Tirpitz”. Some of the Squadron were on leave as was Begg’s crew and did not go to Russia.
The next operation after the “Tirpitz” to be carried out by 9 Squadron was on the 23rd September and this is when Begg’s crew failed to return. The Squadron lost two aircraft on this operation.
This aircraft took off with a crew of 7 from No 9 Squadron, RAF Bardney, Lincolnshire at 1902 hours on 23 Sep 1944, detailed to attack the Munster Aqueducts, situated on the Dortmund Ems Canal, Germany. No messages were received from the aircraft after take-off.
Aircraft reported to have crashed 7 miles west South West of Almelo followed by a massive explosion which resulted in the aircraft tail unit being found half a mile away. All seven crew members onboard were killed in the crash but the report by No 5 (Holland) Section, Missing Research & Enquiry Sercie, those remains which were recovered are buried in the Wierden General Cemetery, situated 3 miles West of Almelo on 26 Sep 1944. Grave No 20 contains the body of Sgt Wilcock and Grave No 19 those of Sgt Harrington and Sgt Jones. Because of the nature of the crash it was considered the 4 remaining crew disintegrated with the aircraft and are commemorated on the Air Forces Memorial to the missing.
The known graves are now Sgt Jones in Row A in a joint grave number 12 with PO Harrington. Sgt Wilcock is buried in Row A Grave 13, Wierden General Cemetery.
A relative of PO Begg has been corresponding with the JCCC. He is James Knox (his Great nephew).
(CWGC: REC 8/2/194N)
The excavation concluded in Nov 06 when scant remains were found. Burial to be arranged for 18 Aug 08.
1944-10 overview month
"Railsplitter Division" or "Lincoln Division"
12 Armored Division (USA)
Photo: Dennis when he was visiting us (2007) during the commemoration of WW2 with the Airgunners in Dronten
99 Infantry Division (USA)
Closing of the Aachen Gap: 119th Co. F and 18th IR Co. K 1st ID on Oct. 16th, 1944 16:15
75 Infantry Division (USA)
14 Armored Division (USA)
1944-11 overview month
"Golden Lion Division"
Leslie Gilbert was the fourth of eight children born to Lily and Trewern Gilbert in Bognor Regis, Sussex in early 1924.
"Golden Acorn Division"
66th Infantry Division
1944-12 overview month
A general outline of the Allied advance through Germany
This story is the lead (general outline) to all the events that have taken place in the second part of the liberation of Western Europe. The maps used in this article are generated by the database of Back to Normandy. With the maps and all the icons plotted on the map the reader can read all the details of the events, as far as they are recorded on this website.
By the end of 1944, the strong German attack commanded by Von Rundstedt in the Ardennes had been halted. While the salient which it formed was being reduced, and German pockets in the neighbourhood of Roermond and at Kapelscheveer, near Breda, were being destroyed, planning went on steadily for the invasion of Germany.Click photos to enlarge:
Situation between 15-31 December 1944
Situation between 15-31 January 1945
By the end of January the Ardennes salient was no more than a bulge, and in Holland there were no German troops left west and south of the Maas. The triangle between the river Maas and the Roer north of Duren had also been cleared. The object of the Battle of the Rhineland was to master the region between the Maas and the Rhine from Düsseldorf to Nijmegen and then to establish a bridgehead north of the Ruhr. The Ninth United States Army was to be under Field Marshal Montgomery's command and was to operate on the right of his front; given success it would presently form a line on the Rhine between Dusseldorf and Wesel. The First Canadian Army, on the left of the front, was to strike south-eastwards from the neighbourhood of Nijmegen, as far as the general line Geldern-Xanten. The British Second Army was to hold a firm front on the Maas, between the other two armies, and to assist the Canadian advance at every opportunity; its staff also had to prepare plans and orders for the crossing of the Rhine.
The First Canadian Army, under General H. D. G. Crerar, comprised ten divisions, of which six were United Kingdom formations. Its total strength was close on half a million men. The first phase of the attack was to be carried through by the 30th Corps, under Lieutenant-General B. G. Horrocks, who had under him for the purpose seven divisions plus three armoured brigades, special assault units and additional artillery. The 2nd and 3rd Canadian Divisions were incorporated in this force. The task of the 30th Corps was to clear the Reichswald Forest, through which ran the northern part of the main defences of the Siegfried Line, and make good a line from Gennep south of the Forest to Cleve. After this first phase, the Canadian 2nd Corps under General G. G. Simonds was to come in on the north end of the battle, and operations on a two-corps front were to continue up to a line running through Weeze, Udem and Calcar up to the Rhine opposite Emmerich. The third phase of the scheme called upon the two corps to overcome the strong German defensive line in the Hochwald and to advance to the general line Geldern-Xanten. The whole attack was timed to begin on 8th February, 1945.8 February 1945
Despite the difficulties of concealing preparations o so large a scale as this great move required, the Germans were unable to see what was intended. Their staff did not expect more than a diversionary attack from Nijmegen towards the Reichswald; their conviction was that the main thrust would come eastwards from the neighbourhood of Venlo. This led to some confusion in the initial resistance in the forward positions, and this confusion was increased by intensive preliminary Allied air attacks on railway bridges and ferries which would have to be used by the Germans in order to bring reinforcements and supplies to the front.
In the night of 7th/8th February Allied heavy bombers made the final raids on communication centres just behind the Reichswald. These shocks were followed in the early moming by a heavy artillery barrage. Then the advance began along a six-mile front between the road from Nijmegen to Cleve and the River Maas. It was headed by the 2nd Canadian, 15th (Scottish), 53rd (Welsh) and 51st (Highland) Divisions. The 3rd Canadian Division to the north of the Nijmegen-Cleve road did not set forth till rather later, then it had the task of expelling the defenders from the flooded area between that road and the Waal, as the main stream of the Rhine is there called; the dykes there had been breached according to old theory by the Germans. The heaviest resistance at this stage of the battle was encountered on the right, by the 51st Division. In front of the 15th and 53rd Divisions extensive minefields opposed the attack, but the principal obstacle was mud. The 2nd Canadian Division completed its task without loss of time, despite casualties in the minefields and in some sharp engagements. By the end of the first day's fighting, five German battalions had been decimated, the positions in advance of the Siegfried Line proper had been overcome, and the German frontier had been crossed along the length of the front.
The following day invading operations were kept up with success, against opposition which was moderate except again on the right. During the night of 9th-10th February there was fierce fighting in and around Cleve, involving now the 43rd Division. The Germans were rapidly bringing up reinforcements, and traffic difficulties on roads that were deep in water or mud increasingly hindered the Allied advance. Farther south the Germans had destroyed part of one of the Roer dams, causing that river to overflow its banks along the whole U.S. Ninth Army front, and thus inevitably postponing the advance of that Army which had been planned for 10th February. By the 13th, however, the Reichswald Forest was completely in the hands of the First Canadian Army.
On 12th February the Cormmander-in-Chief allotted to the First Canadian Army two more divisions, the 11th Armoured and 52nd (Lowland) Divisions, and on the 22nd a third, the 3rd British Infantry Division, which relieved the 15th. This last went into Army reserve, and the 4th Canadian Armoured Division was brought from the 1st Corps into the Rhineland battle. The 2nd Canadian Corps took over the left sector of the front on 15th February. By the 20th, the strongly held town of Goch was taken and good progress had been made on other sectors now there remained the attack on the final defence line in the Hochwald. This devolved upon the 2nd Canadian Corps now composed of the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions the 4th Canadian Armoured Division the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade and the 11th Armoured and 43rd (Wessex) Divisions.On 26th February their attack began. The Germans were prepared to offer more than ordinary resistance and a violent struggle took place on the Udem-Calcar ridge in front of the main Hochwald positions.The contest for the gap between the Hochwald and the neighbouring Balberger Wald was naturally no gentler and it was not until the evening of 4th March that this forest region was in Allied possession. By that time the 53rd Division on the right had reached Geldem and had there made contact with the U.S. 35th Division of the Ninth Army.
The U.S. Ninth Army after the delay imposed upon it by the floods of the Roer had started its advance on 23rd February. The delay had enabled the Germans to throw in more weight against the Canadian First Army but it was now compensated for by the speed of the American advance which trapped the severely mauled German forces west of the Rhine between the two Allied armies. By 27th February the Ninth Army had broken through the main German defences on 1st Marth Mönchen Gladbach was taken and on the 2nd the bank of the Rhine was reached in two places and the town of Krefeld was occupied. The German armies west of the Rhine were threatened with encirclement and had no altemative to withdrawal beyond that mighty river.
The fighting in the Battle of the Rhineland had been as grim and studied as any hitherto known in Europe the German leaders had been determaned to make a stand west of the river and to defend the industries of the Ruhr to the last moment the price was paid for it by their troops in killed and wounded estimated at nearly 40 000 and in prisoners numbering about 53 000 on the First Canadian and Ninth U.S. Army fronts.
The losses of the Commonwealth divisions which won the day were heavy enough the First Canadian Army from 8th February to 10th March suffered over 15 600 casualties. The men who died are buried for the most part in the Reichswald Forest and Rheinberg war cemeteries in Germany beside an even greater number of airmen who were killed on raids and in the Canadian cemetery at Groesbeek in Holland near Nijmegen those who made the same sacrifice and who have no known grave are commemorated on the Groesbeek Memorial.
To see the situations a day by day look here: March 1945 day by day (positions of the units)
Or the situation overview by day by day (positions by date)
During this remarkable campaign, farther south, American armies had been closing up on the Rhine. On 7th March the First U.S.Army had the good fortune to take intact the railway bridge over the river at Remagen; the bridgehead which they formed drew away a considerable number of surviving German fomations and so aided other sectors. Still farther south the Third and Seventh U.S. Armies made steady progress in March, and by the third week of the month the Allied armies stood on the Rhine throughout its long course.
It was important that the Geman withdrawal behind the Rhine should be followed up as soon as possible, and that a bridgehead should be gained from which operations to cut off the industrial Ruhr and to enable an advance across northern Germany could be developed. The Rhineland battle was not completed until 10th March; the date selected for the next major Allied operation was the 24th. The main attack across the Rhine was ordered on the front of the 21st Amy Group; the crossings were to be made between Rheinberg and Rees (covering the important cormnunications centre of Wesel on the far bank), just north of the Ruhr industrial region. The U.S. Ninth Army was to be given the south sector, and on the north, under General M. C. Dempsey, the attack was to be made by the British Second Army, which had been working out its method while the Canadian First Army fought the Battle of the Rhineland. In addition to the 8th, 12th and 30th Corps! the Second Army included for the opening of the operation the 2nd Canadian Corps and the 18th U.S. Airborne Corps, which comprised the 6th British and 17th U.S.Airbome Divisions.
On the evening of 23rd March, more than 1,300 British guns were in action, and the great battle began. At nine in the evening the 51st Division went to the attack across the Rhine on the British front, and an hour later the 1st Commando Brigade attacked Wesel, already almost laid flat by air bombing. Between midnight and two the next morning the 15th Division and the 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade (which came under the orders of the 51st Division) began to cross the river: The early assaults met with light opposition, and quickly attained their objectives. While these ground forces were widening the tenitory which bridgeheads had controlled, the airbome forces were forming up. The 17th U.S. Airborne Division came from France, and the 6th British Airborne Division from bases in England. More than 1.700 powered aircraft and 1,300 gliders were employed to land these formations behind the bridgeheads; the first parachute troops landed at ten in the moming of the 24th. Losses were relatively light in the early stages, though anti-aircraft fire gave trouble later; 55 transport aircraft and less than 4 per cent. of the gliders used were destroyed and the British Division lost 347 officers and men killed and about 700 wounded. Immediately after the initial phase, 240 heavy bombers dropped 540 tons of perrol, food and ammunition-one day's supply for the airbome divisions.
This airborne operation enabled the Allied forces to expand at once their bridgehead over the Rhine. By nightfall on 24th March the U.S. Ninth Army had two entire divisions across the river and elements of two others were on their way; at Wesel the Commandos had linked up with the airborne troops; and farther north in the British sector the 12th Corps had advanced towards Bocholt and -Borkum. By the 28th the time was ripe for further advances beyond the bridgehead. The next objective was the Elbe.
Field-Marshal Montgomery‘s aim was to establish the U.S. Ninth Army on that river from Magdeburg to Wittenberge and the Second Army from Wittenberge to Hamburg. The Ninth Army was to advance north of the Ruhr to Paderborn, where it was intended that it should unite with the U.S. First Army pushing north from Remagen through Marburg. If this were done the Ruhr would be encircled and the defending forces there would be cut off from the German forces to the north and east.
The Second Army was required to concentrate all its attentions on driving forward to the Elbe. The First Canadian Army, reinforced now by the arrival of the 1st Canadian Corps from Italy, was to open up a supply route through Arnhem and to advance northwards for the liberation of north-eastern Holland and the German coastal belt eastwards to the Elbe. West Holland was also that Army‘s responsibility' but the problem there became that of supplying food to the population under truce arrangements, not of fighting the enemy.
The two American Armies succeeded by 3rd April in encircling the Ruhr as the staffs had planned. The Second Army advanced from the Rhine bridgehead with the Sth Corps on the right, heading for Osnabruck and CelIe,the 12th Corps in the centre, directed on Rheine, Nienburg and Luneburg, and the 30th Corps on the left, towards Enschede, Bremen and Hamburg. Resistance on the British sector varied in power; the German armies, no doubt, were by now losing their direction, but in places improvised battle groups delayed the British advance. The incoming soldier was also delayed by demolitions; there are numerous large waterways across the north German plains, and over five hundred bridges had to be constructed during the advance. The Sth Corps met with least resistance, and was able to make speed across the Dortmund-Ems canal and on to the Weser. This river was crossed by 5th April, CelIe was taken by the 10th, and after some hard fighting for Uelzen, the Elbe was reached on the 19th. By the 24th its west bank throughout the Corps sector had changed hands. The 12th Corps went ahead at first, but were delayed on the line of the Dortmund-Ems canal and in the neighbourhood of Rheine. The Weser was crossed with little difficulty, but east of the river the German army again insisted on an argument. Soltau was captured on 18th April, and on the 23rd the Elbe was reached opposite Hamburg.
The 30th Corps had to deal with S.S. and parachute troops on the Dortmund-Ems canal line near Lingen, which they could not overcome until 6th April. East of the Ems, German battle quality still showed itself, even when the Corps was nearing Bremen. That city acrording to plan was attacked by the 3rd Division on the west bank of the Weser, and by the 43rd and 52nd Divisions on the east bank-both had crossed the river farther upstream. It was not until the 26th that resistance in the city ceased. Thereafter, the Guards Armoured Division drove on to reach the Elbe estuary below Hamburg, and the 51st Division turned north to clear the peninsula between the Weser and the Elbe and to seize Cuxhaven.
The 2nd Canadian Corps meanwhile had been advancing north and north-east from their bridgehead over the Rhine in the region of Emmerich. The 2nd and 3rd Divisions drove practically straight north through eastern Holland between the IJsselmeer (former Zuider Zee) and the German border, to Groningen and to Leeuwarden respectively.
Improvised German positions caused trouble here and there, but were usually soon overrun. The 4th Canadian Armoured Division curved east from the neighbourhood of Almelo in Holland, crossed the River Ems at Meppen on Sth April, then advanced steadily towards Oldenburg. Near that town the speed of the advance was checked; there was severe fighting for Friesoythe, about eighteen miles south-west of Oldenburg, and it appeared that the German intention was to defend and to go on defending Oldenburg and the naval bases of Emden and Wilhelmshaven. Meanwhile the lst Polish Armoured Dinsion had been brought up to operate in the gap opening between the 4th Canadian Armoured Division and the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. At the end of April the 3rd Canadian Division was moved from Holland to near the mouth of the Ems, and the 2nd Canadian Division reinforced the Oldenburg sector.
The 5th Canadian Armoured Division moved to Delfzijl after the lst Canadian Corps had taken Arnhem and the region east of the Grebbe. Soldiers who were there and who survive will recall bitter and weary combat towards the end of April somewhere on the general line Oldenburg-Emden.
On 22nd April Field-Marshal Montgomery issued orders for future operations. The 8th Corps was to cross the Elbe and, having established a secure bridgehead, was to forge ahead with all possible speed to the Baltic, to capture Lübeck. The 12th Corps was to bridge the Elbe within the 8th Corps sector, and then to swing west and take Hamburg. The U.S. lSth Corps, which was under command of 21 Army Group, was to establish a bridgehead on the right of the 8th Corps.
Before these plans could be carried out, on 25th April Russian and American troops met at Torgau, on the Elbe, and Germany was cut in two.
In the early morning of 29th April, the 15th Division, with the lst Commando Brigade under command, crossed the Elbe, with only light opposition. The following day the 6th Airborne Division, followed by the llth Armoured Division, crossed the river.
In the next two days, rapid progress was made; on 2nd May the llth Armoured Division entered Lubeck, and the 6th Airborne Division took Wismar on the Baltic coast, only a few hours before Russian tanks drove into the town. The leading troops of the 12th Corps had meanwhile passed through the 8th Corps' bridgehead towards Hamburg; but no battle for that city was necessary, as the German garrison commander surrendered unconditionally on 3rd May.
Little resistance from German forces could now be expected, except for isolated fanatical groups, and the British forces were ordered to halt on a line that covered Hamburg and Lubeck. Hitler was already dead, and confusion was general in Germany. After various parleys, Admiral von Friedeburg, as emissary of Admiral Doenitz, Hitler‘s successor, on 4th May signed the instrument of surrender of all German forces in Holland, north-west Germany and Denmark. This instrument was superseded by a general instrument of surrender of all Ger1nan armed forces, signed at the headquarters of General Eisenhower, the Allied supreme commander, by Colonel-General Jodl in the early morning hours of 7th May. The war in Europe was ended.
Photo: AD at the War Cemetery at Ohlsdorf (Hamburg)
There are several war cemeteries on the line of the British and Canadian advance across northern Germany-Munster Heath (on the fringe of the American sector); Becklingen, near Soltau; Sage, near Oldenburg; Hanover and CelIe. There are others where British land forces never fought-at Hamburg, Cologne, Kiel, Berlin, and Dumbach south of Munich. For, long before the armies set foot in Germany, there was a Battle of Germany waged in the air. Its course is described in detail in the introduction to the register of the Runnymede Memorial, on which those men are commemorated who died while fighting it and who have no known grave. But thousands of these air1nen have graves in the war cemeteries in Germany; and beside them lie those who died while prisoners of war. Men of the Canadian Army who died in north-west Germany lie not in Germany but in the Canadian cemetery at Holten in Holland.
The maps are from a query on the database of Back to Normandy. To get the latest positions of the Allied troops, run the queries again.
Although D-day gave the western Allies a beachhead in northern France, it took them almost two months of bitter fighting to break out of the Normandy hedgerows.
"Blood and Fire Division"
1945-01 overview month
Lipton’s zigzag Bastogne story
65th Infantry Division
"Middle West Division" or "Rolling W Division"
13 Armored Division (USA)
1945-02 overview month
71 Infantry Division (USA)
16 Armored Division (USA)
20 Armored Division (USA)
1945-03 overview month
97 Infantry Division (USA)
De Lancaster (PA474 HW-R) is een van de laatste vliegtuigen (enige in de UK) die nog vliegt.
1945-04 overview month
The Commanding Officer of 17 AOD, Colonel Gore, assembled the 800 of us one day and told us that ten officers and men had been chosen for the first reconnaissance group, landing on D-Day.
I am Michael Accordino. I landed on DDay, Omaha Beach 1st wave with the 299th Engineer Combat Battalion. Our objective blow the beach obstaclesfor the following waves. June of 2004 I returned to Normandy for the 60th Anniversary of DDay.
1945-05 overview month
This is about my uncle Alastair Hardie from Kirriemuir in Scotland. In many ways his story is not an exceptional one.
Music of Back to Normandy
Oorlogsmuziek uit de computer
Uit de cultuurbijlage van de Stentor, donderdag 14 april 2005
door MADELEINE ROOD
Cultuurredactie de Stentor
Meeting with Dame Vera Lynn (with photos)
Een postume onderscheiding van generaal Sosabowski
The terms D-day and H-hour are used for the day and hour on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated.
Highlights of the visit of the 29th Division to Normandy 2009
D-Day Memorial 2010 by Pastor Dan.
Night and Fog (French: Nuit et brouillard) is a 1955 French documentary short film.
When we saw on a poster that Princess Irene's Brigade from the Netherlands were going to parade on the esplanade overlooking Gold Beach in Arromanches we had imagined that it would be just that - a detachment of Dutch soldiers marching in honour of the Dutchmen who took part in the Normandy Campaign and who landed via the Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches in 1944.
A request reached Back to Normandy.
If you are running a regimental website or information service would you be able to share with Fred the information you have on your regiment’s involvement on D Day and the days thereafter??.
Met ongelooflijk veel genoegen en respect heb ik gekeken naar een film van BNN (een zender die ik meestal oversla vanwege mijn leeftijd) waarin jongeren in 14 dagen tijd worden opgeleid om dezelfde parachutesprong te maken zoals de eerste Airborne luchtlandingsdivisie in september 1944 tijdens Operatie Market Garden.
Weer ophef rond Airgunnersexpositie
De Lancaster (PA474 HW-R) is een van de laatste vliegtuigen (enige in de UK) die nog vliegt.
Vorig jaar was ik bijzonder verrast om Duitse soldaten te zien marcheren met de Prinses Irene Brigade in het hart van de Engelse herdenkingen van D-Day: Arromanches-les Bains.
Last year I was surprised to see serving German soldiers marching with the Princess Irene Brigade In Arromanche during the D-Day commemorations. see this article which we wrote last year
De stichtingen Ongeland en 4 Mei Herdenking Dronten zijn verantwoordelijk voor het plaatsen van palen in Dronten en NOP om de historische crashplaatsen van vliegtuigen uit o.a. WW2 aan te duiden.
De Lancaster (PA474 HW-R) is een van de laatste vliegtuigen (enige in de UK) die nog vliegt.
De Wellington Mk.X HF544 geïdentificeerd of niet? Dat was de eerste werktitel van dit schrijven zoals ik het gisteren had ingepland. Maar langzamerhand kwam - behalve de mogelijke resten van de HF544- nog meer boven water drijven.
Music of Back to Normandy
An interview with George Batts, National Secretary Normandy Veterans Association (NVA)
Normandy 2014, again controversy. A story about the commemorations in Normandy
I hope you enjoy the docufilm I made of the last commemoration of the Normandy Veterans Association (NVA).
Omaha Beach, Honor and Sacrifice,
Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks made a wonderful film: Saving Private Ryan. My idol John Willams wrote the music. I never suspected that I would write the music for the same subject - with the men who were really there. On Omaha Beach.
Omaha Beach, Honor and Sacrifice, narrated by Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Broadcaster Tim McCarver
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the green 29th Infantry Division faced some of the most brutal fighting on Omaha Beach.
Perhaps the worst area on the beach was Dog Green, directly in front of strong points guarding the Vierville draw and under heavy flanking fire from emplacements to the west, near Pointe de la Percee. Company A of the 116th [29th Division] was due to land on this sector with Company C of the 2nd Rangers on its right flank, and both units came in on their targets. One of the six LCA’s carrying Company A [116th Regiment,29th Division] foundered about a thousand yards of shore, and passing Rangers saw men jumping overboard and being dragged down by their loads.
At H+6 minutes the remaining craft grounded in water 4 to 6 feet deep, about 30 yards short of the outward band of obstacles. Starting off the craft in three files, center file first and the flank files peeling right and left, the men were enveloped in accurate and intense fire from automatic weapons. Order was quickly lost as the troops attempted to dive under water or dropped over the sides into surf over their heads. Mortar fire scored four direct hits on one LCA, which “disintegrated.” Casualties were suffered all the way to the sand, but when the survivors got there, some found they could not hold and came back into the water for cover, while others took refuge behind the nearest obstacles.
Remnants of one boat team on the right flank organized a small firing line on the first yards of sand, in full exposure to the enemy. In short order every officer of the company, including Captain Taylor N. Fellers, was a casualty, and most of the sergeants were killed or wounded. The leaderless men gave up any attempt to move forward and confined their efforts to saving the wounded, many of whom drowned in the rising tide.
Some troops were later able to make the sea wall by staying in the edge of the water and going up the beach with the tide. Fifteen minutes after landing, Company A was out of action for the day. Estimates of its casualties range as high as two thirds…(courtesy 29th ID Assoc.)
In June of 2014, a handful of remaining members of the 29th Infantry Division made a final trip back to Normandy to recognize the 70th anniversary of D-Day. The World War II Foundation was along as these veterans shared their stories and looked over the bluffs of Omaha Beach one last time. The aging veterans also visited the Normandy-American cemetery to say their final goodbyes to their friends who never left Omaha Beach alive on June 6, 1944. Local villages and towns also honored the men of D-Day with dozens of celebrations around Normandy.
Also prominately featured in this film is a soldier from the First Infantry Division (the Big Red One), who came ashore just down the beach and alongside the 29th Infantry on D-Day. Veterans of two previous landings in North Africa and Sicily, the 1st also experienced their own carnage and hell on Omaha Beach on D-Day.
Naval Combat Demolition Unit (NCDU) “frogman” Ernie Corvese also came ashore on Omaha Beach. Ernie’s 8 man crew had the mission of clearing obstacles on Omaha before the invasion began. Of the 8 men in his crew, Ernie was the only one to survive. On June 4, 2014 Ernie made his first return to Omaha Beach since that Day of Days in 1944. We were there to capture his emotional return and meeting with legendary television news anchor, Tom Brokaw. Ernie also visited some of his crew members on the Wall of the Missing at the Normandy-American cemetery.
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