RAPID CITY, S.D. — NewsCenter1’s own Bob Riggio made a stop at the Journey Museum to talk about forecasting before a World War II invasion.
The invasion of Normandy was the largest seaborne invasion in history, turning point in the war…but it wasn’t as easy as just placing troops behind enemy lines. Weather played a key role.
General Dwight Eisenhower had a number of prerequisites that would determine if it was the right time to attack. From a full moon to specific cloud cover and ocean tides, it was difficult work for forecasters determining the best time to invade. It was made even more difficult because forecasts from the U.S. Air force, the British Royal Air Force and Navy did not align.
“The bombers want to be able to see their targets, the paratroopers jumping out of the plane, they didn’t want to be seen,” said Riggio. “So, if there was a cloud deck below, that’s what they would want because they wouldn’t be seen and shot at as they descended to the ground. Whereas the bombers they needed those clouds to be scattered so they could be able to see their targets and drop their bomb.”
While weather conditions were not perfect, over 150,000 allied troops had successfully stormed and captured Normandy’s beaches.
Less than a year after the invasion, Nazi Germany surrendered to allied forces.