Fire Support Battle In Normandy

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Delta Tank
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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Delta Tank » 02 Feb 2011 02:27

RichTO90 wrote:
Carl Schwamberger wrote:Been through all that before, some with you here, & all of it elesewhere. One point is the Suppresion thing I keep dwelling on. Everyone expects all those explosions to blow up a lot of things.
I don't. :lol:
Thats not really the way it works.
Exactly, which is why I specifically addressed "actual damage". I probably should have said that the only effect at all of the IX BC strike on UTAH was to partly suppress the defenses of WN 5, although I think one of the gun positions was also masked by sand blown onto it by the bombing?

Anyway, the point I was trying to make in reply to your comment was that the assumption that flying a parallel bombing run would have yielded better results because of what happened at UTAH is speculative in the extreme. The best you can say is that from that evidence possibly one or two (counting the larger area and larger bomb force) of the 14-odd WN on OMAHA may have been suppressed.
Cheers!
Does anyone think that it would of helped if the guys bombing Omaha Beach actually could see the earth? Actual visual bombing of the target area, or would that have been a futile exercise? Remember the units that bombed Utah Beach, actually could see the planet beneath them, I think that really helped, but I am sure someone will disagree and argue that bombing off of "dead reckoning" (ie azimuth, stop watch, and airspeed, "yea we must be almost there, but add a few seconds just to be sure we don't hit our guys!") is much better than actually using a sight.

Mike

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 02 Feb 2011 04:57

Delta Tank wrote:
Does anyone think that it would of helped if the guys bombing Omaha Beach actually could see the earth? Actual visual bombing of the target area, or would that have been a futile exercise? Remember the units that bombed Utah Beach, actually could see the planet beneath them, I think that really helped, but I am sure someone will disagree and argue that bombing off of "dead reckoning" (ie azimuth, stop watch, and airspeed, "yea we must be almost there, but add a few seconds just to be sure we don't hit our guys!") is much better than actually using a sight.

Mike
As I understand it the lead bombardiers had air/ground radar & knew how to use it. The delay was becasue they could not see where the first assualt wave was. The mission was flown according to a extremely tight schedule & everyone knew from experience how so many moving parts could get out of sync. If I am reading the fragments correctly (cursed lack of complete docs again) the fear was the bombers would be five minutes out of phase with the lead assualt wave, one late or the other early. In that case the bobmers could be unloading on the US as well as the German soldiers.

Now I dont know if they could have bombed with the radar, but from my view that is almost irrelevant. As I see it the real problem here is a lack of usefull communication between the surface assualt & the air strike. With split second timing built into the plan it would have 'nice' if there had been a ability of the air liasion with or near the first assualt wave that could have confirmed location to the airstrike commanders. whatever liasion there may have been, if any, failed to avoid the problem of the bombardiers not having a firm idea of where the leading landing craft were.
Over 9400 aircraft!! any collisions? Had to have a couple!
9th AF had several that day. All during take off & forming up.

One thought - who was Bradley's artillery adviser, who should have been able to explain the effectiveness of bombardment on entrenched troops?
The short answer is yes. Some of the complications were: Erroneous or disagreements over effects. My father a ordnance officer in 9th AF had some interesting remarks about this. Necessary compromises. At some point commanders or staff officers have to make a decision between two less than ideal options. There is also the story that 1st Army staff ignored the advice of a small handfull of Pacific theatre veterans, or dismissed some reports on ordnance effects from the Mediterrainian battles. How accurate that story is I've little clue.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Delta Tank » 02 Feb 2011 19:47

Carl,

Carl wrote:
Now I dont know if they could have bombed with the radar, but from my view that is almost irrelevant. As I see it the real problem here is a lack of usefull communication between the surface assualt & the air strike. With split second timing built into the plan it would have 'nice' if there had been a ability of the air liasion with or near the first assualt wave that could have confirmed location to the airstrike commanders. whatever liasion there may have been, if any, failed to avoid the problem of the bombardiers not having a firm idea of where the leading landing craft were.
They needed eyeballs on the target and communications. Eyeballs on the target area really, really, would of helped! Now another question, and I think I know the answer, but did they ever rehearse this? Even if it was only a leader rehearsal? Did they even get together and war-game all the possible screw-ups that could occur? And I guess I have another one, why did they not fly below the clouds? Did they really want to accomplish the mission or just drop bombs somewhere and go back to base?
This is not to cast aspersions on anyone, but the leadership. And Carl, I don't expect you to be "The answer man" on all things fire support wise.
Mike

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 03 Feb 2011 01:41

I dont know if this part was 'gamed' or rehearsed. Neve seen it mentioned. Both Bradley & Dolitte vaguely refer to multiple high level meeting concerning the medium & heavy bomber strikes. My impression is Bradley & the AF commanders were themselves in 10+ hours of meetings & their staff much longer on this subject. A full scale rehersal was probablly not practical, but that does not preclude something with a single Group, or representative flights got each group. I do know that even with all the combat missions of 1944 practice runs on the Brit firing ranges in the UK were still routine. So, perhaps some of those were test runs.

Here is a question. Anyone have the details of the preperatory fire air strikes on Sword, Juno, or Gold? The Brits had communications between the ground and close air support units a bit better developed than the USAAF in the ETO June 1944. What was their experience that morning?

The heavies were flying way below their usual altitude. Exactly why I dont know, tho several good reasons are obvious. The mission was briefed to the pilots the previous evening & I dont know if they had a accurate idea of where the cloud ceiling would be the next morning. Neither do I know if the group commanders could have adjusted altitude in the five or ten minutes of the final approach run. They may not have even been able to judge the cloud altitude until the last couple minutes. That brings one back to a contact on site. Even a airbourne mission control arriving fifteen minutes early could have been helpfull.

While picking over the books Sunday & Monday I noticed the altitudes given for the Utah Beach strike seem to correspond to the highest Groups. Amoung the accounts are complaints from aircrew about their assigned alltitude being as low as 1000 feet. I am guessing here each sucessive bomber group in line was assigned a lower altitude. & the trailing squadron in each group would be lower yet 8O.

& no I am not the Fire Support expert. I was long ago actually paid to do that, & have done some research on it outside the military service, but I have only reached that endless intermediate position where there are more questions than answers

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Delta Tank » 03 Feb 2011 02:34

Carl,

Not to change the subject, but have you ever read the book "On Artillery", by Bruce Gudmundsson? I really liked that book, and I should re-read it soon, at least the chapter on Col. Bruchmuller, what effects do you want to have on the enemy, when, in relation to our own troops, is at the heart in some respects to this discussion. The initial bombardment, which we wanted to stun or at least disorient the enemy(can't remember the term), after that, we wanted suppression and destruction.

Army Air Force prior to D-Day, I am sure that I read somewhere that they did not do a rehearsal. If they did a rehearsal, a leader rehearsal with planes would of been good enough, don't know how many planes that would be, but certainly a fraction of what was used, to almost no effect.

Mike

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Takao » 03 Feb 2011 03:28

Some more I have found concerning the shore bombardment phase.

At Omaha Beach, the shore bombardment phase was very short, commencing at H=40 minutes and continuing to H-3 minutes. Compared to the opening bombardment of Makin's Red Beach (that lasted just under four hours), and the bombardment of Makin's Yellow Beach (that went on for 2+hours), the bombardment of Omaha Beach seems awfully brief. Although, in "Omaha Beachhead (6 June-13 June 1944)" as a part of the War Department's "American Forces in Action Series" prepared by the Historical Division of the War Department, It states
Enemy guns had been sited to cover every part of the beach; nevertheless, there were sectors where units landed without meeting any artillery fire whatever. Furthermore, of the nearly 200 craft carrying the assault infantry to shore in the first 2 hours, only 10 are known to have been hit by artillery before debarking their troops, none was sunk by this fire, and in only a few cases were the casualties serious. Larger craft, particularly the LCI's, may have been the favoured target for both shore and inland guns, and may have suffered relatively more.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 03 Feb 2011 15:37

Delta Tank wrote:Carl,

Not to change the subject, but have you ever read the book "On Artillery", by Bruce Gudmundsson? I really liked that book, and I should re-read it soon, at least the chapter on Col. Bruchmuller, what effects do you want to have on the enemy, when, in relation to our own troops, is at the heart in some respects to this discussion.
Have read Gudmundson the equivalent of thrice. A fair orientation to 20th Century artillery. Not many alternatives. Unfortuantly its still just a short survey/analysis & is really short on hard information. I've a lot of other thoughts on it, which I pass on as not directly relevant to the subject at hand. Maybe later.
Delta Tank wrote: The initial bombardment, which we wanted to stun or at least disorient the enemy(can't remember the term), after that, we wanted suppression and destruction.
Whatever other effects you get it is critical the enemy be stunned nuetralized or suppressed at the moment the assualt force comes into their field of fire. 'Destruction' in the NATO terminology or the older British lexicon is generally not practical without unrealistc quantities of ammo.
Delta Tank wrote:Army Air Force prior to D-Day, I am sure that I read somewhere that they did not do a rehearsal. If they did a rehearsal, a leader rehearsal with planes would of been good enough, don't know how many planes that would be, but certainly a fraction of what was used, to almost no effect.
Mike
I wonder if any of the 8th or 9th AF staff left any record of the planning they did for this mission. The fragments outlining the mission suggest it was a bit more complex than the missions against factories in Germany or railroads in France. Without all that experience from the previous year I doubt they would have done any better. ie: the scrambled approaches and timing of the bomber groups over Ploesti which seems to have been a equally complex raid. In this case I'd have to ponder a bit if some sort of rehearsal would have led to a solution for the liasion problem, or the overcast. In the case of the 9th AF the overcast may have been anticipated, or they may have run the mission at the lower altitude for other reasons. Extensive experience at trying to hit bridges gave the 9th AF staff a bitter lesson in the limits of the Norden bombsight and in target identification. By risking the bombers at low altitiude they might have been counting on increasing direct hits from 5% to 10%+, getting a better view around the German camoflage, and just maybe eyes on the landing force. Impossible to say without testimony from the AF & Group command & staff.
Tako wrote:Some more I have found concerning the shore bombardment phase.

At Omaha Beach, the shore bombardment phase was very short, commencing at H=40 minutes and continuing to H-3 minutes. Compared to the opening bombardment of Makin's Red Beach (that lasted just under four hours), and the bombardment of Makin's Yellow Beach (that went on for 2+hours), the bombardment of Omaha Beach seems awfully brief. Although, in "Omaha Beachhead (6 June-13 June 1944)" as a part of the War Department's "American Forces in Action Series" prepared by the Historical Division of the War Department, It states

Enemy guns had been sited to cover every part of the beach; nevertheless, there were sectors where units landed without meeting any artillery fire whatever. Furthermore, of the nearly 200 craft carrying the assault infantry to shore in the first 2 hours, only 10 are known to have been hit by artillery before debarking their troops, none was sunk by this fire, and in only a few cases were the casualties serious. Larger craft, particularly the LCI's, may have been the favoured target for both shore and inland guns, and may have suffered relatively more.
Some of this was addressed briefly way back up thread. The first wave, or several waves, took few hits on the boats in the water in part because the standing order for the Germans was not to open with the direct fire weapons until the lead wave reached the obstacle belt. The few bits I have from the Germans and Yanks, or Brits indicate the first minutes of fire were concentrated on the assualt moving into the obstacles. This seems to have been in accordance with the German fire plan, tho I've not yet found hard evidence. Descriptions of hits on the boats are rare until after the infantry engineers move into the obstacle belt. After that it is not hard to find descriptions the boats taking hits.

At Betio island (Tarawa Atoll) The Japanese did open fire long before the first assualt wave landed. They fired on the transports while deploying the landing craft, and on the LVT & boats running in to the beach. This fire was singularly ineffective. Marines describe airbursts directly over the LVT as doing no more than showering them with 'hot sand'. Hits on one of the destroyers in the lagoon failed to explode. Most cannon shots missed. Only after the LVT of the first wave closed under 800 meters did AT guns and MG start inflicting casualties.

Another factor for the Germans may have been restrictions on artillery ammunition, or a lack of good observation/communications. Up thread we looked at some indicators of insufficient ammo at the field artillery batterys, and at deteriorating communications between the observers and artillery between 06:30 & 08:30. Sufficient concentrations on the beach landing craft may not have been practical. Alternately the German commanders may have placed the advancing assualt groups at a much higher priority than the disembarking landing craft for their fire support.

40 minutes does not look like enough NGF to do more than momentarily suppress the defenders on any of the beaches. Again this has been partially addressed up thread. I'm trying to collect more hard info on the specifics of the NGF preperation on all the beaches. Aside from time the quantity of ammo fired, how it was concentrated (or not), accuracy, caliber, ect... are important. The Brit beaches had somewhat longer preperation from the NGF, but it looks as if the difference on those or at Utah beach was not entirely the length in time of the fires. Amoung other factors the failed airstrike jumps out.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by RichTO90 » 03 Feb 2011 22:12

Delta Tank wrote:Not to change the subject, but have you ever read the book "On Artillery", by Bruce Gudmundsson? I really liked that book, and I should re-read it soon, at least the chapter on Col. Bruchmuller, what effects do you want to have on the enemy, when, in relation to our own troops, is at the heart in some respects to this discussion. The initial bombardment, which we wanted to stun or at least disorient the enemy(can't remember the term), after that, we wanted suppression and destruction.
It's okay, but continues the hagiography of Bruchmuller, which is as accurate as the same hagiography for Hutier.
Army Air Force prior to D-Day, I am sure that I read somewhere that they did not do a rehearsal. If they did a rehearsal, a leader rehearsal with planes would of been good enough, don't know how many planes that would be, but certainly a fraction of what was used, to almost no effect.
Mike, I'm getting a little impatient since I have already given you the references, yet you continue to make unsupportable inferences. The reasons that the medium bombers of IX BC were able to fly low was because that was what they were trained for - it was part of the doctrinal role for medium and light bombers. Heavy bombers did not do that...and TIDALWAVE was often given as the best example of why not. In any case, it little mattered because given the weather conditions it was just as likely that the IX BC would have encountered cloud cover at the 6,000-7,000 feet they did bomb.

The most dangerous part of the mission was probably the forming up, since that was to be done in the dark, which was also something that daylight heavy bombers had little experience in, nor did the British heavy night bombers for that matter, since they did not bomb in formation at night. Doing that in advance as a rehersal for something they were only going to do once is asking quite a lot I would think, especially if you add in that a parrallel approach by the heavy bombers was impossible in the circumstances.

Anyway, here are some clips from the references I already gave you that would have answered your questions.

Effectiveness of Third Phase tactical air operations in the European Theater, 5 May 1944 -- 8 May 1945

(pp. 45-46) (4) Assault Phase (D-Day).;
(a) Heavy Bombardment. In support of the assault against the beachhead, Eighth Air Force was required to attack enemy batteries, strong points and other coastal installations, of the British beachhead of the Bay of the Seine between the estuaries of the Rivers Orne and Vire.

There were 45 targets in this coastal strip of approximately six miles, which included four assault beaches:

OMAHA (American), GOLD (British), JUNO (British), and SWORD (British).
Two plans of operation had been prepared, one for the use of visual bombing methods and the other for the use of thrpugh-the-overcast technique. When it became apparent that weather conditions would necessitate use of the latter which involved navigating by GEE fixes and bombing by H2X Pathfinder instruments, it was deemed advisable to adopt further precautionary measures to prevent bombs from falling on friendly troops (the time interval between the cessation of bombing of the immediate beach areas and the touchdown of the initial assault waves had been already increased from five minutes under the visual bombing plan to ten minutes under the through-the-overcast bombing plan). Accordingly, it was decided that, if cloud cover should prevent visual synchronization, bombs would be dropped on Pathfinder indications in the normal manner except that the release would be delayed so the Mean Point of Impact would not be less than 1000 yards from the forward wave of the waterborne assault forces. This was to be accomplished by adherence to the following schedule:

Target Times Bomb Release Delay
Zero minus 75 min. to zero minus 20 min. No delay
Zero minus 20 min. to zero minus 15 min. 5 second delay
Zero minus 15 min. to zero minus 10 min. 10 second delay
Zero minus 10 min. to zero minus 5 min. 15 second delay
Zero minus 5 min. to zero 30 second delay

The probability that through-the-overcast bombing methods would be used led to the further decision to fuse all bombs, with the exception of a small percentage of the 100 HE types, with instantaneous fuzes in the nose and no tail fuzes. This measure was taken to avoid possible cratering of the beaches on which landings were to be made, cognizance being taken of the limitations in the accuracy of pathfinder bombing methods as compared with visual sightings.

Experiments in pre-dawn assembly had led to the conclusion that the most practicable tactical unit was the squadron of six aircraft. Accordingly, the 1350 heavy bombers were to form 225 such squadrons. It had also been determined that adequate' saturation bombing of the beach areas could be accomplished by 198 squadrons. To relieve possible congestion in the limited area the remaining 27 squadrons were to be directed against strategic choke-T points in the town of Caen in accordance with provisions in the Overall Air Plan for the use of surplus bombers.

The bombing approach was the principal factor in planning the bomber routes. It had been previously determined on the basis of experience in actual and practice operations that runs from offshore perpendicular to the beaches were the most practicable. On this approach GEE fixes would provide very accurate navigational fixes to the assigned targets and rage sighting by H2X would be facilitated by the exceptionally good scope definition afforded by water and land appearing simultaneously. This approach was also favored by the least exposure to enemy anti-aircraft fire before the bomb release line as compared with bomb runs along the shore line or from the landward side. It also conformed with the stipulation which was instituted to simplify aircraft recognition problems for naval vessels that such friendly planes as were permitted to fly over the landing craft and convoys would be on a direct course from England to the assault area, thus enabling ships to open fire immediately against any hostile aircraft. For the last mentioned reason the bombers were to execute a right turn after their attacks and withdraw to the west of the Cherbourg Peninsula. This line of withdrawal would also prevent interference with later attacking waves that would be approaching the beach area from England.

Ninth Air Force invasion activities, April thru June 1944

(p. 46-47) In addition the mediums were to bomb seven defended localities in the Utah beach area in the vicinity of Les Dunes de Varreville, St. Martin de Varrevllle, La Madeleine, and Beau Guillot. Three were to be attacked by 36 and the remainder by 54 aircraft each. The attacks were to be delivered between H Hour minus 20 and H Hour minus five minutes. The medium effort was concentrated in this area to eliminate, so far as possible, air traffic problems.

The strength of groups during the assault missions was fixed at the maximum of 54 aircraft. Medium formations were to have no direct fighter support, but were to be under area cover.

(p. 50) Owing to weather conditions the visual attacks on the seven defended localities in the Utah beach area were made at unusual levels between 3,500 and 7,000 feet. They were delivered by 18 boxes, distributed as planned, and took place between 0605 and 0624 hrs. To avoid heavy cratering 250 lb. bombs were employed. Calculations based upon experimental bombing at Brancaster on 11 and 23 May had determined this selection 269 aircraft dropped 523.63 tons of 250 lb. bombs.

Assessment of the results of these bombing attacks is extremely difficult. Poor photographic conditions prevailed which limited the results to be obtained from strike photographs. Later examination on the ground yielded rather unsatisfactory conclusions since the small craters were obscured by the effects of Naval gunfire, by later fighting and by still later cleaning up operations. Operational Research Section, however, calculated on the basis of 28 located bombfalls in the Utah beach area that 16% of the bombs fell in the target areas of the seven defended localities; 43% fell within 500 feet of the target areas; 66% fell on land and 34% between high tide and water line. It should be remembered that in an attack by two boxes of 18 aircraft each on such targets the chances of a machine gun being put out of action is .064. The chance of a direct hit on a pill box is less than 2%. It is to be observed, however, that reports from the Ground Commander in the Utah area stated that the pinpoint bombing of the beach targets was excellent and that he later transmitted a commendation to IX Bomber Command. In particular the light resistance encountered by a unit of the 101st Airborne Division in occupying a battery west of St. Martin de Varreville was declared by a ground observer to be "due to the excellent air force bombing.
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 04 Feb 2011 02:48

Rich... thanks for your patience posting this text & sources. I've been placing the important parts of this thread in a seperate document, but even with that consolidation its been difficult to make time to search back for bits.

Picking back through 'Flak Bait' by Devon Francis I found that Lt General Andersen, commander of 9th Bomber Command, had ordered several tests & rehersals. Getting all the pilots/navigators current in night takeoffs & assembly was one important part. Tests were made to confirm the tradeoffs debated in size of bombs to be dropped on Utah Beach. Francis states 100 lb bombs were originally ordered or proposed, & infered those had negligable ability to detonate mines. Some targets rated 500 & 2,000 lb bombs. He also mentions a rehearsal with a actual landing on the coast, with practice bombs dropped. Unfortunatly does not give up whom when or where :x The decision to use six plane '"Boxes" vs the eighteen plane box is discussed in Francis's text. Also as with Ambrose the pilots describe forming up the groups & boxes as near chaos. Many pilots formed on any box they could find and followed them to France & the targets. One pilot is identified as bombing alone after losing his pals along the way. As with the eyewitness accounts Ambrose presents the air crew Francis quotes were perturbed by the low altitude required. He states Andersen recommended 4,000 feet as the optimal altitude, which was endorsed by Bereton as commander of the 9th AF. Air crew quoted describe the overcast altitude fluctuating wildly as they flew down the Cotetin coast, with 4,000 feet ceiling being rare and the bomber boxes driven increasing lower to maintain navigation. Some bombs were released from as high as 4,000 feet, others dropped to 2,000 or below to keep eyes on the ground. Some describe the aircraft being rocked by the heavier bombs & hit by fragments. One point that caught my eye was Andersen ordered the bombardiers were not to release without positive identification of where the ground force was. They were to leave the target area with the bombs if they could not clearly see the assualt forces.

Further back in the text a item concerning the transportation or bridge attacks of April & May seemed relevant for comparison purposes. When the bridge attacks were proposed a "civilian advisor" to the USAAF in the UK argued this would be useless & that calculations showed only one direct or critical hit could be made in 698 sorties. 9th BC staff countered with that it would only require 150 sorties to make the critical hit on a bridge. Over a subsequent 30 day period nine railroad & thirteen automobile bridges were dropped with 2024 sorties, or 92 per bridge destroyed. Exactly how many critical hits on each bridge were actually made is not clear from this since the attacks were made in Group size formations. In the accompanying photos the bomb patterns seem very tight. But, I've been told that when hitting bridges a 500 lb bomb must hit within a couple meters of a critical point in the structure. The bridge attacks were initially made from 12,000 feet.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 04 Feb 2011 03:44

BTW all the second hand sources match for losses by 9th Bomber Command on 6th June. Three bombers & fifteen crew. Two of those may have been a take off collision at the start. If the collision at the start were additional losses and a dozen written off after returning to the UK that still less than 5% losses against the 400+ B26 sorties on low altitude attacks on 6 June.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by RichTO90 » 04 Feb 2011 05:50

Carl Schwamberger wrote:BTW all the second hand sources match for losses by 9th Bomber Command on 6th June. Three bombers & fifteen crew. Two of those may have been a take off collision at the start. If the collision at the start were additional losses and a dozen written off after returning to the UK that still less than 5% losses against the 400+ B26 sorties on low altitude attacks on 6 June.
Really? That's odd since IX BC recorded six losses of 611 B-26 attacking (736 dispatched plus 6 pathfinders) and five A-20 of 206 attacking (269 dispatched). The attacks on the 7 defended localities on the beach at UTAH was by 269 B-26 aircraft, not 400+, unless you are referring to all attacks? The bombing altitudes for those missions is pretty clear too, but some of the other missions against artillery positions and so forth may have been lower. In any case it's clear that the chance of them being truly effective was low, no matter how much rehersal occurred or what they could eyeball. The real reason UTAH was easier is simply that the defenses were nowhere as near as dense or as strongly held as any of the other beaches and did not have any of the advantages of terrain they had.
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 04 Feb 2011 08:33

Well Rich, here we have the difference between several authors with differing context. Without dragging out Francis again, I'm thinking the 400 odd sorties he refered to at that point (probably 432) were those launched before dawn for the initial strikes, which included the Utah Beach. Later in the text he refers to other scheduled and unscheduled missions run later in the day as totaling "over 1000". Which matches the 1005 you give as 'dispatched' for 6 June.* Francis depended heavily on interviews and records collected very close to the event. His book was published in 1948.

A quick check shows the nominal squadron strength of 9th Bomber Command to be 576 B26 & 72 A20 in nine Groups. Thats not counting spares & trash. So far all the references to the 9th BC effort that morning identify eight Groups, so allowing for the habit of grounding/canabalizing one squadron in each Group that totals 432 in 54 plane groups. Perhaps we will turn up the other Group later on a mission elsewhere, or perhaps it was scheduled to attack later in the morning.

The accounts of the other missions later in the day suggest all those were the usual medium altitude bomb runs, 10,000+ feet. hence my remark "... against the 400+ B26 sorties on low altitude attacks on 6 June."

*(Had every aircraft designated for these missions actually taken off I suspect the number would have been 1026)

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Delta Tank » 04 Feb 2011 13:00

RichTO90 wrote:
Carl Schwamberger wrote:BTW all the second hand sources match for losses by 9th Bomber Command on 6th June. Three bombers & fifteen crew. Two of those may have been a take off collision at the start. If the collision at the start were additional losses and a dozen written off after returning to the UK that still less than 5% losses against the 400+ B26 sorties on low altitude attacks on 6 June.
Really? That's odd since IX BC recorded six losses of 611 B-26 attacking (736 dispatched plus 6 pathfinders) and five A-20 of 206 attacking (269 dispatched). The attacks on the 7 defended localities on the beach at UTAH was by 269 B-26 aircraft, not 400+, unless you are referring to all attacks? The bombing altitudes for those missions is pretty clear too, but some of the other missions against artillery positions and so forth may have been lower. In any case it's clear that the chance of them being truly effective was low, no matter how much rehersal occurred or what they could eyeball. The real reason UTAH was easier is simply that the defenses were nowhere as near as dense or as strongly held as any of the other beaches and did not have any of the advantages of terrain they had.
So, it was hopeless?? No matter what we did there was no way to overcome the defenses of Omaha Beach? But, bombs did land on the enemy defenses at Utah, it did help?!? As far as I can recall no bombs or hardly any bombs landed on Omaha Beach, but it would not of helped even if all the bombs landed in the target area?!? I have seen 500lb bombs hit in the impact area, they are impressive, and I would imaging if a bunch of bombs landed close by be they 100lb or 250lb or whatever weight, they would have some effect, even if it was to reaffirm your belief in an after life! 8-)

Thanks for typing in the appropriate passages from the report entitled: Effectiveness of Third Phase tactical air operations in the European Theater, 5 May 1944 -- 8 May 1945

When I initially searched for it, I found it listed under amazon, so I thought it was a book, but after being scolded, I searched again and read further down the search page and found it here:
http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/document.p ... 488&REC=15

For everyone not familiar with all this stuff, it is in two volumes, the above URL is for volume 1.

Mike

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by RichTO90 » 04 Feb 2011 15:13

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Well Rich, here we have the difference between several authors with differing context.
Yes, one being the original -SECRET- operational history of Ninth Air Force completed 17 February 1945, rather than an author depending "heavily on interviews". And, if his book was published in 1948 he could not be relying on these records, since they were not declassified until 1965.
Perhaps we will turn up the other Group later on a mission elsewhere, or perhaps it was scheduled to attack later in the morning.
Okay, just why do you think I am getting frustrated with this? I've already given you where to look if yiou are interested and I'm getting tired of copying and pasting and then reformatting from the original to post here rather than you go and read it yourself.

All of the assignments to IX Bomber Command for the assault phase were carried out. Zero hour had been fixed at 0630. Accordingly the first aircraft involved took off at 0343 hrs the last at 0500 hrs on 6 June. Under these circumstances it was well that much effort had been expended in training flying personnel in formatting just before dawn.
Weather and Pathfinder difficulties reduced the attack on the targets in the 218t Army Group area. 0JUy-one aircraft was over Benerville and 11 over the two batteries at Ouistrehem. The attacks took place between 0517 and 0550 hrs. 1000 and 2000 lb. bombs were used.

The attack on the batteries at Pointe du Hoe, Montfarvil1e and Maisy I, took place between 0625 and 0645 hrs. The results in the first instance were unobserved, in the other two the targets were well covered 'by the bursts of 1000 and 2000 lb. bombs dropped visual17 by-single boxes accompanied /by Pathfinder aircraft.



Other operations of IX :Bomber Command
IX Bomber Command continued its activities throughout the day, dispatching a total of 1011 aircraft of which 823 attacked. This averaged five plus boxes per group. The best rate of performance hitherto achieved had been an average of four boxes per day. For the first time, more aircraft were dispatched, than there were crews available, hence many crews flew on two missions.

Coastal batteries again served as objectives for the mediums. In the British area 100 craters were produced in the target area, at Benerville and hits were scored near the emplacements of the batteries at Houlgate and Trouville. At Gatteville, on the northwest tip of the Cherbourg peninsula, equally good results were reported. Two boxes attacked in each instance.

Road junctions or highway bridges were attacked at Caen and Falaise in the. British area by a total of 83 aircraft dropping 164.25 tons with but small results. In the U. S. area like targets, in proximity to the battle area, .were hit at Valognes, Argentan, Ecouche. and Carentan. A total of 130 aircraft dropped 165.5 tone on these targets inflicting appreciable damage.

The mediums also attacked four marshalling yards east of the Seine in afternoon missions. Twenty-five B-26's dropped 49:5 tons on Amiens with damage to rolling stock and buildings. A-20'e bombed Longpre les Corps Sainte, Abancourt, and Serqueux. The results of the A-20 attacks by 32, 7, and 25 aircraft are not known

If you want details on the other mission locations they are there in more detail a few pages earlier.
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

RichTO90
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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by RichTO90 » 04 Feb 2011 15:28

Delta Tank wrote:So, it was hopeless?? No matter what we did there was no way to overcome the defenses of Omaha Beach? But, bombs did land on the enemy defenses at Utah, it did help?!? As far as I can recall no bombs or hardly any bombs landed on Omaha Beach, but it would not of helped even if all the bombs landed in the target area?!? I have seen 500lb bombs hit in the impact area, they are impressive, and I would imaging if a bunch of bombs landed close by be they 100lb or 250lb or whatever weight, they would have some effect, even if it was to reaffirm your belief in an after life!
Mike, it seems to me the defenses of Omaha were overcome? 8O

And how do you suppose under the existing circumstances, rather than wishful thinking it was possible to acheive a greater effect on OMAHA? The limitation on 100lb and 250lb HE bombs was a requirement made by the assaulting force, not a silly decision by the airdales. They might look impressive, but their effectiveness was nil. Flying perpindicular to the beach was a requirement as well, not another silly whim by stupid Flyboys. It was neccessary due to the constricted air space, IFF issues with flying over the naval convoys, and the limitations of the blind-flying and bombing navigational aids in use.
Thanks for typing in the appropriate passages from the report entitled: Effectiveness of Third Phase tactical air operations in the European Theater, 5 May 1944 -- 8 May 1945
Sorry, I have pointed so many people to CARL's resources I thought I already had here as well. The Ninth AF operational analysis (part 1) is http://cgsc.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm4/doc ... 877&REC=18
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

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