Naval fire support in Normandy

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RNfanDan
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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by RNfanDan » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:29 pm

Oh, so it should read "destroyer-caliber" guns. Got it now, thanks!

:ok:
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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by aurora » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:01 pm

Beginning around 0800 off Omaha, individual vessels—including the U.S. destroyers Emmons (DD-457), Carmick (DD-493), Doyle (DD-494), McCook (DD-496), Frankford (DD-497), Baldwin (DD-624), Harding (DD-625), Thompson (DD-627) and British escort destroyers Melbrea and Tanatside —began closing the beach, some approaching as near as the depth of the water would allow, and providing virtual point-blank support for the infantry.
In some instances, the ships fired on targets of opportunity, such as guns enfilading the beach revealed by their muzzle flashes, and in others they bombarded enemy positions radioed in by shore fire-control parties.It was destroyers who saved the day for the ground troops in the Omaha Beachhead on D Day.

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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by cimmee » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:59 am

RF wrote:I'm not convinced of your hypothesis. The D-Day landings were not Dieppe - this nearly two years later, over a fifty mile front and where not all the German artillery emplacements had serviceable guns. If Rommel could say ''you could land an army of children here'' in May 1944 then even the Germans didn't consider the defences that formidable.

Lack of naval bombardment would mean higher Allied casualties - but the invasion I think would have been as successful as it was. German failure to send in their panzer reserves in the absence of naval firepower would have been a keypoint in that Allied success.
Success was a foregone conclusion; only the cost was in question.

I would not have invaded anywhere the Germans were in strength. The South of France would have been a logical extension of Italy and Sicily.

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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by aurora » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:51 pm

cinmee
Operation Anvil, renamed at Churchill’s insistence Operation Dragoon, started on August 15th as planned. Unlike in Normandy where remnants of the Mulberry Harbour and the Atlantic Wall can still be seen, there is little to remind people on the south coast of France that Operation Dragoon ever took place. The beaches between Toulon and Cannes were chosen for the landings – a 35 miles strip of coastline.

The amphibious fleet was made up of 6 battleships, 4 aircraft carriers, 21 cruisers and 100 destroyers along with 500 transport ships. They had variously sailed from Oran, Corsica, Naples, Malta, Palermo and Taranto. Vice-Admiral H K Hewitt, United States Navy, commanded the naval force. The heavy guns of the battleships were not needed as initial reports indicated that few Germans were on the coastline or the immediate hinterland. As with Operation Overlord, Allied deception had worked. The Germans were expecting an attack at Genoa and had been fed this information – early captured German soldiers confirmed this. Hewitt had made a course ostensibly to Genoa before altering it at the last moment. Dummy parachutists were dropped that also gave the clear impression that the landing target was Genoa.

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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by RF » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:52 pm

cimmee wrote: Success was a foregone conclusion; only the cost was in question.
That can be said with hindsight. At the time however even Eisenhower wasn't certain of success. He had prepared a special communique to be used in the eventuality of the D-Day landings ending in failure and withdrawal.
I would not have invaded anywhere the Germans were in strength. The South of France would have been a logical extension of Italy and Sicily.
Of course you and I wouldn't land where the Germans were in strength. That lesson was learned on the western front in the First World War.

The invasion of southern France was more than a ''logical extension of Italy and Sicily.'' It was a significant reinforcement to the American breakout from the Cotentin Peninsula, opening up a new front that allowed the Allies to liberate Burgundy, to trap the German forces in south-west France and to penetrate to the Rhine in Alsace. Without this southern prong the Allied advance of September 1944 across north-eastern France into Belguim would have been slower, having to guard a long exposed southern flank from German counterattack.
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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by cimmee » Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:13 pm

aurora wrote:cinmee
Operation Anvil, renamed at Churchill’s insistence Operation Dragoon, started on August 15th as planned. Unlike in Normandy where remnants of the Mulberry Harbour and the Atlantic Wall can still be seen, there is little to remind people on the south coast of France that Operation Dragoon ever took place. The beaches between Toulon and Cannes were chosen for the landings – a 35 miles strip of coastline. I know, that's why I mentioned it.

The amphibious fleet was made up of 6 battleships, 4 aircraft carriers, 21 cruisers and 100 destroyers along with 500 transport ships. They had variously sailed from Oran, Corsica, Naples, Malta, Palermo and Taranto. Vice-Admiral H K Hewitt, United States Navy, commanded the naval force. The heavy guns of the battleships were not needed as initial reports indicated that few Germans were on the coastline or the immediate hinterland. As with Operation Overlord, Allied deception had worked. The Germans were expecting an attack at Genoa and had been fed this information – early captured German soldiers confirmed this. Hewitt had made a course ostensibly to Genoa before altering it at the last moment. Dummy parachutists were dropped that also gave the clear impression that the landing target was Genoa.

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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by pg55555 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:43 am

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RF (or whoever),

I've always wondered what happened to the Eastern Front of Operation Dragoon.

A lot is written of the advance northwards, but I cannot really found out what happened towards the Italian border. Did they proceed a certain distance and then dig-in ? Or was there continuous fighting ?

Any info, or references, would be appreciated.


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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by aurora » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:16 am

The only move east was to Nice-the whole objective was to clear southern France and link up with Allied forces in the north
In less than a month, men involved in Operation Dragoon had advanced 500 miles and liberated some major French cities. 3,000 Americans were killed with 4,500 wounded while the French suffered less than 10,000 casualties killed and wounded, including soldiers who fought for France from Morocco and Algeria – the Goums of Morocco, for example and men from the FFI (French Forces of the Interior). German casualties were far higher but any accurate records were not kept. However, 100,000 Germans were taken POW’s – about 33% of total German strength in south France.

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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by pg55555 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:10 pm

.

Thanks.

However, did they just dig-in at Nice, enjoy the beaches and play football with the Germans, or was there any movement ?

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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by aurora » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:08 pm

No -they cleared the area of Germans- the GOC had no intention, other than neutralising Mediterranean ports/cities; and moving northwards clearing out the Germans-a lot of impressed Eastern Europeans included

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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by pg55555 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:54 am

.

Why would sitting on the Italian border doing nothing impress Eastern Europeans ?

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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by aurora » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:33 pm

pg -sorry about that :-
IMPRESSED EASTERN EUROPEANS-the German army in SOUTHERN FRANCE contained many Easterrn Europeans who had been Impressed into the WEHRMACHT-I personaly knew such a man -a Pole who had been given the choice of the Wehrmacht or a Concentration Camp-he chose the latter-he was made POW and sent to the Polish Corps in Italy to fight the Germans

NB -In this case "Impressment" means to join a formation by force or by threat

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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by tommy303 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:51 pm

Conscripted might be another word for impressment in this instance.

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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by aurora » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:11 pm

Yes tommy -you are probably right -I was thinking in terms of being pressurised-The Wehrmarcht or a Concentration Camp-lousy options- but being in the Wehrmarcht would appear to be a better option to a twenty year old.

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Re: Naval fire support in Normandy

Post by pg55555 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:58 am

.

That was rather a hilarious mis-understanding.

On that (much more serious) issue, I once came across a "can-lad" (i.e. tea boy) on a construction site who was rather confused and ill. It turned out that he was a Pole who had been captured by the Soviets in 1940's "friendly" invasion and had been a prisoner, who was then conscripted into the Soviet Army as a labourer when the German's invaded. During the war his unit was captured by the Germans wholesale and got German uniforms to work as labourers. Late in the War it happened again (!) with the now extremely depleted unit captured by the Soviets and being used as near slave labour. The remaining few went with them into Germany where they were abandoned at the war's end. Eventually the bloke was "adopted" by some Polish refugees who after more travails got him to the UK. By 1980 (when I met him) he was a wreck mentally and physically, but could talk quite well when calmed down. A tragic life with truly horrific "war stories".

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