Western Europe 1939-1945: D-Day

Why was D-Day successful?

The importance of air power on D-Day

An extract from the log of a RAF squadron involved in D-Day

Catalogue ref: AIR 27/1879

Extract a

An extract from the log of an RAF squadron; AIR 27/1879

Extract b

An extract from the log of an RAF squadron; AIR 27/1879

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What is this source?

This an extract from the log of an RAF squadron involved in the D-Day campaign.

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By late 1943 and early 1944 the Allies had built up a commanding position in terms of air power. It was to prove a key element in the success of the D-Day campaign.


What’s the background to this source?

By late 1942 the tide began to turn against Germany. From 1943 to 1944, British Empire and US forces began a build up of troops and equipment to drive the Germans out of the lands they had invaded in 1940. The landings took place in June 1944.

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One key area in which the Allies were stronger than the Germans was in air power. They had more aircraft, more different types of aircraft suitable for different jobs and also well trained pilots.


It’s worth knowing that...

The Allies enjoyed almost complete air superiority on D-Day. This was a huge advantage as it meant Allied aircraft could focus on attacking German forces and not have to worry about enemy aircraft.

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Another key role of the air forces was reconnaissance. Aircraft could spot enemy defences and troop movements and alert troops on the ground.


How does this source help us to understand why D-Day was successful?

  1. How do you think the actions of the pilots helped the troops on the ground?
  2. Does this source support the evidence provided by the film “Special Invasion” in the source box?
  3. Is it possible to say whether the role of the air forces was more or less important than the role of the naval forces on D-Day?
    • Will you include this source (or part of it) in your storyboard?
    • If you do use it, what are the main points you will make in your caption?

Use this framework to plan your storyboard.