Over 1,600 extant WW2 impact craters in the Forêt Domaniale de la Londe-Rouvray, Lower Seine valley, Normandy, France, have been mapped and analyzed using LiDAR, historic aerial photographs, archive documents, and field survey. Crater densities average 0.26/ha2 with values up to 31/ha2 in clusters around road and railway infrastructure. Some 576 craters can be dated using aerial photographs to intervals between May–August 1944 and are interpreted as bomb craters associated with Allied tactical air strikes on the Seine bridge at Orival (attacked during May in preparation for the D-Day landings) and German troop and vehicle concentrations towards the later stages of the Normandy Campaign.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Bechthold, M. (1998). “The Development of an Unbeatable Combination”: US Close Air Support in Normandy. Canadian Military History7(4): 7–20.
Army Air Forces. (1945). Ninth Air Force, April to November 1944. Army Air Forces Historical Studies No. 36. Headquarters, Army Air Forces, Washington D.C.
Bourque, S. (2012). Rouen: La Semaine Rouge. Journal of Military and Strategic Studies14(3/4).
Bourque, S. A. (2018). Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD.
Brenot, J., Saulière, N., Léty, C., Taborelli, P., Zélie, B., Blondeau, R., Devos, A., and Desfossés, Y. (2017). How much did the soldiers dig? a quantification of WW1 remains in Argonne, France. Geoarchaeology32: 534–548.
Canadian Military Headquarters (1947). Canadian participation in the operations in North-West Europe, 1944. Part IV: First Canadian Army in the Pursuit (23 Aug–30 Sep). Historical Section, Canadian Military Headquarters, London.
Capps-Tunwell, D., Passmore, D. G., and Harrison, S. (2015). Landscape archaeology of World War Two German logistics depots in the Forêt Domaniale des Andaines, Normandy, France. International Journal of Historical Archaeology19(2): 233–261.
Capps-Tunwell, D., Passmore, D. G., and Harrison, S. (2016). Second World War bomb craters and the archaeology of Allied air attacks in the forests of the Normandie-Maine National Park, NW France. Journal of Field Archaeology41(3): 312–330.
Capps-Tunwell, D., Passmore, D. G., and Harrison, S. (2018). A Witness in the Landscape: the Bombing of the Forêt Domaniale des Andaines and the Normandy Campaign, NW France, 1944. War in History25(1): 69–102.
Carter, K. C., and Mueller, R. (1991). U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II: Combat Chronology 1941–1945. Center for Air Force History, Washington DC.
Clout, H. (1999). The reconstruction of Upper Normandy: a tale of two cities. Planning Perspectives14(2): 183–207.
Copp, T. ed. (2000). Montgomery’s Scientists. Operational Research in Northwest Europe; The Work of No2 Operational Research Section with 21 Army Group, June 1944 to July 1945. Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, Waterloo, ON.
Copp, T. (2003). Fields of Fire: The Canadians in Normandy. University of Toronto Press, Toronto.
Craven, W. F., and Cate, J. L. (1983). The Army Air Forces in World War II. Volume Three. Europe: Argument to V-E Day, January 1944 to May 1945. Office of Air Force History, Washington DC.
Crutchley, S. (2013). Using lidar data: drawing on 10 year’s experience at English Heritage. In Opitz, R., Cowley, D. C. eds., Interpreting Archaeological Topography: Airborne Laser Scanning, 3D Data and Ground Observation. Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 32–50.
de Matos-Machado, R., Toumazet, J. P., Bergès, J. C., Amat, J.-P., Arnaud-Fassetta, G., Bétard, F., Bilodeau, C., Hupy, J. P., and Jacquemot, S. (2019). War landform mapping and classification on the Verdun battlefield (France) using airborne LiDAR and multivariate analysis. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms44(7): 1430–1448.
Deal, M., Daly, L. M., and Mathias, C. (2015). Actor-Network Theory and the practice of aviation archaeology. Journal of Conflict Archaeology10(1): 3–28.
Dodd, L., and Knapp, A. (2008). “How many Frenchmen did you kill?” British bombing policy towards France (1940–1945). French History22(2): 469–492.
Doneus, M., and Kühteiber, T. (2013). Airborne laser scanning and archaeological interpretation: bringing back the people. In Opitz, R., Cowley, D. C. eds., Interpreting Archaeological Topography: Airborne Laser Scanning, 3D Data and Ground Observation. Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 136–145.
Ehlers, Jr., R. S. (2009). Targeting the Third Reich: Air Intelligence and the Allied Bombing Campaigns. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence.
Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (2008). Demonstration of LiDAR and Orthophotography for Wide Area Assessment at Pueblo Precision Bombing Range #2, Colorado and Borrego Military Wash Area, California. Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, Alexandria, VA.
Evans, C. (1999). The fighter-bomber in the Normandy Campaign: the role of 83 Group. Canadian Military History8(1): 21–31.
Francis, P., Flagg, R., and Crisp, G. (2015). Nine Thousand Miles of Concrete: A Review of Second World War Temporary Airfields in England. Historic England, Swindon.
Gooderson, I. (1998). Air Power at the Battlefront: Allied Close Air Support in Europe, 1943–45. Frank Cass, Abingdon.
Hallion, R. P. (1994). D-Day 1944: Air Power over the Normandy Beaches and Beyond. Air Force History and Museums Program, US Army Air Forces in World War II. Bolling AFB, Washington DC.
Hart, R. A. (1996). Feeding Mars: the role of logistics in the German defeat in Normandy, 1944. War in History3(4): 418–435.
Hathaway, J. B. R., and McKenna, S. (2007). Application of Statistically Based Site Characterization Tools to Victorville Precision Bombing Ranges Y and 15 for the ESTCP Wide Area Assessment Demonstration. Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. Alexandria, VA.
Hesse, R. (2013). The changing picture of archaeological landscapes: LiDAR prospection over very large areas as part of a cultural heritage strategy. In Opitz, R. S., Cowley, D. C. eds., Interpreting Archaeological Topography Airborne Laser Scanning, 3D Data and Ground Observation. Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 171–183.
Hesse, R. (2014). Geomorphological traces of conflict in high-resolution elevation models. Applied Geography46: 11–20.
Holyoak, V., and Schofield, J. (2002). Military Aircraft Crash Sites: Archaeological guidance on their significance and future management. English Heritage, Swindon.
Hupy, J. P., and Schaetzl, R. J. (2006). Introducing “bombturbation,” a singular type of soil disturbance and mixing. Soil Science171(11): 823–836.
Jacobs, W. A. (1990). The Battle for France, 1944. In Cooling, B. F. ed., Case Studies in the Development of Close Air Support. Office of Air Force History, Washington, DC, pp. 237–294.
Johnsen, F. A. (2000). Martin B-26 Marauder. Specialty Press, North Branch, MN.
Johnston, P. (2012). Tactical Air Power controversies in Normandy: a question of doctrine. Canadian Military History9(2): 59–71.
Kobiałka, D. (2017). Airborne laser scanning and 20th century military heritage in the woodlands. Analecta Archaeologica Ressoviensia12: 247–269.
Korhonen, S. (2016). Battles of the Winter War. In General information on artillery pieces and artillery shells, http://www.winterwar.com/Weapons/artyinfo.htm, accessed August 2019.
Kübler, S. (2012). Active Tectonics of the Lower Rhine Graben (NW Central Europe) Based on New Paleoseismological Constraints and Implications for Coseismic Rupture Processes in Unconsolidated Gravels. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München.
Magnini, L., Bettineschi, C., and De Guio, A. (2017). Object-based shell craters classification from LiDAR-derived sky-view factor. Archaeological Prospection24(3): 211–223.
Mark, E. (1994). Aerial Interdiction: Air Power and the Land Battle in Three American Wars. Center for Air Force History, Washington DC.
Marter, P., Visser, R., Alders, P., Röder, C., Gottwald, M., Mank, M., Hubbard, S., and Recker, U. (2017). The excavation of WWII RAF bomber, Halifax LV881-ZA-V. Journal of Conflict Archaeology12(1): 29–45.
McIntyre, D. W. (1998). Pursuit to the Seine: the Essex Scottish Regiment and the Forêt de la Londe, August 1944. Canadian Military History7(1): 59–72.
Mihu-Pintilie, A., Asandulesei, A., Stoleriu, C. C., and Romanescu, G. (2016). GIS methods for assessment of hydrogeomorphic risk and anthropogenic impact which affect the archaeological sites. case study: Dealul Mare archaeological site, Moldavian Plateau (Romania). Acta Geobalcanica2(1): 35–43.
Committee, N. D. R. (1945). Weapon Data – Fire, Impact, Explosion; Section 3B1A, Craters: Diameter and Depth. In NDRC, Division 2. University Station, NJ, Princeton.
Note, N., Gheyle, W., Van den Berghe, H., Saey, T., Bourgeois, J., Van Eetvelde, V., Meirvenne, M. V., and Stichelbaut, B. (2018). A new evaluation approach of World War One’s devastated front zone: a shell hole density map based on historical aerial photographs and validated by electromagnetic induction field measurements to link the metal shrapnel phenomenon. Geoderma310(October 2017): 257–269.
Office of the Chief of Ordnance (1945). Terminal Ballistic Data. Volume III: Bombs, Artillery and Mortar Fire & Rockets. War Department, Washington DC.
Overy, R. (1980). The Air War, 1939–1945. Europa, London.
Overy, R. (2013). The Bombers and the Bombed: Allied Air War Over Europe, 1940–1945. Viking, New York.
Passmore, D. G., Capps-Tunwell, D., and Harrison, S. (2013). Landscapes of logistics: the archaeology and geography of WWII German military supply depots in central Normandy, north-west France. Journal of Conflict Archaeology8(3): 165–192.
Passmore, D. G., Harrison, S., and Capps-Tunwell, D. (2014). Second World War conflict archaeology in the forests of north-west Europe. Antiquity88: 1275–1290.
Passmore, D. G., Capps-Tunwell, D., and Harrison, S. (2016). World War II conflict and post-conflict landscapes in northwest France: an evaluation of the aerial photographic resource. In Stichelbaut, B., Cowley, D. C. eds., Conflict Landscapes and Archaeology from Above. Ashgate, Farnham, pp. 185–204.
Passmore, D. G., Capps-Tunwell, D., Reinders, M., and Harrison, S. (2017). Towards an archaeology and geography of Second World War German munitions storage sites in north-west Europe. Journal of Conflict Archaeology12(1): 46–71.
Passmore, D. G., Capps-Tunwell, D., and Harrison, S. (2019). Revisiting the US military "Levels of War" model as a conceptual Tool in conflict archaeology: a case study of WW2 landscapes in Normandy, France. In Moreira, N., Derderian, M., Bissonnette, A. eds., Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Fields of Conflict Conference (2018). Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Connecticut, pp. 18–35.
Peulvast, J., Bétard, F., and Giusti, C. (2014). The Seine River from Ile-de-France to Normandy: geomorphological and cultural landscapes of a large meandering valley. In Fort, M., Andre, M.-F. eds., Landscapes and Landforms of France. Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 17–28.
Russell, E. T. (1999). Leaping the Atlantic Wall: Army Air Forces Campaigns in Western Europe, 1942–1945. Air Force History and Museums Program. Department of the Air Force, Washington DC.
Schofield, J. (2009). Aftermath: Readings in the Archaeology of Recent Conflict. Springer, New York.
Schofield, J., Cocroft, W., Boulton, A., Dunlop, G., and Wilson, L. K. (2012). "The aerodrome": art, heritage and landscape at former RAF Coltishall. Journal of Social Archaeology12(1): 120–142.
Stichelbaut, B., and Cowley, D. C. (2016). Conflict Landscapes and Archaeology from Above. Ashgate, Farnham.
Stichelbaut, B., Gheyle, W., Saey, T., Van Eetvelde, V., Van Meirvenne, M., Note, N., Van den Berghe, H., and Bourgeois, J. (2016). The First World War from above and below: historical aerial photographs and mine craters in the Ypres Salient. Applied Geography66: 64–72.
Sullivan, J. J. (1997). Overlord’s Eagles: Operations of the United States Army Air Forces in the Invasion of Normandy in World War II. McFarland, Jefferson, NC.
Van der Schriek, M., and Beex, W. (2017). The application of LiDAR-based DEMs on WWII conflict sites in the Netherlands. Journal of Conflict Archaeology12(2): 94–114.
Vogel, R. (1994). Tactical air power in Normandy: some thoughts on the Interdiction Plan. Canadian Military History3(1): 37–47.
Special thanks goes to Cécile Dardignac, Office National des Forêts at the Agence Etudes, Fontainebleau, France who has enabled the project to access LiDAR data for the Seine Basin. We are also grateful to Eliza Richardson (Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies) for assisting access to aerial photographs of the study area.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Passmore, D.G., MBE, D.C. Conflict Archaeology of Tactical Air Power: The Forêt Domaniale de la Londe-Rouvray and the Normandy Campaign of 1944. Int J Histor Archaeol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10761-019-00536-5
- Bomb craters
- Conflict Archaeology