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 bombs anchored to their cables, the balloons were a lethal weapon that German pilots assiduously attempted to avoid. The 320th Barrage Balloons served 140 days in France. American balloons also flew during the Italian invasion in 1943.