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Did service rivalry kill Americans on Omaha beach

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

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    And only 35 were running at the end of the operation.
    LVT Tarawa WWII boat mines Captain Thomas Royster and Corporal Lambert Lane

    The majority(430) were older models, only 213 were the newer LVT-4s.
    The Battle of Saipan and Operation Forager

    Leyte??? Really? They only added some 3,100 LVTs to the inventory during June, July, August, and September...
    The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia: LVT Class, Allied Landing Craft

    Where were the coral reefs that prevented the LCVPs from landing at D-Day located?

    Again, where are those pesky reefs surrounding the D-Day beaches located?

    Omaha will not be any less bloody with one battalion more of LVTs...

    Couple hundred...The Marines had more.

    The European guys didn't need them, the Pacific guys did...Those pesky coral reefs again...The European guys didn't have to contend with them.


    Unfortunately, those darn pesky coral reefs made LVTs a necessity for success in the Pacific...The lack of coral reefs on the French Coast made LVTs a luxury in Europe.
     
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  2. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    I had no idea who Temple Kehoe was but a quick google explains everything. Mr Kehoe passed away in 2015, not long after his book, D-Day Exposed, was published. Richard Anderson, aka RichTOGO, has also written a book(s). He suggested that I look at his signature and read his book. I went to Amazon and I am confused by which book that he wants me to read?[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] or [​IMG]
    Just kidding, I'm guessing that this is the one that he is referring to.


    [​IMG]

    I'm also guessing that he doesn't think much about Mr Kehoe's idea that it was a mistake by not using LTV's during Overlord. To each his own.
    Obviously, I have not researched or written a book but I'll answer your question as to why I think that Omaha was the most important beach to capture. The Vierville draw was the only exit of 4 or 5 exits off of Omaha Beach, that had a paved road, that connected to a road, that connected to the coastal highway, that ran all the way from Utah Beach to Sword and Juno beaches. Having a paved exit road with connections to a highway would have enabled armor and trucks to get off the beach and have access to rapid movement, both West and East. Also, if the Germans hold Omaha, then there would be a enemy bulge in the landing area. Judging by the commotion caused by the Battle for the Bulge, that would not be a good thing.
    By the way, congratulations on your book.
     
  3. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    While I do not agree with the OP's analysis of LVT's and the Normandy invasion, in the interest of accuracy I have to support him on a few points.


    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.
    Actually, while they were not used in the tactical assault role they did prove extremely useful for tactical resupply at Guadalcanal, New Georgia and Bougainville. It proved extremely useful in a variety of roles, despite the short life of it's tracks and lack of suspension. It proved its value as more than a training vehicle.

    Five LVT(1)s of Company A, 2d Amtrac Battalion, proved to be versatile
    pieces of equipment in this fight:
    They carried water, supplies, ammunition, and personnel to
    shore and evacuated wounded on the return trips. On one occasion
    a tractor moved some distance inland to attack a Japanese position
    that had pinned down and wounded a number of Marines. Using their
    two machine guns, one .30 and one .50 caliber, the tractor's crew
    neutralized the enemy fire and then evacuated the wounded Marines.


    It was under these circumstances that the LVT once again demonstrated
    Itself as the machine of the hour. According to the official history:
    Already these lumbering land-sea vehicles had proven their worth
    in carrying cargo, ferrying guns, and evacuating wounded men
    through the marsh lands and the lagoons, and the variations of
    their capabilities under such extreme circumstances were just
    beginning to be realized and appreciated.4


    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).
    The 2d Marine Division had fitted them with makeshift armor (for both the LVT-1's and LVT-2's, because they were not designed for the assault role. This armor did prove effective, they just took heavy casualties due to the extremely heavy defenses. They did have bilge pumps, they just couldn't keep up with the number of holes punched in them. The initial wave landed intact (which led to the victory), it was on subsequent trips out to the reef and back in, ferrying additional troops and supplies, that most were eventually knocked out. They did prove their value as an assault vehicle as there is no doubt that without them the landing would have failed. The LVT-1 was the mechanically unreliable version, the LVT-2 was much improved. It was the basis for all subsequent LVT's except the Borg-Warner LVT-3 which showed up at Okinawa. The LVT-2, LVT(A)-1, LVT(A-)2, LVT(A)-3, LVT(A)-4, LVT(A)-5 all had the basic hull and drive train of the LVT-2. All late production LVT-2's had LVT(A)-2 improvements incorporated into their production (cab, additional armor).

    The tractors
    had power driven bilge pumps, but these were not enough to handle the
    flood of water coming into the hulls and the later common practice of
    carrying wooden plugs to drive into bullet holes had not been adopted.


    At distances between 500 to 800
    yards the tractors encountered the reef and climbed over it with no
    difficulty. Machine gun fire was received from this point into the beach
    with increasing severity. During the last 200 yards to the beach, eight
    tractors were put out of action by this type of fire.15 LVT machine
    guns were operated by the embarked troops and assisted in putting down
    some of the fire that swelled from the beach as friendly supporting fire
    diminished and died away prematurely. Four LVTs negotiated the log wall
    at the beach and moved inland to the middle of the island before discharging
    their Marines. Offloaded LVTs backed off the beach to take
    advantage of their frontal armor, and most returned out to sea to attempt
    to pick up troops from the later waves embarked in LCVPs.


    So only eight if the 87 Amtracs in the initial assault waves were knocked out during the initial assault.

    From "Across the Reef":

    On balance, the LVTs performed their assault mission fully within Julian Smith's expectations. Only eight of the 87 vehicles in the first three waves were lost in the assault
    (although 15 more were so riddled with holes that they sank upon reaching deep water while seeking to shuttle more troops ashore). Within a span of 10 minutes, the LVTs landed more than 1,500 Marines on Betio's north shore, a great start to the operation. The critical problem lay in sustaining the momentum of the assault.


    Tarawa was the first combat use of the LVT-2, they were shipped directly from the West Coast of the US, half went to the US Army at Makin and half to the Marines at Tarawa.

    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.


    Actually, they were all LVT-1's the first use of LVT-2's was at Tarawa.

    A total of 124 LVTs were landed at Bouganville, all being the Roebling
    designed LVT(1). Twenty-nine landed early with the assault echelons on
    0-Day with later increments bringing the 3rd Amtrac Battalion up to its
    total strength.35 As the perimeter expanded, the LVT was frequently the
    only vehicle that could carry supplies forward through the knee-deep mud.
    This continuous strain on the vehicles created a maintenance problem of
    significant proportions and the largest number of vehicles available at
    any one time was sixty-four, with the number once dropping to twentynine.
    36 Nevertheless, the official history pays further tribute to the
    LVTs during the expansion of the perimeter:
    Without the 3rd Amphibian Tractor Battalion, the operation as
    planned could not have been carried beyond the initial beachhead
    stages; and it was the work of the LVT companies and the skill of
    the amtrac operators that made possible the rapid advance of the
    IMAC forces during the first two weeks.37


    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.


    The LVT-2's were mostly the later production with the armored cab from the LVT(A)-2 and additional armor on the bow and sides. The LVT(A)-1 was also used at Roi-Namur and Engebi.

    However, despite him getting some details correct, I find his analysis faulty, but find your evaluation of the situation and decisions made to be spot on.
     
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  4. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Higgins boat. I don't like swimming in full gear when the trac swamps, or being subjected to all German heavy guns, mortars and machine guns for twice as long. If there was a reef off the beach I'd ride a trac, preferable to wading in 500 yards or more.
     
  5. Dracula

    Dracula Member

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    You guys want to argue the minutiae and to hell with what may, possibly, coulda, woulda, shoulda, have saved some lives at Omaha. Takao is so certain that the use of LTV's wouldn't have saved lives. My question is how does he know. Everything was considered to make Overlord a success, to gain a foothold in France, and to save lives. No expense was too great. Fake armies across from Calais. Thousands of bomb runs with hundreds of planes and thousands of crews lost. England turned into a massive military depot. All this effort, with the planners working all hands on deck and no plan B. The fate of Western Europe literally hanging in the balance because Uncle Joe and his Russian horde are not going to stop, if there are no allied soldiers, on the continent, to make him stop. All this riding on can U S soldiers make it across a wide open beach and gain a foothold. Do they run or do they ride? Both options are available but one, even a limited version, isn't tried and, with everything on the table, the question is why? That's all that I am asking.
     
  6. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    "Takao is so certain that the use of LTV's wouldn't have saved lives." Yes, and he gave reasons, he could say the same, why are you so certain it would have saved lives? Because some dead dude wrote a book saying so? A guy I've already pointed out doesn't really know his LVT's.

    You're only looking at one part of the equation, the beach crossing. You have to look at all of it. Rich and Takao have pointed out many things that need to be considered and understand that everything is a trade off. You have a limited amount of shipping, though it may be a massive quantity. Do you use the LST's for Amtracs or tanks? I think getting tanks, tank destroyers and armored cars on the ground would be more important if I were doing the planning. If you don't have the extra LST's then you have to figure training for the assault troops and boat/LVT crews. Do you have the ability to implement the additional training required be capable of transferring troops from LCVP to LVT in the types of sea states you'll encounter in the channel. Are you willing to accept the additional casualties (drownings) from swamped tracs? How about the increased ship to shore movement time? Twice the time for the Germans to react and pour fire into them. What's the difference if you lose 800 men crossing the beach or 800 men on the trip in? The LVT's lack of speed also effects their ability to deal with heavy currents, did the author address that? Using LVT's it is likely they would have been even more scattered and disorganized. Read the issues they had at Tarawa with dealing with tides and making the ship to shore movement in the allotted time. If the sea states led to additional delays in getting the assault troops ashore would the German defense have been stronger and more effective? How would an additional 30 minutes, or an hour, or more have benefited them? How would it have effected the fire and air support plan?
    Eisenhower's forces were only one part of a world wide war, how would taking the assets available for other operations have effected the bigger picture? At Saipan there was no other option, due to the coral reefs, than to use LVT's. That was not the case at Normandy where conventional landing craft were suitable. If you delay the assault on Saipan the Japanese have more time to prepare. Delay Saipan, you delay Tinian, which delays deployment of B-29's to bomb Japan, which allows Japan's cities and manufacturing a respite, which lengthens the war.
    What you consider "minutiae" are facts which figure into military decisions, the whole "for want of a nail the shoe was lost" thing. If you'll notice, I have supported you where you were correct. Rich and Takao, both very knowledgeable members, are providing you with the reasons why it would be problematic. Instead of getting angry that they aren't agreeing with you, pick certain aspects of your question, discuss them and flesh out your scenario.
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    You probably should to look at what actually happened at Omaha Beach and assess the errors and failures made...Before you trapse into the "may, possibly, coulda, woulda, shoulda" minefield.

    The Devil is in the details...Which is why most of these "mays, possiblies, couldas, wouldas, shouldas" go belly up rather quickly. Further, the vast majority require a crystal ball to foresee, such as using LVTs at Omaha. Further, you would have to double or triple the number of LVTs to match the carrying capacity of the LCVPs, LCAs, and LCMs. Given the slower speed and longer time under fire - are you really accomplishing anything more? Also, given the many things that went wrong at Omaha Beach - using LVTs is not going to correct any of them.

    Hundreds of planes lost? Only about 214 bombers and fighters were lost from the beginning of 8th Air Force operations in support of Operation Neptune on May 9, 1944. These were not the deep penetration raids to Germany and were fairly well covered by escort fighters. Given that roughly half of the aircraft lost were fighters, your "thousands of crews lost." is also very much suspect.

    Yes, they can...and did...without LCTs. Quite successfully on the 4 other beaches - So, again, what is it that makes Omaha "special?" Ponder this...

    They ran, again, quite successfully on the 4 other beaches. What makes Omaha "Special?"

    No, you are asking, or should I say "brow beating," for much more...Your "Why?" has been answered - No perceived need in Europe, or the MTO for that matter, as opposed to an operational necessity in the Pacific.

    If LVTs are needed on Omaha, they should and would be needed on all the other beaches as well. From the aerial observation photos and other intelligence, there is nothing "special" about Omaha, compared with the 4 other beaches.
     
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  8. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Just recently watched "IKE" - the 90 days leading up to the invasion...some of this is covered.
     
  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, for some reason I always reverse Bouganville and Tarawa in time. And god knows why I said they did not have bilge pumps, brain fart time and not bothering to go back and review sources. The problem, especially at Tarawa, was running them for too long without refueling and when the engine went dry the pumps stopped...and all the little holes that weren't plugged took them to the bottom. Approximately ten LVT2 were lost at Kwajalein to that cause.

    And I should have been more careful, since I was referring to the capability of the LVT1 as an assault amphibian, which was virtually nil and the LVT2 was only marginally better. Their unreliability though made them nearly as useless as a cargo carrier. IIRC, somewhere I have an assessment of the LVT2 used by the QM TC Amphib Truck companies at Normandy complaining that the two each company were nice...when one was actually working.

    I see you're using Bailey, but don't forgot 15 LVT were lost at Tarawa to flooding when the bilge pumps lost power as engines failed or ran out of gas...it was the Tarawa experience that led to the carrying of wooden plugs and mallets to fix the holes.


    And Croizat as well. :)

    Yep.

    Again, I was speaking to the idea of numerous LVT4 at Normandy (or anywhere in June 1944 and not really the LVT(A)1 or LVT(A)4 "amtanks". In any case, only 450 of the LVT(A)2 were produced before they were replaced in production by the LVT4.

    Um, the only "details" he got correct were Wiki quotes.
     
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  10. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    That's RichTO90. Is it too much to ask you to get that little thing right Frankenstein?

    You got that right. The supposition that you and he might be the same was based on the sense that you were flogging the idea promoted in the book and thus flogging the book. Not that I ever do the same with my titles.

    Indeed.

    Um, their were four viable exits off of OMAHA, commonly known as "draws" to the planners. They were the Vierville Draw (D-1), Les Moulins Draw (D-3), St Laurent Draw (E-1), and Colleville Draw (E-3). All were considered trafficable, but D-1 and D-3 were sealed by antitank walls, E-1 was blocked by minefields and AT ditches, and E-3 by the same. There was a fifth exit leading to Cabourg (F-1 or just the "Fifth Draw"), but it was little more than a walking trail and so was considered of secondary importance by the planners. E-1 and E-3 both required engineering work to be fully passable to other than tracked vehicles.

    Yes, only the road down through Vierville was hard surface, leading to the D514, but calling it a "highway" is a bit of an exaggeration. Modern day it remains a narrow, two-lane secondary road. However, it is exactly the same road that leads east to Asnelles and GOLD, Courseulles and Bernieres and JUNO, and Ouistreham and SWORD and west to Grandcamp, Isigny, Carentan and thus eventually UTAH. So all four of the easternmost Normandy invasion areas shared the same road. All four beaches had exits that could and did link to the paved D514. OMAHA did connect the landings on the Cotentin to the landings in the Calvados, which was important, but I'm not sure it made it any more important than the others.

    Why thank you.
     
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  11. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I am very impressed Rich! I had intended to list my source, but the wife was harping on me to finish up because there was something she wanted me to do. I posted the reply before listing the source and you recognized it! The correct answer is Major Alfred Dunlop Bailey, USMC (Retired); "Alligators, Buffaloes and Bushmasters, The History of the Development of the LVT through WWII".

    Anyone interested can download a pdf copy here: https://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/ALLIGATORS, BUFFALOES, AND BUSHMASTERS PCN 19000319000.pdf

    Nope, "Across the Reef:The Marine Assault at Tarawa" which I quoted from and actually remembered to provide attribution for! It is by Col. Joseph H. Alexander, USMC (Retired). He wrote probably the best book on Tarawa. "Utmost Savagery: The Amphibious Seizure of Tarawa." Unfortuately, I did not include the complete title because as you say Victor J. Croizat has a book titled "Across the Reef:The Amphibious Tracked Vehicle at War." I apologize for the confusion my sloppiness caused.

    Anyone interested in downloading the PDF, you'll find it here: https://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/Across the Reef - The Marine Assault of Tarawa PCN 19000312000_1.pdf

    RichTO90 wrote: "but don't forgot 15 LVT were lost at Tarawa to flooding when the bilge pumps lost power as engines failed or ran out of gas..."

    The quote I used from across the reef does include the information about the 15 "(although 15 more were so riddled with holes that they sank upon reaching deep water while seeking to shuttle more troops ashore)." As you correctly stated, the bilge pumps were dependant on the engine running. Also, good number of LVT's lost power when their engine compartments were swamped (another negative for using the LVT in the heavy chop of the channel). Some managed to get restarted. Some were blasted out of the water by mortars or large caliber guns (a litteral sitting duck). However, some of these were just so full of holes that even a running engine and working bilges pumps couldn't keep up with the water coming in. Remember also that most of these sank while heading back out to the reef to pick up more troops, they had successfully landed their assault troops. They used to have #49 My Delores on display at Camp Pendleton, I used to go see it all the time as a kid. It had been returned, unrepaired from Tarawa for a War Bond tour, it had quite a few holes in it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  12. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    And I blame my significant other for my disjointed replies, but please don't tell her. :D

    I forgot Alexander used the same title for his first treatment of Tarawa. I should have used Utmost Savagery, but that would have meant finding it on my bookshelf.

    I seem to recall an LVT at Quantico too, but its been too many years and I was an ignorant youngster then, so I have no clue no which it was.
     
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  13. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Came across this: As the barges emerge from the Coral Sea into calmer waters they make good progress on their journey to Jacquinot Bay on the southern coast of New Britain. Nineteen ALC 40's and one ALC 120 of 41st Landing Craft Company, Royal Australian Engineers crossed the Coral Sea during the epic voyage from Cairns, Qld.
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Anyone that has crossed the Coral Sea in a flat-bottomed boat has my sincere sympathies. The only time I got truly sea sick.
     
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  15. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    I think you make some good points, as usual, but I'm puzzled by this one. If ships like attack transports are carrying LVTs and lowering them by booms, why not have them come alongside and load the troops by cargo net the same way they would load LCVPs? The transfer seems a needless complication, and there seems little point in having ships carry LCVPs just for that purpose.

    IIRC troops were transferred from LCVPs into LVTs at Tarawa, but that was improvised after it was discovered that the Higgins boats couldn't pass over the reef.

    This reminds me of something I've wondered about - LSTs often carried and launched LVTs, but a WWII LST could not carry anything near the number of troops its load of LVTs could accommodate. Just the LVT crews would take up most of the LST's troop capacity. So did they operate as we are discussing? Did the LVTs go to a transport ship to load troops?
     
  16. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    This is a recurrent theme on this board. Why didn't:-
    - The US Marines play a bigger part on D Day
    - Op Overlord follow the American methiods developed in the Pacific
    - Use the LVT

    Cut and pastes from memory...

    #1 Yes, there was inter service rivalry at the highest level. The was against Germany would be led by the US Army led and the war against the Japanese by the US Navy. The agreed policy of Germany first did not stop Admiral King building up forces for the Pacific and withholding shipping if he could. However, at a pragmatic level the amphibious techniques used in Normandy drew on expertise from all services and the US Marines did have a say.

    #2 By January 1944 when the plans for Op Overlord were being finalised, Eisenhower's team and the British Combined Operations which led the technical and tactical development of the common methods used on all beaches had far more experience of large scale landings than the US Navy in the Pacific. Guadalcanal and Tarawa were about the same scale as Dieppe. Tarawa did not offer a particularly successful model to be copied. It took 76 hours for 60,000 troops in two divisions to subdue 5,000 Japanese at a cost of 7,000 casualties. At Omaha beach 35,000 troops faced 9,000 better equipped Germans and drove them back in 24 hours at a cost of 2,300-3,000 casualties.

    #3 The problems of the Op Overlord landings were unique, and very different from those in the Pacific:-
    3.1 The assault beaches were covered in obstacles between high and low water marks that would impede vehicle movement. Above the high water mark there were tank traps and minefields. D D tanks was to provide fire support from in the surf so the engineers and assault infantry could manouvre forwards as well as to drive inland. The LVT was ideal for negotiating coral reefs or other litoral that mixed water and land. No help with the minefields or obstacles.
    3.2 The scale of the landings required a very large number of assault craft. As Rich 90 has pointed out it would not have been possible to have equipped the D day force with LVT.
    3.3 The Allies equipped their logistic units with the DUKW for ship to shore resupply. Cheaper and more reliable than the LVT and available in larger numbers.

    #4 whatever benefits the LVT might have offered over LCVP and DUKW intoducing them was way down in the list of priorities for SHAEF, and its subordinate commands. The pressing problem in the first quarter of 1944 was to find the shipping and landing craft to land the two additional assault divisions on D Day demanded by Eisenhower and Montgomery. If there was an opportunity to add a hundred new AFVs to the assault force at Omaha beach, AVRE or Crocodile tanks would have been more use than LVT.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2018
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  17. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Here is a thought. Not withstanding anything in post 36 there are two places on D Day where LVT might have had an impact.

    .....but not at Omaha Beach.

    The LVT offers an advantage over landing craft negotiating offshore reefs. There were reefs offshore the Normandy coast between Ouistrehem and Courseulles-sur-Mer, which was why the Kriegsmarine dismissed the sector as a likely location for a landing. The reefs were not continuous, but would prevent landing craft access between Nan and Peter sectors covering much of Juno and Sword Beach.

    There were consequences in choosing to assault on Juno and Sword.

    On Juno the assault was delayed and casualties were high among the assault troops. The Royal Marines of 45RM Cdo lost heavily off St Aubin, and might not have done so if in LVT2. But they were supposed to be in the second wave, which is why they landed in unarmoured craft.

    The concerns about reefs on Sword beach led to the assault taking place on a single brigade front, rather than on two. There was severe congestion on the beaches and the armoured "dash for Caen." Did not take place at the planned time or with the armoured vehicles. Maybe a second brigade front might have enabled 185 Brigade to get off the beach earlier.

    BUT - and there are big buts.

    #1 Although LVTs could traverse reefs DD Tanks and LCTs carrying the AFVs needed ashore could not. Landing infantry and dismounted engineers on their own would struggle to create a beachhead on their own.

    #2 The troops landing on Juno Beach pretty much obtained their objectives. It isn't clear that a landing by infantry only between St Aubin and Luc Sur Mer would do much.

    #3 The real problem with the dash for Caen by 3rd Div is that the Germans had already put a chunk of 21 Panzer Division north of the city. Capturing it on D Day was a faith based objective.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  18. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Deleted: duplicate post
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2018
  19. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    The Marines had pioneered amphibious tactics during the 1930s, but operations during the war were conducted largely by the Army. Approximately 31 American divisions took part in amphibious assaults, of which only six were Marine. Army operations involved as many as four divisions in the initial assault (six in Torch but at multiple locations) and many divisions and staffs conducted multiple invasions. There was considerable amphibious expertise in both services.
     
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  20. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    It's partly because of the distance from shore the deep draft transports were required to anchor, the LVT's limited range and slow speed. The method was only used at Tarawa and in the Marshall's (Kwajalien, Eniwetok, Roi-Namur) later operations had sufficient LST's to launch the LVT's. We have to consider the technology available at specific times and production rates. Medium tanks weren't used prior to Tarawa because ships booms weight limit was exceeded by the Sherman's weight. They were deployed at Tarawa (Gilbert's campaign) because the LSD-1 Ashland had become available (well deck); commissioned 5 June 1943, headed for Pearl Harbor 11 August. The second ship in the class, Belle Grove commissioned 9 August and headed west on 21 October and supported the US Army's portion of the Gilbert's campaign at Makin.
    LST's weren't available due to the "Europe First" strategy, despite Sheldrake's inference that King was withholding resources. LST 1-7 were commissioned starting with the LST-1 on 14 December 1942 through 2 March 1943. All were assigned immediately to the ETO theater to support the upcoming Sicily landings. LST-8 was completed 22 March '43 and transferred to the Royal Navy the next day, as were 9, 11,12, and 13. LST-10 was re-designated a landing craft repair ship and went to the ETO as well. The first LST's to go to the Pacific were 14 and 15, neither in their original role. 14 was reclassified as an AGB, (MTB repair ship) and 15 as an ARB (Battle Damage Repair vessel). LST's 16 and 17 went to the ETO as well. LST-18 commissioned in the spring of '43 went to the Pacific (SWPAC) and the next two 19 and 20 went to the Central Pacific. The next LST-21 then went to the ETO and it's first campaign was Normandy. Seems to me they were getting their fare share. The cross loading was still used for follow on waves, I see mention of it at Saipan and Okinawa.

    It wasn't just an improvisation, the planners knew early on that it was likely there would not be sufficient water over the reef. That's why they decided to plan for the assault waves to go in by amtrac. They worked relentlessly to rebuild the LVT's that had seen hard service at Guadalcanal, 75 of the TOE 125 were refurbished. General H.M. Smith looked for additional LVT's and found that 100 of the new -2 model were on the west coast and refused to make the landing if he couldn't get them. Fifty went to the 2d MarDiv for Tarawa and fifty to the US Army at Makin. The whole "myth" that they didn't know that the LCVP's/LCM's wouldn't be able to clear the reef and improvised is covered well by Alexander in "Utmost Savagery". Post-battle the US command made the decision to suppress reports about the LVT waves to prevent the Japanese from obtaining actionable intel and developing counter-measures. This caused the majority of reports to focus on the later waves that waded in appearing in the news. What they didn't know about was the dodging tide, a very rare phenomenon. This kept the reef exposed for longer than anticipated and led to the tracks being used for longer than planned and three days of back and forth, shuttling troops and supplies, under fire resulted in 90 of the 125 being knocked out. Also, the fifty LVT-2's from the west coast arrived by LST and had to marry up with the troops at the landing area. The first part of my response above describes why there were not more LST's and why they didn't launch the LVT-1's; the LST's just were not available, production of a new vessel and insufficient numbers in service to meet a worldwide demand. This does go back to the original question though; you have a limited supply of LST's do you use them to carry tanks or LVT's? The latter would not necessarily add any capabilities over the LCVP, and if you deployed the LVT's from ships other than LST's you have to do the whole cross loading from LCVP's in the water.

    ***I don't remember which post, or by whom, but an earlier one mentioned the mechanical unreliability of the LVT. When looking for the answer to your question I re-read Bailey and another paper on the subject and came across a loss assessment for LVT's at Tarawa. Only four of the 75 LVT-1's were lost to mechanical failures 5% and four of the 50 LVT-2's were lost for the same reason 8%, all the rest were the result of enemy fire or mines. So I think the reliability issue is overstated in the short term.

    According to Bailey, they were transferred to the LST's from the transports by LCVP at a staging area immediately before the final move to the debarkation areas for the landings. I imagine they slept on deck the last day or so. This was still the procedure as late as Okinawa.
     
    A-58, RichTO90, EKB and 2 others like this.

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