On the morning of D-Day, thousands of barrage balloons were tethered to ships and smaller craft for the cross-Channel journey to France. Floating in the sky, the bags formed a miles-wide aerial curtain, protecting the fleet, and later the men and matériel on the beaches, from enemy planes. With small bombs anchored to their cables, triggered by a plane strike, the balloons were a lethal weapon that German pilots assiduously attempted to avoid. The 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion served 140 days in France, protecting the beaches and the ports. Barrage balloons also landed with American troops in Italy in the fall of 1943. They were deemed a success protecting beaches, and they were adapted for the Normandy invasion.