Rare D-Day Weather Maps Used by Forecasters to Predict Normandy Landings Up for Auction

A set of rare D-Day weather maps that helped Eisenhower postpone the Normandy invasion is being auctioned, offering a fascinating glimpse into the critical role of meteorology in the Allied campaign.

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Wojciech Zylm
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Rare D-Day Weather Maps Used by Forecasters to Predict Normandy Landings Up for Auction

Rare D-Day Weather Maps Used by Forecasters to Predict Normandy Landings Up for Auction

A set of six weather maps used by meteorologists to predict ideal conditions for the D-Day landings in World War II is being auctioned for the first time. The hand-sketched charts show predicted air pressure levels over the North Atlantic and Europe from June 3 to 7, 1944, the limited window of opportunity presented for the invasion.

The maps belonged to Captain David Davidge, a meteorologist from Bath who was part of the team relaying weather predictions to General Dwight D. Eisenhower ahead of the Normandy landings. Based on the forecasts shown in the maps, Eisenhower made the critical decision to postpone the invasion by 24 hours due to expected storms.

Auctioneers estimate the rare set of maps will sell for between £2,000 and £4,000, marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day this June. Only one other known set of the maps exists, currently on display at Southwick House, the command center of Allied planning for the landings.

Why this matters: The D-Day weather maps played a crucial role in the success of the Normandy landings, which marked the beginning of the Allied campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied northwest Europe. The decision to postpone the invasion based on the meteorologists' forecasts proved critical, as launching the attack in adverse weather conditions could have jeopardized the entire operation.

Interest in the auction has been significant, with the maps drawing attention from large organizations and militaria collectors alike. Auctioneer Philip Allwood described the charts as "fascinating historical items," noting that "to have such a complete record of the weather forecasts is incredibly rare, and it's a fascinating insight into the conditions in the run-up to D-Day."

Key Takeaways

  • Rare set of 6 WWII D-Day weather maps up for auction, estimated at £2,000-£4,000.
  • Maps belonged to meteorologist who advised Eisenhower to postpone D-Day invasion by 24 hours.
  • Forecasts shown in maps were crucial in the success of the Normandy landings.
  • Only one other known set of these maps exists, on display at Southwick House.
  • Auction has drawn significant interest from organizations and militaria collectors.