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Hawker Typhoon Mk.IB MN625/MR-B, RAF No.245 (Northern Rhodesian) Squadron, Holmsley South Airfield, Hampshire, June 1944

If the Douglas C-47 Skytrain is considered the most famous multi engined aircraft of D-Day aerial operations, then the single engined equivalent must be the fearsome Hawker Typhoon. Agile and extremely heavily armed, the Typhoon was to see plenty of action during the summer of 1944, either attacking strategic targets in the weeks prior to invasion, such as German radar sites or providing invaluable close air support to ground units breaking out from the landing beachheads. With forward air controllers installed with ground units throughout Normandy, RAF Typhoons were ready to respond to any request for aerial support, with aircraft not already engaged in strike missions holding off the coast of Northern France, ready to be called into action. These missions proved to be incredibly hazardous for Typhoon crews, not so much down to the attention of Luftwaffe fighters, but from the murderous anti-aircraft fire hurled in their direction from seemingly every German gun in the Normandy region. Indeed, in the weeks following the D-Day landings, more than 500 Hawker Typhoons had been lost, less than 10% of which were attributed to enemy fighter attack. Flying at high speed and at extremely low level, the opinion shared by Typhoon crews was that you had not experienced real combat flying until you had spent time on a Typhoon squadron.