Overlord’s Eagles

Operations of the United States Army Air Forces in the Invasion of Normandy in World War II

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About the Book

On June 6, 1944, the Allies launched Operation Overlord, the largest, most hazardous amphibious assault in history. The objective: establishment of a lodgment area in Normandy from which the Allies could strike at the heart of Germany and destroy the German armed forces. Air supremacy over northwest Europe was an absolute prerequisite for the success of the invasion, and to achieve it the U.S. Army Air Forces launched two campaigns aimed at destroying the Germans’ transportation advantages in the area.
In the months and days leading up to the assault, the Army Air Forces ceaselessly bombed rail centers, rendering most of the railways in northern France and Belgium unusable. Once the actual invasion was underway, the Allies shifted to an interdiction campaign, using precise air attacks on critical transportation installations near the battlefield to neutralize Germany’s efforts to resupply and reinforce their troops. This work makes use of many wartime records that had remained classified until recently.

About the Author(s)

John J. Sullivan served ironically enough in a U.S. Marine Corps aviation unit in World War II. He lives in Ormond Beach, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

John J. Sullivan
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 223
Bibliographic Info: photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [1997]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2338-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1139-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Lists of Tables, Diagrams, Maps      ix

Lists of Photographs      xi

Preface       xiii

Introduction      1

I. Air Preparations for Invasion

1. Overlord’s Air Command      2

2. Eighth Air Force Operations, 1942–43      19

3. Eighth Air Force Fighter Problems      29

4. The Allied Expeditionary Air Forces      52

5. USSTAF’s Campaign to Weaken the German Air Force      59

6. The Plan to Bomb French and Belgian Rail Centers      69

7. Opposition to the Transportation Plan      73

8. Air Preparations to Support Invasion Forces      83

II. Air Operations in Support of Overlord

9. Attacks on Rail Centers, Oil Plants, and V-Weapons Before D-Day      93

10. Attacks on Bridges and Airfields Before D-Day      107

11. Air Support for the Landings in Normandy      115

12. Close Air Support for Invasion Forces      123

13. Counter-Invasion and Resistance Operations      130

14. Air Support for the Allied Breakout from Normandy      135

15. Reorganization of Eisenhower’s Air Command      147

III. Evaluations of Overlord’s Air Campaigns

16. Surveys of the Transportation Campaign and Inderdiction      153

17. German Opinions of Allied Air Campaigns      165

18. Evaluations of Allied Air Offensives: Oil, V-Weapons, Aircraft, Road Junctions, Carpet Bombing      169

19. Postwar Debates About Allied Air Campaigns      175

Epilogue      177

Notes      181

Glossary      199

Bibliography      201

Index      205

Book Reviews & Awards

“careful analysis…a highly revealing study…all levels”—Choice.