Thursday, 5 June 2014

D-Day 70 years on.

June 6th 1944 – The D-Day Landings



Operation Neptune

Was the code name given to the naval group’s task on this momentous day in 1944. As the remaining survivors of this epic day gather in the U.K. and over in France we salute them.

Operation Neptune

The protection of NEPTUNE from enemy counter action was essential to the success of the operation. Allied forces were most vulnerable to enemy counter action when they were embarked and at sea. Some 6,900 allied vessels, carrying approximately nine army divisions with full combat equipment, were at sea at one time. These ships were formed into around 75 convoys and groups, passing along narrow coastal lanes, moving across the channel through the narrow mine-swept channels of the allotted areas for the convoys or crowded into the congested confines of the assault area.

You will find many more books and information on this day and so many more at our Maritime Library at Ships and the Sea

Had the enemy not been deterred by a comprehensive program of defence capability in the form of escort ships and of course command of the air, this enormous armada would have presented to enemy air and naval forces a very profitable target.

The largest assembly of Ships and amphibious forces ever seen were to retake Europe from the clutches of the Nazi.

Operation Neptune Operation Neptune
Long-awaited, the Normandy landings were the largest amphibious operation in history. Success was achieved by the advent of specialised landing craft, first seen in the landings in North Africa, heavy naval firepower and the creatiojn of two artificial harbours, each the size of the port of Dover, and an underwater pipeline. Operation Neptune: The Prelude to D-Day tells the story of this incredible feat using eye-witness accounts of the landings and the breaching of Hitler's famed 'Atlantic Wall'. David Wragg explores the earlier Allied and Axis experiences with amphibious operations and the planning for Neptune and Overlord. Revealing the naval support neede once the armies were ashore and before continental ports could be captured and cleared of mines, with operations such as minesweeping off the Normandy coast which led to one of the worst 'friendly fire' incidents of the war. The is the must-read book to understand what made D-Day possible.

And of course along with the many ships involved where some that were built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd.
Without the amazing job done by the mine-sweepers there could have been no landing and one of the lead ships was the minesweeper HMS SIDMOUTH Ship No 310 built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd, yet another of the small ship Navy.
The ships crest of HMS SIDMOUTH a Bangor Class Minesweeper built at Leith

Ships such as HMS PINK Ship No 318 amongst many as this battle did not just last for one day but stretched out for something like 6 weeks before the establishment of forces in Normandy had the capability to make the break out of the Normandy region on the roads that lead into the heart of Germany.

HMS PINK the final Flower Class Corvette built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd
as Ship No 318
Damaged by U988 27th-29th July 1944 and was regarded as a constuctive total loss.
The Uboat was sunk 2 days later

Not only warships but also some of the Bustler Class tugs were involved with the gigantic task of towing the huge mulberry harbours over the channel and into position to enable the supply of the ground forces, along with the massive drums that carried the oil pipeline to the French Coast.

The Bustler Class Tugs such as BUSTLER and SAMSONIA seen here after the war had there part to play in the invasion plans to re-take Europe in 1944
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord, the Allied codename for the invasion of Normandy, involved more than 150,000 men and 6,939 ships.  It consisted of American, British, Canadian, Polish, and Free French Armies under command of General Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force (the choice of Eisenhower was officially made by President Roosevelt in December 1943, and agreed upon by the British).
The Deputy Supreme Commander of the invasion was British Air Chief Marshal Arthur W. Tedder, who had been the commander of the Allied Air Forces in the Mediterranean.  While British Admiral Bertram H. Ramsay, was appointed naval commander.  He had conducted the evacuation at Dunkirk and also planned the Torch landing in North Africa.  British Air Chief Marshal Trafford L. Leigh-Mallory was appointed as commander of the air forces.

Bernard Montgomery was chosen as the ground forces' commander. 

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