OMAHA BEACH.

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Trux, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. For completeness I am listing below the LCT(DD) of Force O with the name (and first name!) of their respective OiC, as provided in The U.S. Navy at Normandy: Fleet Organization and Operations in the D-Day Invasion by Greg H. Williams:

    Force O-2 Column (amended)
    Co B 743rd Tk Bn (DOG GREEN)
    Serial 90 = LCT(6) 590 ( Ens Robert B. Gilfert, USNR )
    Serial 91 = LCT(6) 591 ( Ens George W. Nowotny, USNR )
    Serial 92 = LCT(6) 713 ( Ens Floyd S. White, USNR )
    Serial 93 = LCT(6) 588 ( Ens William C. Cook, USNR )
    Co C 743rd Tk Bn (DOG WHITE)
    Serial 94 = LCT(6) 589 ( Ens Earl J. Dinsmore, USNR )
    Serial 95 = LCT(6) 587 ( Ens Albert M. Demao, USNR )
    Serial 96 = LCT(6) 586 ( Ens Joseph M. Carey, USNR )
    Serial 97 = LCT(6) 535 ( Ens Albert J. Pellegrini, USNR ) – Lieut Dean L. Rockwell, OiC LCT(DD) = senior naval officer, on board​

    Force O-1 Column
    Co B 741st Tk Bn (EASY RED)
    Serial 55 = LCT(6) 603 ( Lt(jg) Lairi A. Scrivner, UNSR )
    Serial 56 = LCT(6) 537 ( Ens Robert I. McKee, USNR ) – Capt James G. Thornton, CO Co B = senior army officer, on board
    Serial 57 = LCT(6) 600 ( Ens Henry P. Sullivan, USNR )
    Serial 58 = LCT(6) 599 ( Ens Elbert T. Callister, USNR )
    Co C 741st Tk Bn (FOX GREEN)
    Serial 59 = LCT(6) 601 ( Ens John C. Metcalf, USNR )
    Serial 60 = LCT(6) 598 ( Ens Donald K. MacKenzie, USNR ) – Capt Charles Young, CO Co C on board
    Serial 61 = LCT(6) 602 ( Ens R.L. Harkey, USNR )
    Serial 62 = LCT(6) 549 ( Lt(jg) John E. Barry, USNR ) = senior naval officer​

    The senior army officer for the LCT(DD) of Force O-2 was Capt Ned Seidel Elder, CO Co C 743rd Tk Bn, but I do not know in which LCT he sailed. Neither do I know the LCT of Capt Charles W. Ehmka, CO Co B.

    Michel
    [Edited 05/05/24 to show planned launching positions of craft from right to left when facing beach]
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2024
  2. TheGoose11

    TheGoose11 New Member

    Thank you for this info! Unfortunately, it looks like my search for the Lt(j.g.) continues. I have a more sensitive question and I cannot figure out the private message system. Could you please shoot me a private message?
     
  3. PatrickU

    PatrickU Member

    Chuck / Michel (and anybody else)

    I was able to get the full contents of Dean Rockwell's files scanned and sent to me by the helpful staff at the National WW2 Museum's Eisenhower Center. The files include copies of all the handwritten testimonies from the 16 LCT officers-in-charge that Rockwell instructed them to write up shortly after D-Day. (Most are dated late June to mid July). What's extremely clear is on that morning the naval LCT officers-in-charge thought and acted with the understanding that the army was solely responsible for making the call on launching the DDs from off shore or sending them to the beach. I am still digesting, but the file is pretty fascinating.

    I also have the pre-Day reports from Rockwell, Duncan, and some others about D-Day training and their evaluations about the DD tanks and when they should (and should not) be launched, scanned from the National Archives. Its clear many of their warnings were overlooked or ignored on D-Day morning, or were never provided to the army commanders on the LCTs who made the decision to launch or not for the 741st and 743rd.

    I am very happy to share any or all of this like others have shared here in this forum...It's just quite a lot. I guess let me know if there is an interest in anything in particular.

    My search has been to find out who made the decisions to launch the DDs despite the sea state, how this decision was made, and if anybody violated or deviated from agreed upon protocol or authority. In the scans from the National Archive there is one file that I am including here. Dated May 17 1944 is from the US First Army HQ to the Commander NWTF that says the following "Although the control of DD tanks in the final analysis remains a responsibility of the Corps Commander concerned, it is appreciated that the decision to beach the LCT's is a responsibility of the Naval Task Force Commander and must be the result of close collaboration with the Corps Commander. It is believed that to delegate the authority for either of the above decisions to Commanders of craft would result in an uncoordinated and piecemeal attack."


    0042.jpg

    Yet, that is precisely what happened.

    So, my research as of now regarding the decision to launch or not launch the DD's off OMAHA:

    1) US 1st Army Group HQ - says it should be a coordinated Corps Commander and Naval Task Force Commander decision and should NOT be delegated to the leaders on the LTCs
    2) Force O Commander Hall - said it was agreed at the highest levels that the was a joint decision to be made by the senior army and senior naval officer on the LCTs
    3) On the LCT's both the army and naval leaders believed and acted as it was the sole authority of the army commanders not only to launch, but also to beach the LCTs -- in the sense that no LCT officer-in-charge refused an order to beach once the army commander decided not to launch.

    Quite the mess.

    Again, I appreciate all of the help.
     
  4. Rob Crane

    Rob Crane Well-Known Member

    If it's any help (I don't think so!), COPP men Logan Scott-Bowden and Bruce Ogden Smith were providing pilotage for the DDs' LCTs from aboard two of the LCS(S) – I think working with US Scouts & Raiders to do this.

    Ogden Smith helped lead in the eastern ones (741st), Scott-Bowden the western (743rd).

    Scott-Bowden wrote about it in the Royal Engineers Journal in the mid 90s:

    The pilot boat which I was in was commanded by a very experienced US naval lieutenant doing his fourth assault landing [possibly Phil Bucklew]. He had a crew of two: a coxswain and a gunner of Mexican extraction manning a four-barrelled ‘pom-pom’ for anti-aircraft fire, but which could be directed horizontally.

    We sped rapidly to the head of the fleet, taking station in front of the eight Landing Craft Tanks (LCT) carrying the 32 amphibious Sherman tanks which would be the first to land; the LCTs deployed in line abreast.

    We took position on their [the LCTs’] left; as we approached the 1,500 yard position, the decision then had to be made as to whether to stop and launch the tanks so they could swim ashore under their own propulsion — or go straight in to put them on the beach.

    It was rough. The US navy lieutenant [commanding Scott-Bowden’s craft] was responsible for this decision. The major commanding the tanks was in the turret of his tank in the left-hand LCT and he by signs made very clear he wished to be taken on in.

    I think out of courtesy, the lieutenant asked me my opinion. I said, “It is far too rough; we should go right in.”
    When they saw the eastern lot being launched they were apparently flabbergasted.

    If course this does have to be taken with a pinch of salt, given the passage of time and possible temptation to burnish the account.

    And even then it doesn't really resolve anything: his belief that it was the Navy chap's job to decide may have been stated out of ignorance of the finer discussions within the American forces beforehand.
     
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  5. PatrickU

    PatrickU Member

    Barry 1 of 2.jpeg Barry 2 of 2.jpeg McKee 1 of 3.jpeg McKee 2 of 3.jpeg McKee 3 of 3.jpeg

    Chuck / Michel (and any others)

    Please find attached Barry's after action report. Chuck - his report confirms that the army officers (most importantly Thornton) did not contact him before launching the DDs nor seek his advice or consent. They just launched.

    I have also included the AAR from McKee, who switched LCTs with Barry as Michel earlier deduced. I think its possible change to the officers-in-charge may have added to the breakdown in communications regarding the launch. Certainly would not have helped.

    (The highlights and margin notes on the scans are mine by the way. I can scan the unmarked copies if anybody wants.)

    Overall, I increasingly feel that Admiral Hall (and Rockwell too) were too hard on Barry...Seems too easy to just point the finger at Barry and then move on. But Barry had been told the Army officers were to decide on whether to launch or not. (Rockwell confirms this. Leide confirms this. Barry confirms the same in item #4 in his AAR.) Barry was in a new LCT without his own crew. Thornton started launching DDs without consulting him. What was Barry to do at that point? Actively interfere with the tank launches initiated on a LCT hundreds of yards away, authorized by the person he was told had that authority and who by the way also outranked him? Try to prevent the rest of the army tankers from launching after they saw their squadron leader launch? How would he do this?

    I find Rockwell's post war comments about Barry seriously unjustified. He all but calls Barry a weak coward. Rockwell wrote after the war (see Assault on Normandy by Stillwell, page 70) "I had put another naval officer [Barry] in charge of the group of eight LCTs carrying the 741st Battalions DD tanks to Omaha. Obviously, I chose the wrong man. Instead of going all the way to the beach, this officer [again, Barry] launched his tanks offshore, according to the original plan. They were swamped by rough seas and went right to the bottom. Perhaps he had been overruled by the army and wasn't strong enough to assert himself. Maybe he didn't want to go in close to the German guns. I don't know. I never did talk to him later to get the story of what happened. By that time, the tragedy was done, and nobody wanted to talk about the damn thing." (My comment...Rockwell may not have spoken with Barry, but he did have the AAR. Did he read it?)

    Would appreciate any other input or thoughts if anybody has any. Thanks for everybody's help over the last weeks!

    Patrick
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2024
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  6. MelissaTheLibrarian

    MelissaTheLibrarian New Member

    Please, where did the above information come from?
     
  7. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Melissa
    I've sent Mike a private message, so hopefully he will reply to this thread.
    Lesley
     
  8. PatrickU

    PatrickU Member

    Chuck,

    As per your earlier thoughts about Hall and his apparent absence from the events on D-Day morning surrounding the decision to launch the DD tanks, see the attached as it may interest you. I finished my review of the files I got and found this memo. See attached. The handwritten text dated 5-15-44 says:

    “1st Division has included Col McLaughlin in 1st Division command group aboard the USS Ancon and so notified him. No further action is required as he will be the specialist to advise CG Force O in regard to launching DD tanks.”
    0062.jpg

    So to add to what we were kicking around before, here's McLaughlin from 3rd Armored Group being put on the Ancon on D-Day morning specifically to advise Hall about launching (or not), yet as far as I know we hear nothing from the Ancon D-Day morning. Rather, Rockwell reports that he's told that the individual tank company commanders will separately decide for their respective companies to launch or not, a decision that the two commanding officers of the 741st and 743rd (Skaggs and Upham respectively) endorse.

    Patrick
     
  9. EKB

    EKB Well-Known Member

  10. Bin There

    Bin There Active Member

    Wow, I'm out of the net for a few weeks and you guys have really gone to town on this topic!

    Michel, that's great research, and explains the fact that key leaders were on different craft. It does raise a couple rhetorical questions in my mind, though.
    - I see that none of the LCTs/crews selected for this mission were experienced. All the craft had been delivered for acceptance in the US between Sept and Nov 1943 (except 713 which was delivered in Jan 1944). Accounting for the time to ship the LCT parts across on Liberty ships (and how long to wait for that deck space to be available), reassembly, mandatory drydock time to add longitudinal stiffeners, shake down cruises/sea trials, etc., this didn't leave much time to gain sea going experience, and the crews were straight out of training themselves. They did get some experience during the invasion exercises, but still . . . Interesting choice to give this mission to some rather inexperienced crews, instead of those from LCT GP 18, all of which had had at least one previous assault landing in the Med (and many had two).
    - And Rockwell's cruising to deployment maneuver is interesting - a right flank into line. That pretty much ensures the ground commander (who usually lands in the center of his formation) is back in the column of boats separate from the wave leader. What I find interesting is a report from another LCT wave leader explaining how his wave followed him into the beach in column, then deployed in line with the same 'odd numbers to one side, and evens to the other' maneuver used by smaller landing craft - which places the wave leader and ground commander in the same boat. I'll have to go back and see if I can dig up that other narrative.

    Patrick, I'm stunned by what you've turned up. Amazing. It's interesting that as late as 17 May the Army was insisting in writing that it must be a naval decision to launch - and the Navy 22 May oplan is written to reflect that - and yet this seeming agreement was somehow reversed/ignored among the executing elements without any written record. It's also interesting that McKee claims (and I'm not disputing it) that he closed to within 2500 feet (not yards) to launch his tanks. And the separation of Barry's column helps explain quite a bit. Would very much be interested in seeing the rest of your research posted on this forum if you have the time or inclination.

    A side question: Does anyone recall which LCT carried three 741st tanks directly onto the beach?

    Hey, gentlemen, I think you've done some awfully fine work to clarify this issue - or at least better define the details of the confusion. I humbly commend you both. And thanks!
     
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  11. PatrickU

    PatrickU Member

    Chuck,

    Welcome back. Hope you were offline on a fun vacation. Yes, I am glad to share as much of the research as anybody wants. I also have a couple of questions that I hope you and/or Michel can help me understand. (See far below.)

    FIRST - LCT 600

    Chuck you asked--it was LCT 600 that carried the three 741st DD's to the beach, and I have included the AAR scanned here. (Again, the highlights are mine. I have the unaltered copy if you wish.) There actually are a few details in this AAR that were important to me at least.

    First, in #2 the O-in-C (Sullivan) reports that they got a radio message instructed them to launch. Several other 741st LCT AARs say the same. I think this effectively confirms that the US Army officers (Thornton, Young, and perhaps others) were widely using the tank radios that morning, but for reasons unknown never attempted to radio Barry (or Rockwell) to get their input about launching or not launching the DDs. That's one of the big unknowns here. (There's not even a hint of evidence that anybody tried to radio Barry in LCT 549 but just could not raise him, so sure its possible but I believe pretty unlikely.)

    Second, in LCT 600's AAR under #4 Sullivan recounts that the first DD tank sunk, which we know. He then recounts how the "In discussing the launch with the Army Officer, he mentioned the structure of the canvas was just too weak..." and his men tried bracing themselves against the screen to prevent it collapsing. It's a fascinating detail.

    processed-4A2FAE9D-983D-44A7-85C7-2CA217E531ED.jpeg processed-CC48BAFC-9B2E-44B8-BD20-C7E93DFD168A.jpeg

    Next - THORNTON

    Next, as for Thornton, most histories don't mention (and I don't think its widely understood) how far out of position he was in LCT 537 (McKee is O-in-C). It's clear from multiple AARs and other reports that LCTs 537 and 603 mistakenly followed Force O-2 (Rockwell) toward the western side of OMAHA. Barry mentions in his AAR that those two were not in his column, as do other sources--see below.

    McKee's AAR not only says that LCT 537 launched 2500 feet from shore, but he also states that they launched at 0600, which would have been 20 to 25 minutes after the other LCTs launched. So LCT 537 proceeded closer to shore before launching to make up lost time as they returned to the proper beach. (Note LCT 603 AAR has less details, but it does mention LCT 537 being "to port" and they launched when "ships to her port began launching.")

    All of this is corroborated by Callister's AAR from LCT 599, which is particularly detailed. He mentions that while at 0400 LCTs 537 and 603 were with them, by 0415 they were missing. This backs up Barry. Then, in an almost comical (if it wasn't so tragic) image, he mentions that at 0556 while LCT 599 was "proceeding AWAY from the beach", LCTs 603 and 537 passed him still headed for the beach, just as McKee reported. (See the LCT 599 AAR below.)

    599 AAR page 1 of 6.jpeg 599 AAR page 2 of 6.jpeg 599 AAR page 3 of 6.jpeg 599 AAR page 4 of 6.jpeg 599 AAR page 5 of 6.jpeg 599 AAR page 6 of 6.jpeg

    Thornton being out of position certainly could not have made anything easier that morning, undoubtedly causing added stress or perhaps confusion in an already unbelievably tense environment. But there's one document that really raises questions about the implications of Thornton following Rockwell's Force O-2 toward OMAHA. The TF 124.4 report prepared after D-Day reports that Thornton, while following Rockwell, was told of the Elder-Rockwell decision not to launch and told to relay that instruction to Force O-1. (See #4 on page 8 of the report as pasted below.) If true, that means Thornton decided to launch the 741st DDs despite knowing that the 743rd had opted to go to the beach, and he knew that going directly to the beach was an option available to him. This would also mean that Thornton elected for the 741st to launch not only in face of the Force 4 sea conditions staring him in the face, but also with the knowledge that his peers in 743rd had opted not to launch. Puts his decision in even sterner focus, at least for me.

    upload_2024-5-6_7-34-5.png

    upload_2024-5-6_7-34-29.png

    LINGERING QUESTION

    So I couple of questions if you guys can help. First, I am stuck about WHY Rockwell ordered the swap in LCTs between Barry and McKee. Michel's analysis showed the implications on the position of various craft because of the change, but I am unclear about Rockwell's motive. What am I missing?

    Also, Chuck in your previous email you wrote that "It's interesting that as late as 17 May the Army was insisting in writing that it must be a naval decision to launch - and the Navy 22 May oplan is written to reflect that." Can you share with me what you are referring to? I cannot seem to locate in my growing pile of stuff documents with those dates, and want to make sure I am not overlooking anything.

    Thanks once again--you guys have helped me immensely! I hope that I have added back something in return.

    Patrick
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2024
  12. Bin There

    Bin There Active Member

    Patrick,

    Let me clarify, since I made a slight error.

    The 17 May date comes from the memo from CG, FUSA (Bradley) to Naval Commander, Western Task Force (Kirk) which said the decision to beach the DDs rests with the Naval Task Force Commander (referring to the TF 124 and 125 commanders), and should not be delegated to the commanders of craft. Although "it must be the result of close collaboration with" the corps commanders was necessary, the responsibility for that decision was naval, not army (i.e., it was not a joint decision, which is a very key distinction). The key issue in that memo was not which service would make the decision (that wasn't even in doubt), rather how far down the naval chain of command it would be delegated. [Note: the V Corps staff action sheet you included in post #228, placed the 3rd Armored Gp commander on the Ancon to advise the CG, Force O; CG meaning commanding GENERAL, which means MG Gerow, CG of Landing Force O. Gerow being one of the Corps commander Bradley's memo said the naval task force commander should consult before making a sea state decision. Small point, perhaps, but Gerow was also aboard the Ancon with Hall that day, so the CO, 3rd Armored Gp was there to advise Gerow for his input, not make the ultimate decision for the Navy. (You did not state that, I'm just clarifying the arrangement.) Your comment that nothing seems to have been heard from the Ancon despite all of this is quite cogent.]

    The reference to 22 May was an error; that should have been 20 May (3 days after Bradley's memo) which was the date of TF 124's OPLAN BB-44. In that plan, Assault Groups O-1 and O-2 had identical orders. "If state of the sea is such to prevent their [the DDs] being launched and proceeding to the beach under their own power, land them with the first wave." Good contingency plan, except it failed to specify who had the responsibility and authority to make that decision. The only thing that is clear is that this was a naval order, issued to naval units, therefore the decision to launch or land fell somewhere within the naval chain of command.

    Kirk's own oporder (2-44, ONWEST Two) was originally published 21 Apr 44, but had so many changes that on 22 May his staff had to issue a two page list of what pages were still effective. Left unchanged were the appendices governing the DD tanks, and they made no provisions for a sea state decision or contingency for landing the DD tanks. So effectively, the last standing order from CTF 122 - and confirmed as valid after Hall's order was published - made no provisions for landing the DDs directly on the beach and made no reference to a sea state decision, much less place that responsibility on anyone in the Army. Potential point of confusion.

    The oporder for the 741st Tank Battalion (21 May 1944) made no reference to a sea state decision, indicating none of its commanders were responsible for such a decision, and the Intel officer's Tactical Study of the Terrain, did not address sea state, indicating, again, that such a concern was not within the battalion's purview.

    The point being, with less than 3 weeks to go before the invasion, there was not a single memo, plan or order that specified anything other than the decision to launch or land would rest with the Navy. Yet by the time the invasion had begun, Rockwell was under the impression that the responsibility for such a decision lay with the Army company commanders, supposedly based on a handshake agreement with the two battalion commanders (who, as far as I know, never confirmed such an agreement). Keeping in mind Bradley's very recent insistence that 1) it was a Navy decision and 2) it should NOT be delegated to such a low level of command, I do not think it is plausible that two battalion commanders would make a handshake decision that flagrantly defied their First Army commander's position. Something that important to the success of an operation, and something that ran contrary to both doctrine and the policy of the Army commander, would not have been implemented without an order to authorize it. And one has never been produced; not even a memo for record. This still appears to me to be a case of junior officers in the Navy defaulting on their doctrinal responsibility, most likely - and understandably - because they had no faith in the DD concept and wanted to avoid any potential blame for the screwups they thought were inevitable (though afterwards were quick to take credit for the partial success).

    The action report you included in your last post from CTF 124.4 (Assault Group O-2) is rather stunning. "Just prior to the arrival at the 6,000 yard line, word was passed down the line, not to launch the DD tank due to the rough weather and the probability of them swamping. Two LCTs of Group O-1 that had accompanied Group O-2 down the righthand swept channel, were directed to cut across and join their group and inform other group of decision not to launch DD tanks." This passage raises so many questions and seems to cast doubt on the standard narrative. Who made that decision? That's a very key point, and I don't think it's clear that this refers to the Elder-Rockwell decision. By reading this, if the word was "passed down" - the voice here being CTF 124.4's - that clearly implies the decision didn't come from a subordinate (such as Rockwell), rather CTF 124.4 made the decision and passed it down, or (less likely) it came or CTF 124 and CTF 124.4 passed it along. Given the contentious nature of this issue, the fact that such an assertion was made without stating who made the decision is very curious, if not suspicious.

    And the fact that it claimed the two wayward LCTs were told to inform the rest of their formation of the decision not to launch - rather than a qualifier such as 'our' or 'O-2's' decision - seems to imply that whoever made that decision intended for it to apply to that formation as well, and not that it was being passed along on an FYI basis. All of this seems to indicate the decision was made by someone higher up than Rockwell. Nothing smells right about that assertion.

    I can't quite agree with the conclusion that Thornton had already been told of O-2's decision not to launch. McKee, in charge of the LCT Thornton was on - and one of the two wayward craft - made no reference at all to being aware of that decision or of passing such to Thornton. Nor does Rockwell's action report make any mention of passing that information along to the wayward LCTs. Again, CTF 124.4's assertion here seems entirely unsubstantiated and contrary to other reports. Unless I missed something???? Do you have Lt(jg) Scrivner's (LCT-603) report? Does it say he received a report that there was a decision in O-2 not to launch, that he was informed of that decision, and that he passed it on to Thornton? I'd be very reluctant to accuse Thornton of acting so blatantly wrongly, unless there is evidence substantiating he actually was aware of the decision in O-2. (And on a side note, it's very odd that the senior LCT commander for that group - Scrivner - sailed last in column . . . ???)

    Rockwell was a resolute officer with the courage of his convictions, and dedicated to getting his DD tanks ashore, if possible. The only thing I can criticize him for was his single-minded insistence that the Army take responsibility for what was clearly a naval matter. I don't exactly know what to think of Barry. If he had been left in charge of LCT 537 and therefore remained collocated with Thornton, that may have reduced the confusion in communications, but does not address the question of why the decision was made to launch. Neither Thornton nor Young seems to have been aware there was an option to directly land their tanks on the beach. Nowhere in the action reports for any of the LCTs in Barry group is that option mentioned even once. Even in LCTs where the craft commanders mentioned concerns about how rough the sea was, they did not mention recommending beaching. The only time it was mentioned was McKee relating a third-hand conversation in which a crew member of his original LCT (549) said that they had approval to land a damaged DD tank later that day (i.e., not at H-Hour).

    So I'm not at all convinced that Barry even made that option available to Thornton and Young. Which is not as surprising at it might seem at first. The LCTs used for the DD tanks were not up-armored variants as were the ones scheduled to land at H-Hour. Nor did they have the necessary platform to permit the front two tanks in each craft to lay down suppressive fire as they approached the beach. Barry may well not have wanted to risk taking his green crews and unarmored craft to the beach with the 'first wave', and I don't believe he even offered that option to his Army passengers. The only thing that makes sense is if Thornton and Young thought they had no other choice - either they launched or didn't land (at least not till much later). And the 741st Tank Bn's after action report indicates this. Why would they risk the loss of their companies in bad seas if they thought they had any other option? The only thing that can remotely make sense of this - to me, at least - is if they didn't think they had an option. Keep in mind Thornton himself didn't launch until about 0600 hours, by which time so many DD tanks had swamped, and yet he launched anyway. That isn't the action of a man who was aware he had a better option.

    I'm also in a bit of disbelief concerning Barry's lack of control and awareness of his own force. The Thornton/Young decision to launch must have been made about 0500 hours (Sullivan's report said his tanks received the word at 0505 hours). Most of the DD tanks would not be launched for another half hour (0535-ish). Yet Barry wanted us to believe that he was totally unaware that so many craft in his formation had received those orders, and he was caught by surprise when those craft began launching a half hour later? I don't accept that at all. To believe that, one has to believe that CPT Young notified all of his platoons to launch - except the one aboard Barry's craft (which makes no sense), and one also has to believe none of Barry's LCTs communicated to him that they had received a launch decision, either by signal flags visual or radio. No, in his report, Barry paints himself in a very bad light, which I believe you only do when the truth is even worse. The fact that he left blanks for the time at critical points in his report reinforces my belief that he wasn't completely candid about what happened that day.

    At least that's my take on it, flawed as it may be. One thing I think we can all agree on is that confusion so widespread inevitably will result in a very bad day for somebody.

    P/S: Thanks for the info on LCT-600. It's perfect. Those three DD tanks landed very close to where the LCT(A) carrying Gap Assault Team 10 beached. Two of them (plus the two standard tanks and tank dozer 10) can be seen in Capa's photos that day. The third DD tank was just out of frame to the left and not visible in his photos, but can be seen in a motion picture clip taken by CPhoM David Ruley from LCI(L)-94.
     
  13. Rob Crane

    Rob Crane Well-Known Member

    I've not had time to do anything other than a quick glance, and to be honest my head hurts with all the acronyms and abbreviations used in American orders, but:

    "If state of sea is such as to prevent DD tanks from being launched and proceeding to the beach under their own power, LCT(DD)s will land them with the first wave. This matter will be decided by the Senior Naval Officer in charge of LCT(DD)s and the Senior Army Officer in charge of DDs."

    This is from Annex F ("LCS(S) employment") in Operation Order, ComTransDiv I No. 3-44.

    I'll try to dig more later but am quite time pressed at the moment.
     
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  14. PatrickU

    PatrickU Member

    Rob - Thanks for sharing. Can you provide more info or a link to the full document or relevant section? I'd love to know more about this:

    Annex F ("LCS(S) employment") in Operation Order, ComTransDiv I No. 3-44.

    Thanks,
    Patrick
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2024
  15. PatrickU

    PatrickU Member

    Chuck -

    Thank you for the thorough reply. As always, you’ve given me a lot to think about in a helpful way.

    And thank you for clarifying some of the dates on those documents you referred to. I hope I did not come across as being picky. Just trying to keep the chronology in order on my end. I appreciate the clarifications.

    Here is the AAR for LCT 603 as you requested. Let me know what you think. I question its accuracy or veracity. It says nothing about being out of position with Thornton’s LCT 537, and claims to have launched right alongside the others and on time, although by my count three other LCTs report to the contrary.

    upload_2024-5-7_10-5-17.jpeg
     
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  16. Rob Crane

    Rob Crane Well-Known Member

    These are from ADM 199/1565. They were shared with me by another forum user and I hope he doesn't mind me uploading them. I won't "out" him but guess he might choose to "out" himself. There are some gaps (note missing annex letters) because these relate to something specific we were messaging about at the time.

    The dates on these orders are pretty close to D-Day.

    At least some of these boats were helping to guide in the LCTs. Phil Bucklew is mentioned in the O-2-related orders; he was one of the senior US Scouts & Raiders during the war. I suspect that two Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP) men may have been aboard two of these boats - trying to work out which two is a task I've not yet got around to. They'd previously done recce of Omaha Beach; now Bruce Ogden Smith was involved in Task Group 124.3 somewhere, and Logan Scott-Bowden in Task Group 124.4 - I suspect they were "along for the ride" in boats with Scouts & Raiders as an additional source of knowledge for the pilotage.

    Operational Order 3-44 (O-1)

    Task Group 124.3 Task organization
    04 ADM-199-1565 Western Task Force O-1 Op Order 3-44 Task Group 124-3 Task organisation.jpg

    Annex D: Transport and beach area diagram
    05 ADM-199-1565 Western Task Force Op Order 3-44 Annex D Transport and beach area diagram.jpg

    Annex F: LCS(S) employment

    This is the annex that includes reference to launching being a joint decision "by the Senior Naval Officer in charge of LCT(DD)s and the Senior Army Officer in charge of DDs".
    06 ADM-199-1565 Western Task Force Op Order 3-44 Annex F LCSS employment.jpg

    Annex G: Special instructions to Control Vessels
    07 ADM-199-1565 Western Task Force Op Order 3-44 Annex G Special instructions to Control Vessels.jpg
    08 ADM-199-1565 Western Task Force Op Order 3-44 Annex G continued.jpg


    Operational Order 4-44 (O-2)

    Task Group 124.4 Task organization
    09 ADM-199-1565 Western Task Force O-2 Op Order 4-44 Task Group 124-4 Task organisation.jpg

    Annex F: LCS(S) employment

    No equivalent passage relating to it being a joint decision. Impromptu thought: did the two groups have different procedures in place?
    10 ADM-199-1565 Western Task Force Op Order 4-44 Annex F LCSS employment.jpg
    11 ADM-199-1565 Western Task Force Op Order 4-44 Annex F LCSS employment continued.jpg
    12 ADM-199-1565 Western Task Force Op Order 4-44 Annex F Appendix 1.jpg

    Annex G: Special instructions to Control Vessels
    13 ADM-199-1565 Western Task Force Op Order 4-44 Annex G Special instructions to Control Vessels.jpg


    14 ADM-199-1565 Western Task Force Op Order 4-44 Annex G continued.jpg
     
  17. Bin There

    Bin There Active Member

    My sympathies for your acronym induced incapacitation. Welcome to the club.

    I too would appreciate it it you could provide a link to this document, or scans of the appropriate pages. Thanks!

    Edit to add: Whoa! Looks like you provided it as I was typing my request. Thanks so much.
     
    Rob Crane likes this.
  18. Bin There

    Bin There Active Member

    Good question. You'd expect two different orders to have different organization, etc., simply because they had different authors. But the instructions for key decision points should be uniform and in keeping with CTF 124's oporder.

    I give credit to the CTF 124.3 order for being more specific than CTF 124's order on the matter of who would make the decision . But that order only applied to the naval force under his command, and could not task an Army element to take responsibility for such a decision. So, I still wonder how it can be reconciled with Bradley's contrary position just 10 days earlier, and no Army record I can find indicates that his position had been reversed. The 741st Tank Bn's order was dated just six days before the CTF 124.3 order, but makes no mention of having a part in the decision.

    Interestingly, I've been reviewing the files I have on the 743d Tank Bn to see what they say about how the beaching decision was made. I don't have their oporder, but looked over the S-3 Unit journal, which includes the company unit journals for D-Day. The only statements bearing on the decision merely said something like 'the sea was too rough so we were landed on the beach', or words to that effect. 'Move Out Verify' and 'The View from the Turret' are similarly vague, merely noting they were landed due to bad seas, with no mention of who made the decision.

    Very curious. And confusing.

    But thanks very much once again for the scans. I really appreciate it.
     
  19. Michael Murphy

    Michael Murphy New Member

    What hilltop near Middle Wallop was the ANTRACS (AN/TRC-3,4) wideband FM VHF link set up on? . These would provide cross-Channel facilities between the US First Army on the far shore and the IX Tactical Air Command at Middle Wallop. Multichannel connections were installed to the London GHQ that would permit General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery to speak directly to Headquarters, First US Army (FUSA) , in France. Facsimile adapters were connected to each set of this circuit to permit the transmission and reception of reconnaissance photographs in support of FUSA.

    Did they drag it up to the Iron Age Fort near Middle Wallop? Is there LOS to St. Catherine's Tower on Isle of Wight which was the repeater site? Where was the far shore terminal setup on the beaches at +1? It is an 83-mile path across from St. Cath to France, and the VHF Yagis were on portable tower setups.

    I beleive one facsimile channel and an emergency circuit into Combined Headquarters at Portsmouth sufficed at first, followed by multichannel operation including telephone and telegraphy and FAX.
     
  20. EKB

    EKB Well-Known Member

    Going from a film made at Castletown in Dorset, thought I could trace crew members of half-tracks aboard LCT-153. But now I have got conflicting information. The U.S. Navy at Normandy states that the vehicles were 467th AAA Battalion assigned to Dog White beach, but Richard thinks it was the 197th AAA Battalion bound for Easy Red. Maybe the markings on half-tracks or other details in the pictures could settle it.

    At least one crew member had a crest on front of his helmet, which might be a coat of arms for battalion or brigade.

    LCT-153A.jpeg LCT-153B.jpeg

    Half-track C-003
    LCT-153C.jpeg LCT-153D.jpeg LCT-153E.jpg

    Half-track C-232
    LCT-153F.jpg LCT-153G.jpg LCT-153H.jpg LCT-153I.jpg

    Half-track C-242
    LCT-153J.jpg LCT-153K.jpg LCT-153L.jpg

    Half-track C-241
    LCT-153M.jpg LCT-153N.jpg LCT-153O.jpg LCT-153P.jpg

    Half-track C-221
    LCT-153Q.jpg LCT-153R.jpg LCT-153S.jpg LCT-153T.jpg LCT-153U.jpg LCT-153V.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2024 at 7:25 AM

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