Some facts about D-day:
The D-Day Invasion at Normandy – June 6, 1944
As a treat, a couple of weeks ago when we were at work, there was our annual AMT appreciation day at the hanger, we had some free food, the tool vendors were out in force and we got some cool stuff. we had some airplanes show up in the hanger:
This P51D is sporting the Stripes on the fuselage and wings that the allies had painted to make Identification easier so there would be less friendly fire incidents.
Here is a better look at the P51D. It is the iconic fighter from WWII for the allies. This plane protected the B-17's and B-24's all the way to Berlin and back. This plane made the Strategic bombing strategy a success, as far as enabling the bombers to make it to their targets. Schweinfurt in 1943 was very costly to allied bombing efforts. This showed the folly of sending bombers unescorted against Luftwaffe fighters. Hermann Goering commented later when he saw a crashed P51 near Berlin, he "Knew the jig was up".
After being invaded on both sides by the allies, with most of Germany occupied, Hitler committed suicide in his bunker as Russian guns blasted Berlin. 11 months later, the Germans surrendered unconditionally to the allies. and the War in Europe was over.
Also on the other side of the world, in 1942 from June 4 through June 6 the Americans fought the Japanese at the battle of Midway. At the end, the Japanese lost 4 carriers, 1 cruiser and 300+ airplanes and worse than that, they lost the creme of their aviation strike force. the Japanese never recovered from that loss. We lost 1 carrier, 1 destroyer and 100+ airplanes. The details that started this in motion was the Doolittle Raid , this overrode Admiral Yamamoto caution in dealing with the United States. After the raid he pushed through operation MI, the invasion of Midway island, which he believed would force the Americans to leave their Pearl Harbor base to save their last remaining outpost in the Pacific. The Japanese Navy had to deal with the Americans at the Battle of the Coral Sea which they lost a light carrier Shoho a light carrier, but the dive bombing and torpedo planes of the Shokaku and the Zuikuku were savaged and the Shokaku was heavily damaged. This forced the Japanese to use their other 4 heavy or fleet carriers. the 6 carriers total, the Shokaku, Zuikaku, Akaki,Soryo,Hiryo and Kaga were the 6 carriers that attacked Pearl Harbor. They represented the creme of Japanese Naval Aviation. With Zuikaku depleted in their air arm and the Shokaku heavily damaged, both were sidelined on the next battle. The Americans lost the Lexington, a Destroyer U.S.S. Sims and many aircraft. Also the U.S.S. Yorktown was damaged. The Americans got her to Pearl Harbor and in 3 days got her repaired enough for combat operations to join the Enterprise and Hornet to defend Midway Island. The American Cryptographers under Joe Rochefort were able to break the Japanese JN-25 imperial naval code which gave the Americans the plans of the Japanese to attack Midway Island. The Japanese believed that the Americans only had 2 carriers, the Enterprise and Hornet, they believed that the Yorktown was sunk at Coral Sea. The Americans met the Japanese at what was called the battle of Midway. The end results was that the Japanese lost 4 of their fleet carriers, the creme of their naval aviation, and they never recovered from the blow. It took 3 more years of hard fighting before the Japanese surrendered to the Americans on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri.
The Plane that devastated the Japanese at Midway was the SBD Dauntlass, this plane was responsible the the destruction of the Japanese carriers at Midway.
The diving brakes are evident in this picture. of a Dauntlass diving on a Japanese carrier.
We got a treat along with the P51D we had visit, we also had a SBD Dauntlass visit us also.
of her from the other side.
I was very excited to see icons of American aviation in person. I explained the significance of these planes to the other mechanics...especially the younger ones. I wanted to crawl inside of them but I didn't want to insult the CAF by crawling all over their airplanes without permission.
The number of remaining D-Day vets is estimated anywhere between 8,000 and 60,000. The Veterans Administration has detailed numbers on total WWII vets remaining available at www.nationalww2museum.org/the-greatest-generation