The Hawker Typhoon took some time to perfect, but by the spring of 1944, with powerplant and structural troubles under control, it was in a position to spearhead the British and Canadian offensive into occupied Europe. There were, however, unforeseen problems to overcome before the rocket-armed machines of No 121 Wing were able to make their full contribution in Normandy
On 1 April 1944, RAF Holmsley South in the New Forest, Hampshire, was subjected to an unfamiliar sound: the howl of massed Napier Sabre engines, when from mid-afternoon more than 50 Hawker Typhoons appeared out of the rain and gloom. These aircraft belonged to Nos 174,175 and 245 Squadrons, previously based at Westhampnett — now Goodwood — and under the control of No 121 Airfield, one of the 2nd Tactical Air Force’s original mobile airfield units formed in the wake of Exercise ’Spartan’ a year earlier. It moved to Holmsley and set up camp — the unit would be under canvas until it left for France, and none of its personnel were allowed to use any of the permanent facilities.