A lot has been said about the impact of battleship sized shells i.e 14/15/16" against other ships, what sort of impact would they have against the German Gun emplacements such as those at Normandy? (I believe that Rodney also shelled gun emplacements in the Channel Isles) Would a 14/15/16" penetrate such thick concrete?
The old battleships HMS Ramillies and Warspite and the monitor HMS Roberts were used to suppress shore batteries east of the Orne; cruisers targeted shore batteries at Ver-sur-Mer and Moulineaux; eleven destroyers for local fire support.
Thanks to ULTRA, the Allies knew where the German channels through their own minefields were ...
Her next action of note was as a fire support vessel for the Normandy landings on the 06th June 1944, here her first task was the 6” gun battery at Benneville, in this engagement she knocked out all six guns, In an ironic moment she had had all but eight of her secondary 6” guns removed, designed to repulse torpedo boat attacks which were judged no longer a risk she fired on two attacking German destroyers which fired five torpedoes at her, thankfully all missed. On the evening of the 06th June she returned to Portsmouth to restock her ammunition, she returned on the 08th and destroyed another gun battery Throughout June Ramillies provide fire support to troops ashore , usually radio directed, she hit concentration of enemy armour, troop concentrations and another attack by German torpedo boats On the 10th June she shelled a railway junction at Caen at her maximum gun range, on the 11th June she destroyed a large number of enemy tanks massing to counter-attack then returned to shelling Caen railway junction. On the 15th June she was shelled by a mobile artillery battery which hit her twice injuring one of her crew, she simply moved out of range and carried on with her many bombardment tasks during which she fired just over 1000 rounds of 15” – the highest number of heavy shells fired by an RN ship in a single duty August 1944 saw her providing fire support to the allied landings in southern France, this time the German gun batteries at the port of Toulon were her target.
The ship entered the Baie de la Seine on 6 June, and took up a position 4,000 yards off "Omaha" beach. At 0552, Arkansas's guns opened fire. During the day, the venerable battleship underwent shore battery fire and air attacks; over ensuing days she continued her fire support. On the 13th, Arkansas shifted to a position off Grandcamp les Bains.
On 25 June 1944, Arkansas dueled with German shore batteries off Cherbourg, the enemy repeatedly straddling the battleship but never hitting her. Her big guns helped support the Allied attack on that key port, and led to the capture of it the following day. Retiring to Weymouth, England, and arriving there at 2220, the battleship shifted to Bangor, on 30 June.
On 14 August, Operation "Anvil" the invasion of the southern French coast between Toulon and Cannes, began. Arkansas provided fire support for the initial landings on 15 August, and continued her bombardment through 17 August.
The initial bombardment commenced at 0550, against the site of six 155mm gun, atop Point du Hoe. When TEXAS ceased firing at the Point, at 0624, 255 14" shells were fired in 34 minutes for a rate of fire of 7.5 shells a minute. This was also the longest sustained period of BB35 firing in WWII. The The high point provided a commanding field of fire to hurl shells on the invasion. 225 men of the 2ND Ranger Battalion were to scale the cliffs of Point du Hoe immediately after the bombardment ceased. Once captured the rest of 2ND Battalion and the 5th Battalion were to follow. The Ranger mission was to destroy the guns.
Pilot error on the landing craft caused a late arrival at the cliffs. Because the rest of the Ranger force did not receive the prearranged signal from atop the cliffs, they assumed the assault failed and went ashore on Western Omaha. The late assault start also lost the element of surprise. The Germans were ready when the Rangers started their climb. In the face of murderous fire, the Rangers had no where to go but to cliff top. The crest was reached and they began to push in. The guns were not in the prepared position but hidden in nearby woods and were ready to fire. The decimated Rangers captured and destroyed the guns.
José M. Rico wrote:lwd wrote:That is an impressive photo.
Yes, it is.
The German fortifications apparently survived the naval and air bombardment, and the US Rangers had to come in to do the job before the main landing forces arrived that morning.
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