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.