Seventy-five years ago, Allied forces began the task of opening the second front in Europe when they landed on the beaches of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944.
Weather was a key factor in deciding when and where the invasion would take place. There were competing priorities when selecting the desired conditions for the invasion.
“You have to think of all the many varied platforms that would be used to launch the offensive, each one needed certain conditions,” said Kent Sieg, 557th Weather Wing historian. “Bombers needed clear sight to targets. Tides had to be low to expose obstacles, but could not be too low or troops would have too long a distance to get to shore.”
Selecting a date that would be the best compromise for these requirements was the challenge. The time determined to be most favorable for an offensive was a full moon. Had Stagg and his team delayed the invasion until the next full moon, June 19, Allied forces would have faced one of the largest storms in the English Channel in almost 80 years and D-Day may have very well failed.