On Tuesday 06 June 1944, a member of the 149 Sqdn, Flight Sergeant R H S Hart, took off from Methwold in the United Kingdom. His mission is mentioned elsewhere on Back to Normandy. You can find the other details of this mission by searching here. Training and cargo flights are not separately mentioned as a mission. The plane left at 22:28.
He flew with a Short Stirling (type III, serial LK385, code OJ-C).
Campaign report of the USAAF:
(Eighth Air Force): The Eighth Air Force reaches its top strength as the 493d Bombardment Group (Heavy) becomes operational, making a total of 40 heavy bomber groups now operational.
Heavy bombers fly 4 missions in support of the Normandy invasion:
1. Mission 394: At first light, 659 of 882 B-17s and 418 of 543 B-24s hit coastal targets in the area of the invasion beaches between Le Havre and Cherbourg; overcast and inability of the bombers to locate (or absence of) PFF leaders causes failure of some units to attack; 1 B-24 is lost, 1 B-24 is damaged beyond repair and 14 B-17s and 1 B-24 are damaged; 12 airmen are KIA, 2 WIA and 13 MIA.
2. Mission 394: The second mission strikes at transportation chokepoints in towns immediately around the assault area; total cloud cover causes 84 B-17s and 259 B-24s dispatched to return with their bombs but 37 B-24s manage to bomb secondary target of Argentan; 2 B-24s are lost and 1 B-17 is damaged; no casualties.
3. Mission 395: The third mission is dispatched against the important communications center of Caen; 58 of 73 B-24s bomb through overcast skies without loss.
4. Mission 395: Transportation chokepoints in towns immediately S and E of the assault area are the objectives of the fourth mission; 325 of 409 B-17s and 125 of 300 B-24s hit targets including Vire, Saint-Lo, Coutances, Falaise, Lisieux, Thury-Harcourt, Pont-l'Eveque, Argentan, and Conde-sur- Noireau; 1 B-24 is lost, 1 B-24 is damaged beyond repair and 11 B-24s and 5 B-17s are damaged; 10 airmen are KIA.
In all, 1,729 bombers drop 3,596 tons of bombs during D-Day.
The VIII Fighter Command has the threefold mission of escorting bombers, attacking any movement toward the assault area, and protecting Allied shipping.
The fighters fly 1,880 sorties including fighter-bomber attacks against 17 bridges, 10 marshalling yards, and a variety of other targets including convoy, railroad cars, siding, rail and highway junctions, tunnel, and a dam.
Very little air opposition is encountered.
The fighters claim 26-0-8 Luftwaffe aircraft in the air and 4-0-9 on the ground.
Also destroyed are 21 locomotives and 2 carloads of ammunition.
Numerous targets are damaged including locomotives, trucks, tank cars, armored vehicles, goods carriers, barges, and tugboats.
Targets attacked with unreported results include warehouses, radar towers, barracks, troops, artillery, staff cars, 85 trains, and a variety of other targets.
25 fighters are lost.
Mission 396: During the night, 12 B-17s drop leaflets in France and the Low Countries.
(Ninth Air Force): 800+ A-20s and B-26s bomb coastal defense batteries, rail and road junctions and bridges, and marshalling yards in support of the invasion; 2,000+ fighters fly sweeps, escort for B-26s and C-47s, ground support, and dive-bombing missions over W France.
During the preceding night and during the day over 1,400 C-47s, C-53's, and gliders deliver glider troops and paratroops, including 3 full airborne divisions, which are to secure beach exits to facilitate inland movement of seaborne assault troops.
A total of about 30 aircraft are lost.
Campaign report of the RAF:
The Battle Of Normandy
5/6 June 1944
1,012 aircraft - 551 Lancasters, 412 Halifaxes, 49 Mosquitos - to bomb coastal batteries at Fontenay, Houlgate, La Pernelle, Longues, Maisy, Merville, Mont Fleury, Pointe du Hoc, Ouisterham and St Martin de Varreville. 946 aircraft carried out their bombing tasks. 3 aircraft were lost - 2 Halifaxes of No 4 Group on the Mont Fleury raid and 1 Lancaster of No 6 Group on the Longues raid. Only two of the targets - La Pernelle and Ouisterham - were free of cloud; all other bombing was entirely based on Oboe marking. At least 5,000 tons of bombs were dropped, the greatest tonnage in one night so far in the war.
110 aircraft of Nos 1 and 100 Groups carried out extensive bomber-support operations: 24 'Airborne Cigar' (ABC)-equipped Lancasters of No 101 Squadron patrolled all likely night-fighter approaches, so that their German-speaking operators could jam the German controllers' instructions; No 100 Group flew 34 RCM sorties and 27 Serrate and 25 Intruder Mosquito patrols. 2 Intruders and 1 ABC Lancaster were lost.
58 aircraft of Nos 3 and 5 Groups carried out a variety of operations to conceal the true location of the invasion for as long as possible. 16 Lancasters of No 617 Squadron and 6 G-H fitted Stirlings of No 218 Squadron dropped a dense screen of Window, which advanced slowly across the Channel, to simulate a large convoy of ships approaching the French coast between Boulogne and Le Havre, north of the real invasion coast. These flights required exact navigation; both squadrons had been practising for this operation for more than a month. The second diversion was carried out by 36 Halifaxes and Stirlings of Nos 90, 138, 149 and 161 Squadrons. These aircraft dropped dummy parachutists and explosive devices to simulate airborne landings over areas not being invaded. 2 Stirlings of No 149 Squadron were lost while carrying out this duty.
31 Mosquitos bombed Osnabrück without loss.
Total Bomber Command effort for the night: 1,211 sorties, 8 aircraft (0.7 per cent) lost. The number of sorties flown was a new record. British, American and Canadian divisions landed on five Normandy beaches early the next morning.
6/7 June 1944
1,065 aircraft - 589 Lancasters, 418 Halifaxes, 58 Mosquitos - to bomb railway and road centres on the lines of communication behind the Normandy battle area. All of the targets were in or near French towns. 3,488 tons of bombs were dropped on targets at Achères, Argentan, Caen, Châteaudun, Conde sur Noireau, Coutances, St Lô, Lisieux and Vire. Every effort was made to bomb accurately but casualties to the French civilians were inevitable. Cloud affected the accuracy of the bombing at many of the targets and, at Achères, the Master Bomber ordered the raid to be abandoned because of cloud and no bombs were dropped. 10 Lancasters and 1 Halifax were lost in these raids; 6 of the Lancasters were lost in the No 5 Group raid at Caen, where the main force of bombers had to wait for the target to be properly marked and then fly over an area full of German units and guns at bombing heights below 3,000ft. Some details are available of the effects of the bombing. At Argentan, Châteaudun and Lisieux, much damage was done to railways, although the towns, Lisieux in particular, were hit by many bombs. Important bridges at Coutances were badly damaged and the town centres of Caen, Conde sur Noireau, St-Lô and Vire were all badly bombed and most of the roads through those towns were blocked.
32 Mosquitos to Ludwigshafen, 18 Serrate patrols, 19 aircraft minelaying in the Brest area, 26 aircraft on Resistance operations. No aircraft lost.
Total effort for the night: 1,160 sorties, 11 aircraft (0.9 per cent) lost.
With thanks to the RAF and USAAF.net!
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