D Day Airborne Landings

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D Day Airborne Landings Powered By Docstoc

  The Airborne Landings
 What happened when Allied Airborne troops landed in

Learning Objective
You will be able to ………..
Compare and contrast different sources to assess the most useful for an
enquiry into the airborne landings before dawn on D-Day.

                          Click on the picture to
                          watch a clip of the
                          television series
                          ‘Band of Brothers’
Allied Airborne
    Objectives for D-Day

1. American - Protect
   the landings at Utah
   beach by capturing St.
   Mere Eglise and
   bridges over the
   River Merderet

2. British - Destroy the
   German guns located
   near the shore at
   Merville so that allied
   ships and landing
   craft were safe

3. British - Delay any
   German attack from
   the east by capturing
   bridges over the
   River Orne near
   Sword beach
In the evening of the 5th of June thousands of aircraft each painted with sets of 3 identification
stripes set off for Normandy. Some carried paratroopers, some carried bombs to be dropped on the
coast before the troops landed on the beaches. Some towed gliders full of troops to be released and
silently descend on their targets below.

                                                         American Airborne landings
                                         transport       At 1.30AM American paratroops landed at
                                         aircraft used   the western end of the landing beaches.
                                         on D-Day
                                                         It was a bright moonlit night, but thick
                                                         cloud cover meant that pilots could not see
                                                         drop zones and parachute drops were badly
British Airborne Landings
                                                         off target with some falling 25 miles away.
                                                         Some were dropped over swamps and
British Airborne troops’ were a) the capture and
destruction of the German coastal gun battery at
Merville, and b) the capture of two bridges over the
                                                         The first wave of aircraft alerted the
river Orne and the Caen canal. It was vital they were
                                                         Germans and many planes were shot down
captured intact to ensure the road inland was open
                                                         before soldiers had jumped. Pilots either
for the advancing Allied Forces.
                                                         flew too low or too high to avoid the firing,
At 15 minutes past midnight British troops landed by
                                                         which meant that more troops were
gliders close to the two bridges and within a few
                                                         dropped far away from their targets.
minutes the bridges were successfully captured from
                                                         Although some were dropped onto St.
their German guards.
                                                         Mere Eglise the town was occupied by many
At 12.50 4000 British paratroops were dropped over
                                                         German troops.
the Merville gun battery. Although the poor weather
                                                         Fortunately the chaotic drop confused the
meant that many were dropped far from the target,
                                                         Germans enough to stop them launching an
enough paratroops managed to gather together to
                                                         attack on troops landing on Utah beach.
attack and destroy the guns.
                                               A) A diary entry by a French resident of St. Mere
 The Parachute drops                           Eglise

                                          “Alerte! A great number of low flying planes fly over the
             Sources                      town – shaving the roof tops, it is like a thunderous noise,
                                          suddenly, the alarm is given, there is a fire in town. In
                                          the meantime the Germans fire all they can at the planes.
                                          We go into hiding, what is going on? Thousands of
                                          paratroopers are landing everywhere amid gunfire.”
B) US paratrooper interviewed in 1994

“In training the troopers were given a     Source C) US paratroops during a parachute
green light to jump…. Not this night….     training exercise
My plane got hit by three shells. The
first struck the left wing taking about
three feet off the tip. The second hit
alongside the door and knocked out the
light panel. The third came up through
the floor. It blew a hole about two
feet across, hit the ceiling, and
exploded, creating a whole four feet
around, killing three men and wounding
four others. Basically the Germans just
about cut that plane in half.

I was screaming ‘Let’s go!’     The
troopers including the wounded dived
head first out of the plane.”
D) Written by BBC journalist in
1954. He landed with the glider             E) A German headquarters report written at 5AM on
troops on D-Day.                            D-Day

                                            “The Supreme Command West are uncertain what counter-
“The soil of France rushes past beneath     measures to order as they do not know whether the enemy
us and we touch down with a jolt on a       landing up to this time is a dummy landing, a diversionary
ploughed field. It is rough and soft, but   manoeuvre or the main landing.”
the glider careers on with grinding
brakes           and            creaking
timbers………….There is an ominous
sound of splitting wood and rending
fabric and we brace ourselves for the        F) Historian Stephen Ambrose writing on the
shock as the glider goes lurching and        results of the American parachute landings in
bumping until with a violent swerve it       Normandy in 1994.
finally comes to rest scarred but intact,    Nowhere had either American airborne division
within a hundred yards of its intended       achieved its predawn objectives. Bridges had not
landing place.”                              been taken or blown; the exits from Utah beach
                                             were not secure. Not a single American company
                                             was at full strength; only a handful were at half
                                             strength.    An hour and more after sunrise,
                                             Americans were still trying to find one another.
Level 1 – simple descriptions of different sources
Level 2 – making and developing comparisons
  between sources
Level 3 - Explaining the reliability of sources by
  making comparisons between them and
  comparing them to your own knowledge
Level 4 – All of level 3, but also explaining which
  source is the most useful for an enquiry into D-
1. Which source is similar to the events in the ‘Band of Brothers’
   scene? How are they the same?
2. How different is source C compared to source B about the
   American parachute drops over Normandy?
3. How different is source D compared to G about the glider
4. Explain if source A is more reliable than B for describing what
   happened before dawn on D-Day
5. Explain if sources A, E or F give the most reliable account of
   the achievement of the American airborne landings
6. Explain which source is the most useful (A to G and the film
   extract) for an enquiry into the Airborne landings on D-Day

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