The 80th Anniversary of D-Day | Aviation

June 6 marks the 80th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, in 1944. Code-named Operation Overlord, it was a massive logistical effort involving nearly 156,000 American, British, Canadian, free French, and Polish troops landing on five beaches along the coast of France.

The invasion required advances in engineering and logistical planning as well as coordination of thousands of troops, ships, and aircraft to make it work.

To mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, which many historians see as the beginning of the end of World War II (although some of the fiercest fighting in Europe would continue for another 11 months), the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and other groups have flown vintage WWII aircraft to Europe to participate in the event.

The CAF’s C-47s That’s All, Brother and Ready 4 Duty are participating in flyovers and airshows in France. The C-47, a militarized version of the DC-3, was critical in the D-Day invasion. The aircraft carried paratroopers and towed gliders.

D-Day was initially planned for May 1, but was delayed by poor weather until June 6. It was a logistical feat like no other, with the largest armada ever to take to the sea launched across the English Channel. Air cover was provided by an estimated 13,000 aircraft, ranging from bombers, transports, and fighters—all headed to France…


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