The U.S. Navy at Normandy

Fleet Organization and Operations in the D-Day Invasion


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SKU: 9781476680774 Categories: , , , Tags: ,

About the Book

In the many historical accounts of D-Day, the Navy, Coast Guard and merchant marine, who transported troops to the invasion beaches and supported the attack, are often given scant attention. Film clips of landing craft unloading men into the surf and battleships firing on enemy emplacements are familiar yet comparatively little is known about the contributions of the marine services and what they accomplished during the Normandy Invasion.
This book describes the Allied naval command structure for Operation Neptune and offers a comprehensive look at integrated offshore operations—how they were organized, who the sailors were and what they experienced.

About the Author(s)

Greg H. Williams served four years in the Navy, including duty on the converted Liberty ship USS Granville S. Hall (YAG–40). He was one of 27 volunteer crewmen who made the entire five month voyage from San Francisco to Europe on the Jeremiah O’Brien in 1994 for the 50th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. He lives near Noti, Oregon.

Bibliographic Details

Greg H. Williams
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 443
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, glossary, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8077-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4037-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
Amphibious Operations  4
Fleet Organization  5
The Sailors  6
The Wave Schedule  6
Atlantic–Pacific Turning Points  6
Chapter I 9
British Offensive Strategy  9
The First Front  10
­Pre-Invasion Planning Begins  11
Chapter II 13
Fortress Europa and the Second Front  13
Chapter III 15
The Western Front  15
The Landing Site and General Plan  17
American Bases and Geography  18
Churchill’s Harbour  20
Chapter IV 23
Landing Craft and Equipment  23
The Magic Box  30
Barrage Balloons  32
Duplex Drive Tanks  33
Chapter V 34
Dieppe, the First Test  34
Chapter VI 37
Tugs and Barges to England  37
Ammunition  43
Chapter VII 45
What Will Jerry Do?  45
The First Attack  45
Submarines, Mines and Obstacles  62
Chapter VIII 64
Invasion Support Services  64
News Coverage  67
Chapter IX 68
Allied Expedition Command  68
Allied Naval Command  69
Western Task Force Command  69
Motor Launches  102
Chapter X 103
Countdown Highlights from May 1  103
Destroyer Nelson  106
Destroyer Endicott  107
The Portland Air Raid  108
The Date Is Set  109
“Y” Day  109
Admiral Ramsay’s Special Order  110
Security  111
The Diversion Operation  112
The Postponement  114
“OK, we’ll go.”  115
Chapter XI 117
The Early Minesweepers  117
The UM Convoys  118
The Demolition Units  127
Chapter XII 130
The Main Assault and ­Follow-up Convoys  130
Freight, Oil and Water Convoys  191
American Assault Forces in the Eastern Sector  194
Chapter XIII 203
Tuesday, June 6  203
“The Big Show”  203
Reports from the Beaches  285
Chapter XIV 288
After ­D-Day: June 7–24  288
Chapter XV 391
The Capture of Cherbourg  391
Epilogue 401
One Family’s Story  401
Glossary 403
Appendix I 405
Appendix II 408
Bibliography 413
Index 415

Book Reviews & Awards

• “[Williams] describes in fascinating detail the Allied Command structure for Operation Neptune and presents in easy to digest [form] the integrated offshore operations, how they were organized, who the sailors were, and what they experienced as they, too, joined in the battles.”—ARGunners Magazine

• “Detailed…An admirable addition to the historiography of Operation Neptune and the D-Day Campaign as a whole. Williams offers a unique compilation of first-hand accounts and official reports to allow a sea level view of the invasion of Western France in what was a complex and arduous undertaking, the fruit of which is an excellent resource for scholars, historians, and those interested in naval personnel wounded or killed during the operation.”—The Northern Mariner