Spitfire Planes to Honor Normandy Landings

Seventy years after the Normandy landings, Spitfire planes such as those used in the invasion are being used to commemorate the event. Such aircraft darkened the skies on D-Day, creating a chaotic mass overhead. Bombers, cargo planes, air transports and dogfighters were among the vehicles present that day. On June 6th, in honor of the anniversary, another Spitfire wave will fly over Normandy as veterans celebrate seventy years of peace in Europe.

Anyone present at Normandy without a mission at hand would have found the beaches too busy to concentrate on any one thing. Aside from the high number of aircraft, there were also loads of ships and landing craft carrying thousands of troops to shore. Spitfire pilots did their part by dropping bombs on enemy defense lines and distracting enemy planes from interfering with the battle below. As hectic as D-Day was, such pilots kept their cool and became known as one of the bigger thorns in Hitler’s side for a hefty duration of the Second World War.

Now, many of the veterans present that day will be making potentially their last trip to the sands of Normandy. On the day of the battles, however, many of them made more than one. The Spitfire pilots would be expected to survive flying beyond enemy territory, dropping their bombs, and then returning to base for fueling and resupply. The trip was treacherous to be certain, but many of the airmen were fearless and concentrated only on the task at hand, The Telegraph reports.

For the anniversary ceremonies, pilots will be soaring out of Kent and over the beaches of France, allowing veterans on the ground a glimpse at their former metal comrades in action. They will even be painting the Spitfire planes with the same stripes they bore during the invasion. D-Day veterans themselves will not be so heavily involved in the actual piloting of the airplanes, but they are supervising a great deal of the prep work to ensure authenticity.

Spitfire pilots helped to destroy German supplies and disrupt German operations over the course of many missions both before and after D-Day, not to mention during. They are attributed by many as one of the greatest causes of the Allied victory as well as the success of Operation Overlord, and Britain is supremely proud of her Royal Air Force to this very day. The appearance of the Spitfire planes on the anniversary of the landings is highly anticipated by many, veterans and civilians alike.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE