Sword Beach.

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by Trux, May 4, 2012.

  1. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Great reply Mike.

    There seem to have been many problems with the Rhino ferries recorded. Do you have any further information on this?
  2. Superb additions to this great thread again Mike!

    I computed the totals from your post on 39 GT Coy RASC (First to Third Tides) with results as follows:

    2 15cwt 4x4 GS (CMP)
    1 15cwt water
    120 3ton 4x4 GS Austin
    1 3ton 4x4 Albion
    1 3ton GS Albion
    1 3ton Workshop Albion
    1 3ton Breakdown Albion
    1 6x4 Breakdown Albion
    1 Humber Heavy Utility 4x4
    3 Jeep
    17 MC
    plus 9x 6 pr A Tk guns carried as load

    with a total of 309 men.

    In the Landing Table First Tide, I found 2 more entries apparently not included in your list:
    LST (LTIN 385) H+330 1 3ton GS Austin with 3 crew (which I omitted by error in my transcription of the Landing Tables - error now corrected!)
    LST (LTIN 406) H+360 1 3ton 4x4 GS Austin with 2 crew

    While we're talking about 39 GT Coy RASC, here's a correction to my earlier post regarding its Arm of Service marking here:
    which gave it as 561 over Black (as described in a 3 Br Inf Div document). In reality it was the much more standard 561 over the RASC Flash (Red & Green), with GHQ diagonal bar ("backslash" or "\"). See this post on Missing Lynx Allied Discussion Group for a photo of this marking:

  3. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    Post 169 in this thread deals with the operation of Rhino Ferries on Sword. You may have to wait a while longer for Juno. Since I keep getting sidetracked it may be the next decade before I get to Gold.

    Rhinos were certainly troublesome and the idea of using them to unload LSTs was soon abandoned. LSTs beached and dried out to discharge vehicles. Rhinos then unloaded ships and coasters until they wore out.

  4. bltc

    bltc New Member

    Thanks to Trux, M. Sabarly & Mike L for the prompt replies to my query.
    Seriously impressive stuff .. .. the depth of detail you have posted is amazing.
    I know its all been said before, but your posts re-emphasize the scale of planning that must have gone into preparing for the Normandy Landings.
    Thanks again for your assistance.
  5. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Mike, Mike, et al,

    39 Coy RASC (GT) was one of the first RASC war diaries I collected as I thought it had used Austin K5 3-ton 4x4 in June 44 in accordance with the loading tables, however, the war diary records:

    "26 May 44
    Received 34 Lorry Chevrolet 4 x 4 3-ton, 60 Ford 4 x 4 3-ton. Returned 66 Lorry 4 x 2 3-ton."

    Which is very perplexing! I keep meaning to look at the war diary of 21 Tpt Coln, and 101 Beach Sub Area, which I think were the superior formations under which 39 Coy operated in the first few days in Normandy.

    My thoughts are: that the defect discovered in wading trials with Austin K5s led to this coy's vehs being withdrawn for re-work, hence an issue of 4x2 vehs. Then, the Austin's not being ready in time, it was decided to issue a mixture of other 3-to 4x4's to cover the shortfall. Was one platoon left with Austin K-5's? Possibly, as later on the war diary records:

    "21 August 1944 Langrune-sur-Mer, France
    Information received from 11 L of C that all Chevrolet 3 ton 4 x 4 GS C60L and Ford 3 ton 4 x 4 GS WOT6 vehs are to be exchanged for Austin 3 ton 4 x 4 GS K5 vehs."

    Sadly that is all that I have (in WD up to Oct 44) - it would be great to solve this mystery though!


  6. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    A frivolous aside.

    While looking at another interest of mine, the Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Wars, I was reminded that there is nothing really new about the D Day landings.

    Two hundred years ago troops could be transported, put ashore, supported and supplied but the detailed paperwork is not available to us today. Certainly there were transports for the troops, adapted transports for the horses, supply ships and water carriers. Although little used there was a reserve of landing craft, broad boats with oars along the sides and space for several rows of troops on benches down the centre.

    Fire support was well developed. The larger ships would remain off shore to use their massive fire power if required. Frigates would close in to the flanks to engage any opposition to the landing. Ships boats were equipped with swivel guns to give close support to boats carrying the troops while larger ships boats used carronades to fire over the heads of the assault waves. Rocket firing craft were useful and bomb ketches with large mortars were available.

    Artillery could be carried in some boats but a simpler method was to construct a raft with spars and timber and tow it in using ships boats. The raft was easy to unload and a timber trackway could be laid up the beach.

    In many ways the navy of two hundred years ago was more versatile since it used manpower, boats and timber which all warships had aplenty.

    The devices used by AVREs have a much longer history. Medieval siege warfare, even the Roman legions, could deploy fascines and bridges to cross ditches and log carpets or corduroy tracks to cross sand, bog or difficult country.

  7. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member

    As a yachtsman with a sailing boat in the Solent I am completely overwhelmed with this master piece of work by Mike, and just only less staggered by the amount of shipping in a tiny area of sea. The Solent is renowned for hazards of all types, and I have been aground on one memorable occasion at Hillhead spit. The skippers of the ships can only have had little knowledge of the area so the seamanship of the navy can only be described as of the highest order. Having said that after 4 years of war and being at sea the maritime skills of all concerned were most certainly at an all time high.

    Mike, I do hope that this tome of logistics and invasion can be turned into a reference book to give you some reward for your dedication and effort, pleasurable as it may be now.

  8. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    Thank you very much for your kind words. As I have said somewhere before I merely have the privilege of presenting the research done by others.

    I fear that I have little need of reward and the long, hard and tedious task of preparing work for publication does not appeal at all.

    I have some knowledge of boats and the sea. Coming from Whitby I bought a fourteen foot clinker built sailing boat. It also had oars and a clamp for an outboard motor. I also sailed my fathers 6 metre yacht, built for the Helsinki Olympics put not actually used apparently. An understanding of tides, currents and winds helps in understanding the naval aspects of D Day.

  9. zola1

    zola1 Member


    Some constructive comment on the topic of the thread from me this time!

    Some more info for you regards the troops landed at H+215 & H+230. According to the 19Mar44 Landing Table the troops in serials 579, 580, 583 & 584, on board the four LSI’s, were to be ferried ashore. However its apparent that most or all of these troops were not ferried ashore from their respective LSI’s but allocated LCI(L)’s to carry them directly to the beach from England. On 14May44 the 3 Div Op Order shows that 12 LCI(L)’s had been allocated to land these Troops (a tight squeeze considering there was more than 2500 men!). By 21May44 ONEAST/S7B shows a total of 14 LCI(L)’s had been allocated, which were LTIN’s 411 to 424.

    Group 13 (LTIN’s 411-416), due to land at H+215, consisted of US LCI(L)’s 9, 12,14, 15, 16 & 33. The log of US LCI(L)9 records: “On 5 June 1944 this ship loaded at East Quay, Newhaven with 156 British Troops of the 53rd and 292nd Pioneer Corps, Beach Ordnance, RASC, details British 3rd Division, and 5th and 6th beach crews in accordance with ONEAST/S 2A….” The log goes on to record for 06June… “beached at 1105...”

    Group 14 (LTIN‘s 417-424), due to land at H+230, consisted of US LCI(L)’s 13, 35, 193 & 238, and, 4 RN LCI(L)’s 111, 116, 174 & 175. The log of US LCI(L)193 records: “At 2000 5 June 1944 this vessel got underway from Newhaven, England with 189 officers and troops of the British 3rd Division and proceeded via channel 10 to ‘Sword’ Beach…” The log goes on to record for 06June… “At 1122 after receiving orders from the convoy commander….we beached with the 14th wave….”


    I did think that late Uncle Frank was in the KRRC, but this does not appear to be the case as his service doc shows the 51 ptn Pioneer Corp, here are some scans form his Service Record :-

    1st Franks Service Record.jpg

    2nd Franks Service Record.jpg

    Would the 51 PTN as shown in the last scan,,, have had any action on D-Day as part of the two Pioneer Corp you mention (the ones i highlighted in Red in the quote)

    51 PTN.JPG .

    I am trying to decipher the Army acronyms and would like to take the first steps in establishing if Frank to part in D-Day.

    Any help on this would be much appreciated.

    Kind Regards

  10. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    Thank you for your input. Every little helps and there is still a great deal to be found out.

    I can not pretend to read the abbreviations on your document. It does not seem to me that 51 refers to a Pioneer Unit, although there almost certainly was a 51 Pioneer Company. The abbreviation seems to be PTW. It seems to also refer to 813 Company, much higher number than I have come across.

    However 53 and 292 were certainly Pioneer Companies which landed on Sword on D Day.

  11. zola1

    zola1 Member

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for taking a look at Franks Service record, i'll try and find some further details perhaps from the Pioneer Association or Kew (War Diaries) . i'll post up any info.

    Great work you are doing, well done.

  12. zola1

    zola1 Member

    Just received this from Norman at the Pioneer Association, I know serving in two smoke Companies is not the most exciting of duties, but when you read their job duties and responsibilities it involved quite a lot of tasks and i feel really proud of him ....I am going to research Franks time with the 815 (Smoke) Coy as part HQ 21 Army Group 9 Jun....to see if he was involved in helping set up any smoke screens in Operation Overlord.

    View attachment 14436643 Cyril Frank WILTSHIRE.doc

    If anyone has any thoughts on this please post .

    I hope you find it interesting ?

  13. woody59

    woody59 Member

    Hi does anyone have any information on LCT 331 run in shoot to Queen beach that my dad was on? His regiment was 7th Field Regiment Royal Artillery
  14. Hello,

    LCT (LTIN 331) was LCT Mark IV 859 of 32 LCT Flotilla. See this post and the whole thread which might be of interest for you:

    Do you have any further detail on your father's vehicle, troop and fellow Gunners? Perhaps some photos too?

  15. woody59

    woody59 Member


    My dad was A troop, Jack Wright was his best friend (from Liverpool) and Lt Bowman their tank commander.

  16. John Redell

    John Redell Member

    Thanks so much for this, especially the "H+230 minutes" post!

    My dad was commanding officer of USN LCI(L)-13 (either LTIN 417 or 412), so this finally gives me a detailed idea of his combat mission at Sword during Neptune.

  17. John Redell

    John Redell Member

    My father:


    Lt. Commander R.G. Redell USN, veteren of North Africa Operations and Italian Campaign amphibious landings at Licata, Salerno/Naples and Anzio, commanding officer of USN LCI(L) 13, USN Flotilla 2, re-assigned to RN command for Neptune, LTIN 412 or 417, Group 13 or 14. Landed Beach Group personnel on Sword Beach White Sector @ either H+215 or H+230.

    Edited to note: PIC above was taken when my dad was still a Lt. (JG), as stripes on his sleeve indicate. He was promoted to Lt. in July of 1943 @ Bizerta, Tunisia and later to Lt. Commander in October of 1945.
  18. Arty

    Arty Member


    You've probably seen this photo, however for the benefit of those who haven't, here's a pic of LCI(L) 13 resplendent with a fresh paint job. It was apparently taken at Newhaven in March 44. ( source: http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/15/150013.htm )


    Editors note! John, Just realised you've been having a discussion about LCI(13) in another thread. The pic is nevertheless appropriate here....Arty

    Attached Files:

  19. John Redell

    John Redell Member

    Thanks anyway, Arty, for the kind thought.

    That is actually the very photo that started the circuitous search which eventually led me to this site. I had always wondered why my Dad's ship was painted with an RN camo scheme for this ONE invasion (Normandy) only and this site has answered that question and then some!

    My next step will be to try to dig up things like USN deck logs and action reports on THIS side of the pond so that I can learn about his ship's part in Operations Torch, Husky, Avalanche and Shingle in as great detail as this site has educated me about Operation Neptune.

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