Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Discussions on WW2 in Western Europe & the Atlantic.
Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 16 Feb 2011 16:13

Thanks... I have the Naval Weapons site bookmarked, but that wont pull it up now. Your link will, I wonder why? Time to change the bookmark obviously.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Feb 2011 05:08

Though I'd post this, incomplete as it is. The first section is from the list of fire support ships Rich provided for Omaha & Utah Beaches. (Tank you) That matched the reproduction of the "Pre Arranged Bombardment" chart "Plan 1B" fairly closely. The second part is taken off this chart. A few of the ships names were illegible & in some cases it was not clear if the ship was actually bombarding or assigned to some other task. When I first started identfying ships type I thought the large number of British destroyers could not be assigned bombardment. But, the chart shows them stationed very close to the beaches, positions not logical for picket missions or anti air defense. The very few histories of the individual ships I've checked confirm they were used for bombardment. Armament is drawn from Wiki & UBoat Net, with a few checked against Janes while at the library. so far no notable disagreements.

My only observation at this point is the number of bombardment ships claimed is nearly double for the Eastern Task Force over the Western Task Force. How that adds up in terms of weight of ordnance on target I'll leave for another day.


Support Craft Group (TF 125.7), Lt. Comdr. L.E. Hart, USNR
LCH: LCI (L) 209 (F)
Gunfire Support Group TARE GREEN: LCT (A) 2310 (dmg), 2402 (snk), 2454 (dmg), and 2478
Gunfire Support Group UNCLE RED: LCT (A) 2282 (dmg), 2301 (snk), 2309 (dmg), and 2488
LCG (L): 5, 6, 7, and 893
LCT (R): 368, 425, 439, 448, and 481
LCF: 18, 22, 27, and 31
(12 LCS (S), 16 LCP (L))
Bombardment Group A (TF 125.8), R.Adm. Morton L. Deyo, USN
*CA: USS Tuscaloosa 9 x 8”/55 cal guns (3x3) 8 x 5”/25 cal guns
*CA Qunicy (F) 9 x 8”/55 cal guns (3x3) 8 x 5”/25 cal guns
*HMS Hawkins 9 x 6" guns 8 x 4" AA guns
*BB: USS Nevada 10 x 14"/45 guns 12 x 5"/51 guns
*MB: HMS Erebus 2 15" guns (1x2) 8 4" guns
*CL: HMS Black Prince 8 5.25" DP guns
*CL Enterprise
*Sloop: HNMS Soemba 3 x 5.9" guns

DD Forrest (DF),
*DD Fitch 4 5" guns
*DD Corry (snk) 4 5" guns
*DD Hobson 4 5" guns
DD Butler (DF) 4 5" guns
DD Gherardi 4 x 5" guns
*DD Herndon 4 x 4 inch guns
*DD Shubrick 4 x 4inch guns
DE USS Bates 3 x 3”guns
DE Rich (snk 8 June) 3 x 3”guns


Gunfire Support Group (TF 124.8) (-), Captain Sabin, USN
LCH: LCI (L)-520 (F)
LCT (R)-483
(28 LCP (L) as assigned)
Gunfire Support Group O-2
LCT (A): 2124 (dmg), 2227, 2273 (snk), 2275; LCT (HE): 2050, 2075, 2229, 2307, and 2297
LCT (R): 450, 464, 473, and 482
LCG: 424, 426, 449, and 687
LCF: 3 and 5
Gunfire Support Group O-1
LCT (A): 2008, 2037, 2043, 2228; LCT (A-HE): 2049, 2287, 2339, 2425, and 2487
LCT (R): 366, 423, 447, and 452
LCG: 811
LCF: 6, 7, 9, 11, and 12
Bombardment Group C (TF 124.9), Rear-Admiral Bryant, USN
*BB: USS Texas (F) 10 x 14 in (360 mm)/45 6 x 5 in (130 mm)/51
*BB Arkansas 12 ? 12 inch/50 caliber Mk.7 guns 21 ? 5 inch/51
*CL: HMS Glasgow 12x[1] BL 6 inch Mk XXIII naval guns[2] in triple turrets (4x3) (one aft turret later removed for 8x 40 mm Bofors guns)
8x 4 inch (105 mm) guns
*FFN Montcalm 9 x 6.1" guns (3x3). 8 x 3.5" AA guns
*FFN Georges Leygues 9 x 6.1" guns (3x3). 8 x 3.5" AA guns

Division 35:
DD USS Frankford 4 x 5"/38
*DD Carmick, 4 x 5"/38
*DD Doyle, 4 x 5"/38
?DD Endicott 4 x 5"/38
*DD McCook 3 x 5"/38
Division 36:
*DDUSS Baldwin (DF), 4 x 5"/38
*DD Harding 4 x 5"/38
*DD Satterlee 4 x 5"/38
*DDThompson x4 x 5"/38

*HMS Tanatside DE (Hunt Class), 2 x 4” Mk19 or 20 twin turrets
*DE Talybont 2 x 4” Mk19 or 20 twin turrets
*DE Melbreak 2 x 4” Mk19 or 20 twin turrets

Eastern Task Force
Jervis DD 6 4.7" guns
Undine DD 4 4.5" guns
Urania DD 4 4.5" guns
Ulysses DD 4 4.5" guns

Pytechley ?
Cettistock ?
Kakoysk ?

Ulster DD 4 4.5" guns
Urchin DD 4 4.5" guns
Undaunted DD 4 4.5" guns
Ursa DD 4 4.5" guns

Faulknor DD 5 x 4.7" Mk.IX/L45 guns
Fury DD 4 x 4.7 in Mk. IX L/45
Venus DD 4 4.5" guns

Alogonquin DD 4 4.5" guns
Sioux DD 4 4.5" guns
Kernpenfelt ?
Vigilant DD 4 4" AA guns

Stevenstone DD 4 4" AA guns
La Combattante DD 4 4" AA guns

Kelvin DD 4 x 4.7" guns
Bqlinton ?

Virago DD 4 4.5" guns
Verulam DD 4 4.5" guns
Serapis DD 4 4.5" guns

Scourge DD 4 4.5" guns
Stord DD 4 4.5" guns
Scorpion DD 4 4.5" guns
Middleton DE 6 4" AA guns
Slazak DE 6 4" AA guns

Saumarez DD 4 x 4.7in
Swift CL 4 4.5" guns

Ajax CL 8 6" guns
Argonaut CL 10 5.25" DP guns
Emerald CL 7 6" guns
Orion CL 8 6" guns

Bulolo HQ Amphibious Group

Flores Sloop 3 5.9" guns
Belfast CL 12 x 6” Mk XXIII 12 x 4” Mk XVI HA/LA
Diadem CL AA 8 5.25" DP guns

Hilary ?
Largs ?
Scylla CL AA 10 5.25" DP guns
Danae CL 6 6" guns

Dragon CL 6 6" guns

Frobisher C 9 6" guns

Arethusa 6 6" guns
Mauritius 12 6" guns
Ramilles 8 x 15-inch Mk I guns, 6 x 6-inch ( Mk XII guns
Warspite • 8 x Mk I 15-inch/42 guns, 12 x Mk XII 6-inch guns

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by RichTO90 » 17 Feb 2011 05:37

Carl Schwamberger wrote:Though I'd post this, incomplete as it is. The first section is from the list of fire support ships Rich provided for Omaha & Utah Beaches. (Tank you) That matched the reproduction of the "Pre Arranged Bombardment" chart "Plan 1B" fairly closely. The second part is taken off this chart. A few of the ships names were illegible & in some cases it was not clear if the ship was actually bombarding or assigned to some other task.
Sorry, but the Eastern Naval Task Force is not quite as neatly arranged.

Naval Commander Eastern Task Force
CL: HMS Scylla (F)
Eastern Task Force Reserves:
BB: HMS Rodney
CL: HMS Sirius
Eastern Task Force ‘Spares’:
BB: HMS Nelson
CL: HMS Bellona and Sheffield


Bombardment Force K:
10th Cruiser Squadron:
CL: Orion, Ajax, Argonaut, and Emerald
25th DD Flotilla:
DD: HMS Grenville (F), Jervis, Ulster, Urchin, Undine, Urania, Ulysses, Ursa, and Undaunted
DE (Hunt Class): HMS Pytchley, Cattistock and Cottesmore and ORP Krakowiak
Sloop: HNMS Flores
Escorts Force G:
DE (Hunt Class) HMS Hambleton and Blankney (Will join Force K at H+90)


Bombardment Force E:
CL: Belfast (Flag R.Adm. Dalrymple-Hamilton) and Diadem
26th DD Flotilla:
DD: HMS Kempenfelt (F), Venus, Faulknor, and Fury
DE (Hunt Class): HMS Bleasdale and Stevenstone, FFN La Combattant and HNMS Glaisdale,
Escorts Force J:
DD: HMCS Algonquin, HMS Vigilant, and HMCS Sioux (Will join Force E at H+90)


Bombardment Force D:
BB Warspite and Ramillies
MB: Roberts
CA: Frobisher
2nd Cruiser Squadron:
CL: Mauritius (Flag R.Adm. Patterson), Scylla, Arethusa and Danae and ORP Dragon
23rd DD Flotilla:
DD: HMS Saumarez (F), Kelvin, Scourge, Scorpion, Verulam, Swift, Middleton, Serapis,
and HNMS Stord and Svenner
DE (Hunt Class): Eglinton,

Escort Group:
DD: HMS Virago (F) and Isis (not specifically mentioned AFAICS, but probably also would join the Bombardment Force D at H+90)

There were also numbers of old destroyers (modified V&W class), frigates, sloops, corvettes, gunboats, and MGB as escorts, ASW screens, HQ vessels, and the like that could particpate as well, but were not part of the bombardment plan.


Edited to correct bizarre typing mistakes...
Last edited by RichTO90 on 17 Feb 2011 16:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by LWD » 17 Feb 2011 13:35

Roberts had 2 15" guns

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Feb 2011 14:16

It will be Sunday before I can get around to digesting the two :( The Rich version is much more neatly arraigned, with the Bombardment Force labels and all.

To change the subject: Anyone here have wood 'butcher block' type counter tops in their kitchen? One of my customer favors those, & they are rare around here.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Mil-tech Bard » 07 Oct 2012 16:37

I found the following document that bears on this thread --

by DONALD M.WELLER, Major General, USMC (Ret.) DTIC Accession number ADA051873

March 28, 1978

Approved for Public Release

Naval Sea Systems Command
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps
Dahlgren, Virginiia 224148

The document was a paper supporting the 8-inch 55 cal lightweight gun of that era, but it includes operational research evaluations of Normandy, Iwo Jima and North Korean naval gunfire support.

Regards Normandy, it states:

page 12

The differing strategic environments in the Central Pacific and Normandy
dictated differing techniques. U.S. control of the sea and air in the
Pacific and the limited size of the island objectives eliminated the requirement
for surprise. Consequently, all Central Pacific operations after Tarawa were
characterized by 2 or more days of preliminary operations devoted to destruction
of Japanese island defenses, including coastal defense guns. The heavy guns
of battleships and cruisers firing at point-blank ranges (2000 to 5000 yards)
pulverized and eliminated these weapons.

In the Normandy invasion, the essential requirement for surprise ruled
out pre-D-day firing, although some air attacks were directed against coastal
weapons prior to D day without significant reduction in their capabilities.
On Dday, each of the 23 coastal defense batteries covering the seaward approaches -•
to the Invasion beaches was assigned to a heavy-gun ship, either cruiser or
battleship. These ships, firing from positions 10,500 to 30,000 yards offshore,
were able to suppress the coastal batteries, thereby preventing any significant
interference with the landing operation, although, unlike the Japanese
batteries, few were actually destroyed. Admiral Moon, the Amphibious Attack -
Force Commander for Utah Beach (one of the two on which U.S. forces landed),
explained the success of the naval guns as follows:
"It was significant that at least through the first week of the operation,
no battery could be considered destroyed unless captured. There
were several instances of positions which were believed, on the basis
of air and sea observation, to have been destroyed yet guns in these
positions subsequently opened fire. In some of these cases, there..."
page 15
" evidence that casements protected the guns against lethal damage
although they were rendered inoperative during the bombardment
and for many hours thereafter. The latter was probably the case
at Crisbecq, which battery was one of the most important on the
east coast of the Cherbourg Penisula. The position contained
two 210mm guns in casements, one 210mm in an open emplacement,
and six 88mm dual purpose in open revetted emplacements. The
casements had roofs of reinforced concrete 12 1/2 feet thick and
walls ranging from 10 to 16 feet. This position had been subjected,
both before and after D-day, to especially heavy air and naval
bombardment. The guns in casemates were undamaged except for
minor fragmentation scars, the casemates themselves were also
entirely unscratched even by close misses. On the other hand.
all communication leading to them from the observation post and
rangefinders were disrupted which probabl y rendered accurate
fire extremely difficult. All the other guns in the battery which
were not enclosed were destroyed or nearly so

(The underline is from the original document, bold is from me)

Thus the success of the heavy naval guns is explained by the characteristics
of the coastal defense weapons system. While very few coastal guns were
literally destroyed, some component of the system, be it the range finders,
fire-control stations, communications, or operating personnel, was degraded
by the destructive and psychological power of the heavy-caliber naval projectiles.
It was, of course, necessary to repeat suppressive fires when the damaged
components of the system had been repaired.
The fact remains that the coastal
defense weapons system, which the Germans believed would disrupt the Allied
landings, was never a factor.

Then further on --

Page 22


The 7000-yard expanse of Omaha Beach, over which the 1st and 29th
U.S. Infantry Divisions would land on 6 June 1944, was defended by 12 strongpoints.
Each strongpoint was a complex system of elements, including pillboxes,
gun casemates, open positions for light guns, and firing trenches, surrounded
by minefields and wire. The elements were connected with each other and
with underground quarters and magazines by deep trenches or tunnels.

page 23

While machine guns were the basic weapons In all emplacements, there
were over 60 light artillery pieces of various calibers. Eight concrete case-
mates and four open-field positions were designed tot, guns ranging from 75
to 88 mam. Thirty-five pillboxes were occupied by lighter guns, and there
were about 18 antitank guns (37 to 75 mm). The heavier guns were situated
to give lateral fire along the beach, with traverse limited by thick concrete
wing walls that concealed the flashes of these guns and rnade them hard to
spot from the sea.

The neutralization of the 12 strongpoints on Omaha Beach featured the
use of aircraft and fire-support ships. The 8th Air Force was to send 480 B-
24s, armed with a total of 1300 tons of 100-pound bombs, against these defenses
during the period H minus 30 to H minus 5 minutes. The five heavy ships off
Omaha were to deliver approximately 750 rounds of 6-inch, 200 rounds of
8-inch, and 385 rounds of 12-inch projectiles at the beach defenses, while
five of II destroyers firing from swept lanes about 1800 yards offshore were
to fire a total of 1800 rounds of 4- and 5-Inch projectiles from H minus 410
to H minus 5 minutes,
The remainder of the destroyers were to engage targets
on the flank or to stand by, awaiting call from the shore fire-control parties.
It should be noted that, in spite of an expressed concern for the shortage of
gunfire support, It destroyers fired only the equivalent of one full destroyer
load prior to H hour.

On D day, gunfire support from destroyers and heavier ships commenced
on schedule at H minus 40 minutes, increasingly hampered by heavy smoke
and dust that obscured targets. Firing continued until H minus 5, when the
B-24s, with 1300 tons of bombs, were supposed to take up the attack on the
beach defenses. However, on the night before D day, the 8th Air Force had
decided to shift bombing targets inland to communication and reserve areas
because of a lack of confidence in the ability of the bombers to hit beach
targets without endangering the assault infantry. This momentous decision
was not communicated to the Naval Attack Force Commanders or to the Landing
Force Army Commanders.

The assault Infantry had other problems as well. Due to an adverse current,
the assault troops were landed well east of thc r assigned areas, and to further
compound the situation many small units were dispersed and disrupted. Less
than half of the 96 tanks scheduled to land were in operation. The demolition
teams assigned to remove beach obstacles suffered 40-percent casualitles,
and only a few gaps were blown in the beach obstacles--those were not marked.
But the main problem was caused by automatic weapon, cannon, and
artillery fire coming from the beach defenses. Landing craft came under
fire about a quarter of a mile from the beach, then grounded on sandbars
100 yards from the low water mark, and the assault forces suffered their
heaviest casualties just after debarkation. By 0730, elements of the assault

page 24

force were immobilized In hopeless confusion. At 0800, German observers
In the strongpoints reported that the Invasion had been stopped at the water

Shore fire-control parties with the assault Infantry were unable to bring
fires on beach defenses because of communication failures, separation from
w troop commanders, or fear of firing on own troops. Without effective contact
with shore fire-cortrol parties and under strict orders not to fire without clearance
from these parties, ships could do nothing but stand by, helpless to intercede.
A commander of a tire-support division of destroyers off Omaha Beach said:
"... It was most galling and depressing to lie idly a few hundred
yards off the beaches and watch our troops, tanks, landing boats,
and motor vehicles being heavily shelled and not be able to fire
a shot to help them just because we had no Information as to
what to shoot at and were unable to detect the source of the
enemy's fire. 7 "
But a break In the stalemate was to come from an unexpected source:
"LCT-30 drove at full speed through the obstacles In front of the
lExit E-3 with all weapons firing on the emplacements to the front.
The craft beached and continued to fight it out, silencing the
enemy guns. At the same time, LCI(L) 544 also rammed its way
through the obstacles, firing on machine guns In the house at the
exit. It landed its men and, at the same time, kept up the
bombardment knocking out the nests. The action of these craft had
two results--they facilitated further advances tp the the E-3 draw
and established the fact that the beach defenses could be breached
by ramming. Other craft followed their example; at approximately
the same time a destroyer neared shore, swung broadside, and began
firing at German positions, first concentrating on emplacements and
houses at Les Moulins at D-3 draw, then continuing to the east.
l, This fire was highly effective and played an important part in
neutralizing the enemy defenses.8 "
The action of this destroyer, probably CARMICK, was the result of
an order directing all ships to close the beach and render all assistance possible.
Ai Within 30 minutes, nine destroyers were in position from 800 to 1000 yards
from the beach. CARMICK, watching the fire of some friendly tanks, used
the point of impact of the tank projectiles as an aiming point. Other destroyers
fired on beach targets; for example, on the right flank, a battalion found
a pillbox still In action. Fire from a tank supported the infantry In the first
attempt, but the attack was stalled. A shore fire-control party in contact
with a destroyer about 1000 yards offshore coordinated its action with the
infantry. The destroyer's guns fired only a few yards over the crowded beach
and got a hit about the fourth round, forcing the pillbox personnel to surrender,
Twenty Germans were taken prisoner. Thus, at about 1130, the last German

Page 26

defenses in front of E-I draw were reduced, and E-I became the main funnel
for movement of troops off the beach. 9

A V-Corps observer, laying off the beach in a landing craft, stated in
a message at 1140: "Troops advancing up west slope Exit E-I, thanks due
to destroyer."

Another message sent just before noon answered: "Troops moving up slope
of Fox Green and Red. Join you in thanking God for our Navy."'10

Beginning then with opportune action of a few landing craft, followed
by the ordering into action of all destroyers with a blanket order to do all
in their power to assist the troops, the situation improved rapidly.

By 1500, further improvement in the situation was apparent. Artillery
fire still covered all exits, and small arms fire continued, but troops on the
eastern half of the beach were less harassed. Movement off the beach continued.
By even' g of D day, although troops were far short of the assigned objective,
a precarious foothold had been established, thanks to the decisive assistance
of the naval guns.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 07 Oct 2012 20:38

Thanks for posting that. By coincidenc I had reread the entire thread last week & reconsidered my half done compiliation by caliber & weight of the naval guns and shells used. I wont have time in the near future to accomplish much more, paying work has priority. ...but one can hope that 'next year'. a lot of the material in that text looks familar. Even if I had not read it many years ago a lot of it has been quoted or plagerized & 'interpreted in other text. It will take some time to read it throughly.

Thanks again.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 29 Nov 2012 06:32

A bit of video of ships & boats on the Normandy coast. Opens with the cruisers & a rocket barge firing. Most of the beach shots seem to be of Omaha Beach what with the height of the bluffs.

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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by Delta Tank » 22 Jan 2019 19:09

Delta Tank wrote:
27 Jan 2011 23:03
Carl Schwamberger wrote:Alexander 'Utmost Savagery' explains the larger group near Makin Island as having the primary mission of intercepting Japanese surface forces. It was thought that was closer to the most likely direction they would come from. Attacking Makin with the BB & cruisers was apparently a secondary mission. The BB attacking Betio Island had orders to reserve one third of their ammunition for surface action, Alexander does not indicate if the order to TG 52.2 set aside the same ammount, or a larger quantity. Neither does he indicate if all the ships of TG 52.2 were used against Makin Island.

The list for TG 53.4 leaves out two destroyer minesweepers which also fired on Betio island.

I read that book and you are correct, from my memory bank, they had more BBs up there just in case Japanese surface units attempted to intercept/disrupt the landings. But, still the largest amphibious invasion in history, where there were not going to be any re-do's and the US Navy sent a very small bombardment force. And if you believe Carlo D'Este in his book "Decision Normandy" the US Navy was not going to send what they did, until they were basically "shamed" into it.

I need to correct my post, the information I posted was not in Carlo D’Este book, but here:

“Eisenhower’s Lieutenants” by Russell F. Weigley, page 72.

“ Early in the year, Admiral Ramsey could assign only one battleship, one monitor, seven cruisers, and seven destroyers to the Western Naval Task Force to provide escort in addition to fire support to the convoys destined for Utah and Omaha Beaches. Few American warships were expected to be available to help the British, yet the Royal Navy not only had to support both the American and British Invasion forces; the Admiralty also thought it must hold strength in reserve lest the German Navy venture forth for a miniature Jutland. The consequent disparity between available fire support and the Neptune planners’ desires notwithstanding, Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander in Chief United States Fleet, was loath to release American vessels from his navy’s battles in the Pacific. King’s resistance even to small sacrifices by the Pacific Fleet for the sake of the campaign in Europe was a bitter draft for his countrymen in England, who both perceived Germany as a more dangerous adversary than Japan, and believed that for the climactic effort against Germany, American soldiers deserved the formidable fire support of their own country’s ships: an American destroyer had nearly the firepower of a British light cruiser, and an American cruiser a weight of guns in similar proportions.
Over dinner at the Connaught following the Norfolk House Landing Craft Conference in February, Admiral Hall commented explosively about this situation to King’s chief planner, Rear Admiral Charles M. Cooke. Though Cooke felt obliged to reprimand Hall for his choice of language, the episode served to wring from Washington an additional destroyer squadron and the ancient battleships Arkansas, Texas, and Nevada. . . . “

There is more, but typing this on my IPad is tiresome! No footnote that I can see.


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Re: Fire Support Battle In Normandy

Post by dgfred » 23 Jan 2019 16:10

Good stuff... thanks guys.

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