Sorry Chris if I came across as too harsh, but this is a subject that I've spent some time in researching, analyzing, and thinking about. I've also made numerous posts to this and other fora stating some of the facts and details of these events, along with my interpretation. But what irks me is that despite that no one - and I'm not singling you out in this - has ever criticized the substance of the conclusions that can be drawn from those facts. Instead it always seems to devolve into murky feelings, emotions and shadow conspiracies that "explain" everything?
So it gets a little tiresome repeating facts in opposition to innuendo, it's like the old chestnut "have you stopped beating your wife?".
ChristopherPerrien wrote:Sometimes in my posts I make generalizations that reflect that many of the details are superfulous to me.
I've noticed that,
but like in so many things in military history the devil is in the details.
I've come to the conclusion that the main impetus behind accepting conspiracy theories is that they tend to be simplistic and so require little attention to details.
1. I erred on what level of the command structure as to who decided to launch off Omaha, whoever did at whatever level overlooked the obvious. That DDtanks will not work in such conditions,as much as they wanted to get to the beach, good intentions do not forgive bad judgement , even if they paid with their lives for a good cause, their decision to launch was not the right one.
They will not work? Who says? God? Do you think that is an absolute statement? In fact the measured sea state at OMAHA was little different than on the other beaches (although variations in reports at all the beaches make it obvious that the seas were very variable, which may in fact have been a factor). The launch distances of the various DD units at different beaches also varied to some extent, but there was no correlation between run distance and number sinking.
In other words, your blanket statement "DDtanks will not work in such conditions" is quite simply incorrect, which rather invalidates the conclusions you draw from the mistaken belief that it is correct.
2. My comments aabout a " conspiracy of sorts" was more a comment on how the pressure of DDtank units being specialize and oriented to do this sort of operation nay have influenced their decision. So you had a natural expectation of their function at all levels of commands, from this I would say they were expected to launch by higher levels of command and failure to do so even if might have been the right thing to do is not something some "captain" might not want to explain to a colonel or a general later.
Did the two company commanders who did not launch, prosper in their carreers because of it?
If you can answer that I will withdraw this whole theory of a "conspiracy of sorts"?
Again, there was no "expectation" of launch, the landing plan at all the beaches, American and Commonwealth, sensibly left that decision to junior officers on the scene, effectively O-3's and O-4's. And that there was such a simple distribution of go/no go decisions tends to make the idea that there was senior officer "pressure" to "go" more than a bit ridiculous; let me put it this way - how much "senior officer pressure" can there be when half the junior officers can choose to ignore that "pressure"?
BTW, what does "prosper in their careers" mean? Are you really serious? I can probably tell you if they survived the war or not, but these were AUS guys, not career Army, say that they survived and separated from service at the end of hostilities, what would that tell you? Or say that they were killed in action? Is the award of a Bronze Star, Silver Star or a DCS an affirmation of a "prosperous" career? Or do they have to reach O-6 or above to qualify?
3. Last, The type of landing craft DD tanks operate off of is unimportant , It does not matter LCM/ LCT/LST, if I confused the issue by my mistaken terminology I hope you realize that the only real differentation I am trying to make is whether or not a DD tank SWAM to the beach or not. What most concerns me is the units that were launched off Omaha , as that is one place where TANKS on the beach were needed most and that the was where they failed as DD TANKS.
Huh? What was needed were operational tanks, the manner of insertion was quite irrelevent. So far you have argued that DD's were stupid and couldn't work, so shouldn't have been used. Then you argued that direct landing of tanks from landing craft was "impossible," since it would have resulted in "massive" losses, so I presume that you think they shouldn't have been used either?
So how would you have gotten the tanks to the beach that you argue were necessary? Fly them in? I'm truly bewildered by your argument at this point.
Plus of course there is the not so minor matter - that I have pointed out many times before - that although it is apparent that tanks were needed, it is not a straight line from "more tanks" = "fewer casualties" - those places on OMAHA where more tanks successfully landed (in the 116th Infantry zone) are where more casualties were incurred, while where many fewer tanks landed (the 16th Infantry zone) was where fewer casualties were incurred.
Again, the devil is in the details.
As Andreas noted in his post , DD tanks were obviously notorious for not "floating" in less than optimal conditions, so I add another part to the conspiracy. I don't think their operational history before D-Day made them a "good idea" , so obviously there were people at some "Higher" levels pushing for them.
Adding "parts" to conspiracies doesn't make them any more real or valid, it just makes them more convoluted. Let's see, in six plus months of testing in various freashwater and saltwater conditions, something like a dozen Valentine and M-4 DD were lost. That's out of some 8 battalions (16 companies) and roughly 300 DD tanks cycled through the training. About a 4 percent loss. But in the same period, over 5 percent of all USAAF aircraft in theaters facing Germany were lost due to accidents and weather while on combat missions
, add in non-combat operational losses and you have at least double the loss suffered by the DD in training.
But then I'm sure that you know there was a conspiracy to keep the USAAF flying even though it was obvious that their operational history before D-Day made them a bad idea? So is that the case, it's obvious that the USAAF only was kept flying because "obviously there were people at some "Higher" levels pushing for them"?
Granted I dont' know the whole story of DDtanks , and even what I have read I have dismissed or forgotten many details , but I stand by my judgement that trying to "swim" DDtanks in the OCEAN to land on a HEAVIILY defended beach, while it may seem like a good idea, fails in the face of the cold hard fact they their "seaworthyness" prohibits them from doing so. It is a waste from an economic point of view, And it is asking too much from an already specialized group of soldiers called tankers.
The same could be said for USAAF aircrew, USN submariners, and many others in the war.
And yet again you fail to notice the cold hard fact that their "seaworthyness" did nothing of the sort - they were successful as swimming tanks in some cases and not in others.
I greatly respect those tankers who were in the DDtanks , I repect "treadheads" above most people, I be one. But I also realize the stupidity invovled in the use of this particular type of "specialized armour" as it was intended to be used. DDtanks failed at Normandy when used fro the mission they were given at Omaha and they succeeded on other beaches but they were not needed specifically as DD Tanks, I want to know why they failed , and the bravery of those men while admirable does not do it.
I respect them too, but I'm not sure how you show respect by implying that they were ignorant buffoons because they couldn't figure out that tanks don't float and didn't follow the "obvious" course of refusing to do their duty. And it would be helpful if you explain what you think their "failure" was? Did they "fail" because they suffered losses? They were intended to support the landing of the 16th and 116th Infantry at the risk of their own lives. They did so. The landing at OMAHA was successful, I call that mission accomplished. They played an important part in that. Again, they worked, despite their losses. They worked again on the Riviera in August, and on the Rhine in March.
If you think I am argueing this point totally out of ignorance please tell me, I think you already have, I'll go back and look into it some more, I plan on doing so anyway. Perhaps it will dismiss some of the bias I have against most "specialized armor" and their use at D-day. I think the world of Hobart but I also can realize why Bradley thought different and still i wonder why he accepted the idea of the use of DDtanks for Overlord. It doesn't stand from their problemactic operational history before D-Day and it certainly does not stand in hindsight after looking at their performance when used as DD tanks on D-day.
I think you need to set aside some of your obvious prejudices and preconceived notions and think again with a bit more openmindedness.
So you think "the world" of Hobart and yet have a bias against specialized armor? How does that work? And you obviously believe the calumny perpetrated by Hobart and his brother in law Chester Wilmot that the US Army foolishly "refused" the open-handed offer by the British of all the specialized armor except for the "foolish" DD tanks (of course it never get explained why DD tanks in the hands of the British were brilliant but were foolish in the hands of Americans - probably just our sheer provincial Yankee ignorance I suppose?)