LVT and D Day

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
JonS
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Post by JonS » 16 Nov 2006 04:32

JamesL wrote:Had the Germans placed a few 88's on the dunes 1,000 yd behind OMAHA those 2 beach exits could have been easily plugged, tanks or no tanks.
Er, the exits off OMAHA were plugged, and very effectively too.

The original OMAHA plan called for an up-the-guts assault directly against the five exits in order to get vehicles moving off the beaches as soon as possible. That plan fell apart for various reasons, not least of which was the amount of firepower the Germans could bring to bear against the ground in front of the exits.

With the original plan in tatters, various small groups of US soldiers did what they could in the circumstances they found themselves in. What they found they could do was infiltrate the areas between the exits. The Germans had concentrated their defences againt the obvious exits, leaving the intevening spaces less well defended.

In effect, most (all?) of the exits were cleared from the flanks and rear, by groups of US soldiers who had attacked up the bluffs and then moved left and right.

See for example: Balkoski's books - Beyond the beachhead and OMAHA Beach.

ChristopherPerrien
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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 16 Nov 2006 07:50

RichTO90 wrote:
Delta Tank wrote:I believe that you are wrong on this point. In the Pacific they just landed the tanks off of LCTs right on to the beach and the firepower, manuever and protection capabilities of tanks makes them absolutely essential in forced entry operations of this nature.
However, I believe you are correct, that the use of DD tanks was a bad idea; we would of been better off just using regular tanks and landing them directly on the beach.

Mike
Sorry, both of you are wrong. :D Or are at best making you decisions based - yet again - upon hindsight.

In December-January 1944 when the serious detailed planning for NEPTUNR began there had been no instances when medium tanks had been landed on an opposed beach, especially by LCT. In fact the only serious experience with direct landings of medium tanks had been Dieppe, which appeared to highlight the problems with such an approach.

Tarawa, in the Pacific in November 1943, had only illustrated the difficulties in using the LVT in a heavily opposed landing. There a small number of light tanks were eventually landed from LCM onto one of the partially secured beachheads, but they were not utilized to support the initial assault. And given the scale of opposition and the vulnerability of the LCM that probably would have been a bad idea anyway. Direct landing of medium tanks from LCT onto opposed beaches did not occur until Saipan in the Pacific IIRC.

So the DD tank was a solution to the problem they perceived at the time. They also recognized that they were vulnerable to poor sea conditions so left the final decision for their employment to the navy and army commanders concerned - the LCT flotilla commander and the tank company commander, who sailed together, not an unreasonable thing to do.
Sorry Rich my veiw is not made in hindsight, although highsight does effectively justify my view. What I see is a serious mistake by the battalion commander to launch the tanks given the sea state. Perhaps he can be forgiven given the high-stress situation. But there is something else I see that I have never seen in any book. I don't think DDtanks were tested as "realistically" as they should have been. Granted realistic tests might have been "dangerous" , but what I see is a weapom system that might have performed well when under optimun test conditions, did not measure up in the real world . Now surely the unit training on these machines probably gave some idea of what might have occured with certain sea states but I have to wonder if their was not a "conspiracy" of sorts that led up to those tanks being deployed as DD Tanks when it was obvious long before D-day that they would not work in such conditions.

Perhaps I have a personal bias because I was a tanker , but looking at those DDtanks I think you have to be dam fool to think a tank could float well with those canvas screens in anything other than a "pond". I wouldn't do it and I wouldn't expect anyone else too either.

As to landing tanks on well defended beach in a landing craft , as I said , I think that is/was impossible, to do without massive casualties, so therefore the whole deal goes back to reducing beach defenses and opposing enemy forces before you reach this point. Otherwise you can forget swimming DDtanks or normal tanks in LCM/LST's making it to the beach.

The 352 In div being on Omaha made hash of the landing but I have to wonder that since
two DD's made it to the beach on an LCM , that more could not have made it that same way. Maybe most of the defensive fire on Omaha was only effective against soft-targets and many of the DDtanks could have been landed straight off their LCM's rather than watching them sink off the beach.

In other words , somewhere in their developement, testing and training, the "novelty" of DD tanks obscured their abilities. I have to wonder how the idea ever got developed beyond using them for more than a simple river crossing.

Chris

Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 16 Nov 2006 11:33

ChristopherPerrien wrote: Granted realistic tests might have been "dangerous" , but what I see is a weapom system that might have performed well when under optimun test conditions, did not measure up in the real world . Now surely the unit training on these machines probably gave some idea of what might have occured with certain sea states but I have to wonder if their was not a "conspiracy" of sorts that led up to those tanks being deployed as DD Tanks when it was obvious long before D-day that they would not work in such conditions.

Perhaps I have a personal bias because I was a tanker , but looking at those DDtanks I think you have to be dam fool to think a tank could float well with those canvas screens in anything other than a "pond". I wouldn't do it and I wouldn't expect anyone else too either.
I think you need to read up on how DD tanks were tested. As for the 'conspiracy' idea, how about assuming that the planners made a risk/reward assessment, and that the result was that the DD tanks ought to be deployed?

http://www.d-daytanks.org.uk/articles/d ... -tank.html

http://www.d-daytanks.org.uk/regiments/ ... uards.html
Training began on Valentine DD tanks and was conducted at various locations around the country. This included Studland Bay, just outside Poole Harbour where six tanks sank in rough weather, with the loss of six men. On D-Day B and C Squadrons of the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards would use Sherman DD tanks; A Squadron and Headquarters would have ordinary Sherman tanks and land direct onto the beach from landing craft.
http://www.d-daytanks.org.uk/regiments/ ... ssars.html
The regimental history makes particular mention of the special training required by crews in the use of underwater escape apparatus. This took the form of a special life jacket which, in an emergency, could be inflated to lift the man to the surface and keep him supplied with air on the way.

Taken on Loch Fyne, on the west coast of Scotland, this picture nevertheless gives some idea of the bleak conditions DD crews had to put up with in the winter of 1943/44. Interesting to see that the Valentine DD is launching from a Landing Ship Tank (LST [2] number 305) rather than the smaller LCT, or Landing Craft Tank that was normally employed.

The regiment did much of its training in Scotland, in the Moray Firth where it was based at Fort George. Over this period they lost five tanks to various accidents but fortunately only one man was drowned, which may indicate the value of this training.

All the best

Andreas

RichTO90
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Post by RichTO90 » 16 Nov 2006 17:02

ChristopherPerrien wrote:Sorry Rich my veiw is not made in hindsight, although highsight does effectively justify my view. What I see is a serious mistake by the battalion commander to launch the tanks given the sea state. Perhaps he can be forgiven given the high-stress situation.
I sometimes just want to scratch my head in wonder. :(

I thought that long ago I already made it clear that the battalion commander had no role in the decision to launch the DD tanks? That would have been impossible since the command section of each battalion was embarked with the deep-wading tanks of the third company. And given that of neccessity the LCT were spread across a front of some hundreds of meters per company, on some 16 LCT, it would have been a neat trick for him anyway. In fact the go/no go decision making was explicitly left in the hands of the men on the scene who could best be counted on to make the decision based upon the circumstances, the DD-tank company commander and the commander of the LCT flotilla they were embarked on, since they were together on the same vessel it made the consulation rather a bit easier. And in the event, on each of the beaches and for each of the DD-tank companies (squadrons in the Commonwealth case) that decision was made by those men.

With the two battalions at OMAHA there were four DD-tank companies from two battalions, two companies made the decision to launch and two did not. It's a simple as that, second guess them if you will, I simply admire their guts for making a tough decision, right or wrong.
But there is something else I see that I have never seen in any book. I don't think DDtanks were tested as "realistically" as they should have been. Granted realistic tests might have been "dangerous" , but what I see is a weapom system that might have performed well when under optimun test conditions, did not measure up in the real world . Now surely the unit training on these machines probably gave some idea of what might have occured with certain sea states but I have to wonder if their was not a "conspiracy" of sorts that led up to those tanks being deployed as DD Tanks when it was obvious long before D-day that they would not work in such conditions.
Maybe you need to read a few books not written by conspiracy theorists? In fact all the DD battalion had been through some hair-raising experiences and were more than a little doubtful about their task. Nonetheless and with the knowledge that their "vessels" were pretty fragile, about half the American, British and Canadian commanders made the final decision to launch with the full knowledge of how dangerous it was. Claiming they were somehow forced into their decisions by some mythical "conspiracy" is more than a little odious in that it denigrates their obvious bravery.
Perhaps I have a personal bias because I was a tanker , but looking at those DDtanks I think you have to be dam fool to think a tank could float well with those canvas screens in anything other than a "pond". I wouldn't do it and I wouldn't expect anyone else too either.
That would be your personal decision then, as it was for those men on the scene that decided to do more than their duty required and take the risk. BTW, the company commanders who made the launch decision went off the LCT ramps in their DD tanks just like everyone else.
As to landing tanks on well defended beach in a landing craft , as I said , I think that is/was impossible, to do without massive casualties, so therefore the whole deal goes back to reducing beach defenses and opposing enemy forces before you reach this point. Otherwise you can forget swimming DDtanks or normal tanks in LCM/LST's making it to the beach.
You may think it impossible, but that doesn't make it so. Try reviewing the data on the DD and deep wading tanks I've posted - more than once. Some DD tanks made it and were effective and some were not, some deep wading tanks made it and were effective and some were not, but it was not impossible to land them without massive casualties - one of 8 battalions landed as DD and deep wading tanks from LCT in the assault on D-Day suffered massive casualties.
The 352 In div being on Omaha made hash of the landing but I have to wonder that since
two DD's made it to the beach on an LCM , that more could not have made it that same way. Maybe most of the defensive fire on Omaha was only effective against soft-targets and many of the DDtanks could have been landed straight off their LCM's rather than watching them sink off the beach.
Again I feel like I want to pull my hair out. No tanks were landed on D-Day or after D-Dy from LCM, they were all landed in the assault from LCT and in the follow-up from LST.

In any case, what do you think it would be that would make the LCM any less vulnerable than the LCT that were actually uesed? And could you explain how they were supposed to sail a LCM across the Channel, when it was loaded with an M-4 tank, hell, LCT sank in the seas they had to contend with during the crossing? Or just how requiring four times as many LCM as LCT would have helped (the LCT carried 4 tanks, the LCM 1) beach congestion, which was a very real and anticipated problem?
In other words , somewhere in their developement, testing and training, the "novelty" of DD tanks obscured their abilities. I have to wonder how the idea ever got developed beyond using them for more than a simple river crossing.

Chris
Maybe the idea got developed because to execute a river crossing on the European continent you first have to get onto the European continent?

ChristopherPerrien
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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 16 Nov 2006 20:47

RichTO90 wrote:
ChristopherPerrien wrote:Sorry Rich my veiw is not made in hindsight, although highsight does effectively justify my view. What I see is a serious mistake by the battalion commander to launch the tanks given the sea state. Perhaps he can be forgiven given the high-stress situation.
I sometimes just want to scratch my head in wonder. :(

I thought that long ago I already made it clear that the battalion commander had no role in the decision to launch the DD tanks? That would have been impossible since the command section of each battalion was embarked with the deep-wading tanks of the third company. And given that of neccessity the LCT were spread across a front of some hundreds of meters per company, on some 16 LCT, it would have been a neat trick for him anyway. In fact the go/no go decision making was explicitly left in the hands of the men on the scene who could best be counted on to make the decision based upon the circumstances, the DD-tank company commander and the commander of the LCT flotilla they were embarked on, since they were together on the same vessel it made the consulation rather a bit easier. And in the event, on each of the beaches and for each of the DD-tank companies (squadrons in the Commonwealth case) that decision was made by those men.

With the two battalions at OMAHA there were four DD-tank companies from two battalions, two companies made the decision to launch and two did not. It's a simple as that, second guess them if you will, I simply admire their guts for making a tough decision, right or wrong.
But there is something else I see that I have never seen in any book. I don't think DDtanks were tested as "realistically" as they should have been. Granted realistic tests might have been "dangerous" , but what I see is a weapom system that might have performed well when under optimun test conditions, did not measure up in the real world . Now surely the unit training on these machines probably gave some idea of what might have occured with certain sea states but I have to wonder if their was not a "conspiracy" of sorts that led up to those tanks being deployed as DD Tanks when it was obvious long before D-day that they would not work in such conditions.

Maybe the idea got developed because to execute a river crossing on the European continent you first have to get onto the European continent?
Sometimes in my posts I make generalizations that reflect that many of the details are superfulous to me.
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.

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"?



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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Regards,
Chris

ChristopherPerrien
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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 16 Nov 2006 20:58

Andreas wrote:
ChristopherPerrien wrote: Granted realistic tests might have been "dangerous" , but what I see is a weapom system that might have performed well when under optimun test conditions, did not measure up in the real world . Now surely the unit training on these machines probably gave some idea of what might have occured with certain sea states but I have to wonder if their was not a "conspiracy" of sorts that led up to those tanks being deployed as DD Tanks when it was obvious long before D-day that they would not work in such conditions.

Perhaps I have a personal bias because I was a tanker , but looking at those DDtanks I think you have to be dam fool to think a tank could float well with those canvas screens in anything other than a "pond". I wouldn't do it and I wouldn't expect anyone else too either.
I think you need to read up on how DD tanks were tested. As for the 'conspiracy' idea, how about assuming that the planners made a risk/reward assessment, and that the result was that the DD tanks ought to be deployed?

All the best

Andreas
Thanks for the post Andreas, I am sure you have read my above post, What I see is a bad "risk /reward" assessment and I have to wonder why this occured. Conspiracy might not be the right word, perhaps "groupthink" might have been better.

Regards,
Chris

Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 16 Nov 2006 21:04

ChristopherPerrien wrote: 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.

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.
I think what you overlook is the simple fact that having the DD tanks gave the guys at the sharp end an option. They were not really needed in the end, and their employment cost people's lives. But you don't know years in advance that you'll be launching them in a window between some very stormy days. If the sea on that day had been a something closer to a millpond (and it is late may/early June, so that is not impossible), the DD tanks would have been able to go in without too much trouble. If the landing craft which overtook the launched DD tanks in the British sector had met desaster, the already DD tanks again would have been available as an option to cover for this to some degree. So looking at it with 20/20 hindsight it appears they were not needed, a waste of resources and people's lives. But nobody could have known that in advance - since while there were accidents during training, it was also clear that they were capable of swimming in the open sea, given the right conditions.

All the best

Andreas

RichTO90
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Post by RichTO90 » 16 Nov 2006 22:09

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. :D 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"? :D :roll:
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.

Regards,
Chris
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?)

ChristopherPerrien
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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 17 Nov 2006 07:31

Good post Rich , I will reply to to your points soon , I'll be kinda of busy for the next few days, but I definetly want to discuss this issue some more.

Chris

RichTO90
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Post by RichTO90 » 17 Nov 2006 16:28

ChristopherPerrien wrote:Good post Rich , I will reply to to your points soon , I'll be kinda of busy for the next few days, but I definetly want to discuss this issue some more.

Chris
Sure, I'll be happy to, but it will help if you leave your preconceived "feelings" and emotional reaction to what happened at the door. Quite honestly I've lost track of the numbers of times now over the past 20-odd years when just a cursory examination of the original records on some subject caused me to dump my preconceptions. Cold hard facts aren't always comforting or touchy-feely, but occasionally they do represent the reality of what happened.

One thing to think about, that a lot of people miss, is to remember that NEPTUNE was never a monolithic, set in stone plan that had been created months before the invasion, which seems to be the way lot of historians seem to view it. They see the end product, the multi-volume planning documents and studies, and for some reason assume that it was all just waiting to be dropped into the laps of Ike and Monty in December 1943. But it wasn't, the actual "final" concept of operations wasn't developed until 1 February 1944, the First Army initial plan wasn't completed until 25 February and the British Second Army initial plan on 20 March; final plan revisions were being made as late as 30 May, just three days before the first sailings (for the aborted landing on 5 June). Heck, D-Day itself was only set on 8 May and the 82nd and 101st Airborne DZ revisions - which were major - weren't made until 28 May!

A lot of the components of the plan - the DD tanks, the LCT(A), the Funnies, the Beach Obstacle Clearing Detachments, and so on, were inserted as they were developed and tested, but there was little foreknowledge of just how they would work, and a lot of dispute about whether they would work. All the Ike and Monty, and their staffs and the staffs of First and Second Army really knew, was that it was going to be incrediably dangerous, so that almost any tactic or device that could be seen as advantageous was used.

I look forward to your next reply.

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Post by JonS » 17 Nov 2006 21:09

RichTO90 wrote: A lot of the components of the plan ... were inserted as they were developed and tested, but there was little foreknowledge of just how they would work, and a lot of dispute about whether they would work. All the Ike and Monty, and their staffs and the staffs of First and Second Army really knew, was that it was going to be incredibly dangerous, so that almost any tactic or device that could be seen as advantageous was used.
I think this is an important point, along with it's corollary which is that it didn't matter whether all of the components - or indeed any particular component - worked, as long as in sum the plan (ie, establish a beachhead) worked.

Obvious examples of less than stellar components - in hindsight - are the SP guns firing on the run in, the LCT(R), bombing the foreshore, etc. But in the end it didn't matter. The success of plan wasn't dependent on any of those elements. If they had worked it would have been nice - and saved lives - but in the end it didn't matter. Same with the DD.

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Post by Brian Ross » 18 Nov 2006 02:12

As alwys, it came down to the PBI doing their job - seizing and holding ground, so that the latter waves could come ashore.

In hindsight, a great deal of the effort expended on the DDs might have been better employed in producing more LCT(G) and similar, small "monitor" style craft (and by extension the RM Support Group with their Centaurs), which could have followed the LCA/LCVP/LCMs/etc. close inshore and provided direct fire support to the infantry as they made the initial lodgement and secured the beach exits.

However, as a counter to that, having seen the training films produced by the British Army just immediately after the war's end on how the funnies were meant to be employed (and I assume were employed as their doctrine was based upon experience, as well as theory), they worked a great deal better than most people appear to give them credit for IMHO.

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Post by JonS » 18 Nov 2006 02:44

Brian Ross wrote:As always, it came down to the PBI doing their job - seizing and holding ground
Well, yes. That is the one element of the plan the did have to work ;)

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Post by Brian Ross » 18 Nov 2006 08:43

JonS wrote:
Brian Ross wrote:As always, it came down to the PBI doing their job - seizing and holding ground
Well, yes. That is the one element of the plan the did have to work ;)
And it is the one element that appears to actuallly work "as advertised", Jon. :roll:

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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 02 Dec 2006 04:29

Alright here goes. It seems to have got really into the DDtank debate, Basically I look at it that about at least 1/3 of the DDtanks that swam on D-day didn't make it about (46 of 140) correct me if I am way off, and only about 10 out of the 70 or so that were carried to the beach by LCT's were lost. So I suppose DD tanks were not a horrible choice , still it would have been far better to just use normal tanks. From what I have been reading DDtanks were expected to operate in 1 foot waves and the waves off Normandy were up to 6 feet, June 6 1944. Now I have heard several times " Who was to know" what the seastate would be whenever the invasion happened, but from what I have seen of the OCEAN , you would have to be a real optimist to expect on any date that the OCEAN will oblige you with 1or even 2 foot waves. Better just to take your chances and try to land tanks off LCT's and LST's than spend all that time training people to operate a vehicle in optimum conditions, when such things are never a sure thing in battle or less than 1 foot waves on the OCEAN.

Which opens up another issue in the big Picture about why Bradley accepted even the DD tanks? This brings me to my next post. Which should put us back to LVT's and "specialized armour' and get us out of the DD tank debate.

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