D-Day Airfields – Book Review

Airfields of the D-Day Invasion Air Force (Paperback)

2nd Tactical Air Force in South-East England in WWII

By Peter Jacobs

A book for researchers, tourists and history buffs alike !
For most people when we say ‘D-Day’, the pictures of the French beaches, smoke, men running through waves, landing craft and bunkers come to mind. The actual landings. But BEFORE that morning of the 6th of June a LOT of preparations were needed and these started well over a year ahead.

One of the things needed to make it a success, was air superiority. And once that was achieved, the tactical use of aircraft, i.e. supporting the troops on the ground, was paramount. That meant many aircraft overhead, long before the actual landings took place, just to take the German Luftwaffe out of the game. But also to bomb any fortress, bunker and machine gun nest known that could interfere with the landing troops.

For this the Allies needed many airfields, in England, from which the air forces could reach France. This book by Peter Jacobs is about those, mostly temporary, airfields in the South-East of England, used by the special 2nd Air Force !

The book starts with a really interesting overview of how 2nd Tactical Air force came to be, who its leaders were and how it developed. Chapter 2 is about D-Day itself and the effects of the 2nd TAF’s operations in particular. An interesting read too.

From Chapter 3 onwards Peter Jacobs starts telling about the specific airfields. In alphabetical order within geographical chapters. Chapter 3 is called ‘Airfields of Essex, Hertfordshire and East Anglia and covers 5 airfields. From here on Peter describes each airfield in detail, its history, where it was and what is left today (if anything), the operations that took place and the units that used it. Every chapter has many photos, from yesteryear AND of the current situation on many of these (former) fields.

This was a great read and a wonderful ‘look-up’ book when researching or visiting England !

Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Series: Aviation Heritage Trail
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781844159000
Published: 17th September 2009
Last Released: 14th October 2009

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