Sword Beach.

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

  1. Jean-François

    Jean-François New Member

    Hi all,

    I've red this thread and it is a source of lots of information. But I have a question about A and B squadron and LCT's used to bring them to shore.

    Mike wrote that A and B squadron consisted of five troops of three DD tanks with a headquarters of four DD tanks with extra wireless sets and a 'spare' tank and Arty corrected this explaining that A & B Squadrons each consisted of five troops each of three DD’s.

    Based on Mike information, they should have been shipped by LCT(3), while with Arty's assumptions they should have been shipped by LCT(4). As far as I know, LCT(3) has a capacity of 5 - 40 tons tanks and LCT(4) has a capacity of 6 - 40 tons tanks. Does this mean that LCT's whatever the configuration is they were not fully loaded?

    I hope my question is clear ;-)


  2. Hello Jean-François,

    Welcome to the forum!

    I do not quite understand your question, because Mike and Arty are in agreement regarding the structure of the DD squadrons. See Mike's post and Arty's.

    The LCT(4) were preferred over the LCT(3) for the assault waves because of their shallower draught, meaning that they could land their load in less water, and also unbeach more easily.
    The LCT(3) were therefore used for other tasks, such as landing elements of Follow up Force L, when they could remain high and dry on the beach once the initial danger had passed, or for launching the DD tanks, because they did not have to beach at all.

    Here are some examples of maximum possible loads, including the ones you noted:
    LCT(3) – 5 Cromwell or 5 Churchill or 9 Sherman or 11 Valentine tanks or 10 3-ton Lorries
    LCT(4) – 8 Cromwell or 6 Churchill or 9 Sherman or 9 Valentine tanks or 12 3-ton Lorries

    The Mark IV was shorter but wider than the Mark III, so it could theoretically load the wider Sherman DD tanks in two columns when the Mark III could load only one. So yes, in theory again, it should have been possible to load up to seven DD tanks in a Mark IV. However, this would have left little manoeuvring room for the tanks to align with the craft's centreline before launching. A maximum of six DD tanks per LCT(4) would therefore have been the probable practical maximum, thus still requiring four craft to carry a full twenty tank strong squadron, or reducing the number of tanks carried by 10 percent if only three craft were used, while making the already tricky task of aligning themselves even more difficult for the four last tanks in each craft.

    But I believe that the main reason for using LCT(3) rather than LCT(4) in the DD role was because LCT(4) were deemed essential for the assault landing waves.

    Trux likes this.
  3. Jean-François

    Jean-François New Member

    Hello Michel,

    I fully agree with Arty and Mike. My question was just to understand how LCT(3) en LCT(4) were loaded with DD shermans. I was reading the "ONI 226 - Allied Landing Craft and Ships" and I noticed variation between those two LTCs (width and length). You are absolutely right about the draft, the LCT(4) is more interesting to move tanks to shore. So based on your comment I understand that LCT(3) transported only 3 DDs each, is it correct?

    Then I have another question about Flotilla as it is not clear for me. A and B squadrons were shipped by 14th Flotilla according to previous message, but it is written that it had 10 LCTs. So how has been shipped the C squadron, by the 41st Flotilla? By the way, where could I find informations about Flotillas?

    Thanks for your explanations.

  4. As noted above, no LCT(4) carried DD tanks, only LCT(3) (and LCT(6) in the Western Task Force). LCT(3) carried a maximum of five Sherman DD each, in one single column along the centre line of the craft. See IWM A 23846 (reversed horizontally on their website) showing an LCT(3) of 11 Flotilla, N LCT Squadron with five Sherman DD tanks bound for JUNO Area:
    A_023846 - LCT(DD) N11, 6 Jun 44 - corrected (reversed) [Lt Beadell] on board BEAGLE.jpg

    Note how the first DD is pointing up. This is because it is on the upward slope between the bows:
    BU_01279 - LCT(3) Walcheren, 1-3 Nov 44.jpg
    Source: IWM BU 1279

    C Sqn, which had only wading tanks, no DDs, was indeed carried by 41 LCT Flotilla. The Green List has information about which craft was in which flotilla, but not about what the craft/flotilla carried.

  5. Jean-François

    Jean-François New Member

    Thanks Michel, it is easier to understand with pictures. Do you confirm that there were only 3 DDs in an LCT(3) of A and B Squadrons?

    Maybe I missed the information in this long thread, but I did not find the LTIN of the Following LCTIII : 462 and 466.

    About C Squadron, it was converted to a four troop structure as explained previously. Does this mean it has been carried by 5 LCT(4) of the 41st Flotilla?

    About the Green List, I'll try to find a copy ;)

    Then, I'm investigating to understand the structure of 13th/18th Hussars RHQ and ARVs. This would help me to identify which tanks had to be carryed by LCT(4)

  6. Jean-François

    Jean-François New Member

    I was searching for information on the IWM website and I found this picture of two LCTs. I Don't know when was taken this picture, but we can notice specific LTIN for LCT611 and LCT612 during an exercice before the D-day.

    Maybe this can be useful :)

  7. Sorry, I realise that I was not clear enough: A & B Squadrons were carried in eight LCT(3) of 14 Flotilla, each LCT carrying five DD tanks, as per Mike's Post #39. LCT 462 & 466 are the two craft in 14 Flotilla not carrying DD tanks, which is why they do not appear in this thread. I do not know what those two did on D Day.

    The only Landing Table we have (dated 19 March 1944 and available here: Updated Resource - Landing Table - 3 British Infantry Division Group (First Tide)) reflects the Regiment's organisation at the time, i.e. 19 tanks in each Sqn plus four tanks in RHQ. Using the Filter sheet and adding up the various vehicles from 13/18 H, we get:

    38 tk Sherman V DD (19 in A Sqn + 19 in B Sqn)
    18 tk Sherman III (2 per tp x 5 tps = 10 in C Sqn + 4 in SHQ + 4 in RHQ)
    5 tk Sherman Vc (1 per tp x 5 tps = 5 in C Sqn)
    3 tk Sherman III ARV (1 per Sqn)
    8 tk lt Stuart
    3 carrier univ
    3 M14 (US half track)

    As we already know, the thirty-eight Sherman V DD of A & B Sqns (probably completed with one additional tank per squadron) were to be carried by eight LCT(3) Serials 101-108.

    All the remaining Sherman tanks of the Regiment (from RHQ and C Sqn) plus the three ARVs, that is, a total of twenty-six AFVs on Sherman chassis, were initially to be carried in just three LCT, loaded to full capacity as follows:
    Two LCT(3) (Serials 210 & 214) each carrying nine Shermans (including one ARV) and
    One LCT(4) (Serial 212) carrying eight Shermans (including one ARV) plus a carrier, a jeep and an amphibious jeep

    The remaining AFVs were to be loaded on two LCT(4) (Serials 215 & 217).

    The two LCT(3) carrying Shermans were later changed to LCT(4) (at an unkown date, but apparently not long before loading), and right after the actual loading on 3 June, each of these three Sherman-carrying LCT(4) off-loaded two tanks which were then loaded into an additional LCT(4).

    The final, actual D Day lift for 13/18 H therefore became:

    A Sqn – four LCT(3) carrying a total of twenty Sherman DD tanks
    B Sqn – four LCT(3) carrying a total of twenty Sherman DD tanks
    C Sqn & RHQ – four LCT(4) carrying a total of twenty-six Sherman tanks (including three ARVs)
    RHQ etc. – two LCT(4) carrying a total of eight Stuart tanks, three M14 half-tracks and two Carriers (plus vehicles of other units)

    Since the initial plan was based on a C Sqn org with 19 tanks, there was no room left for a 20th tank as per the new org, so, unless the Landing Table was later amended to accomodate it, the 4th Sherman III of SHQ C Sqn was either not loaded in this lift or not taken on strength yet.

    Last edited: May 5, 2019
    Trux likes this.
  8. Unfortunately, on D Day landing craft did not always carry the same LTIN as during Exercise FABIUS, so this is no definite proof, but a still good indication.

  9. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    A little bit of extra information re the landing of 53rd Medium Regt from their war diary (WO171/1055):

    29 May 1944 Camp A15 (Wickham)

    Orders received that Marshalling would commence on 30 May. The Regt is marshalling as follows:

    LST 383 RHQ & 209 Recce Parties under the CO.

    LST 384 1 line jeep of Sigs under Cpl. Potts.

    LST 385 210 Recce Party under Major J.E. Marnham [??]

    LST 625 BHQ 210 & C Tp 210 Bty under Capt. Appleton.

    LST 626 209 Bty under Capt. Barnett.

    LST 627 RHQ & D Tp 210 Bty under Capt. Davey.

    This relates to post 130 on page 7 of this excellent thread which peaked my interest as it stated that the regiment had 19 x 3-ton 4x4 Austins.

    Unfortunately, there is no mention of what type of 3-tonners the regiment received in the war diary - the only relevant entry being as follows:

    23 – 26 May 1944 Camp A15 (Wickham)
    Complete new set of vehicles drawn for Assault Party. This period spent in waterproofing vehs and equipment.

    Anyone with photos from these LST's?


  10. Nope, but a photo of LST 361 (Serial 381) embarking K5's from 5 KINGS (AoS 67), which you probably already know. Note the different tyre tread patterns on the front and rear wheels:
    H_038976 - Austin K5 5 KINGS, 5 Beach Gp LST 361 (381), Gosport 1 Jun 44 [Capt Knight].jpg
    Source:IWM H 38976

    The Landing Table First Tide dated 19 Mar 44 listed only one 3 ton GS Austin 4x4 in LST Serial 384, so some changes had taken place in-between, since we now see two of them embarking on Serial 381.

    This same Landing Table lists only the following for 53 Med Regt:

    LST 383
    1x 15 cwt W/T, 1x M14 (US half track, recce party one battery) & 2x MC (loaded) with 14 crew
    1x 15 cwt GS 4x4 HUP, 1x car hy utility Humber 4x4 (recce party RHQ) & 2x MC (loaded) with 9 crew

    LST 385
    1x 15 cwt W/T, 1x M14 (US half track, recce party one battery) & 2x MC (loaded) with 14 crew

    LCT 399
    1x car 5 cwt 4x4 with 4 crew (incl. L.O.)

    The Landing Table Second Tide dated 30 Mar 44 (with later, undated amendments) listed:

    LST 625
    5x Tractors med arty 4x4 AEC, 4x Guns 5.5" med & 1x Carrier univ with 63 crew in Tank Deck
    6x 3 ton GS Austin, 2x 15 cwt fitted WT, 1x 15 cwt water Bedford, 1x car 5 cwt 4x4 & 3x MCs with 52 crew on Main Deck

    LST 626
    9x Tractors med arty 4x4 AEC, 8x Guns 5.5" med & 2x Carriers AOP with 123 crew in Tank Deck
    9x 3 ton GS Austin, 3x 15 cwt fitted WT, 1x 15 cwt water Bedford, 1 car 5 cwt 4x4 & 6x MCs with 70 crew on Main Deck

    LST 627
    4x Tractors med arty 4x4 AEC, 4x Guns 5.5" med & 1x Carrier univ with 60 crew in Tank Deck
    4x 3 ton GS Austin, 3x 15 cwt fitted WT, 1x 15 cwt water Bedford, 1x 15 cwt fitted WT & 3x MCs with 32 crew on Main Deck
    plus from 53 Med Regt Sig Sec: 1x M14 (US Half Track), 2x 3 ton GS Austin & 5 MCs with 21 crew

    So here you have your 19 K5's, plus another 2 in Sig Sec :D

    Some day when I get the complete Second Tide Landing Tables I'll post them...

    Last edited: May 6, 2019
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  11. Last edited: May 6, 2019
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  12. Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  13. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi Michel,

    Many thanks for the additional information. I must have missed that second photo from the 53rd Medium Regiment website - my eyes probably blurred by too long searching for mythical K5's. I'll pop it up on the K5 thread as well.

    I had seen the original 'loading' photo, but hadn't been able to identify the unit. It's nice to see a photo which matches up to the earlier plans.

    Now I just need to look at the 5 KING's war diary and see what happened to their surplus vehicles when they disbanded (I assume they did so after their beach tasks were completed?).


  14. Garry V

    Garry V Member

    Hi Colin

    Thankyou very much for this information, which is extremely helpful in my quest, particularly in relation to your references to B Sqdn 13/18 Hussars, and concurs with the few memories I gleaned from my father, who had told me that he supported the Commandos when they first landed in Ouistreham.

    I would indeed very much welcome any further information you may have.

    Kind Regards

  15. mark mccarthy

    mark mccarthy Member

    Trying to track down activities of LCI(S) 534 on d day. Special duties HMS Largs
  16. Garry V

    Garry V Member

    Hi Mike

    Thank you very much for your reply and apologies for such a long gap in getting back to you on this thread (bereavement, house move). However, I am now back on the trail...

    Having always understood from my father that his tank swam ashore from 5000yds out, I was a little taken aback by the article in The Lilywhites Vol 8 No 3 (Apr 1951) about 13/18 H on D Day, you referred to, which suggests that his tank may have been beached in LCT 467, because it states 5th Troop (being my father's troop). I could not understand this in relation to what he told me.

    However, I have recently read through the 'History of 13/18th Royal Hussars (QMO)' 1922 - 1947, and have discovered an anomaly in this statement. I refer to Chapter 6; The Assault and The Normandy Bridgehead, and in the last paragraph at the bottom of page 96, it states; "All LCT loads except two made completely successful launches. The leading tank out of LCT 467 (Temporary Lieutenant R. J. Corrin R.N.V.R), carrying 'B' Squadron and the fourth troop, tore its canvas and was unable to take the water". There is clearly a discrepancy as to whether LCT 467 carried 4th Troop or 5th Troop. In all other respects the account is the same. I am convinced by this document and my fathers account that it was 4th Troop on LCT 467 and not his. I therefore still need to verify, if at all possible, which LCT carried 'B' Squadron, 5th Troop. From this document, I understand that 'A' & 'B' Squadrons set off from the hards at Stokes Bay, near Gosport.

    I have not yet been able to access a copy of The Lilywhites Journal Vol 8 No 3 (Apr 1951). to read the whole article. Unfortunately I was not able to access it from the link you kindly sent me, or perhaps I am just not seeing it !

    Further research is needed. Can anyone help with information which might resolve this. I would be exremely grateful.

    canuck likes this.
  17. ddaycolin

    ddaycolin Member

    Hi Garry,

    Glad to have been of help.
    It is interesting to note that in Captain Leslie Evans photos B5102 and B5103 taken at about 08h40 (I have good copies) 2 Duplex Drives of 13/18 Royal Hussars are in action on the beach.
    In B5102, the one to the right of the photo has its gun pointing towards COD. In B5103, the action is over and N°43 is leading the other east in the direction of exit 23.
    At this moment, at least some of 4 Commando was still grouping at its assembly point in the ruined "holiday camp" near exit 26 before advancing more than 2kms into Ouistreham. 4 Commando landed
    in two waves at 0750 and 0755. 'A' Troop had advanced about 100 yards down the road to Ouistreham when it was overtaken first by DD N° 48 and then DD N°43.
    Apparently, accompanying the Commandos into Ouistreham was not part of the original 13/18 Royal Hussars plan. Major Ronald Menday, who took over command of 4 Commando after Colonel
    Robert Dawson had been wounded (twice) wrote in his account that he persuaded/ ordered a Troop of 13/18 Royal Hussars to escort the Commandos into Ouistreham and this they did.
    They arrived in the centre just behind the first French Commandos to arrive (they led the 4 Commando advance). The leading DD tank had the LTIN N° 106. The 13/18 Hussars tanks were filmed by Sergeant George Laws right up till shortly before the Canal. Later N°48 can be seen out of action while commandos run past. 48 was later towed off and harboured in Ouistreham.There is no doubt that the 13/18 Hussars played a most important role in assisting the Commandos. I'll check through my documents to see what else that might be of interest to you.

    Kind Regards
  18. Garry V

    Garry V Member

    Hi Colin

    Thank you very much for yet more interesting and useful information. I am particularly keen to follow up on the images of the Duplex Drive tanks you mention in photos B5102 and B5103. You mention you have good copies, are able to post these? I am also very keen to access the film put together by Sergeant George Laws. Do you have a link to this that agin you could post?
  19. Garry V

    Garry V Member

    Sorry Colin, I accidently pressed Post Reply button before I had finished!

    I was going on to pick up on your your comment....Apparently, accompanying the Commandos into Ouistreham was not part of the original 13/18th Royal Hussars plan. This is borne out by the record, in the 13/18th Royal Hussars Regimental History, of the DDay landing, which says;

    When the leading tank of 'B' Squadron (Lieutenant W.G.Denny) first moved up on the beach, the only other tank to be seen was that of Captain R. Neave, Second in Command of 'B' Squadron. These joined forces and reached the sand dunes, wher they found a formidable tank obstacle. Captain Neave obtained the assistance of a bulldozer and quickly succeeded in getting the tanks over and clear of the beach, which was becoming very unhealthy from gun and mortar fire. As only two tanks were then up - too few to be of much use in support of the infantry - Captain Neave returned on foot to the beach to try and collect the remainder of the Squadron. He was out of touch with his Squadron-Leader (who it will be recalled, had failed to launch with the fourth troop), but he found the first troop and Captain W.Wormald in his tank on the beachand quickly guided them inland, where they joined and all moved forward to the second lateral road to gain touch with their infantry.
    Unfortunately, on reaching this road, the 1st Troop turned left and disappeared towards Ouistreham, where it became involved with the Commandos under Lord Lovat. All efforts to recall it failed. It eventually reached the bridge over the Orne and was not rallied till the evening. This left the tanks of Captain Neave, Lieutenant Denny and Captain Wormald alone until the Squadron Leader and the 4thTroop - who had by this time come ashore dryshod from their L.C.T. - succeeded in joining up. The East Yorkshire Regiment were greatly cheered by their arrival, and attacks on 'SOLE' , followed by that on 'DAIMLER' were carried out........"
    So it would seem chance and persuasion brought the Commandos and 13/18th Royal Hussars together!

    Kind Regards

    canuck likes this.
  20. Reedwarbler

    Reedwarbler Member

    I am a new member with a family interest in Sword Beach. I have been trying to find out what the LCT(A)s of 100th Flotilla were carrying. Mike’s very interesting post of 28 March 2013 on the landing of the 5th (Independent) Royal Marine Armoured Support Battery lists the eight LCT(A)s by Serial number (532 to 547). Is it known which Serial number refers to which LCT(A) number, eg which Serial number was LCT(A)2191 ? Apologies if this has already been discussed.

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