C-17 Globemaster, A10 Thunderbolt And 130 Paratroopers: Glimpse Of What Modern “D-Day” Could Have Been Like
November 8th, 2016 | by Web Desk
C-17 Globemaster , A10 Thunderbolt And 130 Paratroopers: Glimpse Of What Modern “D-Day” Could Have Been Like
There isn’t a history buff or soldier who has not heard of D-Day. The events that transpired before, the plans laid and actions taken changed turned the tide against Nazi Germany and redefined the art of warfare from the sky to the ground and back.
The invasion of mainland Europe at Normandy Beach during World War II involved a series of complex operations most of which deviated from the master plan.
The goal of the operation was to storm the heavily guarded beaches of Normandy and push through into the rest of the continent. The landing was crucial but so much went wrong before things could go right.
The invasion involved allied troops, allied fighter planes, transports, bombers, troop carriers, and reconnaissance planes.
There were several phases and each one was to be executed by a specific type of plane suited for a specific goal.
The American B-17 and long, the British Lancasters, hawker typhoons and were the first to rain aerial bombardments on the German camps along the beach and effectively destroy as much of its artillery as possible.
That didn’t pan out so well the German’s proved to have formidable defenses.
Looking back at the invasion of Normandy
The next phase involved dropping thousand of troops behind enemy line using the Waco CG-4 Hadrian assault glider that could carry 15 troops and British Airspeed Horsa models that could carry 30 troops.
The landings took place before dawn and in the darkness, troops had no way of telling what they were landing on- farm fence lines or German defensive features.
The allied forces used the Martin B-26 Marauder as an attack plane flying low and aiming for the artillery emplacements, The Hawker Typhoon provided close air combat support and was used to spot German planes.
The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was on reconnaissance, air support and escort duties.
A lot of things went wrong on D-Day. First, the weather was so bad, a number of troopers landed far from the intended jump zones.
Pilots could not see clearly because the attack was set for nighttime. a lot of gliders missed their landing and crashed into the ground or crashed with each other mid-air.
The German Luftwaffe fighters were out of range and could not engage. Fighter pilots were more at risk of friendly fire because of the number of allied fighters who had difficulty telling planes apart.
According to Dwight D. Eisenhower who was then the supreme commander of the allied force the C-47 Dakota was important in the D-Day invasion.
Hundreds of these planes flew more than 13,00 paratroopers beyond enemy lines, dropping them in occupied France to stem the German’s efforts to defend the coast.
Flash-forward into the present – how things have changed
If we were to take out the weather factor, assume there would be less confusion on how planes should fly then the Boeing C-17 Globemaster which is used strategically as a tactical airlift combat airdrops would have done a better job at replacing the CG-4 as an equipment carrier as well as a troop carrier.
With a payload of 170,900lb, this machine can fly a tank, 6 armored vehicles and seat 134 troops.
Watching modern day paratroopers doing these maneuvers is awesome; it is a testament to how far we have come and how Modern “D-Day” could have looked like.
The Fairchild Republic A10 Thunderbolt II, also known as the “Warthog”, is designed for ground combat assistance and it would have to fly low like the Martin B-26 Marauder and the Hawker Typhoon would have flown on D-Day.
The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is purposed more for carrying paratroopers who upon reaching the ground would have to secure the ground for the Boeing C-17 Globemaster to land safely.
Watching the 82nd Airborne Division of paratroopers do maneuvers that mimic what a perfect air invasion would have looked like, is special since it is the same division that was involved in the Normandy landings.
The Division has gone on to be instrumental in conflicts like operation Market Garden, The Battle of the Bulge and in the 2003 Iraqi war.
Source: Daily Military Defense & Archive
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