Thursday, June 7, 2012

Oldest Military Blogger D Day First Light

Oldest Military Blogger 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. The daylight increased and it got lighter. My outfit went ashore via an LCVP piloted by a 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 had landed on Utah beach.Ten 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, mentally 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, we see,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."



Sgt.Mac said...
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solfine said...

Sgt. Mac,
Censorship was not a big deal until we got to Camp Miles Standish outside of Boston, Mass. From that time on until I was back in the States, our mail was critically censored by our Company Second Lieutenant. We never knew what was cut out, blacked out or corrected. We only found out what was censored when we received mail. Strangely enough, incoming mail was never censored. I could have received secret information that might be detrimental to Allied forces. Ironic, isn't it?

Sgt. Mac said...

Was wondering if you saw any of the "floating" tanks, most of which sunk in the heavy seas? I remember this story from a Discovery Channel program.

solfine said...

Never saw floating tanks in the water
but I wondered about the funny canvas
covers around the tanks turrets mounted on the 4th Division Tanks when we welcomed them on the beach.
It seems the British had a disaster with them because of the rough waters.
The treated canvas was supposed to keep the tank afloat but the waves washed over them and sunk a few.

Sgt. Mac said...

I don't recall that any of those tanks made it to the beach. The Discovery Channel did a thing on this where they dived down off the beach and actually found many of them on the bottom.

I've always wondered how many men were lost aboard them and how many if any survived.

solfine said...

The tanks that made it on the beach were mostly delivered by LSTs.
(Landing Ship Tanks)
Even the tanks in the first hours were brought ashore individually or two or more at a time depending on their
loading ability onto LCTs.
(Landing Craft Tanks).
That's how we did it!