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Luftwaffe during D-day/Normandy campaign

Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 2:28 pm
by MrPlow09
How active was the luftwaffe during D-Day? Did allied air superiority prevent them from participating in the battle as much as we are led to believe? I heard about the two pilots strafing one of the beaches, was that all?

Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:27 pm
by Carl Schwamberger
There were just two Luftwaffe aircraft over the landing beaches on 6 June. Other missions were ordered. Some reconissance over the Channel to determine the size of the Allied fleet, and some reconissance/bombing missions. Some of these were canceled before take off, others aborted, chased away, or shot down.

In Northern France and Belgium the Luftwafe strength was approximatly 200 aircraft, but only about 140 were combat aircraft and fit for combat. There were Luftwaffe contingency plans for 'surging'' aircraft from the Reich to France were the Allies to invade. The bulk of the aircraft already in France/Belgium were held back on 6th June until the situation became clear and reinforcements from Germany arrived.

Most of the Luftwaffe activity in subsequent days was at night. Regular bomb raids were made on the beachhead during June. Daylight missions were a few reconissance sorties, and some interceptor missions.

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 8:01 am
by FalkeEins
6 June the Allied air forces flew 14,674 combat sorties, Luftwaffe managed 319

I./JG 2 was nearest fighter Gruppe to the Allied beachheads based in Cormeilles-en-Vexin sixty km from the coast.

I've trnaslated an account by Lt Wolfgang Fischer of 3./JG 2 describing the sortie he flew;

" we were woken at 04h30 and taken to the airfield from the hotels in the town (Nancy) where we were quartered. We were airborne a short while later and flew to Creil (north of Paris) at around 05h00 to have our Fw 190s fitted with underwing rocket launchers. We took off again at 09h30 to strafe shipping off 'Gold' beach. There was 7/10 cloud cover as we overflew the Seine estuary, which allowed us to close on our targets and launch our rockets. We could see a huge number of enemy fighters orbiting over the landing beaches. My rockets probably scored a direct hit on a "Victory" class troop landing vessel...we fled the scene and returned to Chamant near Senlis (south of Creil )after this sortie.."

JG 2 clashed with Allied aircraft towards middday. At 11.57 Kommodore JG 2 Major Bühligen shot down a P-47 near the Orne estuary. A major battle took place in the afternoon, when ground attack Typhoons were encountered near Caen. Four of them fell in a few minutes' fight. Two more Typhoons were brought down by evening. Lt. Fischer continued;

"..there were no further sorties that afternoon and the pilots of I./JG 2 spent the afternoon bathing at the swimming pool in Senlis.. a joint sortie with III./JG 2 was organised for the early evening against gliders on the ground near the Orne estuary under Gruppenkommandeur III./JG2 Hptm. Huppertz who landed at our field with five machines at we aproached Bernay we spotted a formation of a least twelve (335th FS/4th FG ) Mustangs strafing German infantry near a bridge over the Risle...using the evening mist and setting sun for cover we climbed to 1200m to take up a position for a classic bounce..the ensuing combat lasted just minutes as we were each able to select a target before diving down on them… 8 P-51s were shot down with no losses on our side !.."..

JG 2 was the principal Luftwaffe unit in action against overwhelming Allied air power on June 6. Overall, the unit shot down eighteen Allied aircraft (the entire Luftwaffe claiming 24 on that day), JG 2's most successful day in the entire campaign in Normandy. Kommandeur Hptm. Huppertz reported five claims before crashing to his death south of Caen just two days later shot down by a P-47. His replacement was another veteran, Hptm. Josef "Sepp" Wurmheller. He was shot down and killed barely two weeks later. Lt Fischer himself was shot down by flak the following morning over the beaches, bailed out unharmed and was taken prisoner

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:34 pm
by MrPlow09
Wow, thank you for all this interesting information, I really appreciate it :D

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2007 1:32 pm
by Carl Schwamberger
Falke....Thats at least hundred more sorties than I'd thought. Do you have any information of the overall kuftwaffe plan for countering an Allied attack? I'm particularly interested in any plans for reinforcing NW France from Germany or elsewhere, and what reinforcements or other actions were actually undertaken.

Re: Luftwaffe during D-day/Normandy campaign

Posted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:10 pm
by Andrew Arthy

Luftwaffe ground-attack units were also active at Normandy on 6 June 1944:

- Two FW 190 pilots of I./S.K.G. 10 were over the landings at dawn on a reconnaissance mission, and claimed four Lancasters shot down.

- The FW 190s of III./S.G. 4 were active against the landings on D-Day, flying three missions in the late afternoon. III./S.G. 4 claimed two direct hits on 400-ton landing craft off St. Aubin at around 17:40.

Andrew A.

Re: Luftwaffe during D-day/Normandy campaign

Posted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:55 pm
by Simon_G
My father who was on LCH187 at Arromanches on 6 June 1944 reported to me seeing at least one Ju-88 flying so low along that it raised plumes of spray from it's propellers just metres above the sea.

For many years I also had a photo of an Oyster mine splashing into the water inside the Mulberry at Arromanches released from a Ju-88 not in frame. Given that this aircraft was not in frame and not skimming the sea that accounts for at least one other Ju-88 raid some days after D-day when the Mulberry harbour was established. My father's ship LCH-187 departed for Le Harvre after D-day to direct the fire of HMS Rodney onto the shore gun emplacements there which were firing on Normandy beaches.

He also recalled his ship firing on a low flying Spitfire. Given that they knew not to fire on aircraft with Allied stripe markings I have often wondered if this was a Spitfire from Zirkus Rosarius ?

The Spitfire took a hit from AA but flew on.

Re: Luftwaffe during D-day/Normandy campaign

Posted: Mon May 12, 2014 1:20 pm
by mightythor99
a man in my town, is documented as shooting down the first enemy aircraft on d-day, and, in fact, he said it was a very low flying aircraft, that was reported as a friendly, and not to shoot at it. he was the gunnery commander, and was in the crow's nest, of the ancon. he said he saw it fly by, extremely low, and could see it was an enemy aircraft. he watched it, as it went past them, and attacked a couple of ships farther away, and then watched it turn around. he had his gun crews train on it, and they shot it down. he is still alive, and i bought his wwii stuff. he's 93 years old, and doing ok, i helped he and his wife liquidate their estate. i told one of my friends the story, and he instantly said it was bullshit... but i got all this man's paperwork, photos, etc, and he wasnt trying to impress me, he was just telling it like a story. it very well could have been the ju 88 the guy ahead of me in this post is talking about. this man was at normandy, and then his ship was pulled back, and he participated in the landings at okinawa. heck of a cool guy to meet and talk to. was a real honor.