The Invasion of Normandy: Mulberry


One of the singular logistical achievements associated with the Normandy invasion was the gigantic artificial harbors, or "mulberries," that were designed, built, and transported to the landing beaches, which lacked the natural harbor facilities that would be vital to continued support of the invasion. Prefabricated in English ports, these "mulberries" and the artificial breakwaters (designed to prevent pounding by the sea) were laboriously towed across the Channel immediately after the invasion and assembled. They allowed deep-water Allied cargo ships to unload their cargoes quickly and efficiently. Also the LST's could do a quick turn around because they did not have to wait 12 hours for the tide to come in. A far larger amount of cargo moved ashore on artificial causeways.

Sinking the Breakwater
Dwight C. Shepler #160
Watercolor, June 17 1944


A section of the great breakwater of Mulberry 'A,' towed a hundred miles across the English Channel, was worked into line by army tugs. Seabee crews aboard the huge, hollow concert structure (Phoenix) opened sea valves to sink the monster in its place off Omaha beach.



Joining the Pierheads - Omaha Beach
Dwight Shepler #158
Charcoal, June 1944

A Loebnitz pierhead, just arrived by tow from Portsmouth, England, was joined to those already in place at the end of a pontoon causeway. It drove its 'spuds" to the bottom and formed part of a platform from which LSTs could discharge from both upper and lower decks. In the background is Pointe du Hoe, and the western shore arm of the concrete breakwater.



Mulberry at Work
Dwight C. Shepler #159
Watercolor, June 1944


An LST discharged its cargo from both upper and lower decks onto a T-shaped formation of floating pierheads. Completed in amazing time, the floating piers operated only a few days before the almost unprecedented summer storm of June19-20, 1944, which seriously damaged the artificial harbor.


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