Sword Beach.

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

  1. Hello Reedwarbler,

    Welcome to the forum! The eight LCT(A) of 100 LCT Flotilla were allocated the Landing Table Index Numbers and carried loads as follows:
    532 – LCT(A) 2432 – 2 Centaurs, 1 Sherman V, 1 Carrier
    533 – LCT(A) 2433 – 2 Centaurs, 2 D7 Armoured Bulldozers
    534 – LCT(A) 2042 – 2 Centaurs, 1 Sherman V
    535 – LCT(A) 2334 – 2 Centaurs, 1 Sherman V Flail
    544 – LCT(A) 2123 – 2 Centaurs, 1 Sherman V
    545 – LCT(A) 2012 – 2 Centaurs, 2 D7 Armoured Bulldozers
    546 – LCT(A) 2052 – 2 Centaurs, 1 Sherman V
    547 – LCT(A) 2191 – 2 Centaurs, 1 AVRE Boase Bangalore & Bobbin

    What exactly is your interest in 100 LCT Flotilla?

    Michel
     
  2. Reedwarbler

    Reedwarbler Member

     
  3. Reedwarbler

    Reedwarbler Member

    Thank you for your very clear reply.

    I have an typed account of D-Day writted by Martin Vanheems, c.o. of LCT(A) 2012, which describes the journey to Sword beach vividly but is vague about the types of vehicle carried. My father was c.o. of LCT(A) 2042, of which Martin wrote: The second missing craft was 2042 Lieut. Aitken whose engine room flooded during the night. He was left drifting in the minefield and after a frightening encounter with a destroyer that tried to take him in tow, carrying away his guard rails, and firing salvoes of iron rods from Costain guns, he arrived at the right place, 24 hours late, still of of action but fill of determination.
     
  4. Arty

    Arty Member

    Hello Reedwarbler,

    I'm sure Michel will be equally excited. This is pure gold!

    From the Report by the Naval Commander Force S, page 20, para 140, we have the info: "...L.C.T.(A) 2012 (Temporary Lieutenant M.S.VAN HEEMS R.N.V.R), after unbeaching, salved two LCI(L) and one LCT in this manner. Lieutenant Van Heems continued to render most valuable salvage service, almost continuously under fire, throughout that day and later."

    Are you able to post the full account by Lt Van Heems on the forum?

    Regards
    Arty
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  5. Reedwarbler

    Reedwarbler Member

    Here is the first two pages of Martin Vanheems' account of the journed to Normandy on D-Day.

    img350.jpg img356.jpg
     
  6. Thank you very much for posting this account!

    Indeed, as Arty rightly presumed (not too difficult a guess when you know me :D), I am very interested in seeing this account by Lt Van Heems. I first thought it might be the typescript account mentioned in The Longest Day Inventory List at the Cornelius Ryan Collection of WW II Papers (see https://www.ohio.edu/library/sites/...hn Center/Ryan/Longest-Day-Inventory-List.pdf), but this is a real account and not response to Cornelius Ryan's standard questionnaire.

    Looking forward to the next instalment!

    Michel
     
  7. Much of the information below has already appeared on this forum, but is scattered over many different posts and threads. Some new facts have also emerged since, so I thought it would be a good idea to consolidate it all here.

    Landing Craft, Tank (Armoured) 2042 was commanded by Temporary Lieutenant Claude Willoughby AITKEN, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (seniority 27th July 1943), and was to deliver the following load (Landing Table Index Number or Craft Serial 534) on D Day at H Hour on the extreme right (western) end of QUEEN WHITE Beach, SWORD Area, with only one other craft (LCT(A) 2234 Serial 535) to her right:
    • one Centaur IV CS (towing a Porpoise ammunition sledge) commanded by Sergeant ALLEN, "W" Troop, 5 (Independent) Royal Marine Armoured Support Battery
    • one Centaur IV CS (towing a Porpoise ammunition sledge) commanded by Colour Sergeant DAVIES, "W" Troop, 5 (Independent) Royal Marine Armoured Support Battery
    • one Sherman V (T-147635) named 'WARSPITE' commanded by Captain Leonard Harry GARNIER, Royal Artillery (271397), commanding "W" Troop, 5 (Independent) Royal Marine Armoured Support Battery
    Here are a few frames from a short film showing WARSPITE on 13th June 1944, possibly at Landing Zone 'N' (see Location of D-Day photos by Sgt. Jim Christie and Others):

    A70 44-2 - 13 Jun 44 - Gross - 02.09 - RMASG Sherman 'WARSPITE' T147635 - 10.jpg

    A70 44-2 - 13 Jun 44 - Gross - 02.09 - RMASG Sherman 'WARSPITE' T147635 - 17.jpg

    A70 44-2 - 13 Jun 44 - Gross - 02.09 - RMASG Sherman 'WARSPITE' T147635 - 19.jpg

    Finally, the only photos I know of LCT(A) 2042 are included in the small series of shots showing spectacularly damaged LCT(4) 921 with LCT(A) 2042 alongside on her starboard, taken on 19th June 1944 by Royal Navy official photographer Lieutenant EE ALLEN (IWM A24216 to A24220 - click on the link below the image to go to the IWM page and then zoom in for details). On all but the last two views only a small bit, if any, of LCT(A) 2042 is visible:

    A_024216 - L - View of damaged LCT 921, Thornycrofts, Southampton 19 Jun 44 [Lt Allen].jpg
    IWM A24216

    A_024217 - L - View of damaged LCT 921, Thornycrofts, Southampton 19 Jun 44 [Lt Allen].jpg
    IWM A24217

    A_024218 - L - View of damaged LCT 921, Thornycrofts, Southampton 19 Jun 44 [Lt Allen].jpg
    IWM A24218

    A_024219 - L - View of damaged LCT 921, Thornycrofts, Southampton 19 Jun 44 [Lt Allen].jpg
    IWM A24219

    A_024220 - L - View of damaged LCT 921, Thornycrofts, Southampton 19 Jun 44 [Lt Allen].jpg
    IWM A24220

    Like most craft bound for SWORD on D Day, LCT(A) 2042 proudly wears the 3 British Infantry Division formation sign (on her bow armour plate). In addition to the Green Band of Force "S" craft around her bridge, she also has the emblem of 5 (Independent) Royal Marine Armoured Support Battery painted on her deck armour (thanks to Danny for pointing this to me).

    LCT(A) 2042 broke down during the passage but was able to reach the beaches in the evening of D Day, and discharged her load in the morning of 7th June.

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  8. Reedwarbler

    Reedwarbler Member

    Here is the rest of Martin Vanheems' D-Day account.

    img351.jpg img351.jpg img352.jpg img353.jpg img354.jpg img355.jpg img357.jpg
     
    Roy Martin likes this.
  9. Arty

    Arty Member

    Reedwarbler,

    Thanks, superb stuff (though the account has the usual smattering of misleading info & factual errors).

    And, slightly curiously, Lt Van Heems makes no mention of LCT(CB) 2337. Although LCT(CB) 2337 was part of the 330 Support Flotilla, on 06June it operated with, and was to land alongside, the LCT's of Lt Van Heems' flotilla. Sub Lt John Brooke,1st Lieutenant on 2337, mentions (in his own slightly confused account) that it was his own LCT that towed back the damaged LCT(A) 2334.

    Regards
    Arty
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  10. Reedwarbler

    Reedwarbler Member

    Many thanks Michel for reposting the pictures for me, of Captain Garnier’s Sherman (originally aboard LCT(A) 2042), and of 2042 alongside the damaged LCT(4) 921. I have only two battered photos of 2042. The first one shows Royal Marines keeping well out of the way, as though there are tanks coming aboard. The second shows 2042 with other craft dressed overall, so maybe the photo was taken on VE Day.

    IMG_5310 - Copy.JPG IMG_5311_InPixio.jpg
     
  11. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Hi,
    Thanks for posting the report and photos.

    Around the time of VE day most of the Flotilla was at Hansweert.

    The troops in the other photo may not be Royal Marines. It looks like they are wearing the General Service Cap rather than a beret. Maybe another photo taken in Holland ?

    Regards

    Danny
     
  12. I agree with Danny on both counts, firstly in thanking you for posting the report and photos, secondly about the possible location of the photos. The first one does "smell' like Holland, and LCT 2042 now belongs to 104 Flotilla. Danny doubtless knows the approximate period she was transferred to that flotilla.

    On the first photo the 5 (Indep) RM Armd Sp Bty flash is still there, but not the platform, of which I believe some fixtures to the tank deck remain. On the second photo we can also see that the armour plate on the bow has been removed, and the smaller 'A' from the former hull number LCTA2042 has been painted out.

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
  13. Reedwarbler

    Reedwarbler Member

    I am amazed at how much you fellows can see in these photos.

    Please tell me more about the transfer of LCT 2042 to 104 Flotilla. What was at Hansweert?

    Can you refer me to any photos of an LCT MK 5 with the armour fitted, and the raised deck in place. The only photo I know is the American one, LCT(A) 2237.

    upload_2019-11-13_15-14-8.png

    LCT(A) 2237 of the US Gunfire Support Group off Omaha Beach on D-Day,
    the vessel is carrying two Sherman tanks in the firing position with a tank-bulldozer
    behind them (Source: Robert Hurst, via www.navsource.org).
     
  14. US LCT(A) 2273 (not 2237, which did not exist :D) does have the bow armour, but on the photo you posted you can only see it if you know where to look. It is more distinct on this photo of the same craft:
    2273 LCT(A) Normandy 7-6-44 1018027301.jpg

    It is also visible on 2042 on IWM A24220: see the rectangle proud of the rest of the bow, beginning just aft of the hull number. The 3rd Division emblem is painted on its fore part:
    A_024220 - Notes.jpg

    A better view of the bow armour:
    2008 LCT(A) - U.S. LCT(A)(5)2008 - 2ndinfantryyl9.jpg

    What the bow looks like after its armour plate has been removed (see the remaining weld marks, plus several patches like as many battle scars):
    2442 LCT ex-LCT(A) - POW, Den Helder NL Jun 45 - NL-HaNA_2.24.01.03_0_900-3333.jpg

    The armoured bridge:
    2014 LCT(A) - LCT bringing cas out to HMCS PRINCE DAVID, 6 Jun 44 - a143844-v6.jpg

    A couple of views of the platform:
    2283 LCT(A) 2-103 - 6 Jun 44 - B_005217 redux.jpg
    2005 LCT(A) mid channel 07June! - Oliver Perk.jpg
    LCT(A)(HE) - MEMO_PHOT_01849.wmg.jpg

    Some other forum member might have better views of the platform... ;)

    Michel
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
  15. Arty

    Arty Member

    Post deleted. Arty
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
  16. DannyM

    DannyM Member

    Hi,
    LCT(A) 2042 joined 104 LCT Flotilla in October 1944.

    I believe the armour and fittings were removed in the weeks prior to this.
     
  17. Reedwarbler

    Reedwarbler Member

    Thank you for all the photographs showing the LCT(A) bow and bridge armour and the platform which allowed the tanks to shoot over the bow door. The bridge armour is self-explanatory, but I would not have guessed where the bow armour was fitted. What was the purpose of this small piece of armour? Apart from the tanks, what was there that needed the protection?
     
  18. Reedwarbler

    Reedwarbler Member

    Thank you for the additional photograph showing the LCT(A) platform being installed. This showed me what a complex structure it was, and presumably not put in quickly.
     
  19. Reedwarbler

    Reedwarbler Member

    Thank you for telling me when LCT 2042 joined the 104 LCT Flotilla. You say the armour and fittings were probably removed in the weeks prior to October 1944. From what I have read about how top-heavy and generally unseaworthy the armoured LCT Mk 5 were, I’m not surprised the armour was removed as soon as possible. Can you tell me any more about 100 LCT Flotilla before or after D-Day? Or about 104 LCT Flotilla after 2042 was transferred.
     

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