D Day Landing Craft Markings

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

  1. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    The photo above (19)of Southampton, I can see that area from my study. Today the boat show is in full swing at Mayflower Park. Some of the craft might have been built locally, at Thornycrofts, close to the Supermarine works at Woolston.
  2. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Following on from my Post 9 above.

    Clive Mortimore has made some very nice drawings of Landing Craft which can be seen in the links below. He also has some very nice drawings of vehicles on the same site.

    UN Landing Craft Infantry.

    British Landing Craft Infantry.

    British Landing Craft Assault.

    Landing Craft Support.

    British RASC Fast Motor Launches.

    Clive's original question concerned the markings on the US LCI(L)s which landed on Sword. The USN Pennant numbers are shown on the bows and on the superstructure but what is the significance of the numbers on the coloured band. Those known are 412, 413 and 424. These do not seem to be pennant numbers, flotilla numbers or squadron numbers. Nor do they seem to be Landing Table serials.

    Also from Clive are the following links for US LCI(L) on Sword and Gold.



    Aixman likes this.
  3. Roddy1011

    Roddy1011 Senior Member

    Good Evening to some, good morning to others !

    Ref LSTs and Op NEPTUNE - would very much like details of TF 126 and/or Convoy B-3 in support of the Western Task Force supporting Omaha & Utah beaches. B-3 sailed fm Falmouth, Fowey & The Helford River...

  4. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Another problem solved.

    Following on from my posts 9 and 22 above.

    Danny Lovell has confirmed that the numbers on the side of the superstructure of US LCIs on Sword are Landing Table Serials or LTIN. From photographs he deduces that the numbers are in fact on boards, although they are in an unusual position and are on boards of the same colour as the superstructure band. These numbers are more usually white on black and on the front of the superstructure only.

    Danny also has documents which show that there were Landing Table Serials or LTIN from 411 to 424, which corresponds with the numbers on the LCI superstructure.

    There were two groups of craft, listed in 3 Division orders. Group 13 had serials 411 to 416. This group was timed to touchdown at H+215 on White. It was on time and there were no casualties and no damage. Group 14 had serials 417 to 424. They were timed to touchdown at H+30. They landed 5 minutes late at the junction of Red and White. They landed under fire and 3 craft were damaged.

    These LCI were added after the March/April tables were issued and carry the Beach Group personnel who were originally to land by Ferry Service.

    Unfortunately this has not helped make a pattern of the various markings on landing craft. Plenty more questions remain.

  5. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    Found this picture last night on the Navsource website showing US LCI(L) [in thie information for LCI(L) 9] 9 & 14. it is fairly clear that the number 413 on No 14 is on a board and is a different colour from the band on the bridge - clearer when the photo is blown up.

    Incidentally Mike, I can not get your links to Navsource pages to work but I think that is a fault of the site - because I know we are talking about Landing Craft Infantry I take the last digits of your link as the craft number, it seems to work.


    Attached Files:

  6. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

    The following might help, for those who are not aware: -
    1. Landing Serials were allocated in the following Ranges
    Sword - 100 to 999
    Juno - 1000 to 1999
    Gold - 2000 to 2999
    Follow up 3000 to 3999

    2. If you go to th e Navsource site and look at the page for one of the Canadian LCI {e.g. HMCS LCI(L) 117} and go to the bottom of the page there is a link to "The RCN's part in the invasion of France" - the link shows only some of the pages for this document but is interesting reading - it would be good to find the whole document.

  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Sod's Law operates.

    The Navsource link worked when I posted it. In the few hours after they seem to have re arranged the site. However you should be redirected if patient.

    Canadian archives seem to have a lot of information on Landing Craft, radar and other interesting things. Who knows how to access them? Is there a catalogue? Can we get copies of documents?

  8. Noel Burgess

    Noel Burgess Senior Member

  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG


    Enough to keep me busy for some months.

    It is a year since I joined the Forum. Actually I did not join but the Adaministrator joined me and chose my striking avatar. In that time I have spent hardly any money on material and sources. Bad for the economy.

    Neil Adamson likes this.
  10. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

  11. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    So do you know the function of these LTSN/LTIN? I thought that was the original question, but maybe not. Still I would like to know, concisely. Although called "Landing" numbers, were they actually numbers to help with loading? I figure, at sea, they would use traditional naval signals and markings.

  12. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Sorry if you are confused Earthican.

    We do know the function of the LTIN. I have 1000 pages of digital images of the British Landing Tables for D Day. These list the craft more or less in the order in which they were timed to beach (or arrive in the case of LSTs and coasters). Each craft is assigned a LTIN. The tables then list the vehicles and personnel, and the unit from which they come, to be carried on the craft.

    On the assumption that any soldier will get hopelessly lost if given the chance each vehicle was chalk marked with the LTIN of the craft it should be loaded onto and each craft clearly displayed its LTIN on a board. Thus Loading Officers, Landing Officers, Provosts and any one else could guide the correct vehicle to the correct craft.

    The original question was really 'Can we match the LTIN to actual craft and their pennant numbers and what do all the other numbers sometimes seen on the craft mean.'

    I have probably made it even more confusing.

  13. Earthican

    Earthican Senior Member

    Thank you very much.

    If successful, it sounds like you will have a very valuable research tool.

    Good Luck
  14. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    A sort of pattern nearly emerges.

    Following a clue from Danny Lovell I looked at all the pictures of LCI(L) that have posted, sent to me or that I have links to. Most of them show Canadian troops boarding, in transit and landing on Juno. Many are credited to Canadian photographers and some are captioned as being from 262 Flotilla. Some cross referencing has revealed seven craft from 262 Flotilla, and indeed many have the number 262 displayed somewhere.

    It seems that in this flotilla at least the craft should have had the flotilla number and the crafts pennant number displayed in small numbers on the bow, stern, front and sides of the superstructure. Example 262 - 118 which is LTIN 1702. However there is little uniformity of style. Those that are fully and correctly marked have clearly been done by different hands, and without benefit of stencils.

    Some known to belong to 262 Flotilla however have a large pennant number on the bow. Example LCI(L) 276 which is LTIN 1705. Perhaps late arrivals or obeying the usual rule of only repainting when necessary.

    Would anyone care to look at their photos and see if this pattern really exists. I have
    262-276. Serial 1705
    262-118. Serial 1702
    262-135. Serial 1703
    262-252. Serial 1709
    306. Serial 1708

    This pattern also seems to follow for LCI(S) Flotilla 202 but I have only two photos. This flotilla carried 48 Commando to Juno.

  15. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Not sure if these are of any use: From ATB's 'D-Day Then and Now Vol 2'
    The only references I can find to LTINs in my copy (I don't have Vol 1).
    From pages 422 and 423 covering the Gold landing area.

    Attached Files:

  16. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    That is interesting Mike. I have the same diagram but without the LTIN numbers. The photo ties in nicely.

  17. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

  18. DoctorD

    DoctorD WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I don't know whether this helps anybody, but LCT649 was one of the Royal Navy LCT's that carried 15082 GCI from Poole to Omaha Beach on D-day. No idea what my number was! If you'd only told me it was of interest, I'd have written it on a bit of paper :lol:
  19. Sorry for jumping in this late.

    DoctorD, I believe this LCT must have been a USN, not RN, craft. If indeed her Pennant was 649, then she was an LCT Mark VI of Group 57, (US) LCT Flotilla 19. Her Navy wave and boat number was 27-4-ER (meaning Boat No. 4, 27th Wave, Easy Red Beach), planned for leaving R/A (Rendezvous Area) at H+176, leaving L/D (Line of Departure) at H+282 and landing at H+300, then returning to R/v #3 (Rendezvous Area Number THREE).

    However, there were indeed two British LCT Mark IV in the same Wave 27, namely LCT 562 and 628.

    See also:
    (which mistakenly gives the two LCT Mark IV as 611 and 528)

    For a photo of LCT 649 beached at Omaha:

    Her Army Serial Number or Craft Serial was LCT 135 (code for the Craft herself), and her Landing Table Index Number (LTIN, sometimes called 'Craft Index Number'), which was the code for the load (i.e. part of a Unit) she carried was 4018. '649' was called 'Navy Number' by the US.

    The US craft numbering system was (uncharacteristically) much more complex than the British one, who had decided to use only one number (the LTIN/Craft Serial) for identification of both craft and all her load(s) for the assault phase, whereas the US stuck to the official system for writing Landing Tables throughout.

    Any craft in the Western Task Force could therefore be identified by her Navy Number (Pennant), Craft Serial, Navy wave and boat number, and one or several LTIN(s)! As far as I know only the Landing Diagrams showed all four identifications together. Unfortunately the British Landing Diagrams I've seen show only LTINs.

    LCT 649 of the Royal Navy was an LCT Mark IV belonging to 40th LCT Flotilla, 'I' Squadron, Assault Group S-2, which carried the Staffordshire Yeomanry to SWORD Area.

  20. John Redell

    John Redell Member

    Just stumbled onto your site via google. This is great!

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

    My late father was the commanding officer of USN LCI(L) 13, Flotilla 2. In some of his old photos, I had noticed the unusual paint scheme sported by his ship only during the Normandy landings and had wondered about it. I had seen the same paint scheme on RN, low-conn LCI(L)s and knew that my dad's ship carried British troops to Sword on D-Day, so had guessed that his ship was somehow operating under RN command on that day. Your information seems to verify that notion.

    "Group 14 had serials 417 to 424. They were timed to touchdown at H+30. They landed 5 minutes late at the junction of Red and White. They landed under fire and 3 craft were damaged." ---Trux

    I'm pretty sure that LCI(L) 13's LTIN was 417. Your information above about that LTIN's H+30 touchdown time jibes with my dad's recollection of his LZ as "hot" (as opposed to Group 13's H+215 touchdown time, at which point volume of fire seems to have abated somewhat).

    I can also verify that the Flotilla 2 LCI(L)s did, in fact participate in Tunisian operations as well as the invasions of Sicily, Salerno and Anzio. One of my Dad's duties during the Tunisian Campaign was to ferry captured German and Italian soldiers to POW camps. He said the Italians were friendly and happy that, for them, the war was over. The Afrika Korps prisoners, by contrast, were evidently a surly, sullen lot and were still utterly convinced that the Reich would triumph.

    The USN LCI(L) crews apparently referred to their craft variously as "Elsie Items", "Spit Kits" and "Floating Bedpans".

    Great website!

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