DD Tanks on D Day

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Paul Reed, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. Thanks for that----Did'nt they launch the DD tanks at Omaha at 5000/6000 yards[despite the protests of the tank commanders], where as at Gold beach they launched at about 800 yards.?----I'm not nautical in any way but it strikes me as inherently more risky to launch further out because presumably the tides/winds are stronger and more unpredictable.[of course i may be missing the point of this thread altogether so,if i am, sorry!]

    All I have in front of me is Idlers document posted above. I'll not trust my memory of the second hand sources & wait until they can be pulled off the shelf again.

    From idler

    Utah: 3,000 yds, 1 foundered of 30 = 3% loss

    Omaha: 6,000 yds, 27 foundered of 29 = 93% loss

    Juno: A Sqn: 1,500-2,000 yds, 3 foundered of 10 = 30% loss

    “ “ B Sqn: 4,000 yds 5 foundered of 19 = 26% loss

    Sword: 5,000 yds 3 foundered of 34 = 9% loss

    The closest to Omaha is Sword in distance launched. 5000 vs 6000 yards. With one at 93% sunk and the other at 9% sunk there is not a clear corelation to distance. Maybe someone else can see it? My take is there must be other factors.
     
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Thanks for that----Did'nt they launch the DD tanks at Omaha at 5000/6000 yards[despite the protests of the tank commanders]...

    There was no single authority for the decision, it was a left to the LCT flotilla commander and the tanks' company commander to decide. 741 decided to launch, 743 decided to beach; the rest is history.

    Bear in mind that criticisms of launching distances apply to infantry as well as DDs at OMAHA. The US troops were, by design, launched about twice as far out as those for the Commonwealth beaches. The US wanted to keep the transports out of range of the shore batteries, the RN took the risk of getting in closer.
     
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    It would be interesting to see something on how the tides ran on D-Day at the different beaches. My limited knowledge ('unlimited ignorance' may be closer to the truth) is that the tides sort of ran anti-clockwise across the beaches, but how did the speeds vary at different times and places and what effect could it have had?
     
  4. Bear in mind that criticisms of launching distances apply to infantry as well as DDs at OMAHA. The US troops were, by design, launched about twice as far out as those for the Commonwealth beaches. The US wanted to keep the transports out of range of the shore batteries, the RN took the risk of getting in closer.

    AFAIK only one ship larger than a LST was lost to German shore batteries. A destroyer off Utah Beach. Anyone recall any others? Other than some 15cm guns I dont think there were any heavy German batteries present in range of the Allied beaches.

    Bradley and 1st Army staff did some thing well during the Normandy battle, but Neptune was not one of their better ops. But, thats getting off topic.

    It would be interesting to see something on how the tides ran on D-Day at the different beaches. My limited knowledge ('unlimited ignorance' may be closer to the truth) is that the tides sort of ran anti-clockwise across the beaches, but how did the speeds vary at different times and places and what effect could it have had?

    Yes the inshore current ran from west to east, or north to south along Utah Beach. In the case of Utah it put the initial wave two kilometers off the designated section of beach. Hence VanFleets comment to the Assist Div Commander "We'll start the war right here."

    Currents parralle to the beach are a chronic and severe problem in amphib assualts. If the boat crew dont pick up on the correct landmarks imeadiatly a 3-4 knot current can shift a boat flotilla 1000+ meters off target on a 20 minute run in to shore. If there is a haze the misidentification of landmarks is inevitable, and there was a haze across Omaha and Utah beach from at least sunrise if not earlier. The overcast above 12,000 feet added to the visability problem between 05:30 & 08:30, then there were the brush fires spotted across the beaches ignited by the naval gun fire. Their smoke obscured patches of the beaches in the first hours.

    These currents are extremely unpredictable as the shoals and winds that direct them constantly vary, so do the larger off shore currents. Even these days few accurate records are kept of these currents. Pre invasion beach reconissance can give you a 'snapshot' of conditions but making a prediction is usually problematic.
     
  5. Mikal

    Mikal Junior Member

    Make no mistake, the DD tanks, along with the Sappers won the day on Sword. Their going in first, prepared the way for the infantry, the Commandos and the RA to land later. First in, last out.
    Sapper

    The DD tanks were late on Sword.

    It is documented that if the 22nd Dragoons with their flails had not been able to fall back on previous armoured training (i.e. their time prior to 79th Armd Div) it was possible Sword could not have been breached or held.

    A Sqn reinforced with two troops C Sqn (28 flails according to the A Squadron landing table) were reduced to 4 fit flails and two capable of fighting with no flail and 59 crew missing of wounded at a rally around 1200hrs.

    It was also reported how bad the assuault engineers had it and at around 0745 no RE officers could be found in role due to casualties. As a result 22D went independent leaving the remains of two troops to widen the lanes and the rest breaking out beyond the lateral with the infantry.
     
  6. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    Anyone with an interest in DD tank operation should be interested in this book, 'Chariots of the lake' by Robert B. Jarvis, it tells the story of the British training on the equipment at Fritton Lake in Norfolk.
    [​IMG]

    It does not have any great new information about D-Day operations but it is handy to have the relevant parts of the various regimental histories all in one book.

    Available here http://www.barbrossabooks.eu/chariots-of-the-lake-p-9354.html
     
  7. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Recently saw this on the Tank museum’s youtube channel:



    Published on 7 Sep 2018

    Another episode in the Tank Chats Funnies Specials, with David Fletcher looking at the weird and wonderful vehicles of 79th Armoured Division lead by Major General Percy Hobart, known as 'Hobart's Funnies'.
     
    stolpi, Dave55 and Harry Ree like this.
  8. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Hobart turned out to have the ability of a creative innovative military individual after his military career was prematurely terminated, being finished on retired pay and occupied with the rank of a corporal in the Home Guard.

    Recalled to train Armoured Divisions,he was promoted to lead the 79th Armoured Division by the direction of WSC. From this appointment he was able to use his knowledge of tanks to introduce innovation in the variations of armoured vehicles,the appearance of which became as a surprise to the enemy during the Normandy landings.

    Hobart was a brother in law of B L Montgomery.
     
    Ramiles and Tolbooth like this.
  9. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

  10. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    The Science of D-Day - now on iPlayer too.

    Always interesting to hear from the veterans and see the newsreel footage but the narration is really sloppy. It states that Hobart “dreamt up” the DD - it was of course Nicolas Straussler. The Ministry of Supply authorised Straussler to build the first pilot model, based upon the Tetrarch, in February 1941, about the time that Hobart was busy forming the 11th Armoured division and two years before he was appointed to command the 79th Armoured division.
     
    Ramiles likes this.
  11. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Memories of War - Part 1 from We Have Ways of Making You Talk | Podbay

    Re. 13/18 Hussars

    "Show notes
    Major-General Stuart Watson landed on Sword Beach on D-Day. In this bonus episode of We Have Ways of Making You Talk Major-General Watson tells James Holland about his training with amphibious tanks in anticipation of the invasion. A Goalhanger Films production Produced by Joey McCarthy
    "
     
    Chris C likes this.
  12. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Memories Of War - Part 2

    Memories Of War - Part 2
    Major-General Stuart Watson describes his experiences on Sword Beach on D-Day to James Holland. He also recounts the sights and smells of the Falaise Pocket. Finally he tells James about his journey with XXX Corps to the bridge at Nijmegen.
     
    canuck likes this.
  13. A word of warning: Stuart-Nelson was Signals Officer on D Day, and landed around H+45 mins from LCT LTIN 210 with the wadings tanks, so is not a direct witness of the DD tanks launching, swimming and landing. His account is therefore not to be considered as a primary source for this part of the operation, apart from what he may have seen from his LCT when approaching the beach.

    Michel
     

Share This Page