*** war and social upheaval: World War II campaigns -- D-Day assault

D-Day: Embarking the Armada (June 1-5, 1944)

D-Day enbarcastion
Figure 1.--Here American Sherman tanks are racing through an English town on the way to a LST for embaration, probably on June 2. here were some 75 concrete beaches prepared for this. The roads even through the towns and villages had been cleared of all civilsn traffic.

The initial D-Day assault force was six divisions, one for each of the five landing beaches except Omaha for which two divisions were allocated. Loading the men and equipment had to be done very quickly and just immediately before the invasion. So the camps had to be very close to to Channel coast. As it was the Americans were located toward the west. The Brits and Canadians in the center. In the far east (Kent) was the fictional American First Infantry Division (FUSAG) commanded by Gen. Patton. If the Germans had effective reconnaissance, this they could have easily deduced that the main invasion was not coming at the Pas de Calis, but at Normandy. Allied air superiority was, however, so dominant that German reconnaissance was virtually nonexistent. The Allies had British harbor infrastructure, but to get the men and equipment aboard the waiting ships there was temporary piers and wharves built just for D-Day to get the men out to deeper water so they could embark. This could not be done days in advance because the men were so crammed aboard that there were no facilities for them. The men and equipment were all embarked and ready to go by (June 4). As Overlord unfolded, the men had to kept aboard a day because of bad weather (OJune 5). As a result the invasion occured a day later (June 6). If there had not been a break in the weather, the ships would have had to be unloaded and the most precious secret of the war would have been out. While the existing harbor facilities were extensive for D-Day much more was needed to support the one day landing of six divisions. At all had to occur at once to overwhelm the German defenses. In addition the LSTs could not be loaded at a regular harbor. They had to be loaded at a beach. So some 75 concrete beaches were prepared, most along the Channel coast, but a few in Wales and East Anglia. A chocolate box prefabricated mats were developed, some of which can still be seen. Construction began in 1942. Some 75 in all were built. An improved road network had to be built to these concrete beaches, many in rural areas. Botyh concrete and tar-macadan. Britain did not have all that many improved highways at the time. Certainly not enough to accommodate the movement of six divisions in a few days. Many roads leading gto the coat were widened. And entirely new roads to the concrete beaches were built. And as the loading began, the roads were closed off to the public. Somehow it all worked. The entire invasion armada was loaded in only 5 day with virtually no problems and with the Germans none the wiser. The armada sailed with all the correct units and equipment with only the one day weather delay. It mean that in one day, the Allies lnded 156,000 men and theuir equioment aling with 20,000 vehicles landed along the coast of france. Combined with the three sirvirn divisions landed aon the flanks of the lndings begind the German beacvh defenses, it proved to much fir Hitlerr's vsunted Stlntuic wall.


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Created: 12:06 AM 12/23/2022
Last updated: 12:06 AM 12/23/2022