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D-Day The Air Battle

D-Day The Air Battle Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2004 Title D-Day The Air Battle
Author Ken Delve Publisher The Crowood Press
Published 2004 ISBN 1-86126-704-5
Format 192 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $29.95


On June 6, 1944, the allies executed a bold and risky campaign to gain a foothold in France and use that as a starting point to push the Germans out of Western Europe and back into Germany. Many historical works and movies have been produced to chronicle the heroism of the soldiers and sailors that pushed their way onto the beaches and onto the German's turf. What hasn't been adequately covered was the intense effort on that very same day to hamstring the Luftwaffe and as much of the lines of communications as possible to buy the ground forces time from a reprisal from above.

This new title from Crowood Press brings together this little-told part of the D-Day campaign. Through the eyes of Hollywood we've seen the only real response from the Luftwaffe was a pair of fighters that were scrambled from a forward operating base to strafe the beaches. Through other historical texts we've seen the multitudes of aircraft that were painted up in the now-famous D-Day invasion stripes, but what really happened?

The author has built up an impressive account of how over 12,000 allied aircraft assaulted the Luftwaffe and the German lines of communication to the point where German command and control was suppressed to the point where even the Luftwaffe was unable to effectively respond to the beachhead on June 6th. The author tells the story from the build-up of forces in advance of the invasion and many of the pre-invasion preparatory strikes that were used to distract the Germans through the flight operations of that day and the days that followed. The outline of this chronicle is as follows:

  • The Long Build-Up
  • The Air Battle Builds to a Climax
  • June 1944
  • Appendix I - Air Order of Battle, June 1944
  • Appendix II - Allied Air Forces Available for the Assault on Normandy
  • Appendix III - Bomber Command Operations 1-7 June 1944
  • Appendix IV - 356 FG Statistical Analysis for June 1944
  • Appendix V - Air Operations Flown Between 21:00 Hours 5 June and 1900 Hours 6 June 1944
  • Appendix VI - Planned Reorganization Post-Invasion (The Bigot Plan)
  • Appendix VII - Allied Airfields in North-West Europe

This book is a must-have for the historian and the D-Day modeler alike! You can purchase this and any of the Crowood series from Motorbooks or from your favorite bookstore.

My sincere thanks to Motorbooks International for this review sample!