Omaha Beach questions.

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Trux, Feb 9, 2017.

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  1. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Omaha Beach.

    The LCT(6) which carried DD tanks across the Channel were to launch their tanks and then proceed to the Transport Area to collect vehicles and personnel. These were scheduled to land at H+180 minutes. In the event the DD tanks were carried all the way to the beach. The LCT(6) did however return to the Transport Area as planned.

    I have pieced together several snippets to try and explain the craft loads.
    Each craft carried four DD tanks.
    The design of the LCT(6) allowed all four DD tanks to be carried in line astern so that they could negotiate the bow ramp without damage to the screens.
    One table suggests that other vehicles (unspecified) were carried on the craft together with the DD tanks.
    The same table lists personnel as being carried in addition to tank crews. Presumably crews for the vehicles above.
    Different and later tables show the vehicles to be landed at H+180 minutes as twelve jeeps and trailers, except for those serving British LSI(L) which carry only four.

    My guess.
    Each LCT(6) carrying DD tanks also carried four jeeps and trailers stowed down the sides of the tank deck.
    The LCT(6) serving US APAs collected a further eight jeeps.
    Someone will know the answer.


    While thinking of APAs, some accounts mention troops boarding LCVP via scrambling nets. This was difficult and dangerous given the loads some carried. Others mention LCVP being loaded at the ships rail. I cannot find any official orders or instructions but always thought APAs lowered LCVP and then loaded via nets. I am fairly sure that I have read that loading at the rail and then lowering was considered dangerous. Possibly APA captains were senior enough to make their own decisions. Who knows for certain?


    Mike.
     
  2. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Hi Mike,
    Quick line reference the loading of APA. Had a look at this a few months ago and found some photographs showing APA loading at rail level.

    Don’t think I found any lists showing which ships loaded this way.

    Regards

    Danny
     
  3. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    For what it's worth, Fold3 includes documents from the US Assault Training Center, among which is an 'organization for a tank battalion for amphibious landing'.

    The Assault Wave consists of "A" Coy plus one Pl of "C" Coy, and "B" Coy plus one Pl of "C" Coy. A+ has 25 tanks and 100 men (4 Off, 96 EM), B+ the same. The second wave for each reinforced Coy contains two tanks, 3 Off (1 LO from Bn) and 11 EM (3 radio ops for SCR-509, these sets seemingly part of a special assault allotment). The residual pers are shown as 16 EM with 'remainder of Tk Bn', plus the 105-mm tank, maint halftrack, tank recovery veh and 1 jeep, and finally a 'later list' of 18 EM with 1 jeep and the Coy kitchen truck+trailer.

    That outline, at least, only envisions Tank Pls being landed in the assault wave, four Pls per reinforced Coy, and two Coy HQ tanks for each in the second wave. No 'B' vehs indicated till 'remainder of Tk Bn'.

    I don't imagine that's any help, but you never know.

    Gary
     
  4. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Thanks Gary,

    I am a collector of 'snippets'. Eventually they all come together. Like a jigsaw but without the box picture to help.

    Mike
     
  5. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Hi,
    Below is a photo showing a LCVP on USS Samuel L Chase, APA 26, loading at deck height. This was the second trip into the Omaha Beach for this LCVP.

    There are some well known photos taken at Omaha Beach on the navsource website showing LCVP from the Samuel L Chase. Attack Transport APA-26 Samuel Chase

    I think I have read that the reason a lot of the APA used the scrambling nets is that the davits were not built to take the weight of the LCVP and a full load of troops.

    Regards

    Danny
    APA  Samuel  L  Chase  LCVP  ed.jpg
     
  6. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Thanks Danny,

    APAs were interesting ships. They did not get to show their full potential on D Day but were used in great numbers in the Pacific. The D day APAs were all good looking ships as well. Pre war Maritime Commission C3 cargo/passenger liners. The Americans also took a lot of good photographs of them. Obviously they did not have the same security restrictions that we had.

    I have just about found all there is to find about Naval Force 'O' and the first couple of hours on Omaha. After that the coverage is patchy. I will soon start posting some material for all to comment on and add to.

    Almost certainly there will be more questions here first.

    Mike
     
  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    After studying Danny's photo I may have the answer. As well as the falls from the davits the LCVP seems to have ropes attached to it from one of the booms or derricks which the ship also has. This would make sense in a difficult situation. Where loading at the rail was dangerous and so was using scrambling nets a belt and braces approach would be a good solution.

    Mike
     
  8. Hello Mike,

    I assume that you are talking about the LCT(6) on the right of OMAHA Area, carrying the DD tanks of 743 Tk Bn scheduled to land on DOG GREEN and DOG WHITE Beaches, because those on the left (741 Tk Bn to EASY RED and FOX GREEN) were launched offshore only for most of them to sink in the heavy seas.

    My docs say they were planned to land their other vehicles at H+215, not H+180.
    Only roughly so. More precisely, combining the LCT Assignment Table:
    http://ww2lct.org/history/actionreports/O14.jpg
    http://ww2lct.org/history/actionreports/O15.jpg
    with this Landing Table:
    D-Day - Omaha Beach - Loading Plan - Force O - 116th RCT - Page3
    D-Day - Omaha Beach - Loading Plan - Force O - 116th RCT - Page4

    we may conclude that the LCT(6)(DD) vehicle loads were as follows (in addition to the 4 DD tanks each carried):

    LTIN Army Serial To land... - Loaded with DD tanks - Loaded after DD launch - From
    1205 LCT(6) 91.. Dog Green. - 4 Jeeps + 4 Trailers - 9 Jeeps............... - APA 4
    1206 LCT(6) 90.. Dog Green. - 4 Jeeps + 4 Trailers - none.................. - LSI(L) 2
    1208 LCT(6) 97.. Dog White. - 6 Jeeps............. - 7 Jeeps............... - APA 3
    1209 LCT(6) 95.. Dog White. - 5 Jeeps + 2 Trailers - 7 Jeeps + 1 Trailer... - APA 3
    1211 LCT(6) 96.. Dog Red... - 9 Jeeps + 2 Trailers - none.................. - APA 3
    1212 LCT(6) 94.. Dog Red... - 6 Jeeps + 1 Trailer. - 8 Jeeps............... - APA 3
    1213 LCT(6) 93.. Easy Green - 4 Jeeps + 4 Trailers - 8 Jeeps............... - APA 4
    1214 LCT(6) 92.. Easy Green - 4 Jeeps + 4 Trailers - 4 Jeeps + 2 Cub Planes - APA 4


    The only problem with the above table is LTIN 1211 (Army Serial 96) whose initial load of 9 Jeeps and 2 trailers along with 4 DD tanks seems impossible when one looks at the following loading diagram:
    http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/18/1018053901.jpg

    This might be an error on the LCT Assignment Table, because only 2 units and the personnel for their 5 Jeeps are listed as the initial load, so presumably the remaining 4 jeeps and 2 trailers were to be loaded at the same time as their personnel from APA 4.

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
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  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Thank you very much Michel. I am studying the links. I have seen most of them but not all.

    A problem is that primary sources are incomplete and secondary sources do not agree. For example Lefebvre gives the planned time for the second landing of the LCT(6) as H+180 while the document dated May 20 gives H+125 as you say. I have to assume that Lefebvre knows more than I but there can have been few changes after May 20.

    9 Jeeps as well as 4 DD tanks is not possible. From diagrams 6 jeeps or 4 Jeeps with trailers would seem right. The diagram to which you provide a link is not for a LCT carrying DD tanks. Those carrying DD tanks could not have Jeeps blocking the ramp.

    More later.

    You have answered a question that I have not asked yet. Photos show that the US beaches used chespale track and mesh track on the beach exits but I had not seen any clue as to how they were carried ashore. I see now that they were carried ashore on the Athey trailers towed by dozers and tractors.

    Thank again.

    Mike
     
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  10. Yes, Athey trailers seem to have played the same role on the US beaches as the Rogers and Jahn trailers on the Commonwealth ones.
    More on Athey trailers here:
    What is this vehicle on Omaha beach? - MLU FORUM

    And a well-known colour photo of an LCT(6) with a track-laden Athey trailer in the same position as on the loading diagram for LCT(6) 539:
    p013176

    Michel
     
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  11. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Great.

    I have never noticed the trailers on Omaha although I have seen the photo many times over many years.

    A suitable quote:
    Still they gazed and still their wonder grew that one small head held all that he knew.

    Mike
     
  12. It seems that Laurent Lefebvre changed the presentation of the Landing Table, removing 4 of the columns that were present in the previous version:
    - "Craft ready to Beach"
    - "Embarkation Sector
    - "Landing Ship or Craft
    - "Landing Sector and Beach"
    as well as the identity of the APA/LSI from which the LCT(DD) were to take their additional loads, and added 2 columns:
    - "Supplies" and
    - "Type Supplies or Vehicles", with details of the various vehicles instead of the total number per unit as per the previous version.
    By combining the two versions we can get a nearly complete, although still undated, Landing Table.
    Fortunately I had saved the previous version :D.
    Since apparently Excel files cannot be uploaded here, I placed it in the "Resources" area:
    New Resource - Landing Table 116 RCT v1.0
    Another similar source here:
    Table de chargement 116RCT Vierville
    from the excellent omahabeach.vierville website with plenty of information (mostly in French) and photos:
    Omaha Beach-Vierville

    Back to the scheduled landing times, this older version shows that there were different waves of LCT(6) scheduled to beach at H+180, H+215 and H+225 respectively. The eight LCT6) (DD) were the only ones scheduled to beach at H+215. This time of H+215 was changed from the previous time of H+180 as evidenced by the 11 May 44 version of the Landing Diagram:
    http://omahabeach.vierville.free.fr/6juin44Viervil4/PhotosNouvelles6/LandingDiagramOuest.jpg
    Source: Les plans des débarquements d'assaut
    The "final" (or at least the last known) version of the same Landing Diagram confirmed it:
    Landing Diagram, OMAHA WEST - 116th RCT - NEPTUNE Annex E - Final.jpg
    On the 16 RCT front the LCT(6)(DD) were scheduled to land on FOX GREEN Beach at H+220, but were not the only ones in this wave:
    http://omahabeach.vierville.free.fr/6juin44Viervil4/PhotosNouvelles6/LandingDiagramEst.jpg

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
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  13. Agreed, impossible either lengthwise or widthwise. The diagram and photos such as the following show that more than 2 Jeeps + 2 trailers on each side, or 3 Jeep and 1 trailer but only 3 Jeeps on the other would be the maximum possible.

    A rare (and unfortunately rather small) photo showing an LCT(6) with DD tanks on board, plus the Jeeps and trailers on each side, probably during an exercise:
    LCT(6) DD.jpg

    Next is LCT(6) 549 loading its complement of vehicles alongside APA-26 (Army Serial No. APA ?) SAMUEL CHASE after her four DD tanks have been launched, and the special DD ramps and guiding rails removed. LCT 549 was Army Serial No.62 carrying DD tanks of Co "C" 741 Tk Bn which were to land on FOX GREEN Beach. All Co "C" tanks sank (see for example Unit journal-741st Tank Battalion. :: World War II Operational Documents). Note the 2 Jeeps and 2 trailers tightly packed along the port side of the tank deck:
    http://omahabeach.vierville.free.fr/6juin44Viervil4/PN2/373663467_92fe45a1e8_o_d.jpg
    Source for photo: Flotille de sauvetage des Coast Guard
    Source for date, time and place: U.S. Coast Guard At Normandy, 1944


    On the next two pics one can clearly see that the space between the first Jeep and the broad white stripe (used to show the DD tank drivers where their tracks should be) is quite minimal, considering the extra width taken by the DD skirt (about one foot each side):
    https://portraitsofwar.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/lct535006z.jpg
    https://portraitsofwar.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/lct535009.jpg
    Source: normandy landing | Portraits of War

    Michel
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
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  14. An update on Athey trailers:
    The first photo in the linked MLU thread is zoomable on the IWM website:
    D-DAY - ALLIED FORCES DURING THE INVASION OF NORMANDY 6 JUNE 1944 (EA 26941)

    A few more pics, all downloadable in high resolution, those on the history.navy.mil website in tiff format, and the one on PhotosNormandie (flickr) by clicking the downward arrow at the bottom right of the black window and selecting "Original":
    80-G-253260
    80-G-253143
    p012943.jpg
    The comments on this last photo provide a link to a nice Olive-Drab page about Athey trailers:
    Athey Tracked Trailers (G123)

    But as usual, with answers also come more questions: isn't that a sledge of sorts in the foreground, also carrying track rolls? Or is it just the emerging part of a sunken trailer?
    80-G-252757
    The Unit Serial Number 44547 seems to indicate a (probably Engineer) unit of 2nd Armored Division.

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
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  15. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    Michel,

    I have run out of superlatives.

    Mike
     
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  16. Forgot to mention the Action Report on DD tanks of 743 Tk Bn:
    Untitled Normal Page
    and other docs from the same great ww2lct.org site:
    Action Reports and documents

    The linked doc also includes interesting considerations about the use (or abuse) of DD tanks...

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
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  17. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I shall now retire from the world for some days to digest and assimilate all this information.

    Mike
     
  18. Back to Athey trailers again!

    Several photos in my post #14 above were shot at the same location and show the same trailer:
    80-G-252757
    p012943

    According to the caption of
    p011351
    the location was near Exit 2 (La Grande Dune) on UNCLE RED Beach, UTAH Area (the captions and links in PhotosNormandie are always very informative).
    Note the sledge (?) with tracks rolls by the triangular (censored) Exit sign on the left. This sign is also visible to the right of p012943.

    Same location and trailer again on
    80-G-253143
    whose markings are more legible here:
    IESp .. 53I-E .. C. I7
    i.e. 1st Engineer Special Brigade, 531st Engineer Shore Regiment, (1st Battalion), Company C, 17th vehicle.

    If only British vehicles markings were as transparent as these! (but what fun would there be then?)

    Michel
     
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  19. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I am still retired from the world but:

    Following up some of Michel's information I find that the Narrative Report of the Commanding Officer of APA Thomas Jefferson states that on D Day the ship landed the following via LCTs
    49 troops
    21 Jeeps
    2 Piper Cubs.

    The Piper Cubs were air observation aircraft from 58 Field Artillery Battalion. The Handbook of Field Artillery says that such planes may be landed with the wings removed and stowed in special packs. They could be manhandled ashore, re assembled on the beach and flown off. There is no evidence that they were assembled and flown off on D Day. Probably someone knows more.

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
  20. The Force "O" CT Landing Table dated 15 May 1944 also shows that the eight LCT(6) carrying the thirty-two DD tanks of Co B & Co C 741st Tk Bn were also pre-loaded with a number of Jeeps & Trailers and were to report to APA 1 (CHASE) and APA 2 (HENRICO) after launching their DDs for more Jeeps & Trailers as well as some Cub planes, to be landed at H+220.

    My previous assessment of the maximum number of Jeeps + Trailers that could be carried together with the 4 DD tanks on each LCT(6) (i.e. 6 Jeeps + 1 Trailer) was wrong, since the numbers of pre-loaded vehicles varies from a minimum of 4 Jeeps + 2 Trailers to a maximum of 6 Jeeps + 2 Trailers! It looks like each side could accomodate up to 4 vehicles (Jeep and/or Trailer), as long as all 4 were not Jeeps.

    LTIN Army Serial To land.. - Loaded with DDs. - Loaded after DD launch......... - From
    2182 LCT(6) 55.. Fox Green - 6 Jeeps......... - 7 Jeeps + 7 Tlrs............... - APA 2
    2183 LCT(6) 56.. Fox Green - 6 Jeeps + 2 Tlrs - 6 Jeeps + 5 Tlrs............... - APA 2
    2184 LCT(6) 57.. Fox Green - 6 Jeeps + 2 Tlrs - 4 Jeeps + 1 Cub Plane.......... - APA 2
    2185 LCT(6) 58.. Fox Green - 5 Jeeps + 3 Tlrs - 2 Cub Planes................... - APA 2
    2186 LCT(6) 59.. Fox Green - 4 Jeeps + 3 Tlrs - 8 Jeeps + 6 Tlrs............... - APA 1
    2187 LCT(6) 60.. Fox Green - 4 Jeeps + 2 Tlrs - 8 Jeeps + 5 Tlrs............... - APA 1
    2188 LCT(6) 61.. Fox Green - 5 Jeeps + 1 Tlr. - 6 Jeeps + 1 Tlr + 1 W/C + 1 Cub - APA 1
    2189 LCT(6) 62.. Fox Green - 4 Jeeps + 3 Tlrs - 2 Jeeps + 2 Tlrs + 2 Cub Planes - APA 1


    The Cub Planes were noted as "Hq & Hq Btry 7th FA & 62nd FA Bns".

    Critical Past has tons of film clips of the US landings. Clips 65675051418 to 51422 were shot (in reserse chronological sequence) on board LCT(6) 603, whose planned Army Serial was LCT 55, with three (!) Piper Cubs on board in addition to Jeeps:

    LCT 603 embarking troops (climbing down rope ladders), then sailing off - 3 Pipers Cubs on board (from 00:47):
    http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675051422

    Sailing towards shore:
    http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675051421

    Approach:
    http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675051420

    Final approach; touch down; troops start to disembark:
    http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675051419

    Jeeps land; troops ashore, Piper Cub on beach:
    http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675051418

    Higher resolution versions (up to 1920x1080) are available on youtube, with a much less invasive watermark too:
    51422:

    51421:

    51420:

    51419:

    51418:


    Michel
     
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