Bloody Omaha Beach

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
RichTO90
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by RichTO90 » 14 Jul 2011 14:25

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Even as we write I'm losing money by not focusing on business. Guess I'd better close this window ...

NOOOOOOO! Discussing military history on work time is much more productive... :P :lol: :wink: But then I'm just waiting for my outbrief. 8-)


Cheers!
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

RichTO90
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by RichTO90 » 14 Jul 2011 14:45

Carl Schwamberger wrote:I wonder if fragments from Lewis are what I've seen folks toss at me over the years. Not run across 'Flawed Victory' in the stores or librarys yet.
I recommend the library. I bought it, but was badly dissappointed. I think his original MA theses it is based on is available online at CARL too.
I used to get paid to plan fire support & the more I see the details of the fire plans for Neptune the less I like them. The shortage of NGF tubes relative to the size of the assualt is clear, but it looks like they tried to compromise & spread the ammo to thin across the target lists. The same sort of lack of focus or priority I used to see in many of our fire plans is visable here. I'd really need to see the ammo allotment/fired vs each target alongside the effects tables or estimates they were using to judge what was what here. Thats all probablly as difficult to get at as the casualty reports...
To be fair, their potential target list was pretty big, very dispersed, and theoretically very protected. Plus, they had no indications of the ammunition restrictions the Germans were affected by, their lack of a truly integrated fire direction and control system, or the non or only partially operational status of many of the batteries (for example: the misapprehensions regarding the Pointe du Hoc, Ouistreham, and Merville batteries). All that being said though, the NGF plan did succeed almost completely in its counterbattery program. The Cotentin, Longues, and Cabourg batteries were all effectively suppressed, which can only be counted as a success - and a big relief for the naval types.

Cheers!
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

RichTO90
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by RichTO90 » 14 Jul 2011 20:10

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Of course we are! Silly of you to ask :P
well, I had to ask, since I've posted bits of pieces here over the years and a large chunk of it is now a copyrighted part of Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall. :lol: But here goes...

"OMAHA

The actual number of losses that were incurred by the Americans at OMAHA on D-Day is possibly one of the greatest mysteries of that day. Forrest Pogue perhaps said it best,

Casualties for D Day have never been stated officially. Because of confusion of reports and the lack of records it is likely that the total will not be known. Most of the units involved reported losses by the week, beginning 6 June, or by the month of June, thus making it impossible to have exact data. The matter was further complicated because the first reports exaggerated losses as a result of the separation of sections, companies, and battalions of assault troops. Further difficulties arose from the practice of listing men wounded in action in the 6 June report and then listing them as “died of wounds” in the revised report.

Estimates over the years have ranged from the 2,000 given in Cross Channel Attack to the 4,385 given by Balkoski in Omaha Beach. The actual total probably falls between the two extremes.

The 1st Division losses recorded by the V Corps History were 1,190. The initial report by the 1st Division G-1 on 7 June recorded losses for D-Day and D+1 as 88 officers and 1,782 enlisted men. On 8 June in a report to V Corps that figure was revised to 40 officers and 786 enlisted men, but appears as 1,190 in the later V Corps History. The 1st Division After Action Report (AAR) for June revised the figures again, this time to 186 KIA, 620 WIA and 358 MIA, for a total of 1,164 on 6 June, which may have been the basis for the figure in the V Corps History. In that same 1st Division report the number of MIA returned-to-duty in June was given as 70. Internal evidence suggests that the “actual” number MIA on 6 June was about 312. Thus it seems the likely total casualties for the 1st Division on 6 June were 1,118, although the most recent detailed history of OMAHA, by Joseph Balkoski, gives a total of 1,346 for the 1st Division.

Figures for the 29th Division are even more difficult to puzzle out. The 116th Infantry alone reported losses of 49 officers and 2,733 enlisted men to V Corps on 8 June. The report made by the division to V Corps on 10 June reported only WIA: 106 officers and 2,198. The V Corps History recorded 743 total casualties for the Division, while Joseph H. Ewing in the postwar, 29 Let’s Go: A History of the 29th Division reported 390 KIA, 511 WIA, and 27 MIA, for a total of 928. The somewhat fragmentary reports made by units of the division recorded by Pogue give a total of 122 KIA, 565 WIA, and 246 MIA, for a total of 933, while Balkoski gives a total of 1,272.

The V Corps History recorded an additional 441 casualties for the V Corps Troops. However, those reported apparently were only for units assigned to the corps and so did not include many additional casualties suffered on OMAHA by troops attached to the corps by First Army. It appears that most of those were suffered by the 741st and 743rd Tank Battalions, which reported cumulative casualties as of 15 June of 14 KIA, 20 WIA and 154 MIA, with the remainder mostly being incurred by the two Engineer battalions attached to the 1st and 29th Divisions.

The losses of the 5th and 6th Engineer Special Brigade (ESB) and the 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions do not appear to have been included as part of the V Corps casualties; technically they were only attached to V Corps, but were assigned to First Army. And yet their losses were substantial. As of 15 June the 5th ESB reported casualties of 13 KIA, 106 WIA and 59 MIA, those of the 6th ESB were 23 KIA, 70 WIA and 111 MIA. The 2nd Rangers incomplete report gave 255 total casualties, while the 5th Rangers reported 30 KIA, 70 WIA and 18 MIA. The 'final' accounting of the casualties in the two Ranger Battalions done in July 1944 reported 98 KIA, 211 WIA and 39 MIA, although it is impossible to tell now how many were lost on 6 June and how many in the few days immediately after D-Day. Unfortunately only the losses of HQ Detachment, D, E, and F of the 2nd Rangers, along with the attached detachments from the 293rd Joint Assault Signal Company (JASCO) and 165th Signal Photo Company, which together made up the Pointe du Hoc force, appear to be firmly established. They suffered 42 KIA (including 1 DOW 14 June), 43 WIA (including both Lieutenant Colonel Rudder and Lieutenant Colonel Trevor, a British Commando attached to the Ranger Force), 22 MIA (all of whom but three survived and rejoined later), and 1 captured. Overall, it appears that as many as 550 additional casualties may have been incurred by the Engineer Special Brigades and Rangers on D-Day.

Finally, the NCDU lost 24 KIA, 32 WIA, and 15 MIA, while the two Naval Beach Battalions attached to the 5th and 6th ESB suffered 41 KIA and 87 WIA.

Overall the highest casualty figure is the 4,385 given by Balkoski. However, it appears that he may have over-counted the divisional casualties by about 572, mainly due to the use of higher missing in action figures, the inclusion of the casualties at Pointe du Hoc with those on OMAHA “proper”, and other possible duplications or overestimates. If so that would still gave a total of 3,686, significantly higher than the losses on any of the Commonwealth beaches and in fact slightly greater than the assumed total of Commonwealth casualties on all three of those beaches as found above, 3,644.

UTAH

The 4th Division reported 12 KIA, 125 WIA, and 60 MIA, for a total of 197 casualties on D-Day. That figure has long been accepted as indicating how weak the German opposition on UTAH was, but was in fact just the estimated loss report for the day and not the final casualty report. Individual units of the 4th Division reported a total of 311 casualties, including 81 KIA, 166 WIA, 4 MIA (most of those men initially reported MIA were apparently drowned), and about 60 undefined casualties. In addition, the units attached to the VII Corps and 4th Division also suffered significant casualties. The 1st Engineer Special Brigade lost 18 KIA, 96 WIA (three of whom later died), and 3 MIA (all later reported as killed), for a total of 117 casualties. VII Corps Troops lost 38 KIA, 111 WIA, and about 10 other undefined casualties for a total of 159. Finally, elements of the 4th Cavalry Group on the Isles St. Marcouf lost 2 KIA and 17 WIA for a total of 19 casualties (although, like the casualties incurred by the airborne troops, they probably should not be counted towards the total casualties incurred on “the beach”) and the 90th Infantry Division liaison party with the 4th Division suffered one KIA and one WIA.

That is a total of about 608 casualties; including 140 KIA, 391 WIA, 7 MIA, and 70 undefined casualties, which makes UTAH very comparable to the Commonwealth beaches in terms of losses. However, it must be considered that the density of defenses, obstacles, and defenders was probably lower than at any of the other beaches. Furthermore, the only strong defensive position on UTAH, WN 5, was one possibly the only German position that was effectively suppressed before the assault troops landed. But, overall, that appears to indicate that only OMAHA may have been anomalous."

So on OMAHA about 3,686 of the 34,200 landed on 6 June were casualties, a rate of 10.8%, almost eleven times the average expected divisional rate and higher than just about any engagement for the US Army in Northwest Europe. Only the 99th Divisions, 106th Division, and 17th Airborne Division come close. The 608 casualties incurred on UTAH were only 2.9% of the 21,300 landed.

For the Commonwealth, on SWORD there were about 1,304 of 28,800 or 4.5%, on JUNO 1,247 of 21,400 or 5.8%, and on GOLD 1,023 of 24,870 or 4.1%. Note that all of these percentages are much higher than the 1% daily average expected for divisional-size engagements and all are higher than the roughly 3% expected as an "average" high intensity divisional engagement.

Cheers!
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

JonS
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by JonS » 14 Jul 2011 22:27

Carl Schwamberger wrote:I wonder if fragments from Lewis are what I've seen folks toss at me over the years. Not run across 'Flawed Victory' in the stores or librarys yet.
His thesis (which the book is based on) is available from Ethos or Scririus or one of those thesis-finder sites.

Edit: or what Rich said.

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Kingfish
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by Kingfish » 15 Jul 2011 12:14

Wasn't there an option considered at one point to cease landing at Omaha and instead switch the remaining force to Utah or Gold?

What effect would that had had on the overall allied strategy?

JonS
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by JonS » 15 Jul 2011 21:16

Kingfish wrote:What effect would that had had on the overall allied strategy?
I imagine it would have taken considerably longer to breakout of Normandy.

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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Jul 2011 21:46

Kingfish wrote:Wasn't there an option considered at one point to cease landing at Omaha and instead switch the remaining force to Utah or Gold?

What effect would that had had on the overall allied strategy?
The only reliable version of that I know of would be in Bradley's autobiography. He describes lacking much usefull information due to the lack of radio communications. A couple very brief & ambigious reports that came in sometime between 08:00 & perhaps 10:00 caused him to speculate on the necessity of halting the landing & diverting the bulk of the corps & army units scheduled there to other sites. I dont remember if any contingent plans had been made for such a eventuality.

In fact the surviving beachmasters halted the landing at several locations from sometime around 09:00 or later. With the exits still in German hands none of the vehicals were able to leave & a traffic jam near the exits threatened. So, one finds remarks in the books about beach masters signaling approaching boats not to land. Some of the boats that saw these signals circled off the beach for several hours then ran in & discharged, others moved to a differnt location & discharged imeadiately.

If you read through the actions of the individual German & US infantry companies you will find the bluffs between the exits were being overcome as early as 07:30. At about 08:30 the German regimental commander reported he was losing contact with his company commanders & no longer had the means to organize a counter attack as his communications were breaking down. By 10:00 German fire from the bluffs was falling off & US infantry were flanking the exit defenses. By 12:00 the battle over bluffs was effectively won & assualts on the exit defenses were being organized. Some infantry companys were moving inland.

If Bradley had given the order to halt the landing circa 09:30 or 10:00 it would not have affected securing the beach. The battalions that accomplished that were ashore & communications with the naval gun fire ships begain to function again from 08:30 or 09:00 & steadily picked up through the morning. All that would have been unaffected by the halting of the subsequent landing waves. Around 11:00 Bradley would have recieved enough reports from the beach to understand the actual situation & ordered the landing to continue.

Ordering the units still afloat to another beach would have been time consuming & 'difficult'. Even if a detailed contingent plan were in place. many of the smaller craft would need to be refueled, the offloading areas at the other beaches were already crowded, communications with the landing control afloat & beach masters ashore would be difficult. The like course would have been to hold the boats off Omaha in their assigned areas & dispatch them in manageable groups to the alternate sites.

Ashore a complete halt would have left the several infantry regiments & engineer brigades able to clear the exits & holding a narrow strip beyond the bluffs, but unable to advance inland. Eventually US & British attacks from the other beaches would have flanked the German defenders near Omaha Beach allowing the relief of the landing force stalled there.

It would have slowed the consolidation of the beacheads by several days. The eventual breakout was drastically slowed by many other factors. Strong German resistance beyond the beaches, the storm of the 19th - 22d halting ammunition delivery, taking Cherbourg many days later than anticipated. The Germans might have assumed this "secondary" landing in Normandy unsucessfull & withheld a few divisions. Or they might have tried more vigioursly to counter attack there.

There are similarities to this cancellation WI & what happened to the German 2d Pz Div attacking across the Meuse River near Sedan. The initial assualt was pinned down & halted far from the river bank. After several hours the assualt was postphoned & part of the division was sent east to cross in the 1st Pz Div sector. Eventually those companys advanced along the south bank of the river & flanked the French defense, allowing the assualt to recommence the following morning. Had the 2d Pz crossed on the 13th May Guderians breakout might have been completed on the 14th or at least early on the 15th May, sooner than in OTL.

JonS
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by JonS » 16 Jul 2011 01:45

Carl,
I've just been rummaging through recent conference activities, and came across this:
Comparing Brute Force: Artillery Training and Tactics in the Canadian and American Armies during the Second World War
Russ Benneweis, University of Calgary
from here:
http://www.smh2011.org/program.html

That might be a thesis worth looking out for in a year or two.

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Jul 2011 13:36

JonS ...thanks for that. It ought to be interesting.

JonS
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by JonS » 17 Jul 2011 22:10

Carl Schwamberger wrote:It ought to be interesting.
Yeah, agreed. Despite taking quite different routes, and ending up with different specific methods, I've long been of the opinion that the US and UK ended up in pretty much the same place with regards to artillery effectiveness. It'll be nice to have a specific head-to-head comparison and analysis.

Thankfully he has a distinctive surname, which'll make JSTOR, etc, much more productive :D

murx
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by murx » 05 Sep 2011 00:36

dday.pdf


can someone explain to me these numbers
KIA 10,7 EM

Killed in action xxxx enlisted men??

What is 10,7 ??

Thanks
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 05 Sep 2011 03:12

Not a clue. A bit further down in that doc it gives a similar thing for another category.

RichTO90
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by RichTO90 » 05 Sep 2011 03:13

murx wrote:
dday.pdf


can someone explain to me these numbers
KIA 10,7 EM

Killed in action xxxx enlisted men??

What is 10,7 ??

Thanks
Isn't that from the 70th Tank Battalion Historical Report?

It is not one zero it is one oh, i.e. one Officer and seven EM.

Cheers!
Richard Anderson
Cracking Hitler's Atlantic Wall: the 1st Assault Brigade Royal Engineers on D-Day
Stackpole Books, 2009.

smw-eagle719
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by smw-eagle719 » 08 Feb 2015 23:07

Waldorf,

Am interested if your Grandfather may have known my uncle Sgt. Steve Tepovich. He was in the 210th MP Company attached to the 5th ESB an was KIA on D-Day.

If he has any recollections I would be glad to hear from either him or you. I am named after Uncle Steve, but was born after his death so I never knew him.

thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

smw-eagle@ameritech.net

CarlosRV
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Re: Bloody Omaha Beach

Post by CarlosRV » 14 Feb 2015 22:53

I leave some articles about Omaha beach:

[*]Bedford’s Valiant Boys by Don Haines (The Battle for Omaha Beach - Warfare History Network): http://ww2live.com/en/content/world-war ... ry-network

[*]The Battle for Easy Red & Fox Green, by Flint Whitlock (The Battle for Omaha Beach - Warfare History Network): http://ww2live.com/en/content/world-war ... re-history

[*]Planning Overlord by Michael D. Hull (The Battle for Omaha Beach - Warfare History Network): http://ww2live.com/en/content/world-war ... ry-network

I hope You like. :D

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