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Old 2nd July 2010, 21:21
Judwin Judwin is offline
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Squadrons & Aircraft involved on DZ "K" on D-Day

Hi,
First post, so please be gentle on me. I'm trying to find out information related to 8th Btn Parachute Regiment on (and shortly before) D-Day. I thought I'd start at the beginning, but basically I can't get past the first drops. There seems to be quite a lot of conflicting data floating about the web.

I know I really should get my backside down to Kew/Hendon/Middle Wallop and get first hand records, but so far my main sources have been :
http://www.pegasusarchive.org/normandy
http://www.6juin1944.com/assaut/aero...php?page=tonga
http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=12147
http://www.raf38group.org/squadron

What I know is that the majority of 8 Para were supposed to be dropped on DZ "K" at about 00:50 on 6th June 1944. I also know things went a bit pear shaped on the night because the weather wasn't great causing one of the Pathfinder sticks to be dropped on the wrong DZ. However, the plan appears to have been as follows...

1) The first people on the ground at DZ "K" at 00:20 should have been 2 sticks of 10 men from 22 Ind Para Co, supported by one (possibly two) sticks of 10 men from 8th Para. Their role was as Pathfinders, to setup beacons to guide in the following forces.

Some problems here. http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=12147 gives a passenger sheet, and lists four 295Sqn Albermarles. I think the Lt Vischer and Lt Midwood sticks were probably the ones intended for DZ "K". Regardless most sources say these pathfinders together with their 8th Btn support used a total of 6 aircraft, 3 from 295Sqn, and 3 from 570 Sqn. This appears unlikely given the load sheet (assuming the pathfinders were any good at squadron recognition!). http://www.raf38group.org/295squadron further states that "20 troops of 8th Para Btn were in the aircraft of F/O Ralph...." Could and Albermarle carry 20 Paras? It seems to me that there were either 2 Albermarles involved, or that there were only 10 Paras? And if F/O Ralph was on 295 Sqn, then that means even more 295 Sqn aircraft (and fewer 570 Sqn ?)

2) Next up on DZ/LZ "K" should have been 6 gliders and about 00:50, (Chalk numbers 218-223). Two carrying 3 Sqn Para (RE) equipment, three carrying 8 Bn Para equipment, and one carrying 224th Para Field Ambulance equipment.
http://www.6juin1944.com/assaut/aero...php?page=tonga answers most of the questions I have about this part of the operation.

3) Then at about 01:00 the main force including the remainder of 8th Btn Paras, 3 Sqn Para (RE) and 224 Para Field Ambulance should have landed by parachute. They would then blow three bridges, one at Troan, and two near Bures.

I have lots of problems here. Most sources state 30 aircraft from 233 Sqn (in total) took off from RAF Blakehill Farm that night. Nothing I've seen mentions any other squadrons operating from RAF Blakehill that night. The first 6 Dakotas tugged the gliders mentioned above (Chalk numbers 218-223). Then the War diary for 3 Para Sqn RE (http://www.pegasusarchive.org/normandy/war_3parasqn.htm) states that they were embarked on Airctaft Nos 224 to 229. This implies that the remaining Dakota's at Blakehill also carried chalk numbers? The only other information then comes from the 224th Para Ambulance war diary which states they embarked on aircraft No 254.

This, on the face of it, would seem to leave Chalk Numbers 230 to 253 (24 aircraft total) for use by 8 Btn Para. Trouble is, if that's correct, then at least 37 aircraft have to have taken off from RAF Blakehill. Most sources say only 30 aircraft of 233 Sqn were involved. http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=12147 Identifies the 30 aircraft. I have identified a few more which could have been on 233 Sqn strength at the time (source : Royal Airforce Aircraft KA100-KZ999 published by Air Britain), namely KG351, KG398, KG441, KG451, KG529, KG555, KG559, KG561. There could also be some in the FZ6xx range too, but i dont have the relavent Air Britain book yet.

The other option is that infact only 17 aircraft carried 8 Btn troops, and that not all chalk numbers between 230 and 253 were used. Assuming a Dak could carry an average of 20 Paras, that makes a total possible lift of 340 men. Most sources say 400+ 8th Paras were dropped. Also, One source (ref : can't find it !) claims 37 aircraft participated in the initial drop on DZ "K", which would seem to backup the theory of all Chalk numbers in the range 218 to 254 being used.

So which squadrons suppplied the missing aircraft, and where did they operate from?

Can anybody add any aditional information, or suggest where to look?

Cheers
Malcolm
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Old 3rd July 2010, 01:07
Larry Larry is offline
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Re: Squadrons & Aircraft involved on DZ "K" on D-Day

Malcolm,

Just to help with aircraft identities - try and find a copy of this book:

'Aircraft for the Many - A detailed survey of the RAF's Aircraft in June 1944'
by Michael J Bowyer from Patrick Stevens Ltd (PSL) Publications 1995 ISBN 1-85260-427-1

It lists all the RAF aircraft used on D-Day
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Old 4th July 2010, 23:30
ian hunt ian hunt is offline
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Re: Squadrons & Aircraft involved on DZ "K" on D-Day

Hi Judwin

The aforesaid 'Aircraft for the Many' mentions Albemarles "mostly carrying 10 men"

Ian
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