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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Impromptu: Standard Tentacle

British/Commonwealth air strike procedure for impromptu air strikes with a standard tentacle.

1. A leading brigade decides upon a target to their front. A request for an airstrike on this target is passed to the tentacle co-located with this brigade headquarters.

2. The tentacle radios this request directly to the Joint Battle Room formed at the co-locate Army / Composite Group Headquarters. The intervening divisional and corps headquarters listen in on the radio request for information, but are not directly part of the process.

3. The staff at the Joint Battle Room consider the request, in particular prioritizing it against all other impromptu requests and available aircraft. A decision is then made right there as to whether the request will be filled or not. This decision is reported back to the originating tentacle; if the strike is to be flown the tentacle is given the estimated Time Over Target (TOT) of the attacking aircraft.

4. The Group headquarters staff at the Joint Battle Room radio the Group Control Centre (GCC) ordering that aircraft be sent on the strike.

5. The GCC either orders aircraft scrambled from an airfield or diverts some aircraft already in flight.

6. The GCC is the only agency in communication with the actual strike aircraft.

7. Note that the tentacle cannot communicate with the strike aircraft. If the mission is on, all that the ground troops can do is watch for the airstrike at the advised TOT. If no aircraft appear, other than queries back up the chain-of-command,they have no way of knowing if the airstrike has been cancelled, has mistakenly struck the wrong target, has been shot down, or is simply late.

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