LCP(L) Survey

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by Trux, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. Quite so! Great find idler, this looks like a discussion between Arty and myself :wink: It will be interesting to read the rest of the story.

    For the "Hydrographic LCP(L)", obviously the LCP(Sy) motion prevailed in the end, but it was apparently felt necessary at times to remind readers of the meaning of the name:

    However, no final decision on the "Navigational LCP(L)" is apparent, and the use of the term "LCP(L) (Navigation)" in Force S orders and "LCN" elsewhere seems to indicate it was not quite solved by D Day.

    One more point puzzles me: Hydrographic LCP(L) 154 & 201 are mentioned as being referred to as and actually having been marked "LCN" by Force S (dated 4/2 - 1944?), and these are precisely the two LCP(L) in 712 Flotilla not allocated to either GOLD or JUNO. If I didn't know better I would suspect them of being the two Navigational LCP(L) leading the DD tanks in SWORD area...

  2. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Michel and Arty,
    I have just had a look at something I put together some time ago and have the following information from a report by Lt. P.G. Wild.

    More questions than answers still. At some stage I will try and visit the IWM to look at the photos Michel mentions.

    Lt P.G. Wild DSC, RNVR was on board ML 294 for most of the route to Sword Beach.

    On the 5th June. LCP(L) 197 was secured to ML 294 by 13.00hrs at Spithead Anchorage. LCP(L) was towed part of the way by ML 294. The tow broke for the second time at 01.30 and LCP(L) 197 continued under its own steam.

    Lt Wild was on ML 294 until 06.20 when he boarded LCP(L) 197. Then 197 took up station about 200 ahead of the port column of LCT carrying the DD tanks.

    LCP(L) 197 - 707 Assault Flotilla, Force S, Assault Group S 3, Support Squadron, Portsmouth Area

    Fitted with Q P hsi

    Q = QH
    SP = Special Protection
    hsi = Hall Scott Invader


  3. Arty

    Arty Member

    Great work Chaps

    In conclusion the leading craft in the Sword area were probably two LCP(L)'s, neither of which were actually LCN’s or LCP(Sy)’s, at least one of which was armoured, being LCP(L)189 - LTIN 509 commanded by Lt Amer (of COPP team 6) and LCP(L)197 - LTIN 511 commanded by Lt Wild (also of COPP 6, who apparently transferred to LCP(L) 286 later). These two aforementioned LCP(L)'s leading in A & B Squadrons 13/18th Hussars, into Queen White and Queen Red beaches respectively, each Squadron deploying either 19 or 20 Sherman V DDs.

    A piece of cake! And it’s only taken 69 years to nut that out.

    I still want to know what LCP(Sy) 139 & 289 were up to however…Not to mention the FOOs craft.
  4. idler

    idler GeneralList

    I think it's the other way round. There were clearly two different roles, maybe even three: the 'Navigation Leader' for assault forces and hydrographic survey (post- and, in the guise of beach reconnaissance, pre-assault). There was clearly a sizeable overlap in the roles and equipment but there was certainly a desire for the Navigation Leader to be armoured if possible. As the proper LCN was still at prototype stage at the time of NEPTUNE, it's inevitable that the LCP(Sy) had to be [mis-]used in the LCN role given the significantly increased scale of NEPTUNE over the original COSSAC three division plan.

    A couple of the documents refer to MLs in the Navigation role - were any used on D-Day and could they be clouding the issue?
  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Having struggled to decide whether the memo was 1943 or 1944, I can now confirm it was 1943 as there was a date on the back! There is a little bit to add:

    LCH v LCN pt2 170243.jpg

    Are you sure it's not a reference to Force J? That squiggle doesn't look much like his S in SO so I read it as a J.
  6. I agree that since LCP(L) 197 was the craft leading the port column of LCT(DD), it must have been LTIN 511, and that Lt Wild must have changed to LCP(L) 286 sometime later on D Day and taken his photos from there.

    I also agree that LTIN 509 was LCP(L) 189 :). I suppose it was fitted with Q SP hsi as a minimum too?
    This would match the denomination LCN(A).

    As for the Navigational role, we must distinguish between the cross-channel navigation where Navigation Leaders for the first Convoys were M.L.s (e.g. Convoys J.1 to J.6, and for some Groups too such as SWORD Group 1) on the one hand, and leading the LCT(DD) and then the DD tanks themselves on the other hand, a task which was distinctly allocated to LCP(L) fitted with armour and navigation equipment.

    LCP(Sy) were there as back-up or "supervisor" craft only as far as DD Navigation was concerned. Instructions for GOLD LCP(Sy) are clearly to intervene in the Navigation of DDs only in case course as set by the LCP(A), i.e. the Navigation LCP(L), is faulty (see the 3rd doc in Arty's post #7 in this thread).

    ML 294 commanded by Temp. Lieutenant Thomas Hubert MARTIN, RNVR, was Navigational Leader in Group 1, therefore LTIN 510.

    idler, I think you're right: it must be a "J", not an "S". I really sympathise with the writer of the note, all the more so as he did not have ww2talk to enlighten him!

  7. Arty

    Arty Member


    Some more debate coming up…

    Regards the Naval Orders showing a total of 20 LCP(L) (including all variations!) we can attribute a specific LTIN to all 20 of them. However on ONEAST S/7B (which I’m sure you have, but I‘ve attached a chunk of anyway) there’s an anomaly. There are a total of 18 LCP(L)s shown on the diagram and listed in the column “Composition of Groups”.

    However if you look closely at Group 1 it has: “10 LCP(L) (Despatch Boats & Smoke For Largs, Dacres & LCH (502, 519-521, 551-554)”. That is, it states 10 LCP(L) but then only lists 8. The craft missing from the diagram & the list are LTIN 513 & LTIN 518, which were originally going to be despatch/smoke boats.

    If LTINs 513 & 518 were cancelled then there were indeed 18 LCP(L)s in the Sword area - which fits in nicely with the total number of craft in 704 & 707 Flotillas, and, with Force S Commander’s report (including LCP(Sy) 139 & 289 in whatever role they were performing that is...)


    Attached Files:

  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    I do not work at the same speed as other contributors and I have had a busy weekend. However I have found time to look at a few sources and during a three hour performance of ‘Messiah’ (in aid of Help for Heroes) at a local church I had time to muse. As a start I offer the following:

    Naval Staff History.
    Battle Summary No39.
    Operation Neptune.

    Naval forces assigned to the operation and their allocation for the initial assault.

    LCP (Survey).
    Total 10.
    Force ‘S’. 2.
    Force ‘G’. 2.
    Force ‘J’. 6.

    Clearly the fact that they were allocated to a particular Force does not imply that they were employed on the corresponding beach. Force ‘J’ does seem to have had six LCP(Sy) assigned to it but on Danny’s list three were actually deployed on Gold.

    The balance of probability is that the two LCP(Sy) allocated to Force ‘S’ were in fact referred to as LCP(Navigation in Force ‘S’ documents.

    I have very little information about Force ‘G’. Did it really have two LCP(Sy) allocated to it in addition to the three from Force ‘J’? If so what was their role?

  9. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The significant survey workload was, I imagine, setting out the Mulberry at Gold and opening up Courseulles at Juno. Things would have had to have gone very well to consider opening up the Caen Canal in the early stages. That's assuming they were wanted in their primary role, and not drafted in as extra or replacement navigation leaders.
  10. Arty

    Arty Member


    Yes indeed these waters are becoming very murky, the official discussion that Idler dug up proving that the hierarchy were confused back then - so what chance do we have now!

    Of note, it’s apparent that a number of craft were “administered” by a particular Force (eg. Force J) prior to D-Day, but then allocated to a different force for the operation (eg. Force G). An example being a quote from the Report of Commander Force G: “It was unfortunate that LCS(L)252 which was administered by force J was not ready in time to take part.”

    With specific regard to LCP(Sy)s the info from Danny, Michel & myself on Page 1 of this thread has all the guff on the three LCP(Sy)s being 177, 281 & 291, which initially operated in the Gold area. As far as I’ve ascertained thus far (thanks largely to info from other chaps on the forum) Juno initially had five LCP(Sy)s.

    Total of 10 LCP(Sy) in service 06Jun44 - probable initial deployment…

    Pennant Flotilla Assault Area/Group/Notes

    139 704 Sword - reported lost in Operation Neptune Jun-Jul44 (although not reported as Sy)
    154 712 Juno - reported lost, cause and place unknown Jul44
    177 712 Gold G1 Jig sector
    190 712 Juno J 311 Mike/Nan sector
    201 712 Juno
    281 712 Gold G2 King sector
    289 704 Sword - reported lost in Operation Neptune Jun-Jul44 (although not reported as Sy)
    290 712 Juno J 321 Nan White/Red sector
    291 712 Gold G1 Jig sector
    292 712 Juno J 311 Mike/Nan sector

    With a disclaimer… we still haven’t established what task LCP(Sy) 139 & 289 were performing in the Sword area.

  11. Quite a puzzle indeed, but some firm points do emerge.

    Good point Arty! The total of 18 craft matches other documents (sometimes with lots of convoluted assumptions...), whereas 20 would not.

    I have only 18 LTIN for LCP(L) on SWORD.

    I agree with that statement, but only through deduction, as I don't have any document that shows LTIN 513 & 518 were allocated to LCP(L). Do you?

    Yes, that seems appealing, but there's no evidence for it, quite to the contrary, as LCP(Sy) were specifically mentioned as NOT used in the initial landings on SWORD. LCP(Sy) 139 & 289 being used as "standard" Smoke LCP(L) seems both unreasonable and unlikely to me.

    The Green List is a good indication of craft allocation, but not an absolute guide. It shows which Force a flotilla belonged to, but it did happen that individual craft within those flotillas have remained out of battle or been transferred to another flotilla or Force to make up numbers.

    However, I can't offer a precise alternative to your proposal, other than supposing that 2 LCP(L) from "another" flotilla were detailed to make up numbers :(


    I don't have the complete BS No.39, and the part I do have simply re-states that LCP(Sy) of 712 Assault Flotilla were allocated as follows (page 53):
    "3 attached to Force G, 3 to Force J for duty with DD tanks diuring the assault. After the assault, 2 each to Areas Sword, Juno, Gold."
    This seems to contradict your quote above, unless "initial assault" means "up to sometimes after the first waves"?

    How so? I still can see only 3 LCP(Sy) listed for JUNO for the very first phase of the landings (190, 290 & 292). I've also just realised that the remaining 2 LCP(Sy) in 712 Flotilla (154 & 201) are marked in the Green List of 5.6.44 as "Craft awaiting or undergoing repairs which will require more than 72 hours to complete.", so as such probably joined the fray only later, as did (in my opinion) LCP(Sy) 139 & 289.

  12. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    I have now had time to look through the voluminous documents and, together with the posts on this thread, put together what seems to be the plan for Navigation/Survey on Sword at least.

    Force ‘S’ had two LCP(L) Navigation assigned for the assault. Each was commanded by an RN officer from Combined Operations Pilotage Party 6.

    There were concerns about the navigation of Group 1. The coastline was low and without obvious features, the coast would be invisible from the Lowering Position and possibly from the DD Launching Position and could be obscured by smoke. Some accuracy was required since to the west were rocks and to the east the seabed was unsuitable for the landing craft which would follow the initial waves.

    Two LCP(L) Navigation and one Motor Launch equipped as Navigation Leader were assigned to the DD operation. The ML as Navigation Leader is shown as having communications on the following nets: Force S Command Wave, Naval DD net and Army DD net (naval set with army operators). LCH Serial 185 was a LCI(L) converted as a headquarters craft. It carried the Support Group Commander who commanded Group 1 and the Commander 27 Armoured Brigade was on board.

    The plan titled ‘Planned Situation at H-20 minutes (Force ‘S’)’ shows the two LCP(L) Navigation ahead of the DD tanks but turning to either flank and withdrawing. Four LCP(L) Smoke are shown following the DD tanks, although on the day one failed to arrive. At this point the ML Navigation Leader was some 1000 yards behind the DD tanks.

    It was reported that ‘Some of the LCP(L)s equipment had suffered in the crossing but they nevertheless succeeded’. It is not clear what equipment they carried but it was probably echo sounding, QH2 and 9 mile taut wire. They carried wireless sets tuned to the Naval DD net and so could communicate with the ML Navigation Leader. Presumably the ML could detect any deviation from the correct course and contact the LCP(L)s Navigation.

    After leading DD tanks one LCP(L) Navigation was to proceed to the mark dinghy and transfer the Combined Operations Pilotage Party to X23, escort X23 to the Lowering Position and then report to DSOAG One. The second LCP(L) Navigation remained with DSOAG One. Both LCP(L) Navigation were to be ready to carry out inshore survey and were not be used for despatch boat duties.

    One LCP(L) Survey from each of Force ‘J’ and Force ‘G’ were to be sent to Sword area as soon as practicable after the initial landings. These craft were to be used for surveying the site of Gooseberry 5 and the coaster hauling off slot.


    and the only information on LCP(L) 'A'/'SP'. Shaded areas are 10lb armour plate.


    Amended to remove misleading information. See below.
  13. Trux

    Trux 21 AG


    We must have different editions of Battle Summary No39. I cannot find your quote on Page 53 or section 53.

  14. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Hi Mike,
    Just a quick line.

    It was ML 294 and LCP(L) 197 that were involved in picking up X 23 and escorting her to the Lowering Position.

    In the end ML 294 escorted X 23 to the Lowering Position. LCP(L) 197 spent some time looking for X 23 after completing their task with the DD tanks, realised that she had already left and went to the Lowering Position.

    Just had a look at a book about HMS Tormentor and it has the following information in it.

    Only eight LCP(SY) from 712 Assault Flotilla took part in the invasion.
    LCP(SY) 154 sank early on the 6th of June by the sound of. She ended up with the tow rope around the prop and then was damaged by an LC. Started taking on water and sank.

    I will have a another look at it later and see if there is anything else about 712 Flotilla in it.


  15. Mike,

    Splendid summary, with which I totally agree with the notable exception of the first paragraph identifying the two LCP(L)(Navigation) as LCP(Sy) 139 & 289. Now I'm confused again! For me it now seemed established that these two were LCP(L) 189 (probably) & 197 (certainly).

    Let's sum up what we have regarding the two LCP(L)(Navigation) for SWORD:

    1. Report by Naval Commander Force "S" + identity of Lt-Cmdr AMER's craft:
    2. ONEAST-S7A - THE PASSAGE - TOWS (page 969) (attached):

    L.C.P.(L) (Navigation) 509 and 511 L.C.H. and M.L. 501 and 510 1


    3. Report by Lt. P.G. Wild:
    If all of the above is correct, this means that LCP(L) 197 at the minimum took up the part devolved to LCP(L) (Navigation) LTIN 511 from the very start, i.e. being towed by ML 294 LTIN 510, till the end of the assault phase, i.e. looking for X23 to escort her back to the LP.
    Moreover, if Lt AMER's craft was indeed LCP(L) 189 aka LCN(A) 189, she also took the role of LCP(L) (Navigaton) LTIN 509.

    Now your post says that:
    There's an obvious contradiction here, which warrants some explaining. What makes you assert that "Force ‘S’ had two LCP(Sy) assigned for the initial assault."? Is there a document showing this?

    Moving now to the subject of the total number of LCP(Sy) allocated to the assault, the page number in BS 39 is 52, not 53 as I mistakenly wrote. Sorry about that! The matter is already complex enough without my adding to the confusion with typos! The statement about numbers of LCP(Sy) is in a note at the bottom of the page. See here:

    As for the total number of LCP(Sy) taking part in the invasion:
    This is not necessarily in contradiction with the stated total number of six LCP(Sy) (177, 190, 281, 290, 291, 292) allocated to the assault phase, since the remaining two LCP(Sy) (154 & 201) from 712 Flotilla could have participated in the post-assault phases.
    It however means that both 154 & 201 were not "awaiting or undergoing repairs" as stated in the Green List as of 5 Jun 44.

    Since there were only eight LCP(Sy) in 712 Flotilla, the sentence may mean that none of the two LCP(Sy) (139 & 289) in 704 Flotilla participated at all? Meaning "Only eight LCP(SY)[, all of them] from712 Assault Flotilla[,] took part in the invasion."?

    Perhaps the "Report of Proceedings, Force S (Enclosure C) with enclosures" contains a report by 704 & 712 Flotilla Commanders which might shed a light on all this? Unfortunately this Enclosure is not attached to my copy of the Report by Naval Commander Force S :(

  16. Arty

    Arty Member


    Regards my conclusion on LCP(L)s LTIN 513 & 518 I can’t quote the source on this because it’s lost in the ether. I’ve been slowly but unsurely compiling info on LTINs for ten years or more. Nevertheless I haven’t seen evidence of more than 18 LCP(L)s in action in the Sword area - indeed Mike’s huge effort on Sword has established info on just 18 LCPL(L)s.

    I agree with you on LCP(Sy) 139 & 289 - I seriously doubt that they would be under employed for smoke/despatch duties. Which brings us right back to back to LCP(L)189 & LCP(L)197 - aka LCP(L) (Navigation), at least as far as Force S was concerned that is. We seem to agree that it was 189 & 197 and NOT 139 & 289 that led in the DDs that day. However from the info you’ve dug up, after their first task of leading in the DD’s was completed “Both LCP(L)(Navigation) are to be ready to carry out inshore survey.” And yet it apparently was/is verboten to refer to them as LCP(Sy). ;)

    And now Mike’s apparently found additional info stating that LCP(Sy) 139 & 289 were the LCP(L) (Navigation) that were part of Group 1. Is this what is known as a circular argument?

    Personally, I’m just happy to have established that the type of LCN, pictured back on post #2 on page 1, was not, as I suspected, involved in the Sword area.

    As for the probable initial deployment of LCP(Sy) 154 & 201- aka LCN as far as Force J was concerned - it’s my deductive reasoning. These craft were specifically mentioned in the info that Idler unearthed. Plus Force J had the biggest issue with shoals - ala Roches de Ver & Les Iles de Bernieres. Plus, info via Mike, and now some further info via Danny.

    On the subject of LCP(Sy)154 in particular, this is getting like pulling teeth. We’ve got so much conflicting information from historic docs….I believe LCP(Sy)154 was probably employed by Force J. However info you’ve come up which suggests it was likely still in England on the morning of 06June. It is listed in RN records as being lost in July44 & yet Danny has discovered that it met it’s demise on 06June.
    I’m getting that sinking feeling!

  17. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    I must apologise for causing excitement, consternation etc.

    My opening lines concerning the identity of LCP(L) Navigation are at best misleading. Their identity certainly remains shrouded in uncertainty. I had collected all snippets including those from this thread onto a single Word page. My only excuse is that I was rushing to post before Poirot started. The only thing worth watching apart from Montalbano.

  18. Mike,

    If it was because of Poirot you're forgiven ^_^ . I love that series too, only it's a pity we can't see it in the original English language (with Belgian accent?) version here on French TV :mad: .
    I was fearing that we were turning in circles :Hydrogen: , much like the Bismark moments before it was sunk, hence the same 'sinking feeling" :wacko: as aptly described by Arty above.

    P.S. Sorry for the many smileys in this post, I just wanted to see how they would look...
  19. Trux

    Trux 21 AG


    I occurs to me that you may be referring to Volume 2 of Battle Summary No39. This has the appendices. I have only part of this. I have a printed copy of Volume 1 which is the narrative, plus a volume of the accompanying maps and plans.

    Volume 1 lists 144 LCP(L) Smoke.
    Force O. 36.
    Force U. 18.
    Force S. 18.
    Force G. 32.
    Force J. 32.

    For Force S it also lists 2 LCP(Survey). Plus
    Force G. 2.
    Force J. 6.

    The table is prefaced .....'naval forces assigned to the operation and their allocation for the assault phase.'

  20. Mike,

    It may be that my reference comes from Volume 2. I only have photocopied pages with a page number sometimes visibles at bottom.

    The census of LCP(L) Smoke in Volume 1 you mention fits that in ON 1 (attached), which itself matches the number of LCP(L) listed in the various other orders (at least in their latest revision), including those for Forces O & U.
    Note (xiii) on page 2254 attached shows that "L.C.P. (Smoke) equipped as D.D. leaders" were alloted in numbers corresponding to one for each squadron of DD tanks.

    p2253_ON1App VISecA_LCP(L).jpg p2254_ON1App VISecA(xiii)_LCP(L)DDldrs.jpg

    This doc does not mention LCP(Sy) at all, and in the whole of ONEAST I could find only references to 6 LCP(Sy), allocated 3 each to Force G & J for the initial assault, then 2 each to Forces G, J & S.

    As for the other list of 2 LCP(Survey) for Force S, 2 for Force G and 6 for Force J "assigned to the operation (...) for the assault phase", I think there is an important difference between the term "assault phase" as employed here, probably meaning "before the follow-up and build-up phases", and the term "initial assault" as used when describing the role of LCP(Sy), LCP(Nav) etc. in the various docs, meaning only the assault by DD tanks, or the very first wave.

    This second list therefore does not necessarily contradict the first. I believe that there was a total of 6 LCP(Sy) with the DD wave with Force G & J, 2 of which were then transferred to Force S, and that they were probably joined by the remaining 4 LCP(Sy) for hydrographic work later on.


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