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  • Writer's pictureKyle Sooley-Brookings

The Role of the Weather on D-Day

Surface weather analysis map showing weather fronts on 5 June
Surface weather analysis map showing weather fronts on 5 June

The weather played a huge role in D-Day in 1944.

The invasion planners determined a set of conditions involving the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day that would be satisfactory on only a few days in each month.

A full moon was desirable, as it would provide illumination for aircraft pilots and have the highest tides. The Allies wanted to schedule the landings for shortly before dawn, midway between low and high tide, with the tide coming in.

This would improve the visibility of obstacles on the beach, while minimising the amount of time the men would be exposed in the open.

Eisenhower had tentatively selected 5 June as the date for the assault. However, Captain James Stagg of the Royal Air Force and and his meteorological team predicted that the weather would improve enough for the invasion to proceed on 6 June.

Allied control of the Atlantic meant German meteorologists had less information than the Allies on incoming weather patterns. As the Luftwaffe meteorological centre in Paris was predicting two weeks of stormy weather, many Wehrmacht commanders left their posts to attend war games in Rennes, and men in many units were given leave.

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel returned to Germany for his wife's birthday and to meet with Hitler to try to obtain more Panzers.


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