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

  1. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    H+ 6 HOURS.

    Ferry Control should now assume responsibility for unloading shipping. The times are those at which troops and craft should be prepared to land. Craft will be assigned as available and ordered in to land when beachmasters and Ferry Control are ready to receive/despatch them. A priority is to get the large transports unloaded and ready to sail. This in turn requires that the LCVP should be hoisted back on board as soon as possible. The transports of Force ‘B’ have anchored nearer to the shore than those of Force ‘O’. The following shows the LCVP that are assigned but if possible LCTs and LCI(L)s of the Ferry Service will be used instead. These LCTs are those assigned to remain off the far shore.

    H+365 minutes.
    A wave of craft which have landed one load of troops and returned to the Transport Area are now available to collect remaining troops from AP 67 Dorothea L Dix.

    Three groups of craft standby:
    Group C.
    10 LCVP and 2 LCM
    Serial 3077 is an LCVP
    Serial 3078 is an LCVP
    Serial 3079 is an LCVP
    Serial 3080 is an LCVP
    Serial 3081 is an LCM
    Serial 3082 is an LCVP. Command
    Serial 3083 is an LCM
    Serial 3084 is an LCV
    Serial 3085 is an LCVP
    Serial 3086 is an LCVP
    Serial 3087 is an LCVP
    Serial 3088 is an LCVP

    Group B.
    10 LCVP.
    Serial 3089 is an LCVP
    Serial 3090 is an LCVP
    Serial 3091 is an LCVP
    Serial 3092 is an LCVP
    Serial 3093 is an LCVP
    Serial 3094 is an LCVP
    Serial 3095 is an LCVP
    Serial 3096 is an LCVP
    Serial 3097 is an LCVP
    Serial 3098 is an LCVP

    Group A.
    10 LCVP.
    Serial 3099 is an LCVP
    Serial 3100 is an LCVP
    Serial 3101 is an LCVP
    Serial 3102 is an LCVP
    Serial 3103 is an LCVP
    Serial 3104 is an LCVP
    Serial 3105 is an LCVP
    Serial 3106 is an LCVP
    Serial 3107 is an LCVP
    Serial 3108 is an LCVP

    However if available three LCT which have returned to the Transport Area after landing vehicles will now load the troops from AP 67 Dorothea L Dix.

    H+370 minutes.
    A wave of craft which have landed one load of troops and returned to the Transport Area collect remaining troops from AP 77 Thurston.

    Two groups of craft standby:
    Group B.
    16 LCVP and 2 LCM
    Serials 3109 to 3126.
    Serial 3109 is an LCVP
    Serial 3110 is an LCVP
    Serial 3111 is an LCVP
    Serial 3112 is an LCVP
    Serial 3113 is an LCM
    Serial 3114 is an LCM
    Serial 3115 is an LCVP
    Serial 3116 is an LCVP
    Serial 3117 is an LCVP. Command
    Serial 3118 is an LCVP
    Serial 3119 is an LCVP
    Serial 3120 is an LCVP
    Serial 3121 is an LCVP
    Serial 3122 is an LCVP
    Serial 3123 is an LCVP
    Serial 3124 is an LCVP
    Serial 3125 is an LCVP
    Serial 3126 is an LCVP

    Group A.
    14 LCVP.
    Serial 3127 is an LCVP
    Serial 3128 is an LCVP
    Serial 3129 is an LCVP
    Serial 3130 is an LCVP
    Serial 3131 is an LCVP
    Serial 3132 is an LCVP
    Serial 3133 is an LCVP. Command.
    Serial 3134 is an LCVP
    Serial 3135 is an LCVP
    Serial 3136 is an LCVP
    Serial 3137 is an LCVP
    Serial 3138 is an LCVP
    Serial 3139 is an LCVP
    Serial 3140 is an LCVP

    However if available three LCT which have returned to the Transport Area after landing vehicles will now load the troops from AP 77 Thurston.

    H+380 minutes
    Serial 4019 is a Rhino Ferry carrying vehicles from LST 375.
    3 Armoured Group and 16 AAA Group.

    If available four LCT which have landed their initial load will replace the Rhino Ferry.

    Serial 4020 is an LCT carrying
    V Corp Headquarters and Headquarters Company.

    Thirteen LCVP land 376 troops from AP 76 Anne Arundel.
    Serial 3141 is an LCVP
    Serial 3142 is an LCVP
    Serial 3143 is an LCVP
    Serial 3144 is an LCVP
    Serial 3145 is an LCVP
    Serial 3146 is an LCVP
    Serial 3147 is an LCVP
    Serial 3148 is an LCVP
    Serial 3149 is an LCVP
    Serial 3150 is an LCVP
    Serial 3151 is an LCVP
    Serial 3152 is an LCVP
    Serial 3153 is an LCVP

    Eight LCVP and two LCM land 362 troops from AP 77 Thurston.
    Serial 3154 is an LCVP
    Serial 3155 is an LCVP
    Serial 3156 is an LCVP
    Serial 3157 is an LCVP
    Serial 3158 is an LCVP
    Serial 3159 is an LCVP
    Serial 3160 is an LCVP
    Serial 3161 is an LCVP
    Serial 3162 is an LCM
    Serial 3163 is an LCM

    If available LCI(L)’s which have landed their initial load of troops and returned to the Transport Area will be used instead of LCVP and LCM.

    H+400 minutes.
    Twenty LCVP and one LCM will land troops from AP 77 Thurston.
    Group B.
    Serial 3164 is an LCVP
    Serial 3165 is an LCVP
    Serial 3166 is an LCVP
    Serial 3167 is an LCVP
    Serial 3168 is an LCVP
    Serial 3169 is an LCVP
    Serial 3170 is an LCVP
    Serial 3171 is an LCVP
    Serial 3172 is an LCVP
    Serial 3173 is an LCVP

    Group A.
    Serial 3174 is an LCVP
    Serial 3175 is an LCVP
    Serial 3176 is an LCVP
    Serial 3177 is an LCVP
    Serial 3178 is an LCVP
    Serial 3179 is an LCVP
    Serial 3180 is an LCVP
    Serial 3181 is an LCVP
    Serial 3182 is an LCVP
    Serial 3183 is an LCVP
    Serial 3184 is an LCVP

    Five LCT(6) land 206 men and 36 vehicles.
    Serial 4021 is an LCT(6) carrying
    5 Engineer Special Brigade.

    Serial 4022 is an LCT(6) carrying
    6 Engineer Special Brigade.

    Serial 4023 is an LCT(6) carrying
    6 Engineer Special Brigade.

    Serial 4024 is an LCT(6) carrying
    3275 Quartermaster Company.

    Serial 4025 is an LCT(6) carrying
    3275 Quartermaster Company.

    Five LCT(6) land 274 men and 55 vehicles for 5 Engineer Special Brigade.
    Serial 4026 is an LCT(6)
    Serial 4027 is an LCT(6)
    Serial 4028 is an LCT(6)
    Serial 4029 is an LCT(6)
    Serial 4030 is an LCT(6)

  2. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    OMAHA BEACH DEFENCES (and how they were taken).

    The actual structures and weapons were much as for the other beaches but there were more of them on Omaha. The defences were concentrated round the five beach exits, which were as obvious to the defenders as they were to the Allied planners.

    Beach defences consisted of individual Widerstandsnest (WN) (Resistance nests). These varied widely in the weapons and positions that they contained but generally they had a number of artillery weapons including anti tank guns and field guns. Some guns were in reinforced concrete casemates which were virtually immune to the effects of naval and air bombardment. Some were in open gun pits which gave protection from direct fire and shrapnel but had no overhead protection. Some were in open field positions which might have earth and timber protection. Many of the artillery pieces were either old or captured, or in some cases both.

    Verstarkfeldmassig (Vf) (reinforced field positions) (Don’t you just love those German compound nouns). A Resistance Nest also contained a number of Ringstanden, commonly called Tobruks by the British since similar defences had been found at Tobruk. These were classed as small Verstarkfeld and came in several forms. Vf58 mounted a variety of machine guns. Vf61 housed a 50mm mortar and had a central platform for the weapon. Vf67 mounted a small tank turret. All had the same basic design with a concrete bunker for the weapon. This bunker had a circular opening in the roof and there was usually a crew bunker to the rear. Where possible the bunker was dug into the ground for added protection and reduced visibility. Access was through a steel door at the rear.

    Considerable use was made of captured, obsolete or redundant tank turrets. These were fitted onto concrete bunkers with a ring mount so that they could be rotated. The bunker usually had a section for the crew to operate the weapon and a section for ammunition. The turrets for these commonly came from captured French Renault FT17 or Renault R35 tanks. Some bunkers mounted larger turrets from captured French heavy tanks, mounting a 37mm gun and co axial machine gun. More unusual were turrets from prototype German VK 3001 tanks mounting a 75mm KwK L24 gun.

    The most effective anti tank guns were the 88mm PaK 43/41 anti tank guns mounted on a field carriage. There were only two of these on Omaha, one positioned at each end of the beach so as to be able to engage targets anywhere along the frontage. These guns were housed in massive H677 bunkers with two foot thick reinforced concrete walls.

    50 mm guns were commonly those mounted in earlier panzer tanks but now given a shield and mounted on a pedestal. They were less effective than 88mm, 75mm and 50mm PaK anti tank guns but were still quite capable of knocking out Sherman tanks, especially if used against the side armour.

    Some confusion exists in various accounts as to which type of 75mm gun was emplaced. They could be French field guns of WW1 vintage, or Belgium or Czech field guns. Some were originally Russian 76mm field guns rebored to accept 75mm ammunition.

    Common abbreviations.
    FK. Field gun.
    FH. Field howitzer.
    PaK. Anti tank gun.
    KwK. Tank gun.

    In addition to the bunkers which accommodated weapons there were often personnel bunkers to provide shelter from bombardment. Sometimes there were also command bunkers and observation bunkers. Observation bunkers played an important role in calling for and observing artillery fire from batteries inland. Usually the entire Resistance Nest was surrounded by barbed wire entanglements and often there were anti tank and anti personnel mines.

    There were generally trenches inside the Resistance Nest. Some were fire trenches from which rifle and machine gun fire could be used to defend the area. Some were communication trenches to allow movement within the nest without exposing troops to enemy fire.

    As with much concerning the landings on Omaha there are conflicts in the various accounts and listings of weapons and fortifications. Some writers have used pre D Day intelligence maps and listings which understandably contained inaccuracies. Others have used German records which may not be accurate for D Day as work was continuing and weapons being installed or removed.

    WN 60.
    WN 60 was positioned to cover the F1 Exit at the far east of the landing beach. This exit was little more than a footpath but offered a route for troops from the beach to the top of the bluffs. The positions were some 60 metres above the beach and had a good view to the west. It was defended by:
    A 75mm FK 231(f) in a reinforced concrete casemate. This was a captured French field gun.
    A 75mm FK 231(f) in an open field emplacement.
    A French tank turret with a 37mm gun and a machine gun, mounted on a casemate and positioned to face inland.
    Three mortars.
    A mortar in a Tobruk.
    Two 20mm AA guns.
    A Fire Control Post/Observation Post with an excellent view along the beach to the west.
    Three concrete shelters.

    The whole strongpoint was surrounded by a barbed wire entanglement and the F1 Exit was blocked by three ruined seaside villas and minefields with anti tank and anti personnel mines.

    WN 61.
    WN 61 was situated at beach level to and positioned to cover the approach to WN 60. It contained:
    A 88mm PaK 43/41 anti tank gun in a casemate. This was a powerful weapon and positioned to give enfilade fire along the beach to the west.
    Two 50mm anti tank guns in open gun pits.
    A French tank turret with a 37mm gun and a machine gun, mounted on a casemate.
    Three machine gun positions.

    WN 62.
    WN 62 was positioned to the west of the E3 Exit. It contained:
    Two 75mm FK 235(b) in casemates facing west. These were captured Belgian field guns. One seems to have been removed by D Day.
    Two pedestal mounted 50mm KwK L60 long barrelled tank guns facing east.
    Two mortars.
    Five machine guns.

    The E3 Exit was blocked by an anti tank ditch and anti tank mines.

    WN 60, WN 61 and WN 62 were manned by troops from a single company with a command post at WN 63 at Colleville sur Mer. WN 63 was just a concrete bunker surrounded by wire. It was equipped with line of sight wireless which was difficult to intercept or jam.

    WN 64.
    WN 64 was positioned to the east of the E1 Exit. It contained.
    A 76mm le KH 290(r). This was a captured Russian light field howitzer.
    A 20mm AA gun.

    WN 65.
    WN 65 was positioned to the west of the E1 Exit. It contained:
    A 37mm anti tank gun in an open gun pit on top of the bluff.
    A 50mm gun in a casemate.
    A 50mm gun in an open gun pit.
    Two mortars.
    A 75mm PaK 40 anti tank gun positioned inland to cover the exit from the draw.

    WN 66.
    WN 66 was positioned to the east of the D3 Exit. It contained:
    A French tank turret with 37mm gun and a machine gun. Faced inland on top of the bluff.
    A machine gun casemate covering the draw. Still under construction.
    A 50mm gun in an open pit lower down the bluff.
    Two mortar pits.

    WN 67.
    WN 67 was at the head of the Moulins draw and contained only:
    A multiple rocket launcher with 38 X 320mm Wurfgerat.

    WN 68.
    WN 68 was positioned to the west of the D3 exit. It contained:
    A 47mm PaK 181(f) in an open gun pit on top of the bluff. A Captured French anti tank gun.
    A machine gun casemate on top of the bluff.
    A 50mm gun in an open gun pit.
    Two 75mm guns in turrets taken from prototype VK3001 tanks.

    WN 69.
    WN 69 was inland near St Laurent sur Mer.
    A 20mm AA gun in a field fortification.

    The St Laurent draw was blocked by an anti tank ditch and a wall, with anti tank mines and anti personnel mines.

    WN 70.
    WN 70 was situated on the bluffs between the DI and D3 exits. It contained:
    A 75mm FK 17(t), a Czech field gun in a casemate positioned to fire east.
    A 75mm in an open gun pit facing west.
    Two mortars.
    Five casemated machine guns.
    20mm AA.

    WN 71.
    WN 71 was situated on the bluffs overlooking Exit D1. It contained:
    Nine machine guns in casemates.
    Two mortars in Tobruk mounts. The mortars are thought to be ex French 60mm mounted on a pedestal. Probably originally installed on the Maginot Line.

    WN 72.
    A 88mm PaK 43/41 anti tank gun in a casemate. This was a powerful weapon and positioned to give enfilade fire along the beach to the east.
    A 75mm PaK 97/38 in an open gun pit. This was a French 75mm field gun on the carriage of a PaK 38 50mm anti tank gun.
    A 50mm KwK in a double casemate which allowed it to be fired to the east or the west. This was an ex tank gun mounted on a prestal so that it could be rotated 360 degrees.
    Five machine guns.

    There was also a concrete anti tank wall blocking access to the road up the draw.

    WN 72 was a powerful and sophisticated defence work. The 88mm PaK 43/41 gun was in a casemate with sufficiently thick reinforced concrete to resist heavy aerial and naval bombardment. It was further protected from naval bombardment by a thick concrete wall which allowed the gun to fire along the beach without being exposed to seaward. There were further blast walls to prevent shrapnel and blast entering the embrasure. Only a heavy round entering the embrasure had any chance of doing serious damage. The gun itself was the most effective anti tank gun in the German armoury. It had a long range, low trajectory and a heavy shell which in its armoured piercing form could knock out any Allied tank. It also had a gun shield which was effective against small arms and shrapnel.

    The 88mm casemate was also camouflaged and disguised. The seaward face was made to look like a holiday villa complete with stonework, woodwork and a veranda. The roof was covered in grass. Since all the other buildings along the shore had been demolished or fortified this cunning disguise may have merely made the site stand out.

    The double casemate housing a 50mm KwK gun was also unusual in that it had embrasures on both sides, one facing along the shore to the east and the other to the west. The gun was pedestal mounted and could be turned to fire through either embrasure. It was also unusual in having a tank turret mounted on the roof for defence.

    Finally there was the anti tank wall which stretched from the 88mm casemate to the far side of the draw and effectively blocked the road from the beach. This was a solid reinforced concrete wall which could withstand tank and artillery fire.

    WN 73.
    WN 73 was situated on the cliffs to the west. It contained:
    A 75mm FK 23(f) in a casemate and positioned to fire east along the coast.
    Eight machine guns.
    Three mortars.

    The garrisons of the strongpoints were surprisingly small. Thirty to forty men was usual. The WN 62 strongpoint which held out for nine hours despite being under fire from tanks, destroyers and a battleship had only thirty one men.

    It can be seen that there was a large concentration of machine gun positions at the eastern end of the beach. These caused a large number of casualties among the assaulting infantry and the positions could not easily be engaged from the beach. There is little mention of support being given to the infantry by small support craft offshore and small arms fire was not effective against emplaced machine guns. Destroyers eventually gave some support but the lack of communications in the early stages made this difficult to arrange.

    In addition there were 48 machine guns which were not in emplacements but could be issued as required and fired from field works or entrenchments. Reports and accounts of the landing mention machine gun fire coming from trenchworks.

    There were four batteries of field artillery from 1 and 4 Battalions, 352 Artillery Regiment. Three batteries provided a total of twelve 105mm field howitzers and on battery provided four 150mm field howitzers. These were linked by phone and wireless to the observation posts in the WN positions. If the observers were neutralised the batteries could fire on the beaches and draws using previously recorded bearings and range.

    The assault on Exit D1. Vierville.
    There was not a single assault but rather a gradual wearing down of the defences by a variety of units. Initially the infantry and engineers landing in the first wave were unable to make any progress and sheltered under the sea wall. At 0730 (H+60 minutes) Brigadier General Cota, Divisional Deputy Commander, landed on Dog White. Here the enemy fire was not so fierce, partly because burning grass was forming a smoke screen. Having rapidly assessed the situation Cota moved along the beach motivating the sheltering infantry. At 0750 a gap was made in the wire and Cota led a small party of men from Company ‘C’, 116 Infantry Regiment. They moved across the space between the beach and the bluff, wading through tall reeds and marsh grass. At the foot of the bluffs they scouted for a way up the bluff. They found a way up which was out of sight of the enemy machine guns and reached the level land at the top of the bluffs. Other troops followed, suffering some casualties from snipers and mines, and gradually assembled. Further to the east Colonel Canham, commanding 116 Infantry Regiment led a similar group from Companies ‘F’ and ‘G’, 116 Infantry Regiment. They climbed the bluffs out of sight of machine guns and also reached the summit. Around 0810 5 Ranger Battalion to the west blew four gaps in the wire and were also on top of the bluffs by 0900 (H+150 minutes.)

    The various groups coalesced and formed a single unit. Patrols were sent out to find ways forward and to guard against attack. A party of Rangers set off across the fields towards Chateau de Vaumicel with the intention of moving to Pointe de Hoc and joining the 2 Rangers there.

    Soon after 1000 (H+210 minutes) Cota decided that sufficient troops had gathered on top of the bluffs to allow them to move towards Vierville. Company ‘C’, 116 Infantry Regiment plus a platoon of Rangers were ordered into Vierville while other groups of rangers moved south west to block the roads leading from the village.

    Company ‘B’, 743 Tank Battalion had landed more or less intact at H Hour and the fifteen operational tanks of the company concentrated near Exit D1. They fired on the defences of WN 68, 70 and 71 but inflicted little damage since the bunkers were impervious to all but a shot going through the gun aperture. On the other hand they suffered few casualties. One tank caught fire when its liferaft was hit and set alight. Company ‘C’, 743 Tank Battalion had a more difficult landing but the remaining tanks moved along the beach and joined Company ‘B’. There were then more than twenty tanks near to Exit D1 but were unable to move without being fired on by 88mm and 75mm guns from WN 72.

    At this time there was little coordination because of a lack of working radios and losses among key personnel such as officers, radio operators and forward observers. Cota and Canham had managed to establish communications within their small commands but they had no communication with the troops still on the beach.

    By 1200 hours The troops under Cota and Canham had advanced as far as they could and would not make any further gains. One group including Companies ‘F’ and ‘G’ with some of 5 Rangers had advanced southwards across the coastal road until they were stopped by enemy defences. A platoon of 5 Rangers crossed the fields and reached the outskirts of Chateau de Vaumicel. Some of Company ‘B’, 116 Infantry Regiment had passed through Vierville and advanced along the road towards Chateau de Vaumicel before being stopped by enemy defences. Elements of 5 Rangers and Company ‘C’, 116 Infantry had moved through Vierville and along the coast road to the west in order to reach Pointe du Hoc but had been stopped by German defences. Thus a small bridgehead had been secured. WN 70 on top of the bluffs was abandoned when attacked from the rear.

    During the morning the Shermans of 743 Tank Battalion had fired a considerable number of rounds at the bunkers in WN 71 and WN 72. Photos show that many 75mm rounds had hit the bunkers without causing serious damage. One round at least seems to have entered the 88mm bunker but it is not clear if this caused the gun to cease firing. After the action the steel rear doors of the bunker were found to be blown in but again it is not clear how or when this happened.

    During the morning destroyers had moved close in shore and engaged targets. In some cases they were controlled by Naval Shore Fire Control Parties, in others they fired on targets that appeared to be being engaged by the tanks. At about 0830 USS McCook arrived off Vierville and began firing on the D1 Draw and the WN 73 strongpoint which had been firing on Charlie and Dog Green beaches. One of the WN 73 gun emplacements fell into the sea and another exploded. It is not known what damage was caused to WN 72. At 1030 USS McCook took up station only 1,300 yards from shore, as close as was possible without grounding. It then fired at targets of opportunity. USS Carmick sailed along the coast, close to the shore and fired on targets of opportunity.

    The fire from the destroyers 5” guns caused considerable damage to the bunkers, almost destroying the lateral wall protecting the 88mm casemate from such fire from seawards. Almost but not enough. Finally between 1200 and 1300 Naval Shore Fire Control Parties directed four salvoes from the battleship USS Texas against the surviving bunkers. Even these massive shells failed to destroy the bunkers but some thirty enemy survivors were stunned and surrendered.

    Around the time this barrage was ending Brigadier General Cota came down the draw to inform the troops on the beach that Vierville and the draw were now clear of the enemy.

    Engineers could now use the dozers and explosives that were already ashore to start work on clearing the exit. At 1400 hours they engineers demolished the anti tank wall blocking the draw by the inelegant but effective use of half a ton of explosives in standard 30 pound satchels. Dozers then started to clear away the rubble.

    At 1800 hours the exit was opened to vehicles. The draw was still under intermittent artillery fire. This was no longer observed fire as the infantry had secured a perimeter far enough inland to prevent direct observation. The draw had been registered for artillery fire and the unpredictable salvoes caused some disruption.

    The assault on Exit D3. Les Moulins.
    The first attempts to climb the bluffs to the east of D3 failed but when further troops landed parties from ‘F’ and ‘G’ Companies, 116 Infantry Regiment gradually made their way up the bluffs, by passing WN 66. When the almost intact 3 Battalion of 116 Infantry Regiment landed they provided sufficient momentum to push up the bluffs and move inland. By 0900 there were elements of three companies on top of the bluffs and by late morning there were some 600 men over the bluffs and advancing southwards.

    A platoon sized force under Major Bingham, Commanding Officer 2 Battalion, advanced into the draw and captured a house at the mouth of the draw. They then attempted to attack the WN 66 strongpoint from the west. This attempt failed and they had to retreat to the house and nearby trenches.

    While the second wave were landing the tanks of 743 Tank Battalion attempted to neutralise the defences. Three Sherman tanks began an assault on WN 68 on the west side of D3 draw. They penetrated the outer defences but could not make further progress and could not do real damage to the bunkers. Tanks continued to engage the enemy strongpoints until they finally fell in the evening.

    The greatest damage to WN 66 and WN 68 was inflicted by the destroyers. USS Carmick had only intermittent contact with the Naval Shore Fire Support Parties but was aware of the general situation. It was close enough to shore to be able to see where tanks were firing and then firing on the same targets. This avoided the risk of firing on own troops although US troops complained that they were fired on by destroyers. In fact the fire was coming from enemy batteries. It was reported that a tank from 743 Tank Battalion began engaging a target on the bluff when Carmick joined in and eliminated it. When Bingham’s small party was trapped in the house at the entrance to the draw Carmick began firing on WN 66 and WN 68. Carmick was joined by USS Doyle which then spent much of the day shelling the D3 area.

    Despite all efforts the defences around the D3 Exit held out and little progress was made until the evening.

    The Assault on Exit E1. St. Laurent.
    WN 65 on the western side of the draw had been largely eliminated when Company ‘G’, 116 Infantry Regiment climbed the bluffs and headed inland. This company was followed by the three battalions of 115 Infantry Regiment. This regiment had diverted to this point instead of the point to the west which was originally planned because the beach obstacles had been cleared and the LCI(L)s could beach more safely, and troops had already penetrated up the bluffs and were moving inland. The 50mm KwK pedestal mounted gun in a H 667 casemate was destroyed by 37mm cannon fire from two M5A1 halftracks of 467 AAA Battalion.

    2 Battalion, 115 Infantry Regiment now cleared the remaining defences in WN 64 which had been largely reduced by fire from tanks and destroyers. By 1130 hours the E1 draw was open. Battalions 1 and 2, 115 Infantry Regiment then advanced up the draw while 3 Battalion, 115 Infantry Regiment advanced over the bluffs behind WN 64.

    Engineers with bulldozers moved in at about 1200 hours and the exit was soon open for vehicles.

    The Assault on Exit E3. Colleville.
    Exit E3 was covered by WN 61 to the east and WN 62 to the west. WN 61 contained a formidable 88mm in a H677 casemate. This caused considerable damage to craft and tanks. Around 0700 it hit a LCVP and a tank dozer but was then knocked out by a round from a tank which had managed to position itself so as to fire directly into the embrasure.

    A platoon from Company ‘E’, 16 Infantry Regiment landed just west of WN 62. It found a gap in the defences and climbed the bluff around 0730. It overwhelmed two machine gun posts and then moved inland towards Colleville. A steady flow of men followed.

    At 0900 hours much of Company ‘E’ and Company ‘F’ were still trapped in front of WN 62 and had suffered high casualties. The Naval Shore Fire Control Party called for naval gunfire. Around 0920 the battleship USS Arkansas started a 25 minute bombardment on WN 62. Both of the 76mm casemates were hit many times but it was fire from tank guns that finally silenced them around 1015. The 76mm casemate nearest the shore was silenced when a tank shell entered the embrasure and exploded inside, forcing the crew to abandon it. At 1100 hours there were only three tanks of 741 Tank Battalion left in action and they proceeded to attack the remaining positions in WN62. Two of them were disabled.

    WN 62 continued to hold out and resist all attacks from the front and from the flanks. However its main weapons were silenced and the penetrations to east and west effectively isolated it.

    The Assault on Exit F1.
    Around 0700 hours troops from Company ‘L’, 16 Infantry Regiment began to work their way into the draw. Two Sherman DD tanks which had managed to swim ashore were contacted and directed to fire on the enemy positions. One managed to knock out two 75mm guns by 0745 hours while the other claimed to have knocked out a 75mm gun at 0720. This is more than the total number of guns in WN 60 but whatever the truth the larger weapons seem to have been silenced. Strong as it was the WN 60 position had weaknesses which the US troops found and exploited. There was a shelf under the position which gave cover to the assault troops and there was a blind spot to the east which allowed troops to climb up the bluffs out of sight and the line of fire. Troops from Company ‘L’ were thus able to blow gaps in the wire with Bangalore torpedoes and to assault the position from the rear. It was captured by 0900 (H+150) and 31 of its 40 man garrison were captured.

    A note on officers names.
    Although individuals have not been named in the narratives concerning Sword, Juno and Gold the names have been used here since otherwise there is no way of identifying the various groups. They were often an ad hoc collection of personnel from whatever boats had happened to land at that particular point, and survived.

    The Destroyers.
    Desron 18 (Destroyer Squadron) consisted of eight Livermore Class Fleet Destroyers. They were armed with four 5” guns which had a range of 18,000 yards and 400 rounds per gun, all high explosive, were carried.
    USS Frankford. DD 497.
    USS McCook. DD 496.
    USS Carmick. DD 493.
    USS Doyle. DD 494.
    USS Baldwin. DD 624.
    USS Harding. DD 625
    USS Saterlee. DD 626.
    USS Thompson. DD 627.

    The destroyers were very active in the fire support role. For a time they provided the only effective fire support for the troops ashore.

    At H-40 minutes the destroyers opened fire on their assigned targets. Where shore batteries returned fire the destroyers shifted fire from their assigned targets to neutralise the enemy batteries. As the first wave of craft closed the beach the destroyers preceded them to within 1000 to 2000 yards. The destroyers then took up positions on the flanks of the craft approach lanes, ready to support the troops ashore.

    Until the Shore Fire Support Parties were established ashore the destroyers fired on targets of opportunity. This was necessarily restricted by a lack of knowledge of own troops positions. In some cases destroyers closed to less than 1000 yards from shore and fire was directed by individual commanding officers.

    Once the Shore Fire Support Parties were ashore fire was directed by them where possible. Some parties did not survive and some lost radio equipment so that a variety of methods of directing fire was used. Some commanding officers continued to act on their own initiative, some fire was directed by the Commander Destroyer Squadron 18 and some by the Commander of the Fire Support Task Group.

    In some cases the destroyers fired for considerable periods at the highest possible rate. It was laid down that destroyers should be withdrawn when they had expended 70% of their ammunition. They were replaced if possible by other destroyers. By 1750 hours USS Satterlee had expended 70% of her ammunition and was withdrawn to the Area Screen, being replaced by USS Thompson. At 1800 hours USS Barton and USS O’Brien reported to the Fire Support Area and were assigned stations and Shore Fire Control Parties. At 2000 hours USS Carmick had expended 70% of her ammunition and was withdrawn to the Area Screen.

    There were also three Royal Navy Hunt Class destroyers each armed with four 4” guns. The 4” gun had a range of 19,000 yards and 250 rounds per gun were carried.
    HMS Tanatside.
    HMS Talybont.
    HMS Melbreak.

    The Hunt Class destroyers were active in giving Fire Support from close inshore but have not received the same coverage as have the US destroyers.

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  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    The question commanders at every level were asking was ‘what’s happening?’. I imagine that ordinary soldiers and sailors were asking much the same.

    For much of D Day the army commanders at all levels were hampered by a lack of reliable information on the progress of the landing. Without such information they were unable to assess the situation and were unable to issue orders. The problems were many but the two main ones were a shortage of working wireless sets and a lack of information to send. The most readily available radio in the early stages was the SCR 300. This was a reliable set which could easily be carried by one man. It was waterproofed against rain but not against total immersion in sea water. The difficulties experience in getting ashore meant that many of the sets were drowned. Many more were damaged or abandoned by their operators. Many operators were killed or wounded and their sets lost as the tide came in. A further problem was that the landings were very confused, with landing craft being carried off course and landing far from where it was intended they should. Those officers who survived did not know which of their superiors had also survived. Few officers had any clear idea of what was happening beyond their immediate area.

    The problems of obtaining information on own troops progress and current positions was were well known and various means of sending and receiving information were provided. The British had contact teams provided by reconnaissance units and patrols from Phantom, GHQ Liaison Regiment. It was acknowledged that commanding officers of units in action had other things to occupy them and sending back reports was not their top priority. Contact and liaison teams were to gather information and relay it to higher headquarters. US forces had a variety of such teams. Infantry Regiments had Intelligence and Reconnaissance platoons which gathered information from battalions and sent it to Regimental Headquarters. Divisions had teams from their reconnaissance units who gathered information and sent it back to division headquarters. Both of these types of team landed personnel with backpack radio in the early stages and backed them up with larger sets mounted in Jeeps as soon as was possible.

    V Corps had a Forward Information Detachment. This was a detachment of four officers and eight men. They were to land and contact any commander ashore for information, observe the progress of operations and keep the Commanding General V Corps informed of the tactical and supply situation. The report of the Commander Force ‘O’ states that four DUKWs. each fitted with radio, were sent to report on progress to Headquarters V Corps. He states that three were destroyed but does not say when. He does say that only one sent reports. It is not clear if this is the Forward Information Detachment but Colonel Talley, an engineer, commanded the detachment and spent some time offshore on a DUKW before landing on Easy Red. He sent messages to V Corps headquarters on USS Ancon throughout the day. At first there was little to report except the negative information that troops were pinned down on the beach. Later he did send more optimistic reports.

    Joint Assault Signal Companies, a part of the Joint Assault Signal Communications Organisation, were to establish the beach communications required for the assault and for the immediate follow up period. The intention was that small teams would land with each battalion and provide communications to headquarters afloat. They would also provide communications for the naval units beyond those available to beachmasters.

    The first news received by the transports offshore, and passed on to army and naval commanders, came from the crews of landing craft returning from the beaches. These reports were gloomy and told of heavy casualties to personnel and craft.

    General Bradley sent an aide by PT boat to see what was happening ashore. The report that was sent back reinforced the gloomy picture already formed. There was chaos on the beaches, no sign of movement inland and a strong possibility of disaster. In fact at this time there were four routes open up the bluffs, the follow up regiments were moving to reinforce the small groups who had so far advanced inland and some success was being achieved in clearing defences at the entrances to the draws.

    By 1100 hours, H+4½ hours, regimental command teams were ashore and small groups were beginning to find ways to advance up the bluffs. At this time commanders afloat were still receiving out of date reports which suggested that a disaster was occurring. General Bradley was considering withdrawing from Omaha and landing troops on one of the other beaches. Shortly afterwards more optimistic reports began to be received. A message sent to the Senior Officer Assault Group ‘O2’, who was also the Commander Transport Division 3, reported that some German troops were leaving their positions and surrendering to US troops. This message was intercepted by army commanders who maintained a listening watch on naval frequencies. Shortly afterwards a Colonel Talley of the V Corps Forward Information Detachment reported that troops were advancing up the bluffs in Easy Sector.

    Naval commanders were well served by an extensive wireless network which did not suffer the disadvantages of working on a beach under fire and landing in deep water. In the assault area and between ships at sea the most commonly used means of communication was the VHF TBS radio telephone. This was very easy to use. One simply lifted the receiver and spoke. There were of course fairly extensive lists of call signs to identify sender and intended recipient, and there were codewords, but the tendency was to use the TBS instead of dedicated but less convenient channels. This naturally led to overcrowding of the frequency and delays in establishing contact. In the US areas TBS virtually replaced flags and signal lamps. Smaller craft used army backpack wireless sets.

    Commanders and staff in the UK had good communications with the headquarters ships off the Normandy beaches. USS Ancon off Omaha was particularly well equipped, with an array of wireless equipment and what would now be called ‘Combat Information Centres’ for army, navy and air force staffs. Apart from powerful Morse and teleprinter sets capable of sending high speed encrypted messages Ancon had a WS 26 multichannel voice set for communications with the UK. However the first, and probably the most reliable, information came from photo reconnaissance aircraft which flew over the beaches and returned with verbal reports as well as photographs. These aircraft were flown by senior and experienced officers who could give accurate and balanced reports.

    German commanders were as much in the dark as were the Allies. With landings taking place on such a wide front and with communications severed it would be some time before a clear picture emerged. Early reports suggested that Omaha posed little threat and that Gold was the greater danger. When reports of an advance towards Colleville were received some reserves were sent to block it. A counter attack was requested but the unit assigned was busy rounding up stray paratroops and could not arrive for many hours. It seems that enemy headquarters were unaware of the advance made by Cota to Vierville. In some cases positions were reported as being taken by US troops when they remained in action, and some reported in action when they were already taken.

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  4. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Afternoon and evening.
    Whether the commanders knew it or not by H+6 hours there was little doubt that the US troops on Omaha were ashore to stay. The landings were far behind schedule but now US troops had all the advantages. They had penetrated the enemy defences and secured a small beach head, or at least several small ones. They were now able to bring in reinforcements and ammunition as required. This was denied to any remaining enemy strongpoints which were now cut off. Moreover there was little chance now that the enemy could counter attack in strength since Allied aircraft dominated the skies and prevented almost all movement. US artillery was not able to support troops ashore but the destroyers were used very effectively, and as communications improved they became more effective. On the other hand enemy artillery had limited ammunition and little hope of replenishing it. Some enemy troops arrived to form a defence line more or less along the line of the coast lateral road from Colleville to Vierville but US troops were being steadily reinforced. Fighting continued throughout the day and sporadically during the night. D+1 would see the US troops heading inland again.

    There were four points around which action concentrated; the villages along the coast lateral road.

    Although US troops had occupied the village and sent patrols to the south and the west they were too weak and disorganised to make further advances. 116 Infantry Regiment had suffered heavy casualties and having being scattered and pinned down had not sufficiently regrouped. 115 Infantry Regiment, which should have landed behind 116 Infantry Regiment and then passed through and moved forward, had been diverted to beaches further east.

    The enemy had strong forces to the south and west. There was a battalion of GR 726 to the south and further troops joined them during the day. To the west there were two companies of GR 726 and a battalion of GR 914 with more joining them later. Enemy headquarters did not see this penetration as a threat and no counter attack was ordered.

    In the late afternoon, when the D1 Exit was opened, seventeen tanks of 743 Tank Battalion moved into Vierville and remained there.

    St. Laurent.
    US troops moved slowly through the orchards and hedgerows between the shore and St Laurent. An enemy force of one company from GR 916 supported by fourteen PzJg 38t tank destroyers were ordered to counter attack. Spotter aircraft saw the PzJg 38t approaching and directed naval gunfire onto them. The attack was halted before it reached the US troops. 3 Battalion, 116 Infantry Regiment then advanced slowly to the east of St. Laurent and 2 Battalion, 115 Infantry Regiment advanced to the west. Four tanks from 741 Tank Battalion moved up through E1 Exit and into the village. Infantry and tanks then cleared snipers and machine gun posts before halting for the night.

    In mid morning various groups of 116 Infantry Regiment began the fight for Colleville. By noon some 150 men had arrived and begun to move into the village. Enemy reinforcements in the shape of 2 Battalion, 915 Grenadier Regiment arrived and 116 Infantry Regiment was forced onto the defensive. Around 1500 2 Battalion, 18 Infantry Regiment arrived, intact and well organised, to give the US the advantage once more. In the late afternoon naval gunfire was called for on the village and then 2 Battalion, 18 Infantry Regiment advanced southwards from Colleville while 16 Infantry Regiment deployed along the coast lateral road towards St Laurent. The situation remained confused as 2 Battalion, 915 Grenadier Regiment continued to launch attacks and groups of enemy retreating from the beach area ran into US positions and patrols.

    La Grand Hameau.
    This village on the far eastern flank was taken early in the day and held by 3 Battalion, 16 Infantry Regiment. Later 1 Battalion, 26 Infantry Regiment landed and moved up to strengthen the position.

    Thus by midnight US troops had secured an area on average a mile inland and including the four villages along the coast road. The threads on Sword, Juno and Gold ended when the Allied troops were two miles inland but since US troops did not reach that far on Omaha on D Day the story of the assault ends here.

    Still to come:
    Odds. Ends and Snippets.
    Developing the beach.
    Operating the Beach.
    Naval Aspects.


    A Footnote.
    352 Division.
    When the Allied plans for Neptune/Overlord were being made the Omaha area had been manned by two battalions of 726 Grenadier Regiment. In March two regiments from 352 Division were assigned to the area and overall command was now given to 352 Division. The two battalions of 726 Grenadier Regiment continued to man the coastal positions under the command of 352 Division.

    916 Grenadier Regiment of 352 Division was deployed to give some depth to the defences of Omaha and part of Gold. One battalion had two companies on the coast and two companies in the villages inland. The other battalion formed a reserve.

    915 Grenadier Regiment and 352 Fusilier Battalion, both of 352 Division, formed Kampfgruppe Meyer as a divisional reserve.

    The Anti Tank Battalion of 352 Division consisted of:
    One company with fourteen PzJg 38t.
    One company with ten Stug 3.
    One company with 37mm on Opel trucks.

    Prior to D Day Allied intelligence did not know that 352 Division was in the area. Since it does not appear in the intelligence briefings some writers in the past assumed that the division was newly arrived or just in the area for an exercise. It had of course been in the area for two months. Writers also described 352 Division as a veteran formation transferred from the Russian Front. It had in fact been formed from the remnants of 351 Division which had returned from the Russian Front to be reformed. Some personnel were veterans but most were young conscripts. However the units were up to strength and were fitter than many units manning the coast.

    Organised as a 1944 type division it had three regiments each of two battalions, plus a fusilier battalion. The fusilier battalion replaced the previous reconnaissance battalion and retained a reconnaissance function with one company on bicycles and one motorised. It was generally however used as a reserve seventh infantry battalion. The manpower of the new division was greatly reduced but this was compensated for by having a large proportion of automatic weapons.
    Last edited: May 24, 2017
  5. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Back to the Beginning, and Beyond.

    Early preparations.

    Almost as soon as WW1 as over the USA began to realise that Japan was emerging as a power in the Pacific and sooner or later would become a real threat. Through the between war years a series of exercises were carried out and thought was given to the requirements for amphibious landings.

    Amphibious landings were the province of the United States Marine Corps, a very different corps to the British Royal Marines. They would be the United States Navy’s landing force, initially to seize suitable bases for the navy operating thousands of miles from home. Later it would become important to seize suitable sites for air fields.

    In 1934 the Marine Corps published a manual covering the duties and requirements of the marines in a landing operation. All the essentials were identified and they changed little in the next decade.
    A heavy naval bombardment would be required to soften up the enemy defences.
    Air operations would be necessary to provide reconnaissance, spotting for gunfire, bombing and air cover.
    Troops would need to be correctly loaded in transports and crafts so that sub units remained intact and all necessary support was included.
    There would need to be a carefully planned and organised deployment of craft on the approach to the beaches.
    There should be an orderly debarkation of troops on the waterline.
    There would need to be special craft to carry tanks and artillery.
    An amphibious tank would be a useful asset.
    Cargo vessels would have to be combat loaded so that all the material for a unit was together and the supplies needed first would be most accessible.
    Troops and supplies would have to be cleared from the beach and not allowed to accumulate on the shore where it would be vulnerable to enemy fire and be an obstacle to subsequent waves.
    Special shore parties should land with the first waves and mark the beaches for traffic flow, set up supply dumps, evacuate casualties and make emergency repairs to craft.
    From ship to shore the navy should be in charge.
    At the high water mark the Marines should take over.
    Good radio and signals would be required to coordinate the operation.
    Details may have been added later but these essential remained the outline organisation for amphibious landings.

    In 1939 two important items of equipment was being tested and eventually ordered into production. The first was the workhorse of the amphibious landing, the Higgins boat. The design was improved steadily, mainly to improve access, or rather egress. By 1944 it had become the LCVP and a larger version, the LCM(3). The other item was an amphibious tractor designed by Roebling for use in the Florida swamps. This was developed into the Landing Vehicle Tracked or Alligator/Buffalo.

    In the meantime the Maritime Commission had been designing a standard series of merchant ships would which would be owned and run by commercial shipping lines but requisitioned on the outbreak of war and converted for use by the navy. Plans for the conversions were made and updated. Maritime Commission C3 designs were suitable for conversion to Attack Transports (APA) and Attack Cargo (AKA) ships. Most of the British Landing Ships Infantry (LSI(L)) were also Maritime Commission designs, although of wartime construction.

    In early 1941 the Engineer School conducted a study and wrote a report on the role of the engineer in amphibious landings. This suggested that the engineers should be the basic soldiers in the amphibious attack. There should be two waves of engineers landing two minutes ahead of the first waves of the infantry, preferably supported by tanks and/or LVTs. The engineers would begin the work of destroying fortifications. Later engineers would clear obstacles, improve beaches, construct landing hards, make beach exits, make roads etc. For this purpose it was suggested that each division in an assault should have three engineer combat battalions instead of the normal one. This was to be the role adopted for the Normandy landings.

    Later it was decided that the army engineers should be responsible for the manning of minor landing craft as the navy did not have the manpower. After considerable time and energy had been spent on developing engineer units for this role it was decided that the navy should be responsible after all.

    Planning for the Invasion of Europe started in 1942, almost as soon as the USA declared war on Germany and Japan. It was agreed in principle that Japan should be contained while the major effort was made to defeat Germany. The invasion of France was delayed for a variety of reasons and the first European landings took place in Sicily and Italy.

    Finally the long planned for Invasion took place in Normandy in June 1944

    Simple geography dictated that the US forces should land to the west of the Normandy beach area. US forces had crossed the Atlantic and disembarked at the western ports of the UK. Liverpool was a major port for US forces since it was well away from the German air forces, though never entirely safe. Glasgow was also used. Naturally the US forces then went to camps in the west of the UK and their depots and dumps were located there also. When the time came US forces naturally travelled down the western side of England to ports in the south west. To have the huge numbers of men, vehicles and huge amounts of supplies of the US and British forces exchanging sides and crossing each other’s communications would have been chaotic and pointless.

    Since it was inevitable that the US forces should embark from ports in the south west of the UK it was also inevitable that they should land on the western beaches of Normandy. Having large naval forces crossing each other’s sea lanes would have been even more chaotic than crossing routes on land.

    Once ashore it followed that the US forces should swing inland and then move east and north towards Germany, keeping on the right flank of the Allied armies while the British remained on the left flank and advanced along the Channel coast.

    Ultimately the same logic dictated that the US should end up in Bavaria and southern Germany while the British were on the North German Plain. Here they would stay, first as occupation troops and then as allies, until the end of the Cold War.

    If the US forces were to land on the western beaches then geography again dictated where they should land. There were only two practicable places, Omaha and Utah beaches. The coast at Omaha was largely cliffs with dangerous rocks and reefs offshore. The area chosen for the landings had low sloping cliffs and sandy beaches. It also had an ideal anchorage for shipping, and for Mulberry ‘A’, where there was deep water at all stages of the tide and fairly close to shore. It was also near to the communications centre of Bayeux around which dumps and depots would be developed.

    Unfortunately the enemy could also deduce that Omaha was a likely place for a landing and it was progressively given stronger defences.

    So one concludes that although the beaches of Dog, Easy and Fox were not ideal they were the best on offer.

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  6. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    As in the British Army the Corps had become a purely tactical formation. Administration and supply etc. were the concern of divisions and battalions, leaving a Corps commander to concentrate on fighting the battle. The Corps Headquarters was small, less than 200 men. The Corps Commander had a personal staff of three, a General Staff of sixty and a range of specialist staff officers to advise on the various arms and services.

    Military orders are always admirably clear and concise. Those for V Corps start thus:

    ‘V Corps, consisting of 1, 2 and 29 Divisions, will assault beach area Omaha, reduce enemy resistance, secure the Vierville sur Mer/ Colleville sur Mer beach head and move south towards St Lo to cover the landing of other troops and supplies.’

    1 Division will make the initial assault with two Regimental Combat Teams abreast, 116 Regimental Combat Team from 29 Division on the right and 16 Regimental Combat Team from 1 Division on the left. They will clear the shoreline of enemy resistance and secure the D Day phase line two hours before dark.

    Rangers will destroy the batteries at Point du Hoc by assaulting the cliffs and by flanking action from Omaha. They will then move to capture the batteries at Grand Camp and Maisy before working further along the coast towards Isigny.

    29 Division, less 116 Regimental Combat Team, plus 26 Regimental Combat Team from 1 Division, will land behind the initial assault force. It will operate under the command of I Division until V Corps is established ashore. It will mop up enemy resistance, defend the D Day phase line and patrol forward to the D+1 phase line.

    2 Division will arrive in the Transport Area early on D+1 and will be prepared to commence landing immediately by combat teams. It will be prepared to extend the beachhead to the south or to assist with the defence of the beach head.

    The corps reserve will be 175 Regimental Combat Team, 102 Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron and 747 Tank Battalion. They will land and proceed to Assembly Areas.

    Until the assumption of command by V Corps, artillery units will upon landing be attached to 1 Division.

    635 Tank Destroyer Battalion will be attached upon landing to 1 Division. It will be disposed initially in depth to protect the front and left flank of the division. (Equipped with 3” anti tank guns towed by M2 halftracks. No guns seem to have landed until D+2.)

    49 AA Brigade will provide AA defence of the beaches, beached craft, beach exits and airfields.

    The Engineer Special Brigade Group will land under the command of 1 Division to organise all shore installations necessary for the debarkation, supply, evacuation and local security in order to ensure the continuous movement of personnel, vehicles and supplies across the beaches. Equipment of the Engineer Special Brigade Group will not be diverted from their assigned missions except in grave emergency.

    1 Division was a veteran formation which had already taken part in the amphibious landings in N Africa and Sicily. 29 Division was a National Guard formation which had not seem action. National Guard units had started as militia raised and controlled by individual states. Since 1933 the units had been a part of the US Army Reserve under joint state and federal control. In time of war they were identical to regular units with many of the officers and NCOs being regulars.

    The orders for V Corps were clear but a great deal still depended on the commanders at lower level having the necessary information to make a decision. It was laid down which divisional commanders would be in command of which units and sectors and at what stage command would be handed over. For the initial assault this was clear enough. The Commanding General, 1 Division was in command of all army units of Force ‘O’. These units could be from 1 Division, 29 Division or V Corps. In an ideal situation when Follow Up Force ‘B’ landed it would also operate under the command of Commanding General 1 Division until the D Day line was secured or until the Commanding General V Corps ordered otherwise. Force ‘B’ contained units from 29 Division plus some from 1 Division and V Corps. Of course the D Day line was not secured on D Day.

    When 116 Regimental Combat Team, the initial Regimental Combat Team of 29 Division, was ashore the tactical command of the beachhead was to be divided into divisional sectors with 1 Division on the left and 29 Division on the right. At this point in time the Commanding General V Corps would assume overall command. This seemed logical and straightforward but the forces ashore were not as tidily arranged as had been planned. Some elements of 116 Regimental Combat Team of 29 Division had landed well to the east of their planned position and were fighting with 1 Division. The Follow Up 115 Regimental Combat Team of 29 Division was to have landed in the 29 Division sector but was diverted to the east so that it landed in 1 Divisions sector. At the end of D Day the units were still mixed. Of course commanders on the spot rearranged command structures and communications to match the existing situation but commanders were always faced with the old command dilemma. Should they follow orders and risk censure for failing to use initiative or use their initiative and risk censure for failing to obey orders? But that is what generals are paid for.

    V Corps Order of Battle. D Day.

    1 Division.
    29 Division.

    Provisional Ranger Group.
    2 and 5 Ranger Battalions.

    Special Engineer Task Force.
    146 and 299 Engineer Combat Battalions and NCDU. Obstacle Clearance.

    3 Armoured Group.
    741, 743, 745 and 747 Tank Battalions.

    Provisional Engineer Special Brigade Group.
    5 and 6 Engineer Special Brigades.

    58 Field Artillery Battalion.
    62 Field Artillery Battalion.
    81 Chemical Mortar Battalion
    56 Signal Battalion.
    197 AAA Battalion.

    Most of these units and formations are described more fully above.

    The Provisional Engineer Special Brigade Group will be described in the section on ‘Developing and Operating the Beach’.

    The major units TO&Es (Table of Organisation and Equipment) have been outlined above:
    Tank Company. Post No 8.
    397 AAA Automatic Weapon Provisional Battalion. Post No 17.
    81 Chemical Mortar Battalion. Post No 20.
    Infantry Regiment. Post No 21.
    Field Artillery Battery Self Propelled. Post No 26
    Field Artillery Battery. Post No 27.
    Ranger Battalion. Post No 34.


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  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    There will now be an interlude, possibly of several weeks. I have the equivalent of 200 more pages already written, and a considerable quantity of documents etc. There are gaps however and I will attempt to fill them by closer research and cross reference etc.

    In the meantime there are gaps in the material already posted. There will inevitably be errors and misinterpretations. Please feel free to contribute.

    To look forward to:
    Bombardment Force 'C'.
    D Day at sea.
    Crossing the Channel.
    Developing the beach.
    Operating the beach.
    Mulberry 'A'.
    and more.

    I am off now to repair the garden fence, paint the garage woodwork, treat the greenhouse woodwork, sit in the sun, go on holiday, make the models I fully expect to receive for my birthday, and more.

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  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member


    Take as much time as you like, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts, and it has now set me on the task of reading the British D Day beach details.
    This means of course I will NOT be able to repair the garden fence (they only use electric fences here to keep the livestock from straying), NOT paint the garage (done actually have a garage), NOT treat the greenhouse woodwork (good job as its a polytunnel), NOT sit in the sun (it gets to hot anyway), NOT go on holiday (living here is a holiday everyday) ..................................................................

    Thank you

    Roy Martin likes this.
  9. gary1944

    gary1944 Member

    HI - this is great information - well done for presenting it.
    I have seen some it reproduced on a French website in similar way and I am hoping you can help me with something.

    My particular area of interest is the 2nd Rangers at Pointe du Hoc - and this information is a great help. But I cannot find anywhere a list of "Serial" numbers relating to actual LCA numbers on the day… i.e. is Serial 1163 = LCA888, or LCA864 etc.

    Is there any way that you can help me with that ? The contents of each boat are meaningless without the LCA number to which they apply….




    H+70 minutes
    Dog Green
    15 LCA carrying 5 Ranger Battalion.
    These landed in two waves five minutes apart from LSI(S).

    Serial 1162 was an LCA of 504 Flotilla from LSI(S) Prince Leopold carrying
    35 men from Company ‘B’, 5 Rangers.

    Serial 1163 was an LCA of 504 Flotilla from LSI(S) Prince Leopold carrying
    35 men from Company ‘B’, 5 Rangers.

    Serial 1164 etc etc
  10. I cannot disagree more! It might not be what you are looking for, but this type of information is irreplaceable in order to have a complete yet detailed picture of the landings.
    The Landing Table Index-Hull Number match that you want might be derived from lower-level loading tables and unit reports. I remember watching a TV show with lots of computer generated images which matched several individual LCA Hull numbers with names of some of the Rangers they carried, so this information should be available somewhere.

  11. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    I am the first to admit that the above work is incomplete. I have several times said that it is a work in progress and welcome any additional information. I have in fact received a great deal of information from forum members and do my best to incorporate it.

    Somewhere there will be a report by the LCA Flotilla Officer. It will lurk in the archives at Kew but I am not knowledgeable about the naval records. The amount of information that reports contain varies enormously so may not contain the information you want. A likely source would be the Ranger Veterans Association. There is bound to be one.

  12. gary1944

    gary1944 Member

    Sorry - no I wasn't trying to suggest it was not worth your effort… far from it. I think that (for my research) without the two being married up it is difficult to see what the numbers mean to each other.

    I cannot find an answer to this and I have been through the Neptune related papers in the US (or as many as I could get access too) related to D-day… but still no explanation of the dual numbering system. A list of which men (or at least enough for companies) exists but they only related to LCA888 for example… and not the Serial number. Hence my dilemma.

    I also called the Maritime Museum in Grenwich and so have have not had a reply. I was hoping they would know.

    I understand why they created an overall numbering to cover every ship - but who decided which US ships were given X number is still the mystery.

    So - its great work… I am just trying to get my head around and the Rangers and their numbering system - this was NOT a criticism at all. Quite the opposite.

    Thanks for doing it.
  13. gary1944

    gary1944 Member

    PS I have the Flotilla paperwork for each one… it just lists the LCA three digit numbers…. (except for 1003) which is a mystery as it is out of since… perhaps an after thought as it was a supply boat.
  14. DannyM

    DannyM Member


    From the naval orders issued for Operation Neptune.

    Allocation of numbers to landing ships and landing craft.

    3. To reduce the numbers to be remembered by the troops embarking in landing ships and landing craft, it has also been decided that one code number only will be used for each landing ship and craft, which will cover both ship and craft number and landing table index number. This system will apply only in the assault and not in the build-up.

    5. These numbers will be the Landing Table Index Numbers allocated to individual ships and craft as the result of detailed planning. For embarking purposes, these will be the only numbers with which the Army will be concerned. Each ship and craft taking part in the initial loading will be required to provide a suitable board showing its number, to be displayed on or near the bridge."

    The LSI were issued blocks of LTIN and these were probably allocated by the Flotilla CO.

    LCA also had another number. This was the their Davit number. Now and then you will see it painted somewhere on the hull. It was probably easier to tell a sailor onboard to guide the troops to No 1 Davit rather than give them the LCA pennant number.

    There are a few bits and pieces covering Pointe Du Hoc in the archives at Kew but you have to dig around to find them.


    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
    Trux likes this.
  15. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    LCA 1003

    Landing craft were not normally issued to the flotillas in numbered sequence when the flotillas were being formed. They got what was available at time/location they were forming up at.



    June  1944 (21)   pdh.jpg
  16. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    With Michel and Danny on the case you have the best there is in this field.

    I am currently looking at the naval activity concerned with loading, crossing the Channel and the D Day operations off shore. I was wondering how to express what Danny's post has done so clearly.


    I seem to have crossed with Danny's second post. US APA and PA are simpler to research since the LCVP etc were part of the ships equipment and numbered in sequence by the ship. Ships records often describe the activities of individual numbered craft. They still do not link craft numbers to LTIN though.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
  17. gary1944

    gary1944 Member

    Hi Mike

    Yes, that is the heart of the problem. What also makes it more annoying is that for the larger ships LCT's etc. they normally display BOTH numbers.

    I am new to this so I can't see how to upload an image - but this website will do the same thing - by way of illustration. D-Day - Pointe du Hoc - Landing Table

    You can see the LCA Serials going from 1001 - 1012.. but no corresponding LCA number. I emailed the owner of the site and he didn't reply.

    The LCA's are numbered and the numbers were always on the rear of the craft.

    I have each of those numbers and that is how the US Army refers to them. I also have the contents of the LCA listed via the Serial - i.e. 1 officer, 23 enlisted men - etc… but I don't know which LCA them specific men were on - so I cannot accurately know which one did not land, sank, landed late, returned to mother ship etc.

    It is sure this will be recorded somewhere… but just where.

    I have been through virtually every piece of paper in the 1st Inf. Div. Museum archives where this might have been located but ALWAYS it is LCA 888, or LCA 864 - -- no mention of Serials.

    Thanks for your help so far… this is a tricky one.

  18. I have just re-uploaded (because the first ones were lost during the last forum software changeover) the D Day Reports for PRINCE CHARLES, PRINCE BEAUDOUIN and PRINCE LEOPOLD and their respective flotillas, as well as the Report by HMML 304, here:
    Resources from Michel Sabarly

    However, these cover only 5th Ranger Bn and Coy C, 2nd Ranger Bn, therefore not the Pointe du Hoc assault force. I could not find anything about AMSTERDAM, BEN MY CHREE and their flotillas. If you have those, could you upload them? The Resource area would probably be best to ensure better visibility. We might find clues that could help marry LTIN with Hull numbers there.
    The 2nd Ranger Battalion After Action Report of July 22, 1944 might also be helpful, if you have it.

    Thanks in advance,

    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  19. gary1944

    gary1944 Member

    HI Michal

    I have seen these ones and they don't hold any clues unfortunately - I have also been through the 1st Inf. Div. records in case they had the information … they just present the LCA numbers and one of the LCA's returned to the mother ship.. but as we cannot connect the men to the particular boat, we don't know which boat it was - or who her Royal Naval crew might have been for that matter.

    I too have struggled to find the Amsterdam and Ben My Chree papers and so far drawn a blank.

    I am going to call Grenwich again tomorrow and ask them for the above papers - if they have them and to see if they have any ideas on the Serials.

    Thanks for your help with this and I am sorry if I am diverting the excellent work you have done.


    PS I have the After Action Reports for the 2nd & 5th + the Small Unit Actions Report. All to no avail on this question there either.
  20. Let's try and match at least some craft:

    1. – Allocation of Craft to LSI

    AMSTERDAM (522 Assault Flotilla)
    LCA 668, 858, 860, 861, 862, 914

    BEN MY CHREE (520 Assault Flotilla)
    LCA 722, 883, 884, 887, 888, 1003
    Source: Green List 5 Jun 44.
    See Danny's post #55 above: OMAHA BEACH.

    2. – Allocation of Coys to Serials (or vice versa)

    Craft from AMSTERDAM (AM)
    Serial 1001 - Coy D
    Serial 1002 - Coy D
    Serial 1003 - Coy D
    Serial 1004 - Supplies
    Serial 1005 - Coy E
    Serial 1006 - Coy E

    Craft from BEN MY CHREE (BM)
    Serial 1007 - Supplies
    Serial 1008 - HQ
    Serial 1009 - Coy E
    Serial 1010 - Coy F
    Serial 1011 - Coy F
    Serial 1012 - Coy F
    Source: Landing Table

    3. – Allocation of Coys to Craft

    "Colonel Rudder's headquarters, which was distributed among the four LCA's carrying Company E."
    This means that Serial 1008 also carried men from Coy E. This is corroborated by other sources (Landing Diagram...) which say that Coy E was carried in Serials 1005, 1006, 1008 & 1009.

    "LCA 860, carrying Capt. Harold K. Slater and 20 men of Company D, swamped"

    "LCA 861. Carrying a boat team of Company E, commanded by 1st Lt. Theodore E. Lapres, Jr."

    "LCA 862. This craft, carrying 15 Rangers and NSFC personnel"

    "LCA 888. Colonel Rudder's craft, first to hit the beach, had 15 men of Company E and 6 headquarters personnel"

    "LCA 722. Twenty yards left of Colonel Rudder's craft, LCA 722 hit shore with 15 Company E Rangers, 5 headquarters men, a Stars and Stripes photographer, and a Commando officer"

    "LCA 668. Company D's craft"

    "LCA 858 (...) The Company D Rangers"

    "LCA 887 (...) 1st Lt. Robert C. Arman" (Coy F)

    "LCA 884 (...) 1st Lt. Jacob J. Hill" (Coy F)

    "LCA 883 (...) 1st Lt. Richard A. Wintz" (Coy F)​

    Source: Small Unit Actions - 2d Ranger Battalion at Pointe du Hoe
    Original doc: Small unit actions. France: 2d ranger battalion at Pointe du Hoe...
    Transcription: HyperWar: Small Unit Actions (American Forces in Action)

    4. – Summary - Allocation of Craft to Serials

    The only two craft not listed in the "Small Unit Actions" doc are LCA 914 (AM) and 1003 (BM), which are therefore Serial 1004 and 1007 respectively (Supply craft). Therefore:

    Craft from AMSTERDAM (AM) - LSI(H) 2

    Serial 1001 - Coy D }
    Serial 1002 - Coy D } LCA 860, 668, 858
    Serial 1003 - Coy D }

    Serial 1004 - Supplies - LCA 914

    Serial 1005 - Coy E }
    Serial 1006 - Coy E } LCA 861, 862

    Craft from BEN MY CHREE (BM) - LSI(H) 1
    Serial 1007 - Supplies - LCA 1003

    Serial 1008 - E/HQ }
    Serial 1009 - Coy E } LCA 888, 722

    Serial 1010 - Coy F }
    Serial 1011 - Coy F } LCA 887, 884, 883
    Serial 1012 - Coy F }​

    This is as far as we can go with certainty without additional input such as the Battalion Landing Table which, if it survived, should give us some extra information regarding allocation of Platoons to Serials and therefore help close the loop, at least for those craft where the senior officer is mentioned.

    I still think that the 2d Ranger Battalion After Action Report might be helpful.

    Last edited: Jul 9, 2017

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