Forecasting ‘The Longest Day’

WORLD

Why was the Normandy invasion so successful? According to Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower, “Because we had better meteorologists than the Germans!” (USA Today)

Use our resources to remember D-Day.

The Greatest Generation earns its nickname, storming Omaha Beach on D-Day. Photograph courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

The Greatest Generation earns its nickname, storming Omaha Beach on D-Day.
Photograph courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Discussion Ideas

  • According to the USA Today article, D-Day was delayed a day due to “heavy seas, high winds, and thick cloud cover.” Why would each of these weather patterns deter the invasion? Read through our brief “This Day in Geographic History” article on D-Day for some help.
    • According to our article, D-Day was the largest amphibious assault in history. It involved a complex, coordinated attack by land, air, and sea.
      • Heavy seas would delay and even endanger ships carrying troops ready to “storm the beaches.”
      • High winds would also contribute to strong waves, as well as impact the flight patterns of aircraft.
      • Thick cloud cover could be disastrous for paratroopers, as well as prevent coordination with ground troops.

 

  • Today, military leaders have technology such as weather satellites and drones at their disposal. Do you think they still use manual weather stations like the WWII-era meteorologists did? Why or why not?
    • You bet they do! Even drones can be susceptible to unpredictable weather, such as precipitation, cloud cover, and atmospheric pressure. Knowing weather conditions can also help military leaders plan troop movements and the best places for camps.
    • Just ask U.S. Senior Airman Dustin Clarke, below, conducting a daily operations check on a weather-monitoring station in Iraq!
Photograph by Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz, courtesy U.S. Air Force

Photograph by Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz, courtesy U.S. Air Force

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