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Did service rivalry kill Americans on Omaha beach

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Dracula, Jul 15, 2018.

  1. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    I have often wondered why the Marines, with all their hard won experience dealing with amphibious landings, were using tracked landing craft but the Army used the Higgins boat to deliver soldiers to the beach? The invasion planners obviously felt that armored tracked vehicles could operate on Omaha Beach. The invasion plan called for Sherman tanks to be landed and available from the first wave on.
    https://www.quora.com/Why-werent-tanks-deployed-on-Omaha-beach-during-the-1st-wave-of-D-Day

    This book asks the same question.
    D-Day Exposed: A Bad Combat Plan Saved by Good Men, June 6, 1944
    Thoughts.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Amtracs were so scarce the CG at Bougainville commandeered the ones that were landing his supplies. They could get supplies up stream better than trucks. The CO of the Supply Force asked if he could keep them long enough to get the supplies ashore.
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    To state the obvious...
    Coral reefs surrounding the majority of the island the Marines invaded played havoc with normal landing craft, while the amphibious tractors could climb right over those obstacles. There were no coral reefs surrounding Omaha Beach.

    Capacity. Amphibs carried far fewer troops than normal landing craft...So, your invasion is going to take that much longer to complete movement of troops and supplies from ship to shore.

    Which leads us to availability...LVT production did not ramp up until spring 1944, which would leave little to no time to get them to England in sufficient time to participate in the D-Day landings. Not to mention the number of LVTs needed to train the many crews that would be needed for the landings.

    As they say hindsight is 20/20. LVTs would have been nice, but it was simply not possible.
     
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  4. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Aside from the fact that whoever wrote that tripe can't spell or doesn't understand how to use a spell checker, the LVT(4), like the LVT(A)4, while first produced in late 1943 (11 and 200 each respectively) they were not available in significant quantities until mid 1944, which is why their first significant use was in Operation FORAGER, beginning 15 June 1944. By that time nine Army and ten Marine battalions were operational or in training, all were assigned to the Pacific. The only LVT available in the European theater were LVT1 and LVT2 supplied to Britain as Lend-Lease and LVT2 assigned two each to the American Amphib Truck companies.

    There is also the not so inconsequential problem that the LVT4 was only somewhat armored - its armored kit was 1/4 inch on the sides and 1/2 inch on the front...the sides were mostly definitely not "proof" against machine gun fire...or any of the other numerous armored vehicle killers in the German beach defenses. Furthermore, the same terrain restrictions at OMAHA that so badly hampered tank operations would have done the same to LVT.

    Yes, they would have been very useful at UTAH, SWORD, GOLD and parts of JUNO, but they simply weren't available in the quantity required.
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Can you picture some German FAO seeing an landing craft with tracks crawl up on Omaha with a tank in her bucket? He would have called in the clans on that target.
     
  6. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    I don't think that scarcity was the problem because you didn't need that many of them. Correct me, if I am wrong, but it seems that I have read that the first wave, on Omaha, used less than 100 Higgins boats. Look at the time frame and the number of LVT's used, by the Marines and the Army, in the Pacific theater.
    Landing Vehicle Tracked - Wikipedia
    Guadalcanal August 1942 / February 1943
    USMC LVT-1s were mainly used for logistical support at Guadalcanal. LVT-1 proved in this campaign its tactical capabilities, versatility and potential for amphibious operations.
    Tarawa November 20-23, 1943
    In the amphibious assault on Tarawa the LVTs were first used for amphibious assault in order to negotiate the barrier reef and arrive to the most heavily defended beaches the Americans ever met in the Pacific. This was also the first usage of the LVT-2 Water Buffalo in combat with 125 vehicles used (50 new LVT-2 and 75 LVT-1).
    Bougainville Island November 1, 1943
    29 LVTs were landed on the first day, with a total of 124 LVTs operating with the Marines during the landing.
    Marshall Islands January / February 1944
    In the campaign for the Marshall Islands the full range of the LVT models became available, including armed Amtrac LVTs based on the proven LVT-2 with a tank gun turret. This provided close-in firepower as the cargo LVTs neared the beach. The combination of armoured cargo LVT-2 and the armed LVT(A)-1 together helped to capture the Marshalls far ahead of schedule.
    Saipan June /July 1944
    Saipan saw the massive use of the LVTs by the USMC with six battalions of cargo LVT, including the new ramped LVT-4, and two battalions of armored Amtracs, employing the new LVT(A)-4 with a 75mm howitzer.
    Leyte October 1944
    The largest use of LVTs was in the Leyte landing , with nine US Army amtrac and two amtank battalions deployed by US Army 6th Army.

    What gives here? Tarawa, Bougainville, and the Marshall Islands, all using more and more of the LVT variants. Saipan was invaded at roughly the same time as D-Day and yet no LVT's for Omaha Beach but the Marines and the Army had 8 battalions at their disposal for the invasion of Saipan. For the invasion of Saipan, the numbers and who had them is suprising.
    [8-5
    ...Elements of two Marine Divisions were to land abreast, the Second Division on the left on Red beaches 2 and 3 and Green Beaches 1 and 2; the Fourth Marine Division on the right on Blue 1 and 2 and Yellow 1 and 2. The Army amphibious units attached to the Marine Divisions for the operation were prepared to land half of the assault troops. A total of three hundred and ninety-three Amphibious Tractors (LVTs) and one hundred and forty Amphibious Tanks (LVT (A)s) formed the assault waves. Of these, the Army units furnished two hundred tractors and sixty-eight tanks. Seven hundred and nineteen amphibious vehicles participated in the operation. Of this number, the Army furnished three hundred and sixty-seven....The invasion of Saipan was roughly the same time as D-Day. The Marines had learned from hard experience and had 8 battalions of LVT's including the 75 mm howitzer versions available and just five months later, the U S Sixth Army has 11 LVT battalions available for the invasion of Leyte.

    Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, with years of amphibious experience showing that LVT's were far superior for moving troops over a hostile beach, does not have one stinking battalion for D-Day. D-Day, the most important, ambitious, amphibious operation of the war, probably in the history of the world, and not one stinking battalion of LTV's. Why?
    It appears that scarcity was not a problem, when the U S Army forces in the Pacific, had hundreds of the best amphibious vehicles and units trained and experienced to use them but for the European guys, tough shit. I don't get why but scarcity was not an issue. Especially, if you have 5 stars and the rank of Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force.
     
  7. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    And how much armor did a Higgins boat have?
     
  8. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    Why where they all assigned to the Pacific? The decision for Overlord was made in 1943. The commitment of basically every European military asset available was plan A and there was no Plan B. The success of Overlord far outweighed any victory, in the Pacific. Which operation was more important to the outcome of the war, FORAGER or Overlord?
     
  9. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    First, you have a limited number of LTV's available, so which beach would be considered the most important? Omaha and screw the rest of them, right?The planners didn't seem to think that the Omaha beach conditions were unsuitable for 30 to 40 ton Shermans. An LTV weighed in at less than 20 tons and used a different style of track.
    The point is, for years, the planners had access to reports of what worked and what didn't, with respect to what approach seemed to work better for moving troops across a hostile beach. Yet, as you put it, they sent "significant" numbers" to use in Operation Forager and not one lousy unit for Overload. Again, Why? Could FORAGER not succeed with one less battalion of LVT's. Maybe the beach conditions would have hampered the LTV's but the planners didn't even try.
     
  10. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Well, there's your problem... :D No, the OMAHA assault used 192 LCVP and 76 LCA (the "armoured" British assault boats, which fared no better or worse than the LCVP), along with 166 LCM(3). Each LCVP or LCA in the assault carried an assault team of 31 (numbers actually slightly varied, but that was the norm). Do the math. 268 times 31 equals 8,308. The combat load of an LVT4 was 24 troops, aka two Marine rifle squads. To fit the Army assault teams into it require a redesigned assault team and 346 LVT4.

    To add to the problem, 47 LST were required to carry the 773 Amtracs (amphibian tractors and tanks) for the assault on Saipan. Of that number, just 169 were LVT4, the others were 161 LVT1, while the rest were LVT(A)1 and (A)4.

    So with LST numbers already constrained for NEPTUNE, where do the additional 47 come from? And if you need 346 LVT and have 330 available (barely) as of 15 June in the Pacific, where do you get the additional 16? And where then do you get the additional 330 needed for the operations in the Pacific? Or do you replace those with Higgins boats and get them hung up on the coral?


    No, the LVT1 proved itself an adequate training vehicle, but its lack of operational capability due to its poor design and durability meant it was not an adequate tactical vehicle, which was proven at:

    Where the lack of armor - other than the improvised armor on the front of the LVT2 - was a demonstrated liability, as was the lack of a bilge pump. The LVT2 was proven acceptable as a cargo carrier, but not as an assault vehicle and even in its cargo guise it was mechanically unreliable.

    And all were LVT2.

    And all the cargo LVT were still LVT(2) with barely adequate armor protection.

    (snip)

    Nope. Tarawa, Bouganville, and the Marshall's were all done with LVT1, LVT2, and LVT(A)1. The LVT4 and LVT(A)4 were just available for Saipan.

    Because that's simply nonsense. There were no "years of amphibious experience" showing anything the sort of the LVT. It was used as a cargo carrier in August and November 1944 at Guadalcanal and North Africa. Its first use as an assault amphibian was November 1943 at Tarawa, which was a near disaster. That was almost exactly two months before NEPTUNE planning began. The Marshall Islands operations began as NEPTUNE planning began, so any positive experience from that was ex post facto, not years.

    Okay, not nonsense, but bullshit. The "hundreds of the best amphibious vehicles" were the LVT4, which numbered just 169 operational as of 15 June, in the Pacific. The number of LVT(A)4 were 99 in the Army 708th Amphibian Tank Battalion and Marine 2d Armored Amtrac Battalion, so one less than "hundreds" of the best (the rest of the Amtanks were LVT(A)1).

    BTW, Eisenhower was a four-star and was CG, ETOUSA in terms of U.S. Army heirarchy, so was a theater commander, making him subordinate to Marshall and the Chiefs of the ASF and AGF stateside.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018
  11. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    About the same as an LVT1. It was also faster and more maneuverable in water and carried more personnel, who could exit the vehicle without jumping over the gunwales.
     
  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    They were mostly (not all, as mentioned, LVT1 and 2 were in Europe, as were later LVT4) assigned to the Pacific because, as was already pointed out to you, their usefulness in crossing coral atolls. Capturing coral atolls was a primary feature of the Central Pacific campaign.

    Yes, the decision for OVERLORD was made in 1943, at Tehran on 28 November 1943. The initial decision to reallocate landing ships and craft for OVERLORD was at Cairo on 5 December 1943. Eisenhower officially became SCAEF on 24 December 1943. After he and Montgomery jointly argued for an expanded five-division landing on 3 January 1944, which eventually required further landing craft diversions. The initial planning directive for NEPTUNE was 1 February 1944.

    You need to do a bit more research than Wiki.
     
  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Sigh...please look at my signature. Then read my book and at least the secondary sources I list in its bibliography before you start arguing the terrain and decision making for NEPTUNE.

    No, they did not have "years" - see my previous reply. They had months and very conflicting reports.

    So are you "Temple Kehoe"? Your polemics sound very similar to those expressed in his book.
     
  14. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    But, it was possible to equip, train, and move 8 battalions of modern USMC LTV units to a remote location, in the Pacific, thousands of miles further in the supply chain then England and where they were used for an amphibious assault just 9 days after D-Day? but England couldn't be done? Just five months after D-Day, it was possible to equip, train, and move 11 battalions of U S Army LTV units to Leyte Gulf, a distance of thousands of miles farther ? Sorry,doesn't wash.
    You guys keep insisting that if one beach has LTV's then everyone should have them. I'm with you, there was not enough to go around. Of the five beaches assaulted, which beach was the most important? Because of the Vierville Draw, I'm guessing Omaha and that is where I would have had my limited number of LTV's carrying the first wave.
     
  15. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Well, by 1944 the US Army in Europe had a lot of experience in amphibious assault as well. North Africa, Sicily, Italy...
    The Higgins boat (term could describe LCP(L), LCP(R) or LCVP) was also used in the Pacific landings, all the way up till the end. In the Pacific it was the initial assault waves that usually went in on tracs from Betio onward. The Higgins boats with their larger load capacity, and greater water speed was used for follow-on waves and to land supplies, equipment and vehicles. USMC LVT-1's had actually supported the Torch landings in November 1942 as logistical support, so there was precedent for their use in the Europe, Med, North Africa theater.
    Some reasons I can think of that they didn't use them. 1.) Low freeboard. The LVT's had such low freeboard that they were susceptible to being swamped in heavy seas. The seas in the channel were generally rougher than what was experienced in the pacific. The fact that so many of the modified DD Sherman's swamped would lead me to surmise that there would be an issue with LVT's swamping as well. 2.) In the pacific fringing coral reefs made LVT's indispensable because they could crawl over the reef and continue to shore. That wasn't the case in Europe. 3.) Slow! LVT's were much slower than higgins boats; LVT-1 Alligator 6.1 mph water; LVT-2 series Water Buffalo (includes LVT-4) 7.5 mph water; LCVP 14 mph. So the time from ship to shore is doubled with the LVT, giving twice the time they are exposed to enemy fire. 4.) Shipping/training; Unless you have an excess in LST's or LSD's which can launch fully loaded LVT's, you have to cross load them in the water. First, you load the troops into LCVP's, the LVT's are lowered into the water by ships booms, then the two meet up in the water and load from the Higgins boats into the LVT's. It takes a lot more practice for the boats and crews. Europe being a much more mechanized environment, the available LST's were better used to deliver the much greater quantities of tanks and other vehicles needed across the beach, instead of carrying LVT's. 5.) Higgins boats had a much greater payload than an LVT.

    It's obvious to me the author knows very little about LVT's. When he describes the water propulsion system of track bearings running along raceways on the pontoons, he's describing the LVT-1, but mentions/pictures the LVT-4 several times, indicating he doesn't understand that the track system was a weakness identified in the LVT-1 as early as 1940. There were experiments into a new track system almost from inception. Sand and water caused the bearings of the LVT-1 to lockup and fail fairly rapidly. The suspension and drive were changed starting with the LVT-2 to a bogey system, He also tends to describe the LVT as a light tank, when it's actually probably more synonymous to an armored car as far as protection and armament. The LVT(A)'s (except for (A)-2 which was a cargo/troop carrier version) would have likely been beneficial as support for the landings, but he's pushing all LVT's not just the armored support types. He reminds me of the famous internet idiot Mike Spark's (Sparky) who posts under too many pseudonyms to list. Has determined that the M-113 APC is the answer to all things military and has made it his personal crusade to have the US Army name it the "Gavin". He has a webpage called combatreform.org and formed a group of his sycophants that he gloriously named the 1st Tactical Studies Group, Airborne (1st TSG (A)). The fact is that NO military vehicle/weapons system is the single solution, all have strengths and weaknesses.
     
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  16. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    You don't seem to read so well. Or only choose to read what you wish. The Marines formed ten Amphib battalions, one (the 6th) was provisional and the last was formed in June 1944. The Marines deployed four of those in FORAGER, the 2d, 5th, and 10th Amtrac Battalion (- 'A', but + 'C', 11th Amtrac Bn) and the 2d Armored Amphibian Battalion. The Army also deployed four, deployed the 534th, 715th, 773d, Amphibian Battalions and the 708th Amphibian Tank Battalion.

    Yes, it is possible they could have been deployed to England for NEPTUNE, but then you cancel the entire Central Pacific campaign and allow the Japanese a breather.

    Um, do you know what a straw man argument is? No one here as insisted anything of the sort. You are "guessing Omaha" "because of the Vierville Draw"? Please explain that reasoning if you can.
     
  17. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    The point you guys have buried in all your facts and I would like to know is, knowing what you know now, would you personally have rather jumped out of a Higgins boat and took your chances moving over several hundreds yards of open ground or come ashore in a LTV, in whatever variant was available and whatever protection it would offer. By the way, Rich, I'm not suggesting that everyone ride in an LTV, but how many in the first wave could have been carried by a battalion of LTV's. And would you rather jump over the side or wait for a ramp to open exposing everyone inside.
     
  18. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    Since you wrote the book, which beach was most important and why? The question that I would like USMCPrice to answer, You are in the first wave at Omaha, Higgins or LTV?
     
  19. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    A single battalion of LVT's would have been 98-100, so 2,400 men, so insufficient for what was required to assault OMAHA. Given they were open top, essentially unarmored, slow (the run in time would have at least doubled), and assaulting a beach with just four viable beach exits, it is unlikely they would have changed anything.
     
  20. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    All of them. Now please answer my questions. Are you "Temple Kehoe"? Why do you guess "Omaha" was the most important "because of the Vierville Draw"?
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018

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