LVT and D Day

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
daveh
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LVT and D Day

Post by daveh » 03 Jun 2003 14:45

Does anyone know what if any consideration was given to using the LVT type vehicle during the invasion of Normandy?

The americans had experience of using this type of vehicle in amphibious assaults so why was it not used in the various landings in Europe, especially in Normandy?

Was it deemed unsuitablefor use in Europe?, if so why?
Was it a question of lack of numbers?
Would such vehicles have helped? eg on Omaha beach given the problems the DD tanks had swimming .. or failing to swim .. ashore.

Thanks in advance.

ChristopherPerrien
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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 03 Jun 2003 20:50

The LTV was used in river crossings late in the war.

Thier were not enough of them for the Pacific and Normandy. Terrain conditons for the Normandy invasions did not warrant LTV's , i.e no corral reefs. also LTV cannot carry many soldiers compared to Lci's, LCVp's.

Also Normandy not being an Island invasion,, LTV are fairly useless for interior operarions or maybe I should say "too specialized".

They may have helped some getting soldiers across the beach, but given their slow water speed compared to landing boats, they would have taken more casualties coming in.

The DDtanks would have made it, but the commanders of the tanks tried to sail across the current and the waves to make their assigned landing areas, they should have gone straight in, and drove down the beach. I would fault the Battailion commander for not ajusting his plan and a lack of understanding on all tank commanders on the capabilities of the DDtanks.
That being said, they saw the carnage on the beach and they tried to get to where they were needed, truely Heroic but useless given that only 2-4 got to the beach (can't remeber the #).

The British did not have this trouble on their beaches because they were "sheltered" from the waves by the geography of the coastline and the lack of any major enemy resistance.

Mats
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Post by Mats » 27 Oct 2006 16:57

Hello!
Didn't they use it when attacking Walcheren?
Mats

ChristopherPerrien
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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 28 Oct 2006 17:28

Mats wrote:Hello!
Didn't they use it when attacking Walcheren?
Mats
Yes they did, although I can't give any exact numbers, I think it was between 100-200 Amtracks/LVT's, of what model or models I don't know.

Chris

jopaerya
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Post by jopaerya » 28 Oct 2006 18:35


Mats
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Post by Mats » 28 Oct 2006 20:31

Thank you Jos. You really know where to find the different threads!
I am fairly new here but learn something every day.
Best regards / Mats

Michael Kenny
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Post by Michael Kenny » 28 Oct 2006 22:36

Photo from the beaches
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Delta Tank
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Post by Delta Tank » 30 Oct 2006 14:53

CP and all,

The number of DD tanks that made it to the beach has been discussed before in length by TO90. But from memory because I am at work I will try to tell you the numbers.

In the 1st infantry Division zone of attack (16th Infantry Regt) about 5 DD tanks made it to the beach. Two swam in and three were landed directly from a LCT. The reason the three were landed directly on the beach is because the ramp got jammed and they could not release the tanks to swim in.

In the 29th Infantry Division zone of attack (116th Infantry Regt) IIRC 29 tanks made it to shore. The reason so many made it to shore was the Battalion Commader saw how rough the seas were and decided to beach the landing craft and off load the tanks directly onto the beach.
And remember there were more tanks in the follow up waves that were not DD tanks and they landed directly on the beach.

The officail history of the Omaha beach landings discusses the number of tanks that landed on Omaha beach. The book is entitled Omaha Beachhead. Many, many "historains" have gotten this story wrong and once it is in print and people read it it is almost impossible to get the TRUTH out!

On Utah beach the DD tanks worked well and the reason is I believe the beach is more sheltered than over at Omaha and the waves were much lower.

I will try to find the other thread that discussed this in detail.

Mike

Delta Tank
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Post by Delta Tank » 30 Oct 2006 17:26

I think that you will find a complete list of what DD tanks were landed on D-Day here:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... maha+beach

Mike

ChristopherPerrien
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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 31 Oct 2006 00:26

Delta Tank wrote:CP and all,

The number of DD tanks that made it to the beach has been discussed before in length by TO90. But from memory because I am at work I will try to tell you the numbers.

In the 1st infantry Division zone of attack (16th Infantry Regt) about 5 DD tanks made it to the beach. Two swam in and three were landed directly from a LCT. The reason the three were landed directly on the beach is because the ramp got jammed and they could not release the tanks to swim in.

In the 29th Infantry Division zone of attack (116th Infantry Regt) IIRC 29 tanks made it to shore. The reason so many made it to shore was the Battalion Commader saw how rough the seas were and decided to beach the landing craft and off load the tanks directly onto the beach.
And remember there were more tanks in the follow up waves that were not DD tanks and they landed directly on the beach.

The officail history of the Omaha beach landings discusses the number of tanks that landed on Omaha beach. The book is entitled Omaha Beachhead. Many, many "historains" have gotten this story wrong and once it is in print and people read it it is almost impossible to get the TRUTH out!

On Utah beach the DD tanks worked well and the reason is I believe the beach is more sheltered than over at Omaha and the waves were much lower.

I will try to find the other thread that discussed this in detail.

Mike
Jus peachy Mike, however I think your post underscores the fact that DD tanks should not have been used either on D-day. The sea state precluded their use as DD TANKS and any old regular tank with a reglar trained crew could have drove onto the beach from a landing craft. So even though many were landed, very few(2), landed as "DD tanks".

On a slightly different note ,Landing Specialized armour to cross a heavily defended beach in general might seem like a swell idea, but a "heavily defended beach" precludes such units from being landed early enough to be useful by attendant LARGE landing craft in the first place.

LVT's on the other hand were too specialized for Normandy, being more boat than tank.
And if you can understand the economics of specialized armor and my indirect thinking on this whole issue :wink: , The lack of coral reefs off Normandy precluded a real necessity of using them.

Chris

Delta Tank
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Post by Delta Tank » 06 Nov 2006 16:02

CP,

Armor in Operation Neptune is a sticky on the World War II Western Europe & the Atlantic site. It is not a bad read.


CP wrote:On a slightly different note ,Landing Specialized armour to cross a heavily defended beach in general might seem like a swell idea, but a "heavily defended beach" precludes such units from being landed early enough to be useful by attendant LARGE landing craft in the first place.


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

RichTO90
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Post by RichTO90 » 07 Nov 2006 16:04

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.

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Post by Carl Schwamberger » 15 Nov 2006 16:09

Lets see... one US DD tank bn fails, one US DD bn succeds, at least one & perhaps three Brtish DD bn succed. Sounds like a overall sucess to me, with the failure of one commanders judgement tempering it.

There is a second reason for using the DD method to land tanks. Beach congestion is a crtical factor. By releasing the tanks to swim ashore and turning their landing craft around earlier the first serial of craft clear the approach to the beach a bit earlier for the next wave. As the next serial of landing craft run in it means a few less of the first that are out of position or wrecked on the water line.

The LVT would have be of some tactical use securing the flooded areas behind Utah beach, and around Carentan. The causeways in both areas were choke points that slowed the US advance.

RichTO90
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Post by RichTO90 » 15 Nov 2006 17:13

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Lets see... one US DD tank bn fails, one US DD bn succeds, at least one & perhaps three Brtish DD bn succed. Sounds like a overall sucess to me, with the failure of one commanders judgement tempering it.
Yep, like a lot of military history the forest gets missed for the trees.
There is a second reason for using the DD method to land tanks. Beach congestion is a crtical factor. By releasing the tanks to swim ashore and turning their landing craft around earlier the first serial of craft clear the approach to the beach a bit earlier for the next wave. As the next serial of landing craft run in it means a few less of the first that are out of position or wrecked on the water line.
Yes very true Carl.
The LVT would have be of some tactical use securing the flooded areas behind Utah beach, and around Carentan. The causeways in both areas were choke points that slowed the US advance.
Again, very true, they could have been very useful for securing the Cotentin and could have very easily facilitated the early maneuever by VII Corps against Cherbourg. And I've often speculated as to what would have happened had they been available for VIII Corps to use in the Praries Mareceugues between Carentan and Periers. It is quite possible they could have easily outflanked the chokepoints east of Mont Castre and west of St. Lo that proved so problematic for the 90th and 35th Divisions early on. Conceivably a rapid advance past those chokepoints would have left the German line too thin in late June and early July, forcing an early collapse and breakthrough. But then that may have advantaged the Germans in the long run?

JamesL
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Post by JamesL » 15 Nov 2006 18:05

FWIW, one morning in 1994 I visited OMAHA and UTAH beaches. I was quite surprised at how rough the water was on OMAHA and then a few miles away at UTAH it was relatively calm.

If I remember correctly, OMAHA only had 5 beach exits of which only 2 could be used by vehicles. UTAH's exits were more readily accessible to tanks, trucks, etc.

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.

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