D Day Landing Craft Markings

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Noel Burgess, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    I have been corresponding off forum with Mike [Trux] Simpson about the various markings carried by landing craft during Operation Neptune.
    Thought I would start a thread because I know there are some members who are knowledgeable about Landing Craft and quite a few more who are interested in Operation Neptune
    In addition to a number of more permanent markings, each carried a “Landing Table Serial Number” which enabled a unit or group of vehicles to find “their” craft; it also allowed craft to be changed at short notice. This Serial Number was usually displayed on a separate board fixed to the craft bridge such that it could be changed when a craft returned to the UK for a second load
    This Serial number is sometimes referred to as a “Landing Table Index Number” or LTIN (I think this is more of a US term). I shall refer to it as a Landing Serial.

    Some people speculate that a table exists somewhere which links Landing Serials to Landing Craft Number but I doubt it

    Unfortunately I have nothing to reveal about Landing Serials but do know that much work has been done on the Missing Lynx modelling forum {Allied Discussion Group) here - Allied WWII AFV Discussion Group - just put “LTIN” in the search box

  2. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    Canadian Landing Craft Infantry (Large) are quite easy to decipher - they only had 3 Flotillas each of ten craft.

    The first picture shows3 craft from 262 Flotilla and are numbered (L to R) 276, 118 & 135. Both the Flotilla & Craft numbers are repeated arround the bridge; Yhe landing Derials are displayed prominently on a arge board - 1705, 1702 & 1703.

    The second picture shows two more 262 Flotilla craft - 252 & 276 similarly marked - note that 262 also carries the same combination of numbers on the bow (instead of LCIL 262) and has the Landing Table board in a different place

    Attached Files:

  3. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Somewhere in the house I have the full pre invasion betrhs of every ship prior to piccadilly circus.
    brithm likes this.
  4. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    The picture below shows LCT(A) 2014 of the 103rd Flotilla, 2nd Support Group - hence the bridge markings (this information was posted on missing Lynx by Michel Sabarly).

    It is also interesting to note the various aeriels on the bridge [some sort of range-finding?]

    No Landing Serial board is displayed - the craft is at the far shore and the serials would only be needed when loading.

    P.S all pictures so far are from Library & Archives of Canada

    Attached Files:

  5. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Hi Noel, very interesting subject.
    I don't think I can contribute much but I will have a look through my collection of LC pictures.
    I will follow this with interest as part of my general LC research.

  6. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    - Dont know the answer to this one - on the left of the photo is a Mk3 LCT Numbered 7057 with a V (roman number 5?) above and 16 below the Landing Craft Number.[photo US Navy/National Archives]
    These could be flotila or group numbers - again no Landing Serial visible.

    As a "suplementary" question - the coloured bands round the bridges of these craft - were they to indicate which Assault Area (Beach) the craft was destined for?


    Attached Files:

  7. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Interesting subject Quick reply for now.

    I have yet to find an official list that matches the Pennant number of the LC against the LTIN number and as you say they probably do not exist. Certainly for the larger LC the captain was given a sheet with the sailing details and his LTIN number on. I imagine it was the Flotilla/Squadron that issued the orders.

    The Force J, Juno Beach, LC were supposed to have their Flotilla and Pennant numbers painted on the bow and stern but as you can see in your photos there was some variation of this.

    From memory the LTIN boards were only in use on LC for the first 24 hours.

    The bridge band colours were Green for Sword, Red for Juno and Blue for Gold.

    The Mk 3 photo at the end, the V is probably the squadron and the 16 for the flotilla. Will check this one out tomorrow.

    Not sure what markings the USN used for Omah/Utah. Have seen a blue diamond on some of the LC going to Omaha.


  8. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    From previous research I know how long-winded a process it can be to trawl through the RN Green List at TNA to follow assignment of LC to particular Squadrons, Groups and Flotillas on the run-up to D-Day and even worse on weeks following.
    As a start in trying to identify LTINs is there an 'accepted' table or schedule of LC groups identified by Group/Squadron/Flotilla for the initial landings? This would presumably be broken down by beach/zone for D-Day.
    It would therafter degererate into an awful mess in later weeks after losses, the storm, and subsequent reassignments but I think it would be outside the area of this particular enquiry.
    Also I would guess RN LC involved in eg the Omaha landings would adopt the US identification markings but have no positive info on this.
    An interesting subject indeed.
  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Noel, Clive, Danny, Mike and others.

    To begin at the beginning.

    Limiting myself to Sword for the moment. It was pointed out to me by Clive Mortimer that some US LCI(L) landed on Sword, and that there were photographs of them. It was while trying to identify these craft and their loads that I realised I had little idea what all the various markings and numerals meant.

    Two of the US LCI(L) have the numbers 413 and 424 painted on the superstructure. It was suggested that these could be Landing Table Serial numbers as they followed on the series for Sword. This attractive idea does not seem to be the case as the numbers are permanent and not on the usual board used for Landing Table Serials. What they refer to is not clear.

    A piece of intelligence was sent to me which describes how ten USN LCI(L) from 2 Flotilla, Groups 13 and 14 were assigned to Sword as early as March. These craft were US LCI(L)s 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 33, 35, 193 and 283. Some of these were very early craft and veterans of landings in the Mediterranean. The remaining 19 craft of US 2 Flotilla were at Utah. (US Flotillas were big, usually three groups of ten.)

    Other 'snippets' suggest that these craft carried Beach Group personnel and landed around H+200 minutes. This does fit with the Landing Tables.

    A further suggestion is that the numbers on the superstructure were assigned to the US craft by the RN, under whose orders they sailed, to avoid confusion. The craft have their US pennant numbers on the bows.

    Does any of this make sense? I have just returned from holiday and have not had time to digest this properly.

  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

    As a start in trying to identify LTINs is there an 'accepted' table or schedule of LC groups identified by Group/Squadron/Flotilla for the initial landings?

    At the risk of sounding like a XXXX:

    What, like the appendices in Battle Summary No.39 Operation Neptune: The Landings in Normandy, 6th June 1944 republished as part of Invasion Europe by HMSO?

    For the Eastern Task Force, as an example, LC flotillas are listed by LSI and Assault Group. LSTs are listed individually within flotillas.
  11. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Cheers Idler, will try to get hold of a copy.
    Thought it was a bit of an obvious question but as I've not seen a copy I asked it anyway!
  12. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Wait one and I'll scan a page so you can see what you get...

    Here you go:

    Attached Files:

  13. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Thanks Idler, that's great.

    A couple of questions though:
    1. How large is the whole document?

    2. Details such as:

    Assault Group S3
    ‘E’ Squadron. Landing Craft

    14th LCT(3) Flot: (9)…..

    Does the listing go further and identify which LCTs are in each flotilla?

    3. Does the listing include target beaches for Assault Groups?

    Sorry for all the questions, just like to know if it includes all I am looking for before trying to get a copy. I know from past experience the time consuming nature of searching the RN Green List for LC flotilla details at TNA - and that is when you already know a lot about the flotilla. If this doc lists it all out it is a potential goldmine! Mind you this is only the plan for Neptune - Green List is the only option for post D-Day as far as I am aware.

  14. idler

    idler GeneralList

    1. Appx A2 ETF is about 12 pages; B2 WTF 6 pages

    2. In general, nothing smaller than an LST is listed individually.

    3. Appx A4 links Assault Groups (e.g. J1) to beach sectors (e.g. Mike red & Nan Green) but only for ETF. Can't see a WTF equivalent.
  15. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    That's brilliant, thanks again Idler.
  16. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    I was not aware of the "Battle Summary" book but have now found several referances to it online, A quick google also shows several copies of "Invasion Europe" available - time to raid the piggy bank.
  17. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Glad I'm not the only one Noel!
  18. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Watch it, we're going to end up with one of those dangerous 'booklist' threads!
  19. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    The picture below shows a large number of landing craft "ready to go", Those in the foreground all seem to be Mk5 LCT mostly carrying Hobarts Funnies but with what looks like an LCT(CB) second row left. Most craft have their bridge markings obscured by the landing serial board but LCT 2441 on front row left would seem to belong to 106 Flotilla of N (?)squadron - assuming the position of the markings are consistent.
    The Concrete Breaker has the markings of 103 Flotilla, 2nd support squadron as in one of my previous posts [but I cant read the craft number]
    I think the photo is Library & Archives of Canada again - anyone got any ideas of the location?

    Attached Files:

  20. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Location of this batch of LC is Southampton. Part of Assault Group J 2.

    You can get copies of the HMSO reprint at a reduced price if you search around. Original price was £65 but I have seen it for around £20-£25. There is also an original copy at Kew.


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