Tuesday, July 31, 2007

D Day.First Light.

D Day. First light revealed, an LCT nestled up against the S.S.Pickett on the port side,amidships,next to the No.2 hatch. No.2 is the largest hatch on a Liberty ship and contained the heaviest units. The booms on No.2 are rated for 50 tonnes, so the order was to place our tank cargo aboard the LCT along side. The Landing Craft Tank, can deliver its freight by dropping its ramp like bow, right on the beach and tanks are driven off, each with its own driver,one after the other.During the loading process we were taking fire from shore and the bridge of the LCT was hit by an 88 shell from a German gun.We found out later that a Naval Lt.on the bridge was decapitated. The crew was replaced and the LCT cast off,beach bound.The empty spot was taken immediately by another vessel.The action on the starboard side was used for offloading, fuel, ammo and Infantry into LCVPs.(Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel). The SS Morgan went down by the stern, 200 yards off our port side,as the daylight increased and it got lighter. My outfit went ashore via an LCVP coxswain who was out in the open at all times. He brought us safely to the beach without incident, then he dropped the ramp, and we debarked in waist deep water.As soon as we were ashore he backed off the beach to get another load.We landed on Utah beach. 10 hours later I returned to the Pickett to help finish unloading the ship and get our gear. The Naval bombardment destroyed almost every fortification on shore.The Atlantic Wall where we landed, was a myth. Fortunately for my outfit, we were put ashore 1000 yards northwest of our initially assigned area, and it was very lightly defended.
There is a Film called "A Walk in the Sun", with Dana Andrews and John Ireland to name a few of the stars,that comes to mind. John Ireland writes letters to his sister about his well being, after the invasion of an island off Italy. All through the movie, he writes or narrates letters to her, optimistically not knowing, if they will ever be read .
Their mission is to take a well fortified farm house which is serving as an observation post. Completing their assignment, after a huge loss of life, John Ireland's character under a shade tree, paper and pencil in hand,he grimly muses about the contents of a letter to his sister at the close of the film .
"Dear Sis,
Today we took a farm house. It was so easy."

5 comments:

phred3176 said...

What happend in the 10 hours between when you landed and when you returned to the ship?

sofine said...

phred3176,

I stepped over the Atlantic Wall,went through an opening in the fortifications for a couple of hundred yards,dug a shallow foxhole and climbed into my helmet to get away from the noise.
Dear Phred, This morning we took Utah Beach. It was so easy.

Anonymous said...

this getting very iteresting keep it up

sofine said...

Anonymous,
Thanks for your comment.Feel free to post again....

Andrew said...

Here's my post about the Attack on the SS Charles Morgan. I was very interested to hear about your perspective from the neighboring ship.