ROYAL NAVY The Royal Navy supported 21 Army Group in a number of ways. On D Day they carried the invasion force across the Channel and then continued to protect the supply convoys. The navy provided fire support when fighting was in range of their guns, and provided air spotting aircraft. For the Rhine Crossing some naval personnel and landing craft assisted in building bridges. Click for Ship Drawings ROYAL NAVY ROYAL NAVY FIRE SUPPORT The Royal Navy has always used its guns in support of land operations. In NW Europe the Royal Navy used its firepower on D Day and in the Normandy Campaign. There were few opportunities later but there were organisations in place to enable naval gunfire to be controlled by Royal Artillery observers, or as part of a fire plan. Destroyers were very useful since they normally had six 4.7” calibre guns which gave each vessel the firepower of a field artillery battery. Cruisers normally had 6” guns which gave the firepower of medium artillery, while heavy cruisers had 8” guns. There were also monitors and battleships with much bigger guns but these were very vulnerable in confined waters. In coastal areas a corps could have a specially trained Royal Navy officer and a specially trained Royal Artillery officer at the headquarters of the Corp Commander Royal Artillery. These officers could liaise with the Royal Navy ships and co ordinate naval gunfire into corps fire plans. Combined Operations Bombardment Unit. These were organised to provide control for naval gunfire in combined operations. Each unit was organised into troops which each provided seven parties which consisted of trained personnel as follows. 1 X Observation Officer Royal Artillery 1 X observation post assistant Royal Artillery 3 X signaller Royal Navy 1 X Liaison Officer Royal Navy who was stationed on the ship providing fire support. The Observation Officer and his assistant manned an observation post as in Royal Artillery field units. The signallers Royal Navy were provided to operate wireless sets on Royal navy or combined operations frequencies, and to use Royal Naval signal procedures to communicate with their ship. Spotter aircraft were used to control naval gunfire but special communications arrangements were required. The Auster Air Observation Post aircraft was not suitable unless they passed information to one of the above organisations. On D Day observation for Naval gunfire was provided by a spotting pool of aircraft including: Four squadrons of Seafires from the Fleet Air Arm. Five squadrons of Spitfires and Mustangs from the RAF Fifteen Spitfires manned by United States Navy Naval gunfire on D Day was controlled from Headquarters Ships. It was possible for ships to use their fire control radar to engage targets. A spotter aircraft circled the target and allowed the radar to range on it. Special communications arrangements needed to be provided. Naval gunfire proved very effective. It could be used before heavy artillery could be landed and it could be used in conditions which made air strikes difficult. It was also immediately available. Once a target had been found the ships guns could be ready in seconds and could keep up a high rate of fire. German prisoners later gave naval gunfire as a major factor in delaying plans to counter attack since it could make any concentration or attack impossible within their range. EASTERN TASK FORCE. D DAY The Eastern Task Force was the Royal Navy element of the invasion forces and was responsible for the landing beaches used by the British. Task Force Command HMS Scylla 8 X 4.5” guns AA Cruiser Flagship HMS Sirius 10 X 5.25” guns AA Cruiser HMS Rodney 9 X 16” guns Battleship Bombarding Force K (Gold Beach) HMS Argonaut 10 X 5.25” guns AA Cruiser Flagship HMS Orion 8 X 6” guns Cruiser HMS Ajax 8 X 6” guns Cruiser Emerald 7 X 6” guns Cruiser HNMS Flores 3 X 5.9” guns Gunboat Dutch 12 X Destroyer HMS Jervis 6 X 4.7” guns J Class Leader HMS Grenville 4 X 4.7” guns U Class Leader HMS Ulster 4 X 4.7” guns U Class HMS Ulysses 4 X 4.7” guns U Class HMS Undine 4 X 4.7” guns U Class HMS Undaunted 4 X 4.7” guns U Class HMS Ursa 4 X 4.7” guns U Class HMS Urania 4 X 4.7” guns U Class HMS Urchin 4 X 4.7” guns U Class HMS Cattistock 4 X 4” guns Hunt Class HMS Pytchley 4 X 4” guns Hunt Class ORP Krakowiak 6 X 4” guns Hunt Class Polish Bombarding Force E (Juno Beach) HMS Belfast 12 X 6” guns Cruiser Flagship HMS Diadem 8 X 5.25” guns AA Cruiser 11 X Destroyer HMS Faulkner 5 X 4.7” guns F Class Leader HMS Fury 4 X 4.7” guns F Class HMS Kempenfelt 4 X 4.7” guns W Class Leader HMS Venus 4 X 4.7” guns V Class HMS Vigilant 4 X 4.7” guns V Class HMCS Algonquin 4 X 4.7” guns V Class Canadian HMCS Sioux 4 X 4.7” guns V Class Canadian HMS Bleasdale 4 X 4” guns Hunt Class HMS Stevenstone 4 X 4” guns Hunt Class HNMS Glaisdale 4 X 4” guns Hunt Class FFS La Combattante 4 X 4” guns Hunt Class French Bombarding Force D (Sword Beach) HMS Mauritius 12 X 6” guns Cruiser Flagship HMS Warspite 8 X 15” guns Battleship HMS Ramilies 8 X 15” guns Battleship HMS Roberts 2 X 15” guns Monitor HMS Arethusa 6 X 6” guns Cruiser HMS Frobisher 5 X 7.5” guns Cruiser HMS Danae 6 X 6” guns Cruiser ORP Dragon 6 X 6” guns Cruiser Polish 12 X Destroyer HMS Kelvin 6 X 4.7” guns K Class HMS Saumarez 4 X 4.7” guns S Class Leader HMS Scorpion 4 X 4.7” guns S Class HMS Scourge 4 X 4.7” guns S Class HMS Swift 4 X 4.7” guns S Class HMS Serapis 4 X 4.7” guns S Class HMS Virago 4 X 4.7” guns V Class HMS Verulum 4 X 4.7” guns V Class HNMS Stord 4 X 4.7” guns S Class Norwegian HNMS Svenner 4 X 4.7” guns S Class Norwegian HMS Middleton 6 X 4” guns Hunt Class HMS Eglinton 4 X 4” guns Hunt Class Headquarters Ships HMS Bulolo Gold Beach HMS Hilary Juno Beach HMS Largs Sword Beach NAVAL FORCE T. SCHELDT ESTUARY. OCTOBER 1944 HMS Kingsmill 3 X 3” AA Captain Class Frigate. Flagship HMS Warspite 8 X 15” guns Battleship HMS Roberts 2 X 15” guns Monitor HMS Erebus 2 X 15” guns Monitor NAVAL/ARMY AIR LIAISON GROUP War Establishment III/331/1 with an effective date of October 1944. This establishment was issued too late to be used in NW Europe but it did combine and replace two earlier War Establishments, III/5D/2 and III172/1 which would have applied at the time of D Day. Administrative Section General Staff Officer 2nd Grade (Air Liaison Officer) General Staff Officer 3rd Grade (Air Liaison Officer) 2 X clerk RASC Training Section General Staff Officer 2nd Grade (Air Liaison Officer) 2 X General Staff Officer 3rd Grade (Air Liaison Officer) 2 X batman clerk RA clerk RASC for photographic duties 3 X drivers of vehicles 2 X motorcyclist 2 X motorcycle 2 X car 4seat 4 X 2 1 X 3ton 4 X 2 GS Headquarters Ship Section A variable number of Headquarters Ship Sections was trained to serve on Amphibious Force Headquarter Ships. General Staff Officer 2nd Grade (Air Liaison Officer) Carrier Borne Air Liaison Section Type L A variable number of Carrier Borne Air Liaison Sections was trained to serve on aircraft carriers. General Staff Officer 2nd Grade (Air Liaison Officer) General Staff Officer 3rd Grade (Air Liaison Officer) serjeant clerk RASC clerk RASC Note: Liaison Officers could be Army or Royal Marines. ROYAL NAVY BEACH COMMANDO Royal Navy Beach Masters were responsible for activity up to the high tide mark. In effect this meant that they controlled naval activity including - calling in landing craft to the beach using radio, signal lamps and loudhailers. - unloading landing craft according to priorities - providing salvage parties to recover damaged landing craft, stores and equipment - providing fire fighting parties which used DUKWs with trailer pumps in them. Shipping remained under the control of the relevant Royal Navy organisation until released to the Beach Master. Each Royal Navy Beach Commando was intended to handle a beach landing for a brigade. They were designated by letters and there were Beach Commandos A to W, with W being an all Canadian unit. Each Beach Commando had the following personnel Principal Beach Master 3 X Beach Master 6 X Assistant Beach Master 3 X Petty Officer 6 X leading seaman 18 X able seaman 39 X ordinary seaman. These were normally organised as a headquarters and three Beach Parties, one for each combat battalion. Each Royal Navy Beach Commando was linked to an army Beach Group, which was responsible for a brigade landing beach above the high tide mark. The Royal Air Force provided a flight for each landing beach. This was responsible for RAF stores, material for airfield construction and for barrage balloons. Flights were attached to Beach Groups and came under the command of the Beach Master. Eventually all Beach Commandos and Beach Groups were joined together to form Beach Sub Areas which each served a division. ROYAL NAVY NAMED VESSELS. D DAY. Battleships Rodney Warspite Queen Elizabeth Class Ramilies Royal Sovereign Class Monitors Roberts Erebus Cruisers Mauritius Colony Class Belfast Glasgow Orion Leander Class Ajax Leander Class Hawkins Birmingham Class Frobisher Birmingham Class Emerald E Class Enterprise E Class Danae D Class Black Prince Bellona Diadem Sirius Destroyers Note: As a rule destroyers were built in flotillas of eight, one of which was a flotilla leader. All ships of the class began with the same letter so it is usually obvious which class a destroyer belongs to. As always there are exceptions and these are noted. Beagle Faulkner Fury Impulsive Isis Jervis Kelvin Onslow Obedient Orwell Opportune Offa Onslaught Saumarez Savage Scorpion Scourge Serepis Svenner Stord Swift Grenville U Class Ulster Ulysses Undaunted Udine Urania Urchine Ursa Venus Verulam Vigilant Virago Kempenfeldt W Class Ashanti Tribal Class Haida Tribal Class Huron Tribal Class Escorts Escorts were of many types. The most numerous were the Hunt Class which were designed as small destroyers for coastal, rather than fleet, work. Carristock Cotswold Cottesmore Atherstone Whaddon Blankney Middleton Blackmore Liddesdale Farndale Melbreak Wenslydale Tanatside Talybont Stevenstone Bleasdale Brissenden Flower Class were small escort corvettes based on whalers. Armeria Azalea Campanula Clarkia Clematis Clover Godetia Lavender Mignonette Narcissus Oxlip Pennywort Petunia Pink Alberni Black Swan and River Classes were larger escort frigates and sloops. Redpole Magpie Hind Stork Chelmer Nith Captain Class were US built escort destroyers. Duff Horham Halstead Holmes Retalick Riou Rowley Stayner Thorborough Torrington Trollope V and W classes were WWI destroyer designs rebuilt as escorts. Algonquin Sioux Vimy Vidette Vivacious Vesper Versatile Volunteer Westcott Wrestler Campbell Scott Class Minesweepers Minesweepers were kept busy and were of several classes. Bangor Class Androssan Bangor Beaumaris Blackpool Blairmore Bootle Boston Bridlington Bridport Caraquet Cowishan Dornoch Dunbar Eastbourne Fort William Fort York Fraserburgh Georgian Gorgon Guysborough Ilfracombe Kenora Llandudno Lyme Regis Malpeque Milltown Parrsborough Poole Qualicum Romney Rye Seaham Shippigan Sidmouth Tadoussac Tenby Wasaga Wedgeport Whitehaven Worthing Hunt Class. Escorts fitted for minesweeping and capable of performing either role. Elgin Kellet Lydd Panbourne Ross Saltash Selkirk Sutton Halcyon Class. Britomart Gleaner Halcyon Harrier Hussar Jason Salamander Seagull Speedwell Catherine Class Catherine Cato Gazelle Grecian Pique Steadfast Algerine Class Cockatrice Fancy Friendship Gozo Hydra Larne Lennox Loyalty Melita Minas Onyx Orestes Pelorus Persian Pickle Pincher Plucky Postilion Rattlesnake Ready Recruit Rifleman Vestal Trawlers. Two Step Hornpipe Bute Sheppey St Kilda Satsa Calm For D Day and the subsequent maintenance of the army in Europe most of the personnel and stores ships ships were: 1. Specially built or ordered ships including Landing Ship Tank (LST). Some 130 employed. Landing Craft Tank (LCT). Landing Ship Dock (LSD). Only one delivered in time. Thirteen US Standard C1-S-AY1 cargo ships converted to Landing Ship Infantry, Large (LSI(L)). Eighty Scandinavian Type coasters, half built in Canada and half in UK. Four US Standard N3-M-A1 fast coasters. Chant type petrol carriers. Small ships capable of carrying either bulk or canned petrol. 2. Ships originally built as Cross Channel ferries, or ferries for the North Sea and Irish routes. About thirty were converted for use as Landing Ship Infantry, Medium (LSI(M)) Landing Ship Infantry, Small (LSI(S)) Landing Ship Infantry, Hoist (LSI(H)) Hospital Carrier In addition Cross Channel train ferries were used to carry vehicles, locomotives and rolling stock. 3. Merchant Ships converted for service as Landing Ship Infantry, Large (LSI(L)). Seven were used, mainly on D Day. Landing Ship Tank MkI. Three shallow draft tankers were modified to carry tanks and other vehicles. Landing Ship Headquarters, Large (LSH(L)). Three ships were employed, one for each beach. Landing Ship Carrier (LSC). One ship converted to carry LCMs. In addition standard ships were used as store ships and Motor Transport ships US Standard EC-S-** cargo ships (Liberty Ships). Eight small naval ships were employed as Landing Ship Headquarters, Small (LSH(S)). These included two River Class frigates, three Hunt Class escort destroyers, two Captain Class escort destroyers and a gunboat originally intended for use in China. D DAY LANDING SHIPS. By Type Headquarters Ships LSH(L), Landing Ship Headquarters Large Bulolo Hilary Largs LSH(S), Landing Ship Headquarters Small Nith River Class Kingsmill Captain Class Albrighton Hunt Class Lawford Captain Class Waveney River Class Locust Insect Class gunboat Goathland Hunt Class Dacres Hunt Class Landing Ships Infantry LSI(L), Landing Ship Infantry, Large Empire Anvil C1 Empire Arquebus C1 Empire Battleaxe C1 Empire Broadsword C1 Empire Crossbow C1 Empire Cutlass C1 Empire Gauntlet C1 Empire Halberd C1 Empire Javelin C1 Empire Lance C1 Empire Mace C1 Empire Rapier C1 Empire Spearhead C1 Glenearn Glenroy Lamont Llangibby Castle Merchant Monowai Merchant LSI(M), Landing Ship Infantry Medium. Queen Emma Prince David Prince Henry LSI(S), Landing Ship Infantry Small Amsterdam Prins Albert Prinses Astrid Prince Baudouin Prince Charles Prinses Josephine Charlotte Prince Leopold Princess Margaret LSI(H), Landing Ship Infantry Hoist Biarritz Merchant Brigadier Canterbury Merchant Duke of Argyll Merchant Duke of Wellington Invicta Isle of Guernsey Isle of Thanet Lady of Man Merchant Lairds Isle Maid of Orleans Merchant Mecklenburg Merchant Princes Maud Merchant Royal Ulsterman St. Helier Ulster Monarch Victoria Merchant Other Landing Ships Northway, LSD, Landing Ship Dock 3 X LST1, Landing Ship Tank Mk1. 127 X LST2, Landing Ship Tank Mk2 LSE Adventure, Landing Ship Emergency Repair Most ships were manned by the Royal Navy but those listed as Merchant were manned by the Merchant Navy and controlled by the Ministry of War Transport. Merchant ships had a number of Royal Artillery personnel who were responsible for the ships armament and for training the merchant seamen to man it. Landing ships had Royal Marines from the Landing Craft Flotillas to man the LCA and LCM landing craft, usually three men per craft plus and administrative headquarters. US LANDING SHIPS. Several of the British Landing Ships Infantry were assigned to the American Utah and Omaha beaches. These are indicated above but are repeated here for convenience. Landing Ship Infantry, Large. Empire Anvil. Omaha Beach. Empire Javelin. Omaha Beach. Empire Gauntlet. Utah Beach. Landing Ship Infantry, Small. Prince Charles. Omaha Beach Prince Baudouin. Omaha Beach. Prince Leopold. Omaha Beach. Amsterdam. Omaha Beach. Landing Ship Infantry, Hoist. Princess Maud. Omaha Beach Ben My Chree. Omaha Beach. In addition the US Navy provided the following transports. APA. Attack Transports. Samuel Chase. Omaha Beach. Henrico. Omaha Beach. Charles Carroll. Omaha Beach. Thomas Jefferson. Omaha Beach. Bayfield. Utah Beach (Flagship). Joseph T Dickman. Utah Beach. Barnett. Utah Beach. AP. Transports. Anne Arundel. Omaha Beach. Dorothea L Dix. Omaha Beach. Thurston. Omaha Beach. Susan B Anthony. Follow Up. Orizaba. Follow Up. AKA. Assault Cargo Ship. Achernar. AGC. Amphibious Force Flagship. Ancon.