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In May 1944, a series of very low-level reconnaissance missions were ordered, to collect photographs of the beach defences positioned along the coastline of France. These missions were to assist Allied planning for the invasion of occupied Europe and were termed 'dicing' missions.
The first of these missions was undertaken by Lt Albert Lanker of the 31st (Photographic Reconnaissance) Squadron, USAAF on 6 May 1944. Flying a twin-engined F-5 from RAF Chalgrove, Lt Lanker photographed a strip of beach twenty miles long, from Le Treport to Berck-sur-Mer. Flying very low and fast enabled the pilot to surprise any enemy defences and collect detailed photography of the beach obstacles. Lt Lanker undertook his mission at an average altitude of 10 feet and airspeed of 300 mph.