Conflict Archaeology of Tactical Air Power: The Forêt Domaniale de la Londe-Rouvray and the Normandy Campaign of 1944

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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.

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Correspondence to David G Passmore.

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Passmore, D.G., Capps-Tunwell, D. Conflict Archaeology of Tactical Air Power: The Forêt Domaniale de la Londe-Rouvray and the Normandy Campaign of 1944. Int J Histor Archaeol 24, 674–706 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10761-019-00536-5

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Keywords

  • Bomb craters
  • WW2
  • Conflict Archaeology
  • Normandy
  • LiDAR
  • France