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No Dieppe, No Normandy?

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Mussolini, May 17, 2018.

  1. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    One of the first instances of this in a major assault was for HUSKY. In planning the operation it was realized the beaches were too shallow and the vehicles would have to wade some 150 to 200 feet though water up to ten feet deep. The solution developed was to load aboard sections of "naval lighterage pontons" (developed in 1939 and tested 1940-1941), which then were assembled as a floating causeway some 175 feet long. The NLP were also the basis of the Rhino Ferry, which was simply NLP sections bolyed together as a raft with outboards, which could be towed by a LST, further increasing its useful load and also available to act as a causeway when needed. I suspect that was the impetus for development of the Newport design. The question of course is why they felt it was necessary to have it as a permanent part of the design, since using NLP when necessary...or just building extempore bulldozed causeways, was a more flexible solution.
     
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  2. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Excellent info, as usual from you Rich. As for why the permanent adaptation, I'd suspect it has much to do with how short response times are to crisis situations post-WWII/Korea. Initially, you have to fight with what you bring. When the Newport class LST's were built in the mid-60's we had already adopted the policy of forward deploying amphibious task forces to meet crisis situations. If the President says put troops ashore in Lebanon or South Korea or wherever, you don't always have the time to assemble and transport NLP's where you need them. You could for follow on forces, but not the ones you need to get there ASAP.
     
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  3. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    That makes sense to me...at least if you assume the whole wacko postwar policy of piddly interventions everywhere you can possibly go makes sense. :D But then I'm a military historian and analyst rather than a political "scientist" so my point of view may be a bit warped by reality. :p
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    One project of the McNamara era was the Fast Deployment Logistic ship, intended to move military equipment and rapidly offload it either at ports or over-the-beach. This led Senator Richard Russell to comment "If we can go anywhere and do anything, we'll always be going somewhere and doing something."
     
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  5. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    Ah, but the 20 kt. top speed also translates into a higher cruise speed, IIRC the Newport class cruise speed was comparable to that of the top speed of WWII and post war DeSoto Class LST's. While this isn't definitive evidence, the sailors did nickname LST's "Large Slow Targets" so speed must have been an issue, at least in the minds of the sailors.
    As for the LPH, I made several deployments aboard them, they weren't the optimal design of that ship type, but they did work. The follow on LHA's were a marked improvement in habitability, functionality and capabilities. They also had a well deck. The LPH's were also designed more than half a decade before the Newport class LST's (USS Iwo Jima LPH-2 was laid down in April 1959-USS Newport LST-1179 Nov 1966), so time for a lot of technological and operational improvement over that time span. The Iwo Jima class LPH's were markedly better than their predecessors. LPH-1 (later re-designated LPH-6) was the converted Casablanca class CVE, Thetis bay. She displaced 10,400t fl, had a flight deck of a little over 500ft, a top speed of 19kts and a crew of 860. LPH-4,-5, and -8 were converted Essex class carriers. 47,120t fl. displacement, a flight deck of 844 ft. (the biggest advantage), a top speed of 33kts. (superfluous), and a crew about three times larger than the Thetis Bay (negative). The Iwo Jimas LPH-2, -3, -7, -9, -10, -11, and -12, displaced 18,474t fl., less than 40% of the converted Essex and a little more than half again the displacement of the Casablanca. It had 100 ft. longer flight deck, 3knts. higher speed and crew only 2/3d's the size of the Casablanca. While not optimal, it was markedly better than what was available. The LHA's, the first of which was laid down half a decade (Nov 1971) after the first Newport were again much more advanced.

    On the other hand you don't expose a larger, costlier vessel to enemy shore fire. If it's an administrative landing you put your shore party ashore in a "Mike" boat drive the ship near shore. deploy the causeway, and drive you vehicles directly out of the vehicle deck, across the bow and down the causeway. If it's an opposed landing, the LCAC can get large numbers of troops and heavy support like armor ashore rapidly with little regards to the type of shoreline you're crossing. They can launch from over the horizon, can move at 40+ kts. at full load, and up to 70+ kts. light. Not too shabby.

    [​IMG]

    That's a pretty decent sized load.​

    I deployed to Lebanon aboard her, and yes it was out of Norfolk/Little Creek. If I remember correctly, I took this picture in Chesapeake Bay.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    I think you are, perhaps mischievously, missing the point.

    The mission of Combined Operation included planning and developing the techniques for launching amphibious assaults to be used on D Day. Combined Operations was part of the Overlord Planning team - the "how" part rather than "where or when"

    The key thread is the implications of the need to deliver concentrated fire support for the assault troops. Lesson #1 of the Dieppe report Oct 1942 summary para 324 and expanded on in para 355 which lists the artillery support needed per brigade and para 357 which spells out the need for inshore craft capable of delivering close support. This was not a trivial observation but a big ask. It was a demand for a major slice of ship building effort. Compare Op Husky with the 1943 Op Overlord plan presented at Quebec. Op Husky, mounted over a long sea crossing landed seven divisions over 100 miles. The Op Overlord plan postulated an initial landing of three divisions over twenty miles. The logic was accepted by the joint Chiefs who did not demand that the COSSAC team returned with a more ambitious plan.

    You have misquoted the opening paragraph of the ETOUSA conference - "one of the purposes was to collect ..." but missed the next paragraph. "The business of the conference was aimed at one fundamental goal: that of crossing the English Channel....to hold and maintain beach-heads through which might land a major invasion force advance against the enemy." i.e. this was a conference about planning how this might be done. In that conference, Maj Gen Haydon representing Combined Operations, stated that he did not think surprise is possible, and referred to the level of fire support needed as comparable with El Alamein - and refers to the navy being asked to produce support craft. There is no record of dissent from this view.

    The LARGS course was run by Combined Operations to train staff officers for Op Overlord The lectures at the star of "Support for the Assault" Part I General starts with the necessity of adequate fire support for assaults on strongly defended beaches. Part III mentions the (Most Secret) support craft and part IV artillery from, landing craft, and part V command and control of artillery fire. So the solution to the close support firepower,identified in the Dieppe Lessons, has now been built and part of the assault brigade fire support plans.

    On the appointment of Eisenhower as Supreme Commander and Montgomery as Land force Commander they demand a wider initial landing. This is not achieved by thinning out the fire support to the densities of Op Husky, but by a last minute programme to build enough landing craft and support ships to effect a landing by eight assault brigades from six divisions.

    Brigadier Todd, CRA 3rd Canadian Division is quoted as saying that "Dieppe made D Day easier. The generals were all keen to supply what I wanted" . (Quoted in Whittaker Dieppe: Tragedy to Triumph)

    Oh and Crerar briefed Canadian officers after D Day and acknowledged the significance of Dieppe.

    QED

    I am getting a little bored with Dieppe. Here are some notes I prepared earlier
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  7. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps...or perhaps not. :D

    What new "techniques for launching amphibious assaults" did they plan and develop for D-Day that were unknown prior? New methods of loading and launching craft on assault ships? New methods of loading and unloading assault ships?

    But delivering "concentrated fire support for the assault troops" was an issue everyone was already aware of when it came to amphibious assault of a defended coast. Combined Ops was already aware - as were the Canadian planners for JUBILEE and the British planners for RUTTER - that the fire support provided for Dieppe was inadequate, before the operation. It was discussed and decided that "surprise" would substitute.

    Meanwhile, the inshore fire support craft developed were conversions of existing craft, of LCT that were already built, so a minor slice of the ship building effort. For example, the LCG(L) that faired so badly on D-Day were all converted from LCT-III...most before Dieppe in the spring of 1942. More LCF and LCG were converted in 1943, mostly for USN crews, for NEPTUNE, but they already existed and their purpose of inshore fire support of amphibious assaults was already there.

    Fair that, it was a deliberate decision on my part, but not mischievous. :D I was looking for the "second" purpose, or third, which were implied, but never found them. The "business of the conference" statement was simply repeating the mission statement of the CCS/COSSAC regarding OVERLORD.

    And yet the allies landed repeatedly in the dark in the Med in attempts to gains surprise after Dieppe.

    Except, again, they knew that before Dieppe and had built the fire support craft, then decided to use minimal support in Dieppe and suffered the consequences (not that much more would have been achieved even with heavier fire support). So Combined Ops was simply confirming what was already known.

    The inshore fire support craft included LCG(L) 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 13, 17, 18, 424, 426, 449, 680, 681, 687, 764, 811, 831, 939, 1007 and 1062. Of those, 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 13, 17, and 18 were all completed in the first half of 1942. 424 and 426 were completed 22 February and 6 April 1943. 680, 681, 764, and 811 in July 1943. 831 was converted from an LCF in 1944. 939, 1007, and 1062 were converted September-October 1943. The only one that was "last minute" was 831.

    Both ex post facto. Again, find a copy of John P. Campbell's Dieppe Revisited: A Documentary Investigation. London: Frank Cass, 1993 for a more in depth examination.

    As am I, but thanks.
     
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