D-Day Operation Mallard black and white version
D-Day, 6 June 1944: the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe. As the troops established a foothold in Normandy they were protected, reinforced and supplied by thousands of warplanes which had total air superiority over the German Luftwaffe. The weather - poor at first - became mostly clear later with some haze and scattered cloud.
The picture depicts that evening's Operation Mallard which delivered the British 6th Airborne Division aboard gliders towed by a variety of heavy aircraft, including these unarmed Short Stirlings of Nos 196 and 299 Squadrons.
They were escorted by (top right) North American Mustang IIIs from the RAF's No 315 (Polish) Squadron and, in the centre, Spitfires from No 345 Squadron flying Mk VAs. Top left: South African fighter ace, Group Captain AG ‘Sailor’ Malan, Commanding Officer of No 145 (Free French) Wing, flew his Mk IXB Spitfire as a section leader with No 340 (GC/IV/2 'Ile de France') Squadron. The Hawker Typhoons, lower right, are bomb-carrying 'Bomphoons' of No 197 Squadron who were on an armed reconnaissance sortie at the same time.