D-Day Spitfire operations

Spitfires flew on operations throughout D-Day, fulfilling a variety of crucial roles. Andrew Thomas details a memorable day for all involved

On the evening of June 5, the Air Defence of Great Britain (ADGB, formerly Fighter Command) had a total of 22 Merlin-engined Supermarine Spitfire squadrons comprising 424 aircraft. Four more operated a total of 62 Griffon-engined Spitfires. In the 2nd Tactical Air Force (TAF) were a further 27 units in nine Wings, totalling 480 aircraft.

During that day a start was made in painting on the broad black and white Allied Expeditionary Air Force identity stripes on each machine. The main task for the ADGB squadrons before and immediately after the invasion was to protect the assembling invasion fleet from the prying eyes of Luftwaffe reconnaissance aircraft. The task mainly fell to the high altitude Spitfire Mk.VIIs.

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