THE BUILD-UP FOR THE BATTLE OF FRANCE
THE POST-NEPTUNE NAVAL TASK
- The first naval task of the Allied Expeditionary Force was accomplished when the Allied armies had been landed on the Normandy Beaches. The Primary naval task then became the Build-up for the later offensive thrusts, designed to defeat the German Forces in France. By D + 6, the American, British, and Canadian armies, of the General Montgomery's 21st Army Group, had consolidated their positions on the beaches and were preparing attacks, both in the Caen Sector to effect a break-through in the lower Seine area, and in the St. Lo Sector to open the way to Brittany, and into the Loire-Seine region.
- The army still had a desperate battle before them before they would consolidate possession of their bridgehead in the lodgement area. In fighting this battle, naval bombardment would lend valuable aid. The issue of the battle ashore would, moreover, in large measure, be determined by the degree of success of the Build-up. If the allied forces could be reinforced in Normandy more rapidly than the German army, the allied armies would be able to organize their hold on the lodgement area, as the base for further operations. Otherwise they might be driven back into the sea by the German counter-attacks. Allied measures to delay the reinforcement of the German army by air bombardment, and by cover and deception have been described in Chapter II. Allied methods for preventing the Germans from delaying the allied Build-up, by protecting NEPTUNE from German counter action, have been described in Chapters VII and VIII. The methods employed to effect the transport of allied men, machinery, and stores in the Build-up race are described below.
The problem of the Build-up can be sub-divided into
three principle tasks:
- the establishment of an organization on the Far Shore capable of receiving, protecting, discharging, and returning Build-up shipping;
- the installation of artificial ports and breakwaters on the Far Shore;
- the development in the Near Shore of a Build-up service capable of providing and operating the channel shipping program.
In accomplishing all three of these tasks, the army and navy, and also the airforce, acted jointly.
FAR SHORE ORGANIZATION
A. Plans and Preparations for Naval Far Shore Service
- Preparations had been begun at an early date for establishing the organization necessary for handling the Far Shore end of the NEPTUNE Build-up program. For two years prior to D-day, many agencies in Britain, under the leadership of Combined Operations Headquarters, had studied the problem and had conducted dozens of exercises and experiments. The largest of these maintained a division on an open beach of similar characteristics to the Normandy beaches for six weeks. On the U.S. side, similar, though less prolonged, experimentation was carried out from July 1943 onward at Appledore and Woolacombe.
- The British War Office had convened an inter-service committee in late summer 1943 to study the NEPTUNE Far Shore problem. Though invited, responsible U.S. authorities were not substantially represented on this committee. In conformity with the general plans evolved by the inter-service committee, ANCXF formed a special branch of his staff to deal with the Naval Far Shore Organization. This was set up under the title, Chief Naval Administrative Officer, by Rear-Admiral Rivett-Carnac, R.N. Again, for lack of adequate U.S. representation, this branch became primarily a British organization.
The problem faced by the planners had been that of
providing support for a five-divisional assault and for
a Build-up of approximately one and one-third divisions
per day, over open beaches, for ninety days or longer.
Several factors, which had not been encountered in previous
amphibious operations in the European war, had to be faced:
- the landing was to be made in a heavily fortified area, where the enemy's potential rate of reinforcement was greater than the Allied;
- the flanks would be exposed to fire from the enemy heavy coastal batteries to attacks over a long period from nearby, well-established, E-boat and U-boat bases, and to air raids from strong forces based near the assault area;
- a tidal rise and fall of 25 feet, and a strong off-shore current had to be reckoned with;
- the beaches were very flat, drying to as much as 2,000 feet from [the] high water mark, runnels paralleled the beach, and at points the tide receded horizontally at an average rate of four and one-half feet per minute;
- good weather could not be relied on for more than four days at a time;
- each major beach had to provide necessary facilities for up to 700 landing craft and other vessels based on the far shore.
In view of these conditions, NEPTUNE, unlike previous
amphibious assaults, would require a vast build-up over
the assault beaches for a prolonged period. It therefore
was decided to operate the beaches, as if they were ports,
during the beach build-up. This required a Far Shore
establishment to be organized in three phases:
- the assault phase;
- the beach Build-up phase, and
- the post-NEPTUNE phase.
- During the assault phase the beaches would be a battle ground. The Far Shore therefore had to be controlled by the assault force commanders, employing their combatant organization. As soon as the beaches and anchorages were freed of enemy shelling, and were no longer in danger from local counter attack, the control of the beach in the British area would be assumed by a NOIC (Naval Officer in Charge). He would be supplied with an organization paralleling that employed in the Mediterranean for Naval Commanders of captured ports. Control of the entire U.S. area during this period was to be assumed by the Flag Officer West (FOWEST), while control of the British area would be taken over by Flag Officer, British Assault Area (FOBAA). As soon as adequate ports were captured, the beach Build-up organization would be transformed in each area into the standard British and U.S. organizations for the administration and operation of a captured area.
During all three phases, the basic tasks to be
performed on the Far Shore, would be the same, although
the relative importance of each would change. These
- control of shipping movements to and from the Far Shore;
- protection of shipping in the area;
- discharge of shipping on the Far Shore;
- provision for logistic supply and administration of Naval vessels, personnel, and equipment at the Far Shore;
- salvage and maintenance;
- the evacuation of casualties.
- ANCXF had originally intended to develop British and American Naval Far Shore organizations in parallel, through the CNAO branch of his staff. A variety of circumstances contributed however to defeat this plan. In particular, NCWTF did not wish to develop the American organization along lines which he considered conformed to British, rather than to U.S. habits and procedures. As a result ANCXF, in January 1944, assigned responsibility for the provision of the Far Shore organization to the respective Task Force Commanders. Each was authorized to put into effect a system in conformity with the practice of their own navys.
B. British Area Far Shore Naval Organization
Pursuant to this arrangement, Rear Admiral Rivett-Carnac
was relieved of duty as Chief Naval Administrative
Officer on the staff of ANCXF and took up a similar
appointment, but for British Forces only, on the staff of
NCETF, with the title Rear-Admiral (Administration) and
Flag Officer British Assault Area (designate). In this
capacity he developed the following organization for the
R.N. Far Shore establishment:
- when the area of the British assault was first seized it would come under the naval command of NCETF. NCETF would act through the Assault Force Commanders as necessary.
- when a headquarters and the necessary communications had been set up ashore, and when the situation warrants the withdrawal of NCETF, the Flag Officer, British Assault Area (FOBAA), Rear-Admiral J.W. Rivett-Carnac, RN. would assume command.
In order to relieve NCETF of administrative
matters, the Flag Officer, British Assault
Area (designate) was to act as Rear-Admiral
(Administration) to NCETF, and would be
responsible to him for co-ordination and
action in regard to the following matters:
- Ferry Service.
- Repair, salvage, and fuelling.
- Inter-service matters relating to shore defense.
- The set-up of Far Shore communication and equipment.
- Administration of naval units attached to MULBERRIES, GOOSEBERRIES, and ashore.
- FOBAA (designate), during this period would issue orders and instructions as NCETF (Administration) on behalf of NCETF. 1
- NCETF (Administration) in the initial stage, would accompany NCETF in his Flagship, transferring to a headquarter ship in GOOSEBERRY 4 on about D + 2. When NCETF (Administration) was thus established in a separate headquarters, signals on administrative matters were to be addressed to NCETF (A) and repeated to NCETF.
Each Assault Force was to be self-contained. It
would include organizations under the operational and
administrative control of the Assault Force Commanders,
subject only to the Naval Commander, Eastern Task Force:
- Beach organization, including ferry craft unit commanded by the Beach Naval Officer-in-Charge;
- repair organization;
- a salvage and fire-fighting organization.
- Notwithstanding the above, NCETF (A), acting for Naval Commander, Eastern Task Force, would make any necessary adjustments in the strength of these organizations as between assault force fronts, to meet contingencies, and would issue the necessary orders to effect such adjustments through the Assault Force Commanders.
- A depot Ship Organization was to be set up in each MULBERRY and GOOSEBERRY to provide accommodation ships for ferry craft crews. The whole depot ship organization was to be under the command of Commodore H.T. England. Commodore, Depot Ships (short title - Com.D.S.) was to be responsible to NCETF for keeping this organization up to date with the operational requirements. 1
As soon as possible after the assault, officers
nominated by the Assault Force Commanders would land in
areas GOLD, JUNO, and SWORD, and would be responsible
to their respective Assault Force Commanders for all Naval
matters ashore in their areas. They would be known as:
NOIC., GOLD 2
- NOIC MULBERRY B and NOIC PORT-EN-BESSIN assumed command when ordered by NCETF. They were directly responsible to NCETF (NCETF (A) for administrative matters). The Resident Naval Officers at COURSEULLES and OUISTREHAM were responsible to the NOIC of the Beach area, in which their port was situated.
- NCETF (A) in his capacity as FOBAA (designate), acted directly through Naval Officers-in-Charge concerned on all matters related to the set-up of all far shore communications, to special equipment and to all inter-service matters affecting only the shore organization.
- As a result of this organization, the Eastern Task force achieved a continuity of organization and control. The Far Shore parties began their duties in the combatant phase under command of the assault force commanders. They were progressively enlarged and developed, and in due course became the NOIC organization, still charged with the same jobs. Later this organization grew until it became the over-all Far Shore organization operating captured ports in the British area.
C. U.S. Area: American Far Shore Naval Organization
The U.S. Far Shore organization developed along
different lines. NCWTF never centered responsibility
for Far Shore matters in any one authority or staff section.
It was not until the 4th of April, that NCWTF made any
provision for a Far Shore organization. At this late date
there was not time to develop an "American" system.
Accordingly, NCWTF directed the formation of a Far Shore
organization, patterned on the British model, with the
major difference that control and coordination of the
whole was not centered in any one authority. The
organization provided was as follows:
- During the initial phase, U.S. Naval Forces were to operate under the over-all command of NCWTF. Commander Force O, and Commander Force U, were to be responsible for all operations in their respective areas. At some unspecified time, control of shipping movements was to be turned over to an authority to be styled shuttle control, operating under the direct command of NCWTF. Early in this phase officers of Captains rank, with the titles of NOIC OMAHA and NOIC UTAH, were to assume control, under the Assault Force Commanders, of the beaches, minor ports, ferry control, maintenance, recovery, repair, etc..
- In phase two, which would begin when the army was firmly established ashore, one or the other of the Assault Force Commanders would be designated to relieve the other and to assume command of both areas, under the title of FOWEST. FOWEST was expected to take over the control on D + 1 or D + 2. He would therefore be given sweeping duties to perform. As no definite person was designated in advance to become FOWEST, and as each Assault Force Commander had his time and resources completely occupied in preparing for the assault, no particular advance preparations were made for the organization of Far Shore Naval activities during this phase of the operation.
- In phase three, which would begin only when the situation was sufficiently stabilized, Commander Landing Craft and Bases, who had been redesignated for the operation as Commander Service Force 122 (CTF 127), would assume control on the Far Shore as Flag Officer France (FO FRANCE). The name was subsequently changed to Commander United States Naval Ports and Bases France (short title ComUSBasFrance).
D. Shore Parties: U.S. Area
The primary responsibility for operating the beaches,
and for unloading vessels on the beaches in the U.S. area,
rested with the army. In each assault force, the army
organization responsible for beach operation (styled
Shore Party) was an engineer special brigade. One such
brigades was provided for each divisional front. This
resulted in the assignment of two ESB at OMAHA beach, and
of one at UTAH beach. Over-all command of the three ESB,
was vested in a "Provisional Engineer Special Brigade
Group." One Naval Beach Battalion was attached to each
Engineer Special Brigade. Allocation of ESB and Beach
Battalions was as follows:
a. At UTAH Beach 1st Engineer Special Brigade 2nd Beach Battalion b. At OMAHA Beach 5th Engineer Special Brigade 1st Division Sector 6th Beach Battalion c. At OMAHA Beach 6th Engineer Special Brigade 29th Division Sector 7th Beach Battalion
Each ESB [Engineer Special Brigade] was organized around a Battalion of combat
engineers as a nucleus. In addition to combat engineers
- port battalions for unloading;
- DUWK companies;
- truck companies;
- AA units;
- communications units;
- medical units;
- service units.
Each Naval Beach Battalion contained:
- beach masters and party, to control beaching of craft;
- a hydrographic section, to determine suitable points of landing;
- a communication section for ship shore communication;
- a medical section to handle evacuation of casualties;
- a salvage and repair section.
- Like an engineer special brigade, a beach battalion normally operates on a two, or even three, regimental front. In NEPTUNE, however, each beach battalion was responsible for only a one regimental front (over which the entire division was to be landed). Unlike other operations in the European area, the beach battalions were early associated with and operated under their respective ESB's. They remained with them for a considerable period after D-day. They were thus definitely attached to the army shore party and had no direct link with the other Naval Units. The Beach Battalions began landing in the earliest assault waves. They had an administrative task to perform under combatant conditions. Despite the hazards and difficulties they performed their functions in a truly remarkable, but unspectacular manner.
NAVAL FAR SHORE ACTIVITIES AFTER D-DAY
(Extracts from ANCXF NEPTUNE Report)
In spite of a combination of foul weather and
some unexpectedly stiff opposition in the landings, the
temporary disablement of 70% of ferry craft by a near-disastrous
3-day storm about D plus 15 and the closing
of one beach by enemy shelling, the "NEPTUNE" beaches
in the 30 days landed:
730,000 long tons of stores exclusive of vehicular loads; 200,000 vehicles; 1,018,000 men, and,
reached a peak for one day of 40,000 tons.
IV. Early Difficulties.
- Difficulties with weather and the enemy upset the D and D plus 1 day landing schedules, and created a big back log. The Assault Force Commanders were then reluctant to turn over to the Build-up organization, in which they apparently had little confidence. Instead of withdrawing D-day or D plus 1, as had been planned, the Force Commanders remained off the beaches until about D plus 25. A most unsatisfactory state of dual control resulted, and it was some time before the planned set-up was allowed to function freely. However, once given the opportunity the plans proved themselves and eventually the NOIC organizations operated almost as planned.
V. The Plan
- The two U.S. assault beaches were approximately fifteen miles apart, but so situated in the Bay of the Seine, that common approach channels could be used. On the westernmost beach a regular one-divisional front was established. On the other, however, two divisions landed, each in a column of regiments on a 7,500 yard beach naturally defended by cliffs.
- One reinforced Engineer Special Brigade supported each division, and one Naval Beach Battalion was attached to each Brigade.
- To achieve the required control and coordination, and to enable a smooth operation for at least ninety days, an additional overall command was established on each beach. The Provisional Engineer Special Brigade Group, under command of a Brigadier General, was formed. (A complete troop list of this group for the larger beach is attached. ANNEX A.) Paralleling this military command a Naval Officer in charge (NOIC) was set up with a similar function.
- Every effort was made to maintain constant Army, and Navy contact and cooperation at all levels throughout these two organizations.
VI. Beach Battalions.
- The Naval Beach Battalions were not greatly changed for this operation. In the assault they fulfilled all their normal functions, but gradually as the Build-up increased, and the specialized elements of the shore parties landed, they were relieved of a major part of communication and repair and salvage.
- As the NOICs organization became established, the operations began more and more to resemble that of a port, and by about D plus 21 the Beach Battalions had been almost entirely relieved.
The most noteworthy deviations from the normal
procedure followed by these units were:
- each battalion was responsible for only a regimental front.
- had to function for a long period and were truly attached directly to the E.S.B.
- had no direct link with other Naval units.
- The NOIC's staff included most personnel required in a port operation combined with many specialists to enable discharging over flat beaches.
- The NOIC himself was a Captain and made his headquarters immediately adjacent to that of the Commanding General, P.E.S.B.G., where the operations room was run jointly by Army and Navy.
- The functions of his organization was to establish and maintain the Army ashore. Hence, its two most important departments were Operations (Port Direction) and Ferry Control.
- His staff included among others; Deputy NOIC - analogous to Chief Staff Officer; Assistant to NOIC - in charge of personnel, Senior Watch Officer; Operation Officer - all port direction duties; Ferry Control Officer - control of all ferry craft; Salvage and Repair - coordinate repair, maintenance, etc. with operational requirements; P.O.L. Officer - provide all necessary fuel, water, lubricants, etc.; Medical Officer - evacuation of wounded, health and welfare; Communications - radio, landlines, radar.
VIII. Joint Conferences.
- Daily conferences to fix priorities for following days unloading and to discuss operational matters were attended by representatives of NOIC Operations, Ferry Control, Engineer Special Brigade, and Army.
- The E.S.B. representatives indicated the section of beach over which it preferred to handle the cargo of each ship expected, and the type of ferry craft considered most suitable to handle it.
- Ferry Control informed the meeting of landing craft availability, state of repair, and arranged with the Military for necessary "lay offs" to enable major repairs.
- General discussions of previous days operations took place, suggestions for improvement were made, and controversies settled. Complaints of non-appearance of ferry craft, hatch crews, etc. were investigated.
- Except for emergencies, ALL military demands upon naval shore facilities were coordinated at this meeting and much conflict avoided. Requests for emergency alterations of plan were made ONLY through C.O. Provisional Brigade Group, and NOIC, or their Operations Officers.
- Operations Officers on NOIC Staff were set up ashore with their military opposites. (Later, to improve working and living conditions, both moved afloat without loss of efficiency.) They jointly maintained plots of shipping in the area, expected arrivals, priorities , ferry craft operating, state of unloading, etc..
- Demands made at daily conferences were handled by the Joint Operations and necessary compromises worked out.
- Sailing lists and manifests were despatched to this office from the Near Shore by air or fast boat. Berths were assigned, hatch crews and ferry craft allocated in advance, in order that unloading might begin immediately convoys arrived.
- The purely naval functions of NOIC Operations included all Port Director duties. Boarding officers were put aboard all merchant ships arriving to guide them to assigned berths or beaches, and to acquaint masters with harbor regulations, condition of channels, etc.. When manifests had not arrived in advance, these were despatched to Operations by the boarding officers who used their discretion in berthing ships.
X. Ferry Control.
- The Ferry Service, as distinguished from the Shuttle Service, included all craft based on the Far Shore, and used as lighterage. The Shuttle Service included all craft plying between the Near Shore and the Far Shore.
- The object of the Ferry Service was to effect a rapid and continuous discharge of shipping over the beaches.
- Because communications, no matter how good, always present the most difficult problem of ferry craft control, every effort was made to decentralize command and responsibility in this service once requirements are fixed.
- Ferry Control Officers (FCO) were assigned to each regimental front and worked closely with the Beachmasters of their area. The latter controlled time and place of beaching through FCO, whose HQ ship (LCI) was always within easy visual signal distance. These officers conferred at
least once a day, and when possible before each tide,
on beach conditions, weather, etc.
- A Principal Ferry Control Officer, at NOIC's headquarters, coordinated and supervised the service on the divisional front. He attended daily joint conferences, divided assignments for the following day among area FCO, and made necessary adjustments of ferry craft between areas. Engineer Officers attached to NOIC's staff supervised maintenance and repairs, and kept the Principal Ferry Control Officer informed of the present and forecast availability.
- Ferry craft of all types were assigned to each FCO, whose HQ craft was made as conspicuous as possible, and was always anchored in its assigned position. If the FCO desired to move about his area, he did so in a tender and left a deputy aboard. (In the press of the early days of the landings the Assault Survey Commanders, acting as Ferry Control Officers, did not follow this phase of the plan, and it was often impossible for shore authorities to communicate with them for hours at a time because of interference with radio, and unoccupied ferry craft could find no one to whom to report.) After daily requirements were communicated to him, he made his assignments through Flotilla Officers, who in turn, assigned individual craft and were responsible for orders being executed expeditiously. The Flotilla Officers continued in their primary administrative role, and kept the FCO informed of all matters concerning their flotilla.
- Plots and charts of all craft in the area, state of repair, assignments, position and state of all ships unloading, etc., were maintained by FCO. He had Army liaison officers attached who aided in keeping plots.
- LCVP group officers with their boats were assigned to FCO as messengers, and to aid him and his flotilla officer in keeping track of craft.
- FCO were responsible for the welfare, relief, fueling, etc., of all craft in their area.
XI. Salvage Repair and Maintenance.
- A Senior Officer attached to the staff of the NOIC was charged with the responsibility for repair and maintenance of minor landing craft, and keeping them beached clear of wrecks.
- All craft disabled on the beach were removed to maintenance areas out of the way of traffic, or, in the case of major landing craft, patched up and towed to repair vessels lying off shore.
- Maintenance and repair were provided by reinforced E.9 units ashore and ARL afloat. British LBE (barges equipped with lathes, welding apparatus, cranes, etc.) were brought alongside disabled craft afloat and dried out alongside those on the beach when necessary.
- Routine maintenance was carried out as convenient, and the Maintenance Officer arranged with Operations for "lay offs" during slack unloading periods.
- Much specialized equipment such as Le Tournesus, bulldozers, etc., with attached "A" frames and a great deal of ingenuity was necessary to refloat craft "heaped" on the flat beaches.
General policy dictated that:
- Craft sunk in deep water was not an immediate commitment;
- Craft working from the Near Shore received only first aid repairs to enable their return;
- All units tackled any class of work on all types of craft to the limit of their own capacity;
- Craft damaged beyond the capacity of Far Shore repair facilities were returned to UK in LSD;
- Beaches were kept clear even at the cost of demolition and sinking of partially destroyed craft.
XII. Commander Service Forces.
- In OVERLORD, because of the continued operations of beaches, the Mulberry and minor ports required coordinating, it was necessary to establish an over-all command.
- In the initial stages, Naval Commander Western Task Force commanded the area through the Force Commanders, but it was planned that these should all leave shortly after the assault.
- Another command, Commander Service Forces, was formed to take over when headquarters and communications had been established ashore and when the situation warranted the withdrawal of NCWTF. COMSENFOR commanded the area through the NOIC, who relieved the Force Commanders, and those officers who assumed command of the ports.
- In order that a minimum of confusion should result from the turn-over of command, the Commander of the Near Shore bases from which the assault and Build-up were mounted became COMSENFOR. He did not leave the Near Shore until about D plus 20, when Near Shore operations had become routine. However, his deputy arrived on the Far Shore on D plus 1, and gradually took over the coordination of the activities eventually to come under his command.
- Transports and major landing craft left the assault area immediately they had discharged their assault loads. The crews of hundreds of minor landing craft and thousands of naval personnel ashore were required to be accommodated and messed permanently on the Far Shore.
- Old transports and "Liberty" ships equipped with extra galleys and enlarged mess decks provided accommodations afloat. The hot bunk system was used when necessary. Minor landing craft were assigned to these "Depot" ships by flotillas and were moored nearby when off duty.
- Ferry Control Officers were responsible for the administration of personnel. Regulating officers in the ships were responsible for discipline and control and relief of watches of the Ferry Service.
- Beach Camps were provided to take the place of depot ships sunk or damaged, to relieve congestion afloat and to accommodate "Seabees" and other shore based personnel.
- Bathing and recreational facilities were provided by depot ships, for the crews of larger ferry craft.
The depot ships maintained twenty-four hour
galleys for personnel assigned to them. Crews of craft
on the beach were messed by the Army or in the shore camps.
Those on duty were fed by the ships unloading and by LBK.
(LBK: a self-propelled barge fitted as a kitchen capable of serving 800 hot meals a day. Thermos containers to hold food and beverages for the entire crew of an LCVP or LCM, were provided to enable working boats to pick up hot meals "on the run.")
- Shore parties were initially messed by the army and when camps were established, drew rations from the army.
- LBK, LCT, LBV, and other craft fitted with galleys drew stores, bread, and meat, from depot ships.
- Water barges (LBW) provided potable water in bulk, and water in jerry cans was shipped from the Near Shore.
XV. Turn Round.
- Because of the proximity of beaches, restrictions of swept channels, congestion at embarkation ports, etc., an elaborate organization was required to speed turn-round of shipping. It included three main, inter-dependent agencies.
BUCO - Build-up Control, controlled merchant
shipping as well as landing ships and craft and military
On the Naval side it issued instructions for movement of all shipping and craft, order all changes in planned loadings, and sailings.
On the Military side similar instructions were issued for the movement of units from concentration areas.
BUCO was composed of representatives of MOWT, WSA, War Office, various Armies and Army Groups, Navy and Air Force.
- TURCO - Turn-Round Control, primarily a Naval control to speed up turn-round of ships and craft on the Near Shore, included representatives of Force Commander, Near Shore Repair Organizations, Movement Control, M of WT, and WSA.
Individual TURCOs were set up in each loading
port on the Near Shore. They controlled inward passage
of shipping, allocated berths and loading priorities,
arranged for repairs, fuel, water, ammo, and replacements
for casualties and issued sailing orders.
SHUTTLE CONTROL - In the initial stages Force
Commanders were responsible for return sailings from the
assault coast. Later a central control was established
for the entire U.S. area, known as Shuttle Control.
It was divided into two parts, one to deal with inbound, the other outbound traffic. Both sections were embarked in HQ ships several miles off shore. Inbound control met arriving convoys, signalled their arrival to beach operations, made necessary diversions from one area to another, and directed convoys to assigned beach areas. When transport areas were too congested to receive the ships, convoys were ordered to swept and patrolled positions and despatched inshore as the situation permitted.
Outbound control maintained a similar assembly area to which ships moved immediately they were unloaded, thus relieving transport area congestion. Here they were formed into convoys for the various Near Shore ports, escorts assigned and their sailing signalled to TURCO and BUCO.
- These three shipping controls made every effort to keep each other informed of all movements and proposed movements in order to minimize waste time on both shores.
XVI. Recovery and Repair.
- Recovery, maintenance and repair in the assault area were under the general control of senior engineer officers on FOBAA Staff. These included base engineer, electrical and construction officers, principal salvage officer, and fuelling officer.
- Off shore repairs were handled by large repair parties in LSE, Depot Ships and floating docks.
- In shore repair and recovery was organized on a divisional front basis under the NOIC. His staff included Reserve Assault Group Squadron Engineer Officers and Engineer Officers of the MLRU.
- Ferry craft Squadron Engineer Officers were attached to PBM to coordinate repairs in each regimental front.
- Craft Recovery Units (para 9) were attached to Beach Masters and Mobile Land Repair Units (para. 10) to NOIC. The function of the former is to assist stranded craft to unbeach and effect such emergency repairs as may be necessary to this end, or the latter, to assist in beach recovery and repair, maintenance of naval vehicles, provide spares, and to provide emergency repair facilities in a captured port before the arrival of the port parties.
- Three LBE worked with each CRU, one beached, with its repair truck or crane landed, to serve as repair HQ, and two anchored off shore. The function of the former was mainly to aid the CRU while the latter furnished routine maintenance and made engine repairs. A landing Craft Repairs Officer was in charge of each unit of three craft. The CRU Officer commanded all engineer units to release the Beach Master for other duties.
- Maintenance and repair problems were simplified by the RN Squadron and Flotilla organizations which provide maintenance as well as administrative personnel. These staffs (para. 11 and 12) are permanently attached to flotillas and in OVERLORD, manned the LBE and some repair facilities in the depot ships.
General policy dictated that:
- salvage of vessels sunk in deep water was not an immediate commitment.
p.568 #1 See also ONAD 2, Article 2000.
p.569 #1 See also ONAD 2, Article 2011.
p.569 #2 See O.N. 19, Section B and ONAD 2, Article 2044.