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Allied Tactical Airpower in Normandy

An online outline of British/Commonwealth doctrine for tactical air power in Normandy.


Chapter One:

Chapter Two:

Chapter Three:

Chapter Four:

Chapter Five:


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VCP (FCP) System of Impromptu Air Support

British/Commonwealth air strike procedure for impromptu air strikes with a VCP or FCP.

1. The VCP, sited as far forward as possible, normally with a leading brigade headquarters, decides to call in an airstrike. FCPs were always sited at corps headquarters.

2. The VCP radios directly to the Army/Composite Group co-located headquarters with the airstrike request, bypassing the intermediate divisional and corps level headquarters.

3. At the Joint Battle Room of the Army/Composite Group headquarters, the request is evaluate and compared against other requests and available aircraft; a decision is made about whether to order aircraft to fulfill the request.

4. The Army/Composite Group headquarters radios the GCC to order the assignment of aircraft to fulfill the request.

6. If available aircraft on a lower priority mission happen to be in the air around the area of the requested strike, the GCC may contact them by radio and divert them to the airstrike. Otherwise, aircraft will be scrambled from a airfield.

7. Upon arrival over the target area, the aircraft check in by radio with the VCP.

If an FCP were present rather than a VCP, the system worked more-or-less the same, except that FCPs were located with corps headquarters rather than farther forward. It should be noted that in practice it was found that due to the close terrain in Normandy, in most cases VCPs could not visually observe targets, thus worked more like "mini-FCPs" at brigade level than true VCPs.

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