A dark overcast sky looms overhead; the low rumble of engines and waves filling the air between the nervous-silence that envelop the crews. Miles behind them, the massive invasion force slowly steams towards France. Onboard their Bangor-class minesweeper vessels, the men of the Royal Canadian Navy know their objective is but one of many critical tasks necessary for the success of Operation NEPTUNE. It is perhaps the most critical task, yet it remains one of the unheralded acts of bravery and naval discipline in the Second World War.
Operation Dick Tracy took place towards the end of World War Two (1944 – 45). Foreseeing an imminent collapse of Nazi Germany, Allied commanders seized large quantities of cartographic materials and aerial photographs. It was quickly realized by the Allied Forces that the Luftwaffe had much more advanced aerial photogrammetry techniques. Faced with the possibility of losing such information to the rapidly advancing Soviets on the Eastern front, Operation Dick Tracy was of paramount importance, considering the geopolitical divisions of an eventual post-war Europe.
During the Second World War 1939-1945, overseas surveying and mapping consisted of topographic survey, map reproduction and mensuration of aerial photography. Unlike in the First World War were the British Royal Engineers provided much of the geographic support for the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), during the Second World War the Royal Canadian Engineers would provide geographic support for the Canadian Army.
by Asher Pirts
Phantom’s role was to provide early information on the progress of the battle, and on other matters of immediate importance, primarily for the higher command holding reserves capable of influencing military operations also for other commands directly concerned in the conduct of the ongoing operations. Phantom had no duties in the field other than the collection, passage and dissemination of information. In the battle information was obtained by liaison, intercept (J) or personal reconnaissance.
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For those of you who are just joining us, Project ’44 began over a year ago with a mission of mapping out the First Canadian Army on its Battle through Normandy.
by Alexander Fitzgerald-Black
At 2045 hours on 7 July 1944 nine Hawker Typhoon IBs flown by Canadians in 439 “Sabre-Tooth Tiger” Squadron RCAF took off from B5 airfield near Le Fresne-Camilly. It was a short seven kilometres to their target, the village of Buron, which had been a feature of 3rd Canadian Infantry Division’s frontline for a month.