Bombardment of Cherbourg

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Bombardment of Cherbourg
Part of World War II, Operations NeptuneOverlord
A heavy German coast artillery shell falls between USS Texas and USS Arkansas while the two battleships engage Battery Hamburg.
A heavy German coast artillery shell falls between USS Texas (background) and USS Arkansas while they duel Battery Hamburg
Date June 25, 1944
Location Cherbourg, France, Atlantic Ocean
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
 United States
 United Kingdom
 Germany
Commanders and leaders
Morton Deyo Balkenkreuz.svg Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben
Strength
3 battleships
2 heavy cruisers
2 light cruisers
11 destroyers
3 minesweeper squadrons
20 casemated batteries
Battery Hamburg
German "Fortress" status
elements of 4 divisions

The bombardment of Cherbourg was an artillery barrage by ships of the United States Navy and Royal Navy on June 25, 1944, in support of U.S. Army units engaged in the Battle of Cherbourg in World War II. The Allied forces attacked German fortifications in and near the city, engaging in a series of duels with coastal batteries and providing close infantry support.

Following the bridgehead established at the Normandy landings, German strategy was to bottle up the allied forces at the Normandy lodgment and deny the nearest major port at Cherbourg. By mid June American infantry had sealed off the Cotentin Peninsula, but their advance had stalled and the Germans had begun to demolish port facilities. General “Lightning Joe” Collins advanced three divisions to within a mile of German lines defending Cherbourg by June 20. The general assault began on June 22 and the naval bombardment occurred on June 25. The last resistance ended June 29. Clearing the port for use required weeks.

The task force was divided into two groups, each with a mix of battleships, cruisers, destroyers and minesweepers. Each ship was assigned targets with orders to duel with batteries which engaged them. German fires were accurate out to 15,000 yards, bracketing the radically maneuvering ships and holing several of them with faulty ammunition. In several encounters destroyers laying smoke allowed heavier ships to escape. The scheduled bombardment of two hours was extended an hour to support army units breaking into Cherbourg’s city streets.

Allied reports agreed that the most effective naval gunnery was support of infantry by small ships directed by army spotters up to 2000 yards inland. While the bombardment force's heavy guns disabled 22 of 24 assigned navy targets, none were destroyed. Rapid infantry assaults ensured the guns could not be reactivated. When the city fell, the neutralized casemated guns, which the Germans could have turned inland towards advancing Allied troops, were still aimed out to sea.

Combined Task Force[edit]

Following the initial beachhead lodgment in Europe on D-Day, as the Allied push east stalled around at Caen, the 1st U.S. Army, VII U.S. Army Corps, was to turn west to capture Cherbourg, the major port facility in Normandy that was both defensible and within protected access of Allied bases in the British Isles.

To support their advance over the Cotentin Peninsula and their planned assault on the German fortifications, on June 25, 1944, a bombarding force (CTF 129) was organized under the command of Rear Admiral Morton Deyo, USN. It was to suppress coastal batteries that the Germans might turn on advancing infantry, and support infantry calls for fire. The navy was additionally tasked to coordinate with the army air force bombers to interdict ammunition resupply and, as infantry closed, follow direction from spotter planes.[1]

Cherbourg port from land
Map of Cherbourg, port and forts
Aerial view of Cherbourg port

General Pete Quesada of the Ninth Air Force flew Liberators and Grumman TBF Avengers of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm to supplement an additional British six-destroyer anti-submarine screen and the British 159th Minesweeping Flotilla.

Infantry fire-coordination was provided in the air and on the ground. P-38s of the IX Army Air Force flew from southern England for naval combat air patrol, fighter-bomber strikes and on-call close support of the infantry. General Collins, commanding VII Corps, arranged for shore fire control parties in infantry units as they approached German fortified objectives.[2]

Background[edit]

Once German commanders assessed the Allied assault at Normandy as the primary invasion, they sought to limit the lodgment while they prepared a counteroffensive. To preserve naval assets, the Cherbourg-based German E-boats were transferred to Saint-Malo. Four destroyers from Brest made for Cherbourg to follow the E-boats, but they were sunk or disabled. By June 14, the Germans were attempting to deny the Allies use of Cherbourg's major port facility by blocking, mining and demolishing its harbor. The violent English Channel storm that thrashed apart the artificial port Mulberry A was raging until June 22. Logistic movement ashore was temporarily crippled, and the Allies desperately needed Cherbourg's port in their possession.[3]

Adm. Morton Deyo
Bombardment Force
Gen. "Pete" Quesada
IX Army Air Force
Gen. Omar Bradley, First Army (left)
Gen. "Lightning Joe" Collins, VII Corps

From June 18 the Cotentin Peninsula was sealed off by Allied infantry, but the German line engaging the Americans was stabilized and the American advance stalled. Cherbourg held a garrison of 40,000 with a new commander (as of June 23), General Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben. Hitler believed that the Allied invasion would fail without Cherbourg, and ordered it made impregnable, awarding it "fortress" status. The American ground forces would lose over 2,800 dead and 13,500 wounded to conquer it.[4]

Rear Admiral Morton Deyo began putting together a naval bombardment plan on June 15. In ten days, he orchestrated ferocious naval gunnery. The Germans had emplaced coastal guns in and around Cherbourg in twenty casemated batteries—fifteen were 150-mm or greater, and three were 280-mm. There were many 75-mm and 88-mm guns, some of which could be trained inland towards advancing infantry. While planning went forward, a late June storm raged into the English Channel, scattering Deyo's task force out to open sea and into British ports; they reassembled in Portland, England. On the Cotentin Peninsula, the U.S. Army VII Corps advance, after some progress, was stalled by entrenched German resistance.[4]

The proposed naval bombardment was complicated, because the advance of the 9th, 79th and 4th Divisions had brought them within a mile of the city. An army liaison officer aboard the Tuscaloosa representing General "Lightning Joe" Collins (VII Corps) expedited communications between different services and commands. The navy-only operation with a three-hour bombardment was shortened to ninety minutes. The targets were limited to those chosen by the army.[4]

Battle groups 1 and 2[edit]

The task force was divided into two divisions, Deyo's Group 1 was assigned to Cherbourg, inner harbor forts and west towards the Atlantic. Group 1 was Tuscaloosa, Quincy, Nevada, HMS Glasgow and five destroyers: Ellyson (flag), Hambleton, Rodman, Emmons, Murphy, and Gherardi.[5]

Admiral C. F. Bryant's smaller Group 2 was to take "Target 2", the Battery Hamburg. It was located near Fermanville, inland from Cape Levi, six miles east of Cherbourg. Nevada in Group 1 was to use its major battery to silence "the most powerful German strongpoint on the Cotentin Peninsula".[6] Then Group 2 would complete the destruction, and pass westward to join Deyo's group. Bryant's Group 2 was composed of the aging Texas, Arkansas, and five destroyers.[7] These were Barton (flag), O'Brien, Laffey, Hobson (pennant), and Plunket.[8]

HMS Onslow, destroyers on anti-sub screen had air cover from IX Army Air Force
HMS Bangor, minesweepers leading Group 1 took first German coastal fires 'straddling' them
USS Pheasant, minesweepers cleared lanes for battleship Texas, dispersed by casemated guns

Minesweeping Squadron 7 and British 9th Minesweeping Flotilla were to swept lanes ahead of them. General "Pete" Quesada of IX Army Air Force provided fighter cover. Additional aircraft provided antisubmarine and combat air patrols. All planned long-range shots on seaward batteries were cancelled and only call fires were to be delivered. Inter-service negotiations made three batteries dedicated navy targets and added any batteries firing on the ships. The ships were to have spotter planes over Cherbourg targets. During ship approaches from 09:40 until 12:00 they were to fire only if fired on.[7]

Neptune standard operating procedure for "Shore Fire Control Parties" (SFCP) called for nine per infantry division. A naval gunfire liaison officer was attached to each regimental fire control center. A naval gunfire officer was attached to each divisional headquarters in charge of all shore parties in his division.[9]

Every firing ship was provided with an army artillery officer to maintain current information about the position of Allied troops, and to determine whether to fire at any given target at the time. The army liaison officer decided the safety of firing at each target. "The ship itself controlled the fire." The SFCP observed the fall of shot and corrected fire with a clock code.[10] "In all cases, it was the responsibility of the ship to determine whether any given shoot would endanger allied personnel or positions." This was possible because each bombarding ship was provided with an army officer who tracked positions of Allied forces ashore.[10]

Air spotters operated in pairs, one as a spotter, one as an escort, each capable of both missions. Each pair could communicate with one another and with the same ships. Every bombarding ship was provided radio capability to communicate with all varieties of aircraft radios. The third method of fire control involved a combination of air to ground to sea communication. "Army Air Observation" planes spotted for a control party on the ground. They relayed the information to the ships taking fire missions.[10][11]

Fire support areas[edit]

At 09:40, Group 1 made landfall, about fifteen miles north of Cherbourg. Leading minesweepers cleared approach channels for both battle groups with Group 2's column steaming parallel several miles to the east. They arrived into the seaward fire support areas without being fired on or receiving any calls for fire. As noon passed at eight bells, the task force plodded towards the in-shore fire support areas at the sweepers’ five-knot speed. German salvos from a village three miles west of Cherbourg at Querqueville began falling among the deployed minesweeper flotillas. Four British Fairmile C motor gun boats began making a smoke screen for the approaching minesweepers. HMS Glasgow and HMS Enterprise with Spitfire spotters began returning fire on the German batteries firing on the minesweepers. In just thirty minutes, every minesweeper had been straddled with battery fire, though none were hit. Deyo recalled them, and they would lay-to out of range for the rest of the action.[12]

At 09:55, Bryant's Group 2 entered Fire Support Area 2,. Spotter planes for Texas and Arkansas were on target, ready to open fire, and operation plans called for Nevada to begin firing on Target 2, Battery Hamburg. Deyo's flash message surprised Bryant cancelling Nevada's long-range bombardment, postponing his open-firing until noon at shore request or in self-defense, and Group 2 was to join Group 1 by noon[13]

Naval guns dueled casemated artillery while supporting infantry of VII Corps
Army air controlled gunnery blew 'tanks into scrap', 'pillboxes were powdered'

American troops had overrun two smaller targets, spotters described them as "surrounded by dead Germans". The strong currents off Normandy slowed the battleships behind minesweepers drifting off course in the current. Arkansas established radio contact with its shore fire control party, closed range to 18,000 yards and opened fire on Battery Hamburg with her antiquated fire control system.[14] Texas could not connect with her shore party and so stayed in line with the minesweepers.[15]

Arkansas's salvos did no damage, so as Group 2 steamed well into the battery arc of fire, the German guns were able to let fly. The minesweepers were all bracketed. Destroyer Barton was holed with a ricochet dud from another battery that landed in her aft diesel room. She returned fire on the disclosed battery without air or shore spotting. All minesweepers were splashed with near misses. Destroyer Laffey took a dud in her port bow by the anchor. The damage control party pried it loose and tossed it overboard.[15]

Group 2 now began firing generally at Battery Hamburg, which was obscured by smoke. Texas was straddled by three rounds at her bow, swung starboard with full right rudder, and missed three shells over her stern. Maneuvering, she was straddled at intervals of twenty to thirty seconds by a newly uncovered battery just northeast of Battery Hamburg. The large battery itself was focusing on minesweepers and destroyers. Destroyer O’Brien was hit at her bridge, knocking out her radar, and so sailed out to sea through a smoke screen blind. Minesweepers and the three damaged destroyers were recalled, the destroyers firing their five-inch guns as harassing fire until out of range.[15]

At 12:20, Group 1 destroyers laid smoke to protect the heavy ships in Fire Support Area 3, then closed nearer to the shore to gain more effective fire on the Querqueville battery. German fire concentrated on HMS Glasgow and Enterprise, hitting Glasgow twice, but she was able to rejoin. After two hours of dueling, all four German guns were temporarily neutralized. Air spot followed the operations at the landing beaches. Pairs of Spitfires, including pilots off the heavy ships, were to loiter 45 minutes over their target. Only half were able to reach the area, the others were driven off by flak, turned away with engine trouble, or could not navigate to the target assignment.[12]

At 12:12, the first call for fire came in from VII Corps shore fire control parties. Following their corrections, Nevada and Quincy took out the fortified target in 25 minutes. They continued with targets of opportunity for about three hours. Tuscaloosa was distributing its fire among targeted strong points directed by shore fire control, when flak hit its two Spitfires and they were forced to retire. In the first hour, Ellyson identified coastal battery fire nearby the town of Gruchy. Glasgow and her air spot silenced it with 54 rounds.[12] Destroyer Emmons answered the fire on Fort De l'Est on one of the harbor breakwaters, but by the time the target was silenced, a well camouflaged battery began walking fire closer to the ship operating from a range of 15,000 yards. Rodman dropped smoke, and Emmons withdrew.[12]

Extension of the bombardment[edit]

At 13:20, ten minutes before the agreed to ending of the bombardment, Admiral Deyo, seeing that the mission was not accomplished, signaled VII Corps, "Do you wish more gunfire? Several enemy batteries still active." The Querqueville battery had come to life again and taken the Murphy under fire, straddling it four times in twenty minutes. Tuscaloosa came to her aid, scoring a direct hit bringing flames. With her deck covered with splinters and splashes from near misses, Murphy dodged behind a smoke screen. Ellyson and Gherardi joined in. Quincy fired for half an hour, then the Nevada silenced the battery again. Later, as the task force withdrew, the battery opened fire again. More than its endurance, the task force upper decks noted its long day of near-misses. The battery near Gruchy came to life again. HMS Glasgow and Rodman returned fire. The batteries in and around Cherbourg seemed able to fire accurately at any ship within 15,000 yards. Rodman pulled out of range.[12]

Heavy cruiser Tuscaloosa gave accurate on-call fires at 15 miles
Destroyer Hambleton -- small ships gave "most effective" infantry support

Navy men had been assigned to army units as shore party spotters to direct all fire more than 2,000 yard inland. The infantry support fires could then safely reach along roads far inland, blowing German tanks into "scrap". Pillboxes were "powdered" and gun emplacements "tossed skyhigh". German shore batteries were in turn laying well placed fire, churning the seas with near misses bracketing Deyo's ships.[16]

In Group 2, making westward to join Group 1, Texas was radically steering to dodge near-misses and straddles when one of the German 280-mm shells struck the hull and lodged alongside a sailor's bunk, but it too was a dud. At 13:35, one of the large caliber guns in Battery Hamburg was knocked out by Texas, and she and Arkansas continued through the afternoon firing at Battery Hamburg and another nearby battery. When they strayed back into the arc of fire, Battery Hamburg's three remaining guns made Texas a target, and a nearby 105-mm battery acquired Arkansas. Both ships maneuvered, the two remaining destroyers made smoke, and all escaped with no damage.[15]

At 14:02 VII Corps replied to Deyo, "Thanks very much—we should be grateful if you would continue until 15:00." VII Corps was on the verge of breaking into Cherbourg's city streets. Fort des Flamand at the eastern end of the inner breakwater, had eight dual-purpose 88-mm guns holding up a regiment of the 4th Division. Shore fire control called for naval support, and Hambleton began firing, but large-caliber rounds from Battery Hamburg began to drop around her at 14,250 yards. She retired, then Quincy was able to silence the target fort. Nevada turned from Battery Hamburg and joined in the attack on targets on the west side of Cherbourg that might have turned landward on advancing infantry. For over twenty minutes she was repeatedly straddled, including two that holed her superstructure and another that missed as close as 25 feet.[12]

An hour later, following General Collins' new deadline of 15:00, Admiral Deyo ordered cease fire and began withdrawing from the bombardment area. Group 2 headed back to Portland, England, at 15:01.[15] Flagship Tuscaloosa took another call for fire. The targets were 75-mm field guns in casemates, on the dock at the entrance to Cherbourg's naval arsenal. Tuscaloosa continued firing as she maneuvered out to sea, at 25,000 yards and again out a further mile and a half with accuracy.[12]

Outcomes[edit]

General Collins wrote to Admiral Deyo on June 29, "Naval bombardment of the coastal batteries and the covering strong points around Cherbourg ... results were excellent, and did much to engage the enemy's fire while our troops stormed into Cherbourg from the rear." The army liaison officer reported after inspection of the port defenses that guns after bombardment could not be reactivated, and those that could have been turned landward were still pointed out to sea when the city fell.[17]

While prisoner reports speak of terror from naval gunnery, there is no evidence that naval gun fire caused great destruction to enemy guns. Naval gunfire neutralized rather than destroyed enemy batteries." Long periods of silence from German gun positions was considered the result of the morale impact on their gunners, not destructive effect on the guns. Infantry capturing German batteries is what eliminates their threat. "All Navy and Army reports on the subject agree that the most effective naval gunnery is small ship direct fire support of infantry.[18]

Closing VII Corps required air and ground control of naval fire support
German fortifications were temporarily neutralized by heavy guns of battleships and cruisers

The volume of fire was notable and of consequence. Supreme Commander Eisenhower wrote, "The final assault was materially assisted by heavy and accurate naval gunfire." General Karl-Wilhelm von Schlieben reported to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel that further resistance had been useless due in part to "heavy fire from the sea." Admiral Theodor Krancke recorded for his war diary, that one contributing cause to Cherbourg's fall was "naval bombardment of a hitherto unequalled fierceness." [17]

German reports of the effect of naval bombardment was broadcast over the German telegraph service in the "German Military Journal". The Allied naval fire curtain was one of their trump cards. In a crisis, it was better aimed and it could be sustained on target. The functions of the artillery arm are provided by the combined fleet. Even "smaller vessels" have firepower that should not be underestimated: "a torpedo boat ... had the firepower of a howitzer battery, a destroyer that of a battery of artillery." A cruiser is compared to a regiment of artillery. Battleships of 38-40-cm guns have no equal in land warfare, possible only "by an unusual concentration of very heavy batteries."[18]

The German report said that Allied troops had a "particular advantage" from ship formations that provided the mobility to concentrate artillery on any point on the battlefield, and then change their placement to whatever the fighting required. The Anglo-American naval forces made "...the best possible use of this opportunity." A single coastal battery could come repeatedly under "...quite extraordinary superior fire-power." A multiple type formation of warships would concentrate fire at batteries when they were the focal point of combat, creating an "umbrella of fire (Feuerglocke)."[18] Field-Marshal von Rundstedt assessed Allied naval gun fire support as "The flexible and well directed support of the land troops ... ranging from battleship to gun boat ... as quickly mobile, constantly available artillery, at points ... as defense against our [German] attacks or as support for [Allied] attacks." They are skillfully directed by air and ground spotters. Their naval gunnery has a high rapid-fire capacity at range.[18]

Nevertheless, World War II U.S. naval doctrine was modified. More attention was paid to the requirement of long range effective fire. Had not so many of the German shells been duds, Admiral Bertram Ramsay, Naval Commander in Chief of the Allied Naval Expeditionary Force observed, "they might well have inflicted heavy damage to our ships at the relatively close range ..." Before June 1944, the United States Navy had experience in both the Mediterranean and the Pacific. It pointed to a conclusion that the upgraded modern fire control systems on U.S. ships allowed for them to close with and defeat coastal batteries at will. But in the Mediterranean the shore batteries had not been "well and resolutely" served. Japanese coast defense gunners were inadequately trained. Morison's conclusion was that, even with modern directors for naval gunnery, a casemated gun is "exceedingly difficult for a rapidly maneuvering warship to destroy with a direct hit, although a shower of salvos around the coast defense position will silence the guns temporarily."[17]

Admiral Deyo's after-action report recommended that long-range bombardment with plane spot would be required to silence casemated batteries. Either good air spot or shore parties are required for effective naval bombardment, especially when strong currents add to the navigational problems of a task force under accurate shore battery fire.[16]

Destroyers[edit]

Task Force 129 had ten destroyers listed in its assigned ships from five divisions, DESDIV 19, 20, 34, 119, 13, out of four squadrons, DESRON 10, 17, 60, 7. Additional destroyers noted below were among those that rendered supporting fire to the VII Corps in their drive up the Cotentin Peninsula. They also bombarded coastal batteries nearby Cherbourg in the three days prior to Task Force 129. An accounting of where the other ships in a division were and why they could not be there, can show a glimpse of the chaos and loss of war, even amidst a "success". The discussion in this section is based on the squadron organization, destroyer class descriptions, and ships histories found at the Destroyer History Foundation webpage[19] and the Navy's Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships" online.[20]

In the World War II U.S. Navy destroyer organization, a captain commanded a destroyer squadron (DESRON) composed of two divisions. Destroyer division (DESDIV) composition could change rapidly and divisions did not always operate together. Ships composing divisions are listed in hull-number order. Other sources may order ships in a division by the seniority of their commanders. The "commodore" of a squadron flies his "flag" from his flagship. The division commander flies his "pennant". The commanders carried their flags with them when they moved from ship to ship. If the flag in a division is unknown for June 25, 1944, it is left attached to the lowest hull number.

Ships with one asterisk have recently seen extraordinary service, machinery breaks down, men need rest in port; they are given alternative screen and escort duty. Ships with two asterisks are lost or under repair, see notes. Task Force 129 included the ten destroyers noted in bold. Ships with (flag) or (pennant) in the task force would have had an additional senior officer with seamanship, command and combat experience on the bridge during action.

a small warship, two turrets forward, two smoke stacks, two turrets aft
Gleaves-class destroyer, 1,630 ton Rodman Destroyer Squadron 10 (i)

DESRON 10 (I). After Bristol, the nine low-numbered 1,630-tonners (Bristol-class). This was the first squadron of fiscal year 1941 ships commissioned. Another citation records that 1,630-ton Gleaves-class ships were assigned to squadrons 10–19. This is not to be confused with the late-war re-establishment of DESRON 10 (II) of 2,200-ton destroyers, which was made up of either of the short hull (Sumner-class) or long hull (Gearing-class) destroyers.

DESDIV 19 (four ships, Group 1 TF 129) — 454 Ellyson (flag), 455 Hambleton, 456 Rodman, 457 Emmons, 458 Macomb*
Macomb* had run a 72-hour sub chase to sink U-616 on 16 May.
DESDIV 20 (one ship, Group 2 TF 129)— 461 Forrest, 462 Fitch*, 463 Corry**, 464 Hobson (pennant).
Forrest, covered mine sweeping operations off the Cotentin Peninsula beginning June 21, she engaged shore batteries on June 22 and 24. This could disclose additional batteries, disrupt battery resupply. Corry** was sunk by shore battery fire on Normandy D-Day. Fitch* had picked up Corry survivors on D-Day and covered with short range gunnery duels, was on escort duty.

DESRON 17. 1,630-ton Gleaves-class ships were assigned to squadrons 10–19.

a small warship, two turrets forward, two smoke stacks, two turrets aft
Gleaves-class destroyer, 1,630 ton Gherardi, Destroyer Squadron 17
DESDIV 33 (no ships to TF 129)— 603 Murphy, 620 Glennon**, 621 Jeffers, 622 Maddox (II)**, 623 Nelson (flag)**.
Murphy in New York Harbor was struck by a tanker, taking 38 officers and men. The bow replaced, she joined the Normandy invasion at Omaha. Remaining for fire support and screen duty for transports, June 8 gun dueled with enemy shore batteries, repelled numerous German E boat and air torpedo attacks. Jeffers screening duty in area waters, engaged German aircraft. Nelson** disabled by German E-boat off Normandy. Maddox (II)** sunk by German dive bomber. Glennon** sunk by German shore battery fire off Normandy. She suffered 25 lost and 38 wounded.
DESDIV 34 (one ship, Group 1 TF 129)— 637 Butler (flag), 638 Gherardi, 639 Herndon, 640 Shubrick.
Gherardi distinguished herself on D-Day, calls from fire-control parties ashore clearing the way for troops by prompt and accurate fire on railroads, houses, shore batteries and other targets. This drew dangerous" return fire, hot gun duels. Returned to Utah Beach on screening duty until June 25 when she joined TF 129. Others of the division were on screening and escort duty, proceeding towards the Mediterranean for the invasion of southern France.

DESRON 60 The first five Sumner-class 2,200-tonners from Bath and the first four from Federal, beginning with Squadron 60, each with two divisions.

a small warship, two turrets forward, two smoke stacks, one turret aft
Sumner-class destroyer, 2,200 ton Barton, Destroyer Squadron 60
DESDIV 119 (three ships, Group 2 TF 129)— 722 Barton (II) (flag), 723 Walke (III), 724 Laffey (II), 725 O’Brien (IV), 726 Meredith**.
Walke (III), although some sources don't list it in Task Force 129, is reported participating on the day in the Navy Fighting Ships online records.[21]
Meredith** on fire support at Utah Beach, hit a mine losing seven killed and over 50 wounded and missing, sunk by a German bombing attack during salvage attempt.
DESDIV 120 (no ship to TF 129)— 692 Allen M. Sumner, 693 Moale, 694 Ingraham, 695 Cooper. -- Assigned to the Pacific.

DESRON 7 made up of the eight ships authorized in fiscal year 1938 plus Plunkett. The squadron had a history from September 1920, composed of 15 flush-deckers of 1,200 tons in Charleson, South Carolina, reactivated in April 1939 at San Diego. 1940, Gleaves and Benson-class 1,630 ton destroyers replaced the old to form an 11 ship squadron.

DESDIV 13 (one ship, Group 2 TF 129)--DD-431 Plunkett Gleaves-class destroyer. Another source names her as the squadron flagship, not organized in either division. Returning from repairs in New York following major bomb damage off Anzio. Fire support off Omaha June 5–9, in TF 129 before re-joining her squadron in the Mediterranean.

See also[edit]

Task Force 129, Group One (incomplete)[22]
USS Tuscaloosa, Adm. Deyo flag, commanding, USS Quincy, Baltimore-class cruiser, USS Nevada, Nevada-class battleship
HMS Glasgow, Southampton-class light cruiser, HMS Enterprise, Emerald-class light cruiser
USS Ellyson (desron flag), Gleaves-class destroyer, USS Rodman USS Gherardi, USS Hambleton, USS Emmons
HMS Sidmouth Group 1 lead minesweeper, HMS Bangor Bangor-class minesweeper

Task Force 129, Group Two (incomplete)[23]
USS Texas, New York-class battleship, Adm. Bryant flag, USS Arkansas, Wyoming class battleship
USS Barton (desron flag), USS O'Brien, USS Laffey, Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer, USS Hobson (desdiv pennant), USS Plunkett
USS Swift, Auk-class minesweeper, USS Auk, USS Broadbill, USS Nuthatch, USS Pheasant

Anti-submarine screen
HMS Onslow, O-class destroyer, HMS Offa, HMS Onslaught, HMS Oribi, HMS Melbreak, Hunt-class destroyer, Type III, HMS Brissenden, Hunt-class destroyer Type IV

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Invasion of Normandy: Operation NEPTUNE, United States Naval Administration in World War II Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe: Volume V, London, 1946. Chronology p. 224. Ships assigned to task force. p.444. Combined Task Force, CTF 122 was dissolved and command of U.S.N. OVERLORD Forces reverted to Commander, 12th Fleet as of 0001, 10 July 1944.
  2. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot, "The invasion of France and Germany: 1944-1945", p. 200, destroyers listed in Rosco, Theodore. "U.S. destroyer operations in World War II. pp. 361-362. Minesweepers are found at The Invasion of Normandy: Operation NEPTUNE, op.cit. p.444
  3. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: The invasion of France and Germany 1944-1945 ISBN 0-252-06963-3 (v.1). 1957,1985, paper 2002. Chapter XII Cherbourg June–September 1944, online site, page 175, 195-198, viewed 07/18/2011.
  4. ^ a b c Morison, Samuel E., op.cit., page 195-198
  5. ^ Rosco, Theodore. United States destroyer operations in World War II. 1953. ISBN 0-87021-726-7, p.361-362 online source viewed 07/20/2011.
  6. ^ The German Battery Hamburg, located six miles inland, had four eleven-inch guns, well separated, protected by steel shields similar to naval gun turrets, and reinforced concrete casemates. It was manned by naval gunners. Supporting them nearby were six 88-mm, six heavy and six light antiaircraft guns. The battery was distinguished by long range, 40,000 yards, and the arc of train. The guns were sited to cover the westerly sea approaches to Cherbourg. They had an easterly limit of fire.(Morison, p.206)
  7. ^ a b Morison, Samuel E., op.cit., page 198-200
  8. ^ Rosco, Theodore. op.cit., p.361
  9. ^ The Invasion of Normandy: Operation NEPTUNE, United States Naval Administration in World War II. Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe: Volume V, London, 1946. Chronology p. 224. Part 3. General Bombardment Plans. Page 469. Each shore party had a table of organization of one army officer, one naval officer and twelve enlisted. Each SFCP had a table of equipment calling for a jeep, an M.14 half-track, and both FM and AM radio transmitter-receiver.
  10. ^ a b c The Invasion of Normandy: Operation NEPTUNE, USN administration ... Volume V, Part 2. General Bombardment Plans. op.cit., page 469-473. Online reference cited 07/20/2011. The SFCP operation in the field was not without danger. Germans were able to locate radios in the medium frequency and take them under fire in seconds.
  11. ^ Delays in spotter coverage was eliminated by maintaining a few aircraft loitering over the combat area. Reliefs were briefed in the air on the way to assigned sectors, allowing for battlefield developments during transit. Aircraft shortages required one plane to spot for two or more ships. "Army Air Observation" posts were light aircraft such as Piper Cubs or Austers.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Morison, Samuel E., op.cit., page 200-205
  13. ^ At 10:34 Group 2 headed WSW toward Fire Support Area 3 north of Cherbourg, with Minesweeper Squadron 7 leading screened by three destroyers while two destroyers stayed back with the battleships.(Moris, p.206)
  14. ^ Arkansas was equipped with second-hand pieces and parts for fire control from the Tennessee. The gyro-compasses handed down from Tuscaloosa, were always troublesome, and with rapid maneuvering they were disabled. To fire underway, the ship kept to a steady course and fired slowly.(Morison, p.207)
  15. ^ a b c d e Morison, Samuel E., op.cit., page 205-210
  16. ^ a b Rosco, Theodore, op.cit., p.362.
  17. ^ a b c Morison, Samuel E., op.cit., page 210-211
  18. ^ a b c d The Invasion of Normandy: Operation NEPTUNE, USN administration ... Volume V, Part 2. General Bombardment Plans. op.cit., page 474-476. Online reference cited 07/20/2011.
  19. ^ McComb, David W., Destroyer History Foundation, viewed 08/04/2011
  20. ^ Naval History and Heritage Command, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, viewed 08/04/2011
  21. ^ Walke (II) DD-416 (1939) Sims-class destroyer was lost in the Pacific, 1943.
  22. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot. History of United States naval operations in World War II, Vol. 11, "The invasion of France and Germany: 1944-1945" ISBN 978-0-252-07062-4, p. 200, destroyers listed in Rosco, Theodore. "United States destroyer operations in World War II. 1953. ISBN 0-87021-726-7, pp. 361-362
  23. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot, "The invasion of France and Germany: 1944-1945", p. 200, destroyers listed in Rosco, Theodore. "U.S. destroyer operations in World War II. pp. 361-362
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (2002) [1957]. The Invasion of France and Germany. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Eleven. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-07065-8. 
  • Roskill, Stephen W. (1961). The War At Sea 1939–1945. Volume III The Offensive. Part II 1st June 1944 – 14th August 1945. History of the Second World War. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.