amphibious assault

Jun

19

1944

The ‘Great Gale’ wrecks the Mulberry harbours


19 June 1944: The ‘Great Gale’ wrecks the Mulberry harbours

Landing craft out of control pounded against us. Our anchors dragged, and we lost one. We, too, were drifting, and before we could tackle the situation the ship was flung heavily on a sandy bottom and pounded by a terrifying surf. In another second we would have been rolled over, a plaything of the storm, but just in time we managed to get our engines going and headed for deeper water. The appalling sight of the beach in the dreary grey of the morning told its own tale of craft that had piled together and been ground to matchwood.

Jun

15

1944

D-Day in the Pacific – the invasion of Saipan


15 June 1944: D-Day in the Pacific – invasion of Saipan

On the top deck in the moonlight, the eye could pick out an occasional flash showing silhouettes of battleships firing salvo after salvo into the coastline ahead. For two days prior to the invasion, some 2,400 16-inch shells had ‘softened-up’ the enemy. These salvos gave an awesome sound. Something like a boxcar swishing around overhead. Possible mining of the area limited the firing line to six miles offshore, and because of this distance, spotters had difficulty in pinpointing dug-in gun pits.

Jun

12

1944

Churchill makes a day trip to Normandy


12 June 1944: Churchill makes a day trip to Normandy

Then we returned to our destroyer and went right back to the east end of the beach where several ships were bombarding the Germans. Winston wanted to take part in the war, and was longing to draw some retaliation. However the Boche refused to take any notice of any of the rounds we fired. We therefore started back about 6.15 and by 9.15 were back at Portsmouth after having spent a wonderfully interesting day.

Jun

8

1944

Follow up waves arrive on the Normandy beachhead


8th June 1944: Follow up waves arrive on the Normandy beachhead

Among things I noted coming ashore were the lovely fields of wild flowers enclosed by barbed wire and the grim skull and crossbones sign of the word ‘MINEN’ — MINES …a wonderful bunch of huge red poppies growing alongside some white peonies … the dusty roads which made one’s jeep throw up a dust wake like a destroyer.

Jun

6

1944

1500: Omaha – the battle continues


6 june 1944: 1500: Omaha – the battle continues

I worked my way up onto the beach and staggered up against a wall and sort of collapsed there. I spent the whole day in the same position. Eventually the bodies of the other guys washed ashore and I was the only live one among so many of my friends, all of whom were dead and in many cases severely blown to pieces. It was not a very pleasant way to spend a day.

Jun

6

1944

1000: Stanley Hollis wins only D-Day VC


6th June 1944: 1000: Stanley Hollis wins only D-Day VC

Wherever the lighting was heaviest CSM Hollis appeared and, in the course of a magnificent day’s work, he displayed the utmost gallantry and on two separate occasions his courage and initiative prevented the enemy from holdng up the advance at critical stages.

Jun

6

1944

0840: Commandos land on Sword Beach

6 June 1944:0840: Commandos land on Sword Beach

Jun

6

1944

0810: Sergeant Lomell finds the Pointe du Hoc guns


6th June 1944:0810: Sergeant Lomell finds the Pointe du Hoc guns

By the time we fought our way about a mile or so to the blacktopped coastal road (about one hour), I had only a dozen men left, some of whom were lightly wounded, but able to fight on. Ten of the original 22 Rangers in my boat team had been killed or were very badly wounded. We still had not found the guns nor had a ny idea of where they were.

Jun

6

1944

0800: Green Howards land on Gold Beach


6th June 1944: 0800: Green Howards land on Gold Beach

Cairns hit in leg. Stopped a few minutes at edge of beach. Woods hit in eye. Got on to coast road where things were unpleasant owing to mortars and shells flying around and minefield on both sides. Some logs on the side of the road provided welcome protection.

Jun

6

1944

0745: Heavy seas prevent DD tanks launching


6th June 1944: 0745: Heavy seas prevent DD tanks launching

Signals were exchanged: the minesweepers had completed their task and were wishing us Godspeed on our mission. The flotilla of LCTs began maneuvering for launching our DD tanks. This meant it was necessary for them to head into the wind, showing a broadside to the enemy supposedly alert on the coast.