Execution of the Plan
Section I -- Rehearsals
- Amphibious training of the 1st Infantry Division and 2nd Armored Division was conducted in the Arzew area, while the 3rd Infantry Division carried out shore to shore training in the Bizerta-Tunis area. The 82nd Airborne Division moved from Casablanca to its training area near Oudja, and finally to its staging area near Kariouan, Tunisia.
- All Army units comprising the assault forces were moved forward to staging areas by June 22, the date of the arrival from the United States of the 45th Division embarked in combat loaded transports.
- The period 22 June - 4 July was utilized in carrying out rehearsals of the assault landing and in special training of task groups. This special training included operations by certain escort vessels with the British submarines designated as navigational beacons, training of AMs, PCs and SCs in the operations of Control Vessels, and training of various types of Support Craft.
- In addition to this brief training period, the time was utilized for the installation of necessary radio equipment, special signaling devices, voice projection apparatus, etc.
- Rehearsals were held at selected beaches near the ports of embarkation. In the case of the CENT and DIME Forces, this involved the movement to sea of the loaded transports, escorts and gunfire support ships. Due to the proximity of enemy aircraft and enemy submarines, these night operations were undertaken at considerable risk. Selected units of each RCT were landed on the rehearsal beaches in accordance with the scheme of maneuver planned for the actual assault. These rehearsals were not full scale landings.
- The 3rd Infantry Division embarked in the landing ships and landing craft assigned for the operation and carried out a number of night shore to shore exercises in the Bizerta area.
- Upon the completion of the rehearsals, all vehicles that had been landed were sent back to the concentration areas for re-waterproofing and reloading aboard ship.
- Troops of the 45th Infantry Division were placed ashore for five days' reconditioning training. Upon the completion of the rehearsals, troops of all divisions were assembled in staging areas for final loading in assault transports and craft. The staging areas had been selected by the Army with relation to available bivouac areas close to loading ports selected by the Navy.
- The rehearsals for the Sicilian invasion were hurriedly planned because of the shortage of time available and were at best a "dry run" on reduced scale. To ensure maximum benefit of rehearsals, adequate time should be available for detailed planning in order that the exercise may simulate as nearly as possible the actual assault. Individual RCTs should land as units prior to the full scale landing of the division. In the latter case it should be carried out in such manner as to require complete unloading of a limited number of ships or craft in the execution of the plan of attack of certain RCTs. This completeness is particularly desirable in order to give the Shore Party, Beach Party and boat crews a full scale workout. Token rehearsals invariably stop short of the critical phase of the landing when beaches become heaped with supplies, boats are disabled, and the Army supply system is in danger of breakdown. Full scale unloading during rehearsals would bring the beach organizations face to face with their real problems and would permit corrective measures to be taken before the actual assault. In planning such full scale rehearsals the following must be provided for:
- replacements or repair of boats and craft lost or damaged during the rehearsal
- re-waterproofing of all vehicles landed during rehearsal
- adequate time to reload ships and craft for the assault
- adequate time to hold critiques after the rehearsal, make necessary changes to plans and distribute same to forces involved.
Section II -- Convoys and Routing
- For the initial assault on the island of Sicily, over six hundred ships and landing craft were allocated to the Naval Commander, Western Task Force. Of this total, one hundred and thirty
warships, consisting of cruisers, destroyers, PCs, YMSs, SCs were available to escort, covering and support duties. Three hundred and twenty-four ships and landing craft, consisting of combat loaders (APAs, AKAs, XAPs, and APs), LSTs, LCI(L)s, and LCTs, were made available for loading and transporting assault troops and necessary assault weapons, of the Seventh Army, from the mounting and staging ports in North Africa to the CENT, DIME, and JOSS Attack areas on the South coast of Sicily. The remainder of the vessels allocated comprised PT Boats, Air Sea Rescue Boats, Minelayers, Landing Craft Gun and Flak, and fleet tugs. There were four Belgian LSI(S) of the Prince Leopold class and one British monitor.
- Oran was the staging port for the combat-loaded Forty-fifth Division because that port was under the operating control of American Naval Command, the combat loaders, which brought this Division from the United States, could be accomodated there, and because it was farthest removed from possible air attack. Bizerta and Tunis were the mounting ports for LSTs, LCI(L)s, and LCTs because those ports were large enough to accomodate the landing craft and were the North African ports located closest to the assault areas assigned to the Western Task Force. Sousse became the staging port for the LCI(L)s because the movement cleared Tunis of some of the traffic load and because the assault voyage was shortened for the embarked infantry. Algiers was the loading port for combat loaders of the DIME Force because Oran harbor became filled to capacity and Algiers was the only other port on the North African coast where large ships could be berthed.
- In order to utilize escort ships to the fullest possible degree, ships were initially classified into four principal categories according to speed, operating range, and mounting and staging ports. In like manner the individual convoys were made up, first, to meet the same considerations and second, to provide for economy of aircraft fighter cover. The combat loaders were assigned to a convoy in two sections, originating from Oran and Algiers. LSTs mounted troops and armor in Bizerta and Tunis and sortied from those harbors at approximately the same time, to rendezvous in the Tunisian War Channel and to proceed Easterly together. LCI(L)s mounted in Tunis, staged through Sousse and departed from that port on D-l. This LCI(L) convoy then made junction with the LST convoy while enroute to an assigned Gozo Island landfall, prior to making the Approach to the assault areas. LCTs were sections of one convoy, the two sections respectively departing from Bizerta and Tunis and joining up in the War Channel, thence proceeding Eastward, via Cape Bon, South of Pantelleria and toward Malta holding to that course until 1700 on D-l when the convoy turned North into the Approach.
- The maintenance of the military forces during operation HUSKY involved three naval phases. The first phase included all convoys moving to reach the assault area on D day. Phase two was the follow-up. It included all convoys moving to reach the assault area after D day and until the military forces comprising the Western Task Force was landed in Sicily, and, it likewise included the maintenance of those forces. Phase three involved troops additional to the assault forces of the Western Task Force which were moved into Sicily. Phase two was a continuing movement during the early stages of phase three.
- All assault convoys were routed by Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, until they entered the area of operations assigned to the Western Task Force.
- Convoy routes were chosen to meet the following considerations:
- That convoys should approach the attack areas during darkness and should arrive in the Initial Transport Areas in time to meet H hour.
- That convoys must be prepared to meet strong submarine, E-boat and air attacks and that mines might be encountered.
- That swept channels should be used wherever possible.
- That convoys should be within reach of the maximum air coverage throughout voyages.
- That routing should avoid mutual interference with other forces.
- That movements of ships support the "Cover" Plan.
- That wherein troops are crowded into landing craft, the time afloat should be reduced to a minimum compatible with other considerations,
- That a landfall rendezvous for ships and landing craft would give these vessels an accurate navigational fix.
- These considerations were met as follows:
- That convoys should approach the attack areas during darkness and should arrive in the Initial Transport Areas in time to meet H hour.
Since H hour was set for 0245, the attack convoys were required to be in the Initial
Transport Areas at approximately H-3 .hour in order to carry out the assault landing on schedule.
Convoy speeds-of-advance used were thirteen knots for combat loaders, twelve and a half for LCIs, eight knots for LSTs, and six and a half for LCTs. The time of rendezvous of LST and LCI convoys off Gozo Island was 1600/D-l and the passage of the combat loaders through that point was on and after 1850 the same day. To meet this schedule, convoy NSF-1 left Oran on D-5 and was joined by the first section at Algiers on D-4. LSTs and LCTs sortied from Bizerta and Tunis on D-2. LCI convoys left the staging port of Sousse on D-l.
- That convoys must be prepared to meet strong submarine, E-boat and air attack and that mines might be encountered.
Task Force Commanders of DIME, CENT and JOSS Forces made provision in their orders to meet submarines and air attacks. Convoy routes were through swept channels wherever possible and enemy surface vessels attacks were guarded against by Covering Groups and Screening Groups.
- That swept channels should be used wherever possible.
Swept channels, other than harbor and port exits, included the Tunisian War Channel, the Gulf of Tunis Channel, a swept channel in the vicinity of Sousse, and swept areas in the vicinity of Pantellaria.
- That convoys should be within reach of the maximum air coverage throughout voyages.
Air cover was available during Phase I,
- off the Algerian and Tunisian coasts by aircraft of the Northwest African Coastal Air Force,
- in the Sicilian Strait by U.S. Air Corps S. E. fighters operating from Pantellaria and Lampedusa,
- in the vicinity of Malta and in the Malta Channel by RAF fighter squadrons operating from Malta. The maximum fighter cover was planned for convoys at dawn, dusk and during periods of moonlight.
Air cover was planned during Phase II and Phase III,
- off the beaches, by aircraft operating from Malta, and, when possible, by twin engine fighters based in Tunisia;
- by aircraft operating from captured air fields in Sicily.
- That routing should avoid mutual interference with other forces.
In order to avoid mutual interference, convoys were scheduled as to approximate time of leaving mounting or staging ports, and were further scheduled as to arrival at points where there was urgent necessity for keeping clear of other shipping. Due to narrowness of the Tunisian War Channel, and in order to effect rendezvous of forces joining up, and to keep air forces informed of location of convoys, it was necessary to stipulate time of arrival off Bizerta, as well as to declare a speed over the ground in order to avoid overtaking while in the War Channel. In like manner, there was a time set for the landfall of LST convoys off Gozo Light and for the subsequent joining up of LCT convoys. The first section of NCF-1 was routed through the Gozo rendezvous at 1850 on D-l in order that it might follow closely behind the United Kingdom convoy KMF-18 and yet pass the North Gozo tangent in time to allow the second section to remain on an adequate schedule.
One of the problems involving convoy routing was proper timing to prevent mutual interference. According to the first draft of the Convoy Plan, Second Section of NCF-1 (CTF 85) was scheduled to leave Oran on D-4, was to rendezvous with First Section NCF-1 to seaward of Algiers on D-3, and was to proceed Easterly behind the First Section NCF-1 at a distance of six miles. Expected speed of advance was thirteen knots. This was scheduled because British convoy KMF-18, at speed of 12V£ knots, was scheduled to be in advance of NCF-1 by a sufficient distance at Algiers that the overtaking NCF-1 convoy would still be thirty minutes of cruising time behind at the moment of passing Bizerta. This was provided in CinCMed HUSKY Orders in order to prevent interference in the Tunisian War Channel between convoys KMF-18, NCF-1 and the landing ship and landing carft convoys of CTF 86 which were making sortie from Bizerta shortly after dawn on D-2. Accordingly, KMF-18 planned to pass Bizerta at 0500 on D-2. A further benefit of this schedule was that it provided for economy of fighter cover over the area transversed.
The convoy plans issued by CTF 81 and CTF 85, however, brought up the possibility of a night-time rendezvous off Algiers under the above plan, and, since night rendezvous are undesirable, CTF 81 requested that time of rendezvous at Algiers be moved up as necessary to permit
junction of the two sections of NCF-1 in daylight, preferably on D-4. This request necessitated the second section departing Oran on D-5.
In the execution of the changed plan, the net result of this request by CTF 81 was twofold. After junction of first and second sections NCF-1, onward routing from Algiers was altered in order to prevent interference between convoys NCF-1 and KMF-18. The speed and speed-of-advance of NCF-1 was reduced below thirteen knots, thereby causing increased concern over the possibilities of submarine attack. Commander, Western Naval Task Force, sent orders to the Officer in Tactical Command to increase speed. Second, this late hour change in the speed of advance of NCF-1, and in the routing of that convoy, affected the North African Air Force plans to some extent. Planes, ordered to cover the sortie and initial passage of NCF-1 Easterly from Algiers, were late in making contact with that convoy.
- That movements of ships support the "Cover" Plan.
The movements of Landing Craft Convoys were in the direction of Malta, and the routing of the combat loaders was in the general direction of Tripoli, with the object of deception of the enemy as to the destination, date and intentions, generally, of our forces. In this manner was the routing of American ships and craft coordinated with the routing of ships and craft of the Eastern Task Force in order to carry out the conditions of the Cover Plan.
- That wherein troops are crowded into landing craft, the time afloat should be reduced to a minimum compatible with the other considerations given.
Landing Craft (infantry), carried troops from Bizerta and Tunis to Sousse on D-4. These troops remained ashore until the afternoon of D-2 and then reembarked for the assault flight. By this means, the time of troop carry, under crowded conditions, was reduced to a minimum in this instance. Due to the scarcity of large harbors in Northwest Africa, a long haul had to be accepted in the case of combat loaders, and an extended period of time afloat had to be accepted with LCT convoys.
- That a landfall rendezvous for ships and landing craft would give these vessels an accurate navigational fix.
Routing the LST and LCI convoys through a landfall rendezvous off Gozo Light made possible a more accurate approach to the Initial Landing Craft Areas while at the same time supported the "Cover" Plan by having the convoys maintain a base course Eastward toward Malta as long as possible.
- The Operation Orders of the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean, required the presence of a Covering Group (TG 80.7) during the Eastward passage of Naval Attack Convoys along the North Coast of Africa and through the Tunisian War Channel. The Covering Group, comprising three light cruisers and seven destroyers, was formed off Algiers on D-4, when sections of NCF-1 made junction. They then steamed Eastward, ahead of the convoys NCF-1 and KMF-18, so as to maintain a suitable covering position with relation to the transports. Convoys KMF-18 and NCF-1 were scheduled to pass outside Bizerta at approximately 0600 and 0630/D-2, respectively. During night hours D-3/D-2, as these convoys entered the Tunisian War Channel, the favorable covering position was, Northward of a series of minefields which protected Bizerta, and Eastward of the convoys such that enemy surface vessels would not be able to attack the convoy from the Tyrrhenian Sea without interception by the Covering Group. Hence the Covering Group Directive advised the approximate position Latitude thirty-eight degrees ten minutes North, Longitude eleven degrees zero zero minutes East at 0100/D-2. Then, since the two convoys KMF-18 and NCF-1 were approximately twenty miles East of Bizerta at 0800/D-2 and were heading for Cape Bon with the intention of rounding to the South, Covering Group was advised a second approximate position in Latitude thirty-seven degrees seven minutes North, Longitude eleven degrees forty minutes East at 0800/D-2. This movement provided for rotating the Cover in relation to the convoys during their passage through the War Channel, in order to interpose continuous interception forces between convoys and possible enemy sorties. The second position of the cruisers also served as information for the North African Coastal Air Force to establish daylight fighter cover over them.
- Prior to publication of the Covering Group Directive, consideration was given to provision of night fighter cover to that group during the night of D-3/D-2. CTG 80.7's route was close North of a minefield which extended Northerly from a point in the vicinity of Bizerta, a distance of nearly one hundred miles. It was not possible for the Covering Group to pass closer to the North Coast of Africa except by passing through the War Channel which movement was not compatible with the mission of the Covering Group. The North African Coastal Air Force stated that no night fighter cover could be provided because the route of the cruisers was beyond the operating range of single engine fighters and that twin engine fighters were not available.
- Phase two was the follow-up. It included all convoys moving to reach the assault area after D day and until the military forces comprising the Western Task Forces were landed in Sicily and it likewise included the maintenance of those forces.
- Additional to the ships and landing craft allocated for the initial assault, approximately sixty ships were allocated to the Commander, Western Naval Task Force. These ships participated in the follow-up and supplemented the turn around of landing craft in loading and transporting further elements of the 7th Army. These sixty ships were sailed in three convoys; two from Oran and Algiers on D-3 and D-4, and one convoy from the United Kingdom passing Algiers on D-l day. The convoys followed the normal coastal route along the North African coast at speeds of advance of eight knots for the two originating in Oran and Algiers, and a speed of twelve knots for the United Kingdom convoy.
- In the turn around for landing craft, all that were designated for carrying supplies were directed to proceed to Bizerta because the Army supply depot (Eastern Base Section) was located there. Tunis was the loading point for vehicles and personnel only. Hence, after departure of the assault convoys, no maintenance supplies were loaded at the port of Tunis. The routes which were designated for returning landing craft ran westerly from the Attack areas to a position north of Pantellaria and to the Tunisian War Channel off Cape Bon, thence by swept channels to Tunis or Bizerta as appropriate. The landing craft route back to the Attack areas was by swept channels to Cape Bon and then easterly and south of Pantellaria, thence on northeast courses to the proper landing craft area. Each route was six miles wide and convoys were directed as follows: "Convoys or groups of ships or craft with a speed of advance of ten knots or more are to keep to port of the center line. Convoys or groups of ships or craft with a speed of advance of less than ten knots are to keep to starboard of the center line." The primary reason for designating shuttle routes was for simplification of aircraft fighter cover and ease of surface patrol. Furthermore the routes were made narrow because it was not possible to sweep a wider channel against mines with the mine sweeping forces available. Also the routing helped to prevent convoys from crossing one another, especially at night.
- Phase three involved movements of troops into Sicily, additional to the assault forces of the Western Task Force. These movements involved the continued shuttle of landing ships and craft from Tunisian and Tripolitanian ports, and the employment of personnel ships and M/T store ships from Algerian and Egyptian ports. Finally the logistic build-up of the occupation forces was provided in UGS convoys from the United States and KMS convoys from the United Kingdom. Combatant vessels of the Western Task Force were employed as escorts for these convoy movements affecting the Seventh Army, which were routed by direct route to designated Sicilian ports available at the time. Phase three commenced before the second phase had been completed and ran concurrently with it until the Western Task Force had been landed in Sicily, after which the third phase continued in accordance with the plans of the Allied Force Headquarters which provided for distribution of forces in Sicily as a base for future offensive operations.
Section III -- APPROACH:
- The Approach Plan of the Western Naval Task Force was designed to provide an orderly, timely, and well-coordinated approach from a landfall rendezvous, and permit daylight deployment of forces in order to deliver simultaneous attacks in strength.
- Factors affecting the Approach Plan were:
- The preliminary disposition of forces imposed by the steaming radii and seaworthiness of various types of vessels employed.
- Movements of forces conforming to the "cover plan."
- Movements of covering forces.
- Routing of forces to ensure maximum air coverage.
- Mutual non-interference by forces with regard to space and time factors.
- Economy of time afloat for troops embarked in landing craft.
- Consideration of mineable waters.
- Selection of a suitable landfall favorable to obtaining an accurate navigational fix.
- units and groups sailing in different convoys to effect rendezvous in daylight.
- Placing the main assault forces on a long run on the approximate approach course,
- Permit deployment of forces during daylight on the approach course.
- Selection of approach courses most suitable for use of fathometer and radar during close approach to enemy shores in darkness,
- Selection of approach courses requiring the minimum of maneuvering by assault ships after entering initial transport area.
- The Approach Plan as promulgated, satisfied, with minor exceptions, all the factors tabulated above. It provided for the routing and timing of landing craft convoys sailing from Sousse, Tunis, and Bizerta to enable the LSTs (Convoy TJM-1) and LCIs (Convoy TJF-1) to make a rendezvous and later a landfall 270° 5 miles from Gozo Island light at 1600 on D-l, thence proceeding northwestward to join LCT movement (Convoy TJS-1) at 1800 near the meridian of 14° East from whence the approach was made by the JOSS Force.
- During D-l the weather was most unfavorable for craft convoys, the wind velocity being about 35 knots with a moderate sea. In spite of this heavy weather, the craft made the Gozo landfall on time where the LSTs and LCIs of the CENT, DIME, and KOOL groups were released. The JOSS forces, comprising the "greater part of the craft, then maneuvered to execute the JOSS approach. On a northerly course the LSTs had difficulty making 8 knots, the LCIs were taking seas over solid, and the smaller craft were making heavy weather of it. The formations were in good order but gradually began to straggle. The LCT convoy was directed to proceed independently and considerable concern was felt as to whether the LCT tank waves would arrive at the assault beaches in time to support the assault infantry. This was accomplished, however, in the face of extremely adverse weather conditions.
- In order to meet the H-hour, it became necessary to press the JOSS LSTs and LCIs in spite of the wind and sea conditions. This caused some LSTs in the groups to lag to the extent as to lose sight contact with the next group ahead, resulting in some craft becoming separated from their proper groups and eventually anchoring in the wrong area in the initial transport area. The Control Ships, acting as escorts during the approach, likewise became separated and were not in their proper positions in the Rendezvous Areas to assemble and lead the assault LCVPs to the beach.
- The JOSS forces, however, closed on the reference vessels and the Beacon Submarine, which were on their prescribed stations and which made the prescribed beacon signals in the face of enemy searchlight illumination and momentarily expected enemy gunfire. The navigational phase of this approach could not have been improved upon, and all Attack Groups were able to attain their initial transport areas and land at their respective beaches.
- The DIME and CENT forces were routed well southward of Malta so as to make a long run on the approximate approach course. These forces comprised Convoy NCF-1; the DIME force being the 1st section, scheduled to pass through a position 270° 5 miles from Gozo Light at 1850; and the CENT force, 2nd section, steaming about 7 miles astern of the 1st section, scheduled to pass through position 270° 5 miles from Gozo Light at 1920.
- Also approaching this position westward of Gozo was convoy KMF-18 carrying the BARK (SOUTH) assault forces. KMF-18 was scheduled to pass the Gozo tangent at 1815, ahead of Convoy NCF-1, but, due to head winds and seas, this convoy was behind schedule. This force was also observed to be westward apparently of the intended longitude when passing 270° from Gozo Light.
- At any rate, the DIME force passed through the assigned position on time, and the CENT force nine minutes behind schedule. The slight delay of the CENT force may be attributed to the maneuvers executed by the second section of NCF-1, beginning at 1802, when this force slowed to ten knots, and at 1815 began taking cruising disposition in accordance with CTF 85 Approach Plan.
- The LSTs and LCIs of the CENT and DIME Forces, upon being released off Gozo Light at 1600, headed northeastward to assigned positions where routes were taken to enable the smaller vessels to join up with the transports coming up from the southward. As these craft headed up on northerly courses, they were given a considerable set by the wind and sea then existent. The CENT LSTs rolled heavily in the trough of the sea causing a shift of cargo in some ships; this formation was then maneuvered by changes of course and speed to permit shoring of cargo.
- Thus, when the two sections of NCF-1 passed northward of Gozo, LSTs and LCIs were observed across their approach courses. This resulted in considerable maneuvering by simultaneous ships movements by the combat-loaders, particularly by the CENT Force which maneuvered along the meridian 14° East until 1953 when northeasting was begun at standard speed to get on
proper approach track which was reached at 2050. Meanwhile the DIME Force increased speed to make up the loss of time but the LSTs and LCIs were unable to maintain position in the heavy seas, and gradually fell behind the combat loaders. For simplicity of navigation and ease of handling, the DIME Force approached in a single column of two cruisers and eleven transports flanked on one side by a column of LCIs and on the other by LSTs; due to straggling these columns became inordinately long.
- At 2305 one division of the CENT Force was further delayed by the transport THOMAS Jefferson which stopped for twelve minutes to lower and cast adrift a support boat. The four ships astern of the Jefferson also stopped to maintain position on the ship ahead.
- There was no difficulty in the approach to the initial transport areas due to the paucity of distinctive landmarks on shore or the rolling nature of the terrain behind the shoreline. Navigation was greatly simplified by
- The accurate fix off Gozo with a short run of about fifty miles thereafter,
- Judicious use of the SG radar in conjunction with
- the supersonic fathometer and
- dead reckoning tracer.
- The SG radar picked up land at 22,000 yards and from thence on was a good navigational aid. The Beacon Submarine served as a final check and enabled ships to move into assigned positions with accuracy.
- In spite of ragged station keeping and adverse weather conditions the CENT forces reached the assigned area at 0040 and the DIME forces at 0045.
- The landing ships and craft made best of way to the assigned initial areas and were able to land on the beaches when required.
- The planning and execution- of the approach from the standpoint of navigation and seamanship left nothing to be desired and was one of the highlights of the operation.
Section IV -- BEACON SUBMARINES
- Three British submarines were employed in the operation: HMS Seraph(CENT); HMS Shakespeare (DIME); HMS SAFARI (JOSS). Prior to departure from North African ports, each submarine operated briefly with the escort vessel with which it was to effect rendezvous during the approach phase of the operation. These exercises were conducted in the Oran, Algiers, and Bizerta areas.
- These submarines took up offensive patrol stations in a prescribed operating area in the Gulf of Gela on D minus three. While patrolling on station these submarines observed nightly displays over land of aircraft flares, anti-aircraft gunfire and bomb flashes. Low-flying aircraft and aircraft flares forced Seraph and Shakespeareto dive during the early morning of D minus two. On the night of D minus two, Seraph, while trying to lay a type FH-830 buoy, was interrupted by an enemy E-boat, necessitating a quick dive.
- All ships were on assigned stations as required. The Seraph was contacted by destroyer Cowie at 2318 on D minus one; the Shakespearewas contacted by destroyer Cole at 2215 on D minus one; and Safari was contacted by the destroyer Bristol at 2230 on D minus one.
- All submarines made retirement under escort according to plan, reaching Malta on D day. Escort of Seraph picked up survivor during early morning of D day who turned out to be an American soldier who had fallen overboard from a transport. As Safari was leaving station near Licata under escort of PC-543, this submarine had two sticks of bombs dropped near her by JU-88s. No damage was suffered.
- Although the Task Forces had been deliberately routed to enable them to obtain a sure navigational fix four or five hours prior to reaching the assigned initial transport areas, and in spite of the valuable navigation aid available in the modern radar equipment, it was decided to employ Beacon Submarines to ensure accurate location of the transports off the assault beaches. In the Gulf of Gela, where the CENT and DIME forces were somewhat cramped for sea room, it was deemed essential that these forces be accurately fixed and mutual interferences avoided.
- The employment of Beacon Submarines should be dependent upon attendant circumstances in each instance. In areas of strong or variable currents, or where no landfall is available from
which to make the approach, or where no distinctive landmarks exist for radar fix, the Beacon Submarine is of inestimable value. By placing submarines on station several days in advance of the assault, these vessels can conduct reconnaissance of selected landing beaches, land amphibious scouts, observe enemy defense activities on shore, such as placing of barbed wire, machine gun pits, etc. A patrol of the area can locate enemy mine fields, observe coastal traffic and routes habitually followed through enemy mine fields, and can determine the extent of enemy coastal patrols all of which may affect the entry of our forces into those waters. It is essential, of course, that such information as is gained by submarines on station patrol be made available to the Task Force Commander prior to or upon his arrival in the assault area.
- Where the circumstances dictate the withdrawal of the Beacon Submarine before the assault, use can be made of various types of buoys laid by the submarine as navigational aids to the approaching assault forces.
Section V -- THE LANDING
- The Western Task Force, (U.S. Seventh Army), was firmly established ashore over beaches in southern Sicily by the Western Naval Task Force. Army forces in assault were composed of three reinforced divisions, of which the 1st and 45th Infantry Divisions reinforced formed the Second Corps and were landed over beaches in DIME and CENT areas, respectively; and the 3rd Infantry Division reinforced which was landed over beaches in the JOSS area. Army forces in floating reserve were one Regimental Combat Team from the 1st Infantry Division and one armored Combat Command from 2nd Armored Division.
- Army forces and beaches, DIME assault.
In the vicinity of Gela, two Ranger Battalions and two Regimental Combat Teams comprising the 1st Infantry Division reinforced, less one RCT, (DIME Force), were landed in assault. The Ranger Battalions were landed over beaches in front of Gela in LCVP's and LCA's; one battalion having been embarked in the Attack Transport U.S. S. Dickman, and the other embarked in two British LSI (L)'s, the Prince Charles and Prince Leopold. The reserve for the Ranger landing was a Combat Engineer Battalion in three LCI(L),s. Two Battalion Landing Teams, respectively from each Regimental Combat Team, were landed in assault in LCVP's from Attack Transports, (APA and XAP) over assigned beaches. The third Battalion of each Regimental Combat Team, was in regimental reserve for its own RCT, and was embarked in eight LCI(L)'s.
The DIME assault beaches and assigned Army forces were as follows, reading as from West to East, total frontage approximately 8,800 yards:
1st Ranger Battalion
4th Ranger Battalion
1st Battalion, 26th RCT
2nd Battalion, 26th RCT
2nd Battalion, 16th RCT
1st Battalion, 16th RCT
- Army forces and beaches, CENT assault
In the vicinity of Scoglitti, three Regimental Combat Teams comprising the 45th Infantry Division reinforced, (CENT force), were landed in assault. Two Battalion Landing Teams from each Regimental Combat Team were landed over assigned beaches in LCVP's having disembarked from APA's and XAP's. The third Battalion of the 180th Regimental Combat Team acted as reserve for the Second Corps. The Third Battalion of the 179th Regimental Combat Team acted as reserve for the 45th Division. The third Battalion of the 157th Regimental Combat Team acted as reserve for its own RCT. These reserve Battalions were embarked in the XAP Frederick Funstan on the West, the XAP Florence Nightingale in the center, and the APA Biddle on the East, respectively of the 180th, 179th, and 157th Regimental Combat Teams, in that order.
The CENT assault beaches and assigned Army forices were as follows, reading as from West to East, total frontage approximately 25,000 yards:
1st Battalion, 180th RCT
2nd Battalion, 180th RCT
2nd Battalion, 179th RCT
1st Battalion, 179th RCT
As assigned, during the follow-up
As assigned, during the follow-up
2nd Battalion, 157th RCT
1st Battalion,157th RCT
As assigned, during the follow-up
- Army forces and beaches, JOSS assault.
In the vicinity of Licata, one Ranger Battalion and three Regimental Combat Teams comprising the 3rd Infantry Division reinforced, (JOSS Force), were landed in assault. The Ranger Battalion was landed over assigned beaches in LCA's; having been embarked in two British LSI(S)'s, the Princess Charlotte and Princess Astrid. Two Regimental Combat Teams were landed in column of Battalions, the assault Battalions, respectively landing in LCVP's, having embarked in LST's; the following Battalions, in each case landing in LCI(L)'s. Two Battalions of the third Regimental Combat Team were landed in column, in LCVP's; having embarked in LST's. The third Battalion of this Regimental Combat Team was landed, behind the Ranger Battalion, in LCVP's; having embarked in LST's. One armored Combat Command, Combat Command A, Second Armored Division, acted as floating reserve for the JOSS Force.
The JOSS assault beaches and assigned Army forces were as follows, reading as from West to East, total frontage approximately 22,000 yards.
1st Battalion, 7th RCT
2nd Battalion, 7th RCT
3rd Battalion,7th RCT
3rd Ranger Battalion
2nd Battalion, 15th RCT
3rd Battalion, 15th RCT
1st Battalion, 15th RCT
2nd Battalion, 30th RCT
1st Battalion, 30th RCT
3rd Battalion, 30th RCT
- The floating reserve for the Western Task Force, (KOOL Force), was composed of Combat Command B, Second Armored Division, and the 18th Regimental Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division. These forces were embarked in the Chateau Thierry, the Orizaba and in Landing Craft.
- Although the DIME landing has been called "combined landing", that is, ship to shore and shore to shore (landing craft) ; the CENT landing called ship to shore; the JOSS landing called shore to shore; the initial attack by the assault Battations was everywhere ship to shore. The assault Battalions were all landed in LCVP's and LCA's; having embarked originally in transports and landing craft. The differences in manner of effecting the landing applied to the reserve or follow-up forces. The three reserve Battalions of the DIME Force were landed in LCI(L)'s, the three reserve Battalions of CENT Force were landed in LCVP's from transports, four of the immediate follow-up Battalions of JOSS Force were landed in LCI(L)'s, and two in LCVP's from LST's.
Shortly after midnight, July 9-10, immediately following the arrival of Combat Loaded transports, British LSI(S)'s, and landing ships in their assigned initial transport and landing ship areas, the debarkation operations began. In spite of poor weather conditions, in all transport areas, the lowering and troop loading of the initial assault wave LCVP's and LCA's was carried out in a minimum of time and with only minor incidents. Ships in DIME and CENT areas experienced difficulty in hoisting out boats because of rough water and swells. CENT Force, being more exposed to the sea, damaged a number of boats and consequently lost time in unloading. DIME Force suffered some damage to boats but little or no delay in unloading. Seamanship displayed was good throughout. It is noted that the time required for clearing the DIME assault waves was, generally, from thirty to forty-five minutes. In CENT area, the time required was greater. For future planning of amphibious operations in the Mediterranean, time given to this operation should probably be an hour with a safety factor to allow for delays due to weather.
- Forming up on Lines of Departure.
Assault waves formed up first in the assigned transport rendezvous areas in full accordance
with the landing plan of attack and were subsequently escorted, in most instances, by assigned AM's, PC's, and SC's, which acted as landing craft control vessels during the initial assault stages. The control vessels took charge of the assault LCVP's and LCA's at the transport rendezvous areas and escorted them to the designated respective lines of departure. From there, assault boat waves, as directed, proceeded on schedule to their assigned beaches, unloaded troops, retracted as soon as possible, and returned to make a follow-up troop carry as ordered. A distinctive characteristic of the initial attack was the manner in which an order, contained in the basic plan, was carried out. The basic plan expressly directed all forces to "Extend the timing of assault waves to avoid congestion on beaches." In general, this order was well carried out during the initial assault.
- Landing of assault waves, DIME.
H hour was planned for 0245. The first DIME wave arrived at their beaches about on schedule. Fires at inland targets, started by bombing prior to H hour, aided considerably in identifying the beaches. Initial opposition at Red and Green beaches was light; at Yellow it was heavy; on Blue beaches, light; and over Red 2 and Green 2, opposition was fairly heavy. The surf at the beaches was about three feet high, and together with a strong current and Force 4 Westerly winds, many landing craft coxswains were in serious difficulty with craft broaching on the beaches. The LCI(L)'s, carrying the three reserve Battalions, landed shortly after the LCVP's had gone in, beaching at about 0330. They discharged their troops and retracted without serious difficulty except for LCI(L) 220, which lost her stern anchor, suffered shell fire damage to her port screw, and subsequently broached on the beach.
- Landing of assault waves, CENT.
Delays in loading assault boats in CENT area prompted the Attack Force commander to order postponement of H hour to 0345 for that Force. The landings were generally unopposed, due to the pre-assault Cruiser and Destroyer shore bombardment. The 157th Regimental Combat Team landed on its assigned beaches, pushed promptly inland, and captured the designated initial objectives ahead of schedule. The 179th Regimental Combat Team, in general, landed on the correct beaches, but experienced delay in movement through the dune area immediately inland because of extensive mine fields. The 180th Regimental Combat Team gained its assigned D day objectives after completing a successful landing. The fact that this landing was not made on the correct beaches did cause some delay in marching and forming up.
- Landing of assault waves, JOSS.
In the JOSS area, initial attack waves, with a delay caused by bad weather, landed according to plan. All of the landings went forward successfully, and in spite of enemy counterfire on some beaches, and poor weather, Army forces were landed over the correct beaches according to the planned time-interval schedule. Although the attack groups anchored between H-20 minutes and H-90 minutes, it is believed that they were at a greater distance from the beach than the scheduled three and a half miles; thus, the assault LCVP's were required to make a considerable longer run than had been planned.
The Commander JOSS Attack Force, in his Action Report, made the following comment: "The navigational phase of the operation could not have been improved upon. The H.M.S. Safari, the Bristol and the Patrol Craft assigned this mission deserve the highest praise. It was through their expert navigation . . . that all attack groups were able to attain their transport areas and land at the center of their respective beaches. This was supplemented by the scout boats at Yellow and Green beaches." While there was not much gunfire on Green, Yellow and Blue beaches, considerable artillery and MG fire was met during the landing on Red beach.
- Non-congestion, assault waves.
Assault boat waves, especially at beaches where due to causes beyond their control it had not been possible to keep to the scheduled H hour, managed to avoid congestion on beaches during the immediate assault by maintaining an adequate time spacing between waves. For future amphibious campaigns, where operationally practicable, some degree of flexibility in executing H hour requirements may be found desirable. In the event that the planned H hour cannot possibly be attained, it may become necessary to set a new H hour thereby altering the time, but not the relative schedule, of pre-assault naval gunfire and arrival of the initial assault boat waves at designated beaches. It may be found feasible to fire some form of aerial rocket or combination of rockets from the vicinity of the Task Force Flagship as a signal to indicate the new H-15 or H-30 minute time reference point to that Task Force. Immediate confirmation of this change by every means available would be an absolute requirement. Available methods of increasing the splendid degree of coordination of naval gunfire with the arrival of assault boat waves should be thoroughly investigated and tested in order to provide the utmost possible protection to the attacking forces.
- Destruction of beach defenses.
At CENT destroyers were employed to cover and support the landing. Preparatory fire was opened at about H-15. Each fire support destroyer was assigned an area of responsibility which was well covered by 5" projectiles. The fire was lifted just before the first wave landed.
The effect of this close supporting fire was apparent as the 45th Division landed practically unopposed and was able to proceed with the establishment of its beachhead faster than planned.
Pre-assault naval gunfire, where used, on pre-arranged targets and beaches, was extremely effective in destroying enemy beach defenses and constituted a definite factor in reducing the number of causalities and the amount of landing craft damage from enemy local action at the beach landing and unloading points. It is evident that the clearance and neutralization of beach defenses by naval gunfire is most vital to the success of the initial assault. Naval gunfire can efficiently aid in preventing enemy action from pinning the initial troop waves to the beaches on which they have landed.
- Beach crossings.
The CENT force landed initially on a very broad front and its stores, ammunition, and supplies were distributed initially along several miles of sandy beaches. Exits from these beaches were infrequent, difficult, and mined. Retraction was satisfactory," but breaking surf on outer bar caused a few LCVP's to broach. Several boats were lost on rocks off beaches Green 2 and Yellow 2 and casualties were sustained. Salvage was handicapped by shoal water where tugs could not operate.
LCA's and LCVP's encountered little difficulty in the DIME area. In some eight out of 16 cases the LCI(L)'s used for the reserve battalions of the RCTs were able to beach far enough to permit safe debarkation of troops direct to land. In the other cases resort was had to auxiliary craft such as rubber boats and LCVP's for debarkation. As vehicles began to use the beaches, it was discovered that they were heavily mined, and bulldozers, DUKWs, and other vehicles were lost.
In the JOSS assault area, the Green beaches proved to be the most hazardous, as had been expected. The narrow rocky entrance, the cross sea from NW, and the shallowness of the beach made it impossible to retract or to render assistance to those beached until succeeding waves had landed. Most of these boats were not broached but merely stuck in the sand. LST's had great difficulty unloading at Red beach due to the poor gradient and soft sand. On D day, due to the narrow approaches, LCT's were sent in five at a time to the right flank of Red beach. It was finally decided to unload all LST's at either Yellow or Blue beaches or in Licata harbor.
- For the purpose of emphasis on certain important characteristics of the amphibious assault landing, from the naval viewpoint, some naval considerations involving night landings and dawn landings are here listed.
- Night landing
A night attack offers the advantages of:
- localizing the counter action
- opportunity for a series of local tactical surprises at separated localities.
- providing protection of darkness for assault craft and troops that cannot be obtained in any other way.
- making effective small amounts of smoke laid down to screen the approach.
- enemy non-ability to light up the large water and landing areas involved through the use of flares and searchlights.
- increasing the effectiveness of deceptive feints at enemy coastal points not involved in the main assault.
- Night landing
A night attack offers the disadvantage of:
- difficult navigation and exact location of ships in assault areas.
- boats landing on other than correct beaches.
- difficulty in simultaneously placing assault troops on beaches at exactly H hour.
- prohibiting pre-assault visual signaling except through the use of special devices, which cannot be issued to landing craft.
- enemy parachute flares such as those employed by the German Air Force in
CENT area whereby Allied vessels were plainly visible and the only defense was, in this instance, blind firing, using radar.
- intensifying the effect of poor weather conditions, notably fog, swell and high winds.
- nullifying vital phases of the plan of attack in the event of a delay in H hour beyond daylight.
- preventing rapid and accurate minesweeping of the approaches.
- Dawn landing
Dawn landing advantages are:
- boats land at exact beaches.
- H hour is more easily kept.
- visual signaling is available.
- own airforce can more easily intercept enemy attacking planes.
- attack force can use more hours of darkness for approach, can thus carry out a longer approach, may thus come closer to achieving surprise.
- boat maneuvering and troop loading is made less difficult.
- naval gunfire can develop a real effectiveness.
- anti-aircraft defense of the ships offshore is improved.
- identification of own and enemy aircraft is less difficult.
- Dawn landing.
Dawn landing disadvantages:
- tactical surprise is lost at local beach landings.
- enemy land communications can function better and faster.
- enemy can deploy his forces faster and more effectively in daylight.
- The dawn landing scheme of attack would necessitate control of own air forces by the Attack Force Commander in order to insure protection of the combat loaders and of the assault boat waves; in order to provide bombing attacks on call on designated assault beaches and enemy strong points; and to give freedom of action in the air over the Attack Force areas.
Section VI -- D DAY: H HOUR: SURPRISE.
- The Appreciation of Force 141, (SSO 17/3(FINAL)), the document upon which the Highest Echelon Outline Plan was based stated:
"72. To ensure the success of the seaborne assaults, it will be necessary first to neutralize the beach defenses,whether the assault is carried out in darkness, smoke or daylight. There are three possible methods of neutralization:--
- Naval bombardment.
- Air bombardment.
- Action by airborne troops.
It is considered that the number of ships available and the fact that naval gun power is not designed for land bombardment make the use of (a) unsuitable. The primary role of the air forces will be the destruction of enemy air power and therefore (b) will not be available. Therefore it is essential that airborne troops be used to soften the defenses against which seaborne assaults will be made. This role is of greater importance than the early capture of the airfields."
"73. It is considered that this softening of the defenses is of such vital importance to the whole plan that all possible resources in transport aircraft must be made available to lift the maximum number of parachute troops."
- After considerable discussion of the most suitable time for dropping paratroops, the following CONCLUSIONS are derived:
- Airborne troops are necessary to neutralize the beach defenses, and their maximum employment is required.
- Seaborne assaults should take place sometwo hours before first light.
- Airborne troops should be landed preferably in the dark or at dusk in sufficient time and at such a place as to be able to complete their task before the seaborne assault takes place."
"81. To allow the airborne troops to make some use of some moon and to afford the approach to the coastline the cover of darkness, D day should be about 10 July, when the moon is in its second quarter".
- From the above, the following repetitions are made for the purpose of further comment:
"To ensure success of the seaborne assaults, it will be necessary first to neutralize the beach defenses . . ."
". . . naval gun power is not designed for land bombardment . . . use of [is] unsuitable."
". . . it is essential that airborne troops be used to soften the defenses against which seaborne assaults will be made".
". . . this softening of the defenses is of such vital importance to the whole plan
"Airborne troops are necessary to neutralize the beach defenses . . ."
- From the above it will be noted that the softening of the beach defenses by paratroops was vital to the success of the seaborne assaults, and that the dropping of these troops on this mission determined the D day and H hour.
- The D day was fixed as 10 July and H hour as 0245 i.e., "two hours before first light".
- On 21 May 1943 the original Outline Plan was cancelled and a new Outline Plan (generally referred to as The "Montgomery" Plan) was issued. This new plan was not based on new information nor on a new appreciation; it called for a change in the locale of the American troops and eliminated the staggered time of assaults laid down in the old plan. The D day remained unchanged.
- With the development of the Force 343 (7th Army) Plan, the mission of the paratroops now became
"Land on night of D-l/D in area northeast of Gela.
- capture and secure high ground in that area
- disrupt communications and movement of reserves during the night, and
- be attached to 1st Infantry Division effective H plus one hour on D day
- assist 1st Infantry Division in capturing and securing airfield at Ponte Olivo.
- Again quoting from the Appreciation:
"Therefore it is essential that airborne troops be used to soften the defenses against which seaborne assaults will be made. This role is of greater importance than the early capture of the airfields."
- Thus the mission of the paratroopers in the 7th Army Assault Plan was entirely unrelated to the "neutralization of beach defenses" -- the single feature considered of "vital importance to the whole plan."
- The D day and H hour remained unchanged: both of these were unsuitable from a naval viewpoint but had been accepted because the destruction of the beach defenses by the paratroops was "the vital part of the whole plan."
The date, 10 July, occurred in the second quarter of the moon, on which date the following astronomical conditions obtained (all times Zone minus two):
- It will noted in the Appreciation that the selected date would "afford the approach to the coastline the cover of darkness." An examination of the Astronomical Data above will reveal no such darkness. On the contrary the assault forces were required to make the approach in a brilliant waxing moon which would not set until the vessels had hove-to in the Initial Transport Areas immediately under the coast defense guns of the enemy. These facts were well known to the naval planners who pointed out the fact that the moon phase selected was most unfavorable from naval considerations. The date, however, was not changed because is was reiterated that this phase was most favorable to dropping of the paratroops who were the only means available to "neutralize the beach defenses opposing the seaborne assaults" -- "the most vital part of the whole plan."
- The H hour (0245) had been fixed by the fact that it required the paratroops about three hours from dropping time to assemble and carry out their mission of softening the beach defenses."
Under the Force 343 plan the paratroops were directed to inland objectives in a direction away from the "beach defenses against which seaborne assaults will be made."
- Since the softening of the beach defenses prior to the landings was so vital to the success of the whole plan, naval planners then proposed the employment of naval gunfire against the beach defenses. This was not acceptable to the Army because it was stated "surprise" was to be achieved in the assault. This was voiced as a "Fundamental Principle of War" which, of course, it is not. It was pointed out that there are many factors militating against our carrying the attack to the enemy shores unexpectedly. A few of these were:
- The conquest of Tunisia placed our forces closer to Sicily than any other Axis territory.
- The recent Allied conquest of Pantellaria, and the Pelagic group of Islands.
- The increased tempo of Allied air attacks with most recent concentration on the air forces of Sicily and the communications of the Straits of Messina.
- The bombing by Allied aircraft of the R. D.F. stations on the Southeastern portion of Sicily. This would obviously direct the attention of the enemy that we desired to render ineffectual his observation facilities in that local area.
- The constant PRU flights made by Allied aircraft over the landing beaches during the months of June and early July. Tracking of these planes would give the enemy valuable information in his G-2 Estimate of the Situation. The presence of low-flying Allied aircraft engaged in taking oblique photographs of the selected landing beaches must become known to the enemy.
- The capture in Sicily of Allied reconnaissance personnel engaged in scrutinizing the beaches selected for landings.
- The redistribution of enemy E-boats and destroyers to strengthen the Sicilian force.
- The concentration of Allied landing craft in Tunisian ports.
- The constant aerial reconnaissance maintained by enemy aircraft over Allied ports and contiguous waters.
- The assault date (10 July) which was in the second quarter of the moon.
This phase of the moon was unsuitable from the viewpoint of discovery of the approaching sea forces.
- The H hour required the sea forces to be on approach courses and within 25 miles of the coast at evening twilight where their presence could be detected by enemy shore-based radar, coastal patrol vessels, or enemy aircraft.
- Since the H hour required that our transports be in the Initial Transport Areas in brilliant moonlight (H-3), the prospect seemed remote that the enemy would fail to observe this concentration of hostile shipping off his shores. It was apparent, moreover, that any illumination of our forces would alert the enemy and disclose our intentions. Further, heavy bombing and the dropping of paratroops having preceded H hour by some three hours, the preservation of surprise was illusory. Under the circumstances existing, it was the naval viewpoint that surprise on the assault beaches was not feasible. It was, in fact, not necessary providing a proper employment were made to exploit the means available to us so as to bring about the effect desired, viz: the rapid seizure of a beachead.
- The old-fashioned military concept that naval guns are unsuitable for shore bombardment needs revision. Modern naval guns in cruisers and destroyers are high angle guns capable of ranging on reverse slope targets far in the interior in support of seaborne landings. The firepower in the vessels assigned to gunfire support exceeded that of all the artillery landed in the 7th Army assault. Due to the mobility of these ships, it is possible to bring about a concentration of gunfire on a shore target with greater firepower than is possible with Army artillery which is distributed among the various divisions and hence deployed in various directions upon being landed. Thus there is available to the Army a mobile artillery concentration of tremendous power capable of being exploited to the advantage of the ground forces which require time for consolidation ashore before the full weight of the Army can be bought to bear against the enemy.
- Initially the proper employment for this mobile artillery (naval gunfire) is neutralization of beach defenses and shore batteries threatening the landing. Where this employment was made prior to H hour, as in the CENT area, the enemy batteries were silenced and the beaches thoroughly devastated, and all opposition at the beaches obliterated, thus enabling the soldiers to step ashore without hindrance. The employment of naval gunfire in the annihilation of German tanks threatening the DIME forces on D plus one day is covered in another part of this report. This incident represents,
however, the effectiveness of naval gunfire against a fast moving target in the hinterland, well back from the beaches, and serves to illustrate the versatility and effectiveness of a weapon hitherto dismissed by military authorities as "unsuitable" for bombardment against shore objectives.
- In the planning of future amphibious operations a deliberate study should be made of all factors influencing the landing in determining the D day and H hour. This study should examine the advantages and disadvantages of dawn, day, and night landing with due regard to the factors affecting all services participating in the operation. The soundness of this observation is self-evident.
- Paratroop transport aircraft might well be grounded by weather conditions and yet this plan was stated to rest upon their employment for a definite mission. This mission was never executed. In the Western Task Force area the paratroops landed in a strong northwest wind causing many to land in regions remote from the dropping zone. It is questionable whether the effectiveness of the airborne troops was commensurate with the importance ascribed in the selection of the date, particularly in view of the mission assigned them in relation to the beach assaults.
- In the selection of D day and H hour, the naval implications should be given more consideration by all the interested services. It should be recognized that while the assaulting troops are embarked in transports and craft they are virtually impotent as a fighting force. The troops must be safely landed in accordance with the Plan of Attack, deployed on shore, and be provided promptly with their arms, ammunition, and combat logistics before the Army can function as a fighting organization. It follows, therefore, that the selection of the D day and H hour unfavorable to the seaward assault from a naval viewpoint might well lead to disaster.
Section VII -- CONTROL VESSELS.
- The Commanders of DIME, CENT, and JOSS Forces assigned, in their operation plans, general tasks to control vessels, which tasks were in agreement with the Basic Plan and Standard Operating Procedure (AFAF). In each area the respective plans provided a primary and a secondary control vessel. Thus; the primary control vessel regulated the shoreward movement of the first and second boat waves, the secondary control vessel accompanied the third and fourth waves and the tertiary control vessel, where one was assigned, led in the fifth and sixth boat waves.
- Task Force Commanders made assignment of control vessels as follows:
- Task Force Commanders of DIME, CENT, and JOSS Attack Forces, in their reports agreed that control vessels, generally, took charge of assault boat waves as planned, escorted them in good order to the respective lines of departure and released them to the true beaches. The fact that some waves did not meet the assigned H hour did not materially interfere with suitable time-spacing between the arrivals of initial assault waves on designated beaches.
- Control of landing ships, craft, and boats, after the initial assault, was not entirely satisfactory at all beaches. In some instances boat traffic was governed by a beachmaster who had no means of water transportation assigned to him. At beaches where an SC or LCI(L) acted as craft and boat traffic controller, the unloading of ships was greatly expedited.
- In order to carry out the general tasks assigned by Standing Operating Procedure (AFAF), a landing craft control vessel, possessing the following features, should be made available.
- Gyro Compass
- TBS or TBY
- Bull-horn or directional loud speaker
- Light armor and armament
- Diesel engines
- Provision made for carrying smoke
- Signal bridge and flag hoist
- There should be far greater emphasis placed upon the training of control vessels officers. In the ship to shore movement it should be made clear that control of the initial assault waves and traffic control of the unloading process is one of the most important operations in amphibious warfare. Second only to naval gunfire support, control vessels are vital to the success of a landing-operation. The larger the task force, the more important become the requirements of control vessels. Control vessels should be a permanent integral part of any amphibious force. They should be assembled for training along with the entire force during the earliest stages of training prior to an operation, in order that control vessel officers can become thoroughly indoctrinated in ship to shore assault and follow-up operations.
- Western Naval Task Force Operation Plan No. 2-43 contained three assumptions which affected the dispositions, assignments and operation of control vessels: "(1) That the initial landing will take place during darkness. (2) That weather conditions will permit landing through the surf on designated beaches. (3) That false beaches will not preclude the landing ships and craft from landing on the true beaches."
- This plan contained directives to the DIME, CENT, and JOSS Attack Forces to establish assigned Army Forces ashore near Gela, Scoglitti, and Licata, respectively, by simultaneous attacks on selected beaches at H hour on D day in accordance with plan of attack developed by Commanding General concerned.
- The plan, furthermore, contained orders to all forces to: "(1) Extend timing of boat waves to avoid congestion on beaches; (2) clear landing ships and craft promptly in order to ensure prompt follow up; (3) to provide adequate escorts. (4) Employ smoke to fullest extent for defense against enemy action and to screen own operations."
- Approach Plan, Annex J to Operation Plan No. 2-43, contained directives to DIME, CENT, and JOSS Attack Forces, stating that, on arrival in the initial assigned transport area, subsequent movements were as directed by CTF 81, CTF 85, CTF 86, respectively.
- Landing Operations Doctrine (FTP 167) defines the control group as follows: "The Control Group, consisting of vessels designated to guide and assist the movement from ship to shore, provide communication facilities with the boats and troops while enroute to the beach, and to assist in controlling the supporting naval gunfire. Certain vessels of this group may be utilized at convenient times to lay smoke screens, assist in furnishing fire support, etc."
- Standard Operating Procedure (AFAF) assigns the following general .tasks to control vessels:
- Control the movement of landing craft from the boat rendezvous area of the assault transport to the beaches through the line of departure for beaches.
- Protect the landing craft from attack.
- Assist in control of naval gunfire.
- Act as fire support group if armament permits.
- Communication relay vessel to Boat Group Commanders and landing beaches.
- It is noted that plans of Task Force Commanders did not contain uniform directives to control vessels nor were the directives, in all cases, in accord with Landing Operations Doctrine. I recommend that planning in future operations should give emphasized consideration to the further assignment of tasks to control vessel groups principally in connection with gunfire support of landing craft, assistance in the control of naval gunfire, and communications between Boat Group Commanders and landing beaches. These tasks should be performed by the landing craft control vessels to as great an extent as possible compatible with the primary and basic task, which is, "To control the movement of landing craft from the boat rendezvous area of the assault transport to the beaches through the line of departure for beaches."
Section VIII -- TRANSPORTS Combat Loading:
Debarkation and Unloading:
- The CENT transports, with the 45th Infantry Division embarked, were loaded in the United States. Loading was accomplished at Hampton Roads and the only reloading done in these ships was that incident to rehearsals held in late June.
- The DIME transports, with the 1st Infantry Division embarked, were loaded at Algiers. Craft carrying heavy equipment of the CENT, DIME and KOOL Forces were loaded in Algerian ports and staged to Tunis. The JOSS craft were loaded at Bizerte. LCI's of all forces were staged to Sousse.
- The greatest difficulty experienced in loading transports occurred at Algiers. Perhaps the foremost of these difficulties was the absence of an authoritative CENTral agency with a complete knowledge of all loading plans, priorities, etc., and capable of rendering decisions. Thus at Algiers the following organizations attempted to exercise control:
- The 1st Infantry Division.
- The Mediterranean Base Section, ASF(SOS).
- The British Naval and Military Port Authorities.
- The 384th Port Battalion.
None of these agencies had a complete and authoritative plan of what was to be loaded or where. The Transport Quartermasters' problems were made insurmountable as various units of organizations such as the Chemical Warfare Service, Signal Corps, Ordnance, Engineers, and other activities descended upon the ships to obtain space therein for their special equipment, no record of which was in the possession of the TQMs. During the loading of the ships many changes were made in the military loading plans; this seriously delayed the formulation and distribution of the Boat Employment Plans of the Transport Division Commanders.
- Equipment definitely of garrison type, commissary gear, field kitchens and fuel, Bailey Bridging, barracks bags, administrative gear, and similar materials, obviously non-essential to the seizure of a beachhead, were crowded into the transports. Vertical loading was not adequately carried out to fully meet the demands from shore during the assault; this was particularly noticeable in the case of anti-tank weapons which were loaded in such manner as to be too inaccessible for prompt unloading upon call. All of these deficiencies are capable of correction.
- That the G-4 section of the Army Division concerned keep a functioning loading and unloading office in the Flagship of the Naval Task Force Commander until all assault transports are unloaded.
- That this office have complete knowledge of the location of materials loaded and be constituted as the controlling authority insofar as matters of Army decision are concerned.
- The Combat Loading plans including those for troops be complete, receive the approval of the Naval Task Force Commander as well as the Army Commander concerned, and that once loading has commenced these plans are not to be changed without their specific approval in each case.
- That TQMs be regularly assigned to each APA, XAP, and AKA to ensure this officer has thorough knowledge of the ship's cargo spaces, etc., with particular reference to hazardous and inflammable materials.
- That materials loaded in the assault ships be limited to those required by the assault.
- That pallet loading be studied with a view to wider use.
- In order to provide additional boats, most ships carried four to six extra boats swung on the booms, griped in ready for lowering. Boats were preloaded as far as possible in order to save time. In other ships, where the booms were not carrying these extra boats, prompt steps were taken to hoist out nested boats as the ships made close approach to the Initial Transport Areas. Due to the heavy swell running, many ships experienced difficulty in controlling these lifts and, in some cases, it became necessary to lower and cast adrift these craft in the interest of speeding up the debarkation. After arrival in the assigned areas, sea conditions continued to hamper the unloading
of the assault waves due to the difficulty in handling heavy weights aboard ship and loading of waterborne boats. Several derangements of cargo handling gear occurred. The sea condition were most unfavorable in the CENT area and this factor, more than any other, contributed to the delay of the H hour in that force. Some ships reported that delays were introduced in loading the assault wave boats by the removal of slings from vehicles. This could have been eliminated by providing sufficient slings for each assault loaded vehicle, leaving the sling in the boat when the vehicle is lowered to the boat. A shortage of nets developed in some ships; each APA, XAP and AKA should be provided with 30 extra nets, thus permitting the nets to be left in the boats until the return of the boats from the beach.
- Much of the cargo gear now installed in combat-loaders was designed for discharge of cargo alongside a dock or in harbor waters -- a condition not likely to be met during an amphibious operation. The extent to which weather conditions interfered with the unloading of the assault waves, indicates the necessity of a thorough study of the present facilities now available in these vessels for lowering and unloading boats. Special attention should be given to the strengthening of deck fittings, providing means of handling heavier steadying lines, installation of stronger boom guys, strengthening of boat cleats, as well as the strengthening of Welin davits to provide an adequate safety factor for rail loading.
- In the DIME area, where sea conditions were moderate, all boats were lowered clear of the ships from 30 to 45 minutes after reaching the Initial Transport Area. In the CENT area, where weather conditions were more severe, this operation required from 30 minutes to 6 hours, though the average time was about 2 hours.
- Owing to the stranding of boats incurred in the initial landings, fewer boats were available for subsequent unloading of the transports. This was foreseen and provided for in my plan by the automatic shift on D day of LCTs from the JOSS area as soon as these craft had unloaded in the assault flight. Twelve LCTs were thus made available to the DIME transports and fourteen to the CENT combat-loaders during the forenoon of D day. These LCTs proved to be invaluable in the unloading of APAs, XAPs and AKAs. Factors which recommend them to this task are: (a) ease of handling, (b) ease of loading vehicles and cargo, (c) good beaching qualities, (d) in some craft, double' crews were aboard. Although LCTs enabled the unloading of the transports, and particularly the AKAs, to be greatly accelerated, these craft encountered serious difficulty in trying to unload expeditiously at the beach due to the inability of the shore party to handle the volume of stores and equipment thus placed on the shoreline. As a result, most LCTs were unloaded by the crew of the craft in order that the craft could stand clear of the beaches which were under almost constant daylight attack by enemy aircraft during the first three days of the assault. When unloading into LCTs, the "hatch crews" should be increased and at least 20 soldiers placed in each LCT to unload when the craft is beached.
- Some LSTs, after discharging their initial lifts, were pressed into service to assist in unloading the combat-loaders. These LSTs thereby aided in expediting the departure of the assault transports, though it was recognized that the type is not suitable for this work. Not only does the structural arrangement of the LST render it unsuitable for receiving stores from a ship alongside, but the task of unloading the bulk stores after beaching places a tremendous burden upon the crew of the LST. These crews were taxed with this arduous job because of the unavailability of labor and transportation at beaches, and as long as the LSTs remained beached they were selected targets for enemy air attacks.
- LCIs were employed to a limited extent in carrying troops from APAs and XAPs to shore. Although LCIs are suitable for such lifting of personnel, they are of little use in the transport of stores and equipment and should not be used for such employment except in an emergency.
- LCMs, next to LCTs, are the most suitable type of craft for unloading combat-loaders. One LCM is considered to be the equivalent of five LCVPs. Each LCM should carry 4 to 6 soldiers on each trip to handle stores at the beach.
- LCVPs make a small impression in the task of unloading numerous vehicles, and a vast quantity of ammunition, gasoline, and stores. Owing to the limited capacity of this boat, many trips are required to move any great quantity of supplies; thus prolonged operations require a large reserve of boat crews to meet the problem of operational fatigue. From a design viewpoint it is a reliable and rugged boat but, upon beaching, it must be promptly unloaded or broaching or swamping will quickly result. A large number of craft stranded while waiting to unload on beaches, though most boat crews unloaded the boats themselves. Many transports reported that their boats were ordered away from congested beaches and ordered to return to their ships without unloading.
Where this occurred ships placed working parties of bluejackets, taken from the ships' gun crews or engineers force, and sent them in with the boats to unload them; in the future at least 2 soldiers should be placed in each LCVP to help in unloading at the beach. Other boats, when ordered from congested beaches, ran along the shoreline until a suitable clear spot could be found where the boat was beached and unloaded. This, of course, resulted in some equipment and stores being landed in the wrong area.
- DUKWs were loaded in LSTs and LCTs for the initial employment of augmenting ships boats in unloading the combat-loaders. After the first trip to shore, few DUKWs returned to the ships for further loading, having been diverted by the Army for employment on shore; this was particularly noticeable in the DIME area. Such diversion not only interrupted the unloading plan, but many DUKWs were lost or suffered accidents on shore which rendered them useless for further employment as seaborne carriers. These units are limited to a lift of about 8,000 pounds but, if available in adequate numbers and the transports are comparatively close to shore, a considerable quantity of stores can be moved in time. However, if the water haul from transports to shore is a long one, it is more satisfactory and rapid to employ LCTs rather than DUKWs, providing of course that the shore party promptly unloads the craft upon beaching. DUKWs were employed successfully in unloading LCTs through bulwark ports while unloading over the bow ramp was proceeding concurrently.
- The size of the Army Unloading Details placed aboard combat-loaders should be increased, and particularly where the plan calls for use of LCTs in unloading. These troops should be assigned in sufficient numbers to provide relief crews in all holds in order that the unloading may continue around-the-clock. Unless great strides are made in ensuring prompt unloading of craft and boats at the beach, additional troops must be provided as working parties in the craft and boats. The fighting efficiencies of ships must not be weakened by the depletion of ships' gun crews or the engineer force to accomplish this task on shore. This is a problem deserving of close attention by the Army and one which must be met, even at the expense of some reduction in fighting troop lift.
- Unloading was interrupted and seriously delayed by the numerous air raids and alerts which occurred day and night while the transports were in the assault area. The practice of calling all hands to General Quarters, when radar reports unidentified aircraft, appears to require modification. Some vessels established a Condition IV which provides sufficient officers to control and sufficient crew to fire all guns in the ship from ready boxes, thereby permitting uninterrupted unloading provided no alarm is sounded and guns are alerted over the control circuit only. When these ships were subjected to surprise attacks it was found that Condition IV met the attacks as effectively as could be done under Condition I. While transports are unloading in transport areas, this Condition IV should be standard doctrine even during air raids unless air attacks are in such strength or of such duration as to require implementation or replacement of gun crews stationed under Condition IV.
- Summarizing, the principal causes of delay in unloading the combat-loaders were:
- unfavorable sea conditions;
- insufficient slings and cargo nets;
- derangements of cargo handling gear;
- stranding of boats on shore;
- shortage of boats and craft due to delay in unloading boats and craft at beaches;
- insufficient labor in the Shore Party to unload boats;
- too frequent General Quarters during alerts and air raids;
All of the above, except (a), are capable of correction.
- The loading of ships varied widely, the APAs carried from 52 to 120 vehicles, XAPs from 100 to 157 vehicles, and AKAs from 110 to 200 vehicles. The CENT combat-loaders carried 21 days maintenance for the troops embarked in the United States, the DIME assault vessels were loaded with 7 days maintenance for the troop units embarked. The actual tonnages of stores varied widely, ranging from about 450 to over 1000 tons in different ships. Pallet loading of some stores greatly facilitated cargo handling. Unloading target times of ships varied considerably and, in the actual unloading, due to delays incurred from various causes, the time required exceeded the estimates about 30f/r. The average number of boat trips per ship was about 275, this varying with the employment of different types of craft. AKAs will always lag behind APAs and XAPs, and hence must be favored in the allocation of boats and craft for unloading. In spite of the delays due to weather, enemy action, and other causes, the DIME combat-loaders were unloaded in an overall time of 60 hours, twelve of the CENT force in 63 hours, and the remaining seven vessels
at CENT in 88 hours. Due to the complete stoppage of all unloading for many hours caused by beach congestion, the actual time during which unloading operations were underway was less than the figures given herein. With vessels loaded only with essential assault weapons, equipment, and stores, in precise conformity with the standard procedure governing combat-loading, and discharging over properly organized beaches, it is estimated, neglecting enemy action, that a military force of two reinforced infantry divisions can be firmly placed ashore in 48 hours.
- That a study be made of cargo handling gear of combat-loaders with a view to strengthening as required to meet stresses experienced in unloading in moderate weather at sea.
- That slings be placed on all vehicles to be unloaded in assault waves.
- That each vessel be provided with 30 extra nets.
- That where available LCTs be used to the fullest for the unloading of ships.
- That LSTs be not used to unload ships.
- That the size of the Unloading Details ("Hatch Crews") assigned by the Army be increased.
- That a standard Condition IV be adopted in combat-loaders which will enable unloading to proceed without interruption during alerts and air raids.
- In considering the large number of boats stranded or capsized in the initial assault waves, it must be recognized that the combination of the notorious characteristics of the beaches and the high cross-surf running required a greater skill on the part of boat coxswains than the majority of them possessed, for the most skillful surf-boatman would have found the problem of safely beaching the loaded craft a difficult one.
- Training of boat crews is an ever-present requirement; it is indicated that training must emphasize night and bad weather landings of loaded boats, and training in retraction and salvage methods. Relief boat crews require as much training as regular crews; this is important.
- More information should be given boat crews regarding what will take place in their area from time of arrival in Initial Transport Area until daylight. Boat crews should be repeatedly briefed on the ship-to-shore movement of the attack Plan, with full information regarding beaches, landmarks, silhouette and perspective views presented during boat approach to beach, etc. Boat Group Commanders and Boat Officers in the assault waves should be experienced officers of the highest available rank. The lines of organization of the boat division, group, and if necessary, flotillas, should be clearly drawn and the responsibility and authority of Commanders kept alive.
- Boat discipline can stand improvement. There were cases of too hasty abandonment of boats which were in trouble at the beaches. Some of these crews remained on shore where they set up machine guns removed from abandoned boats.
- In general the boat crews performed a Herculean job. Due to the early losses of boats, a heavy strain was placed thereafter upon those craft still operational. This became aggravated when boats were diverted to beaches remote from their own beaches. The fact that boat crews unloaded their own boats at the beaches, in order to effect retraction before becoming stranded, is indicative of the tremendous job accomplished by the transport organizations.
- Transports were lax in the employment of smoke during air alerts and attacks. The suddenness of many of these enemy air attacks, which sometimes were delivered without warning, contributed to this situation. The proper employment of smoke by transports is discussed elsewhere in this report, under the title "Smoke." Greater attention should be given to smoke in future operations.
Section IX -- LANDING CRAFT
- With the capture of the Tunis-Bizerta area on May, steps were taken without delay to establish sites for advanced bases in that area from which all types of landing craft could base, undertake amphibious training of troops, and embark the required forces and equipment for the forthcoming operation. The devastation in this area, wrought by allied bombings and axis sabotage, was wide-spread. Sunken ships, demolished wharfs and quays, wrecked fuel storage facilities, and destruction of public utilities imposed an enormous job of salvage and repair to restore
these areas to a condition suitable for military purposes.
- While reconstruction work progressed and base facilities were being installed, the 3rd Infantry Division was made available for shore to shore training and plans for the shore to shore movement had to be developed. The details of this training had to be created, for the landing craft were of new types, untried in battle, and no technique for their employment was known to exist. Few in the Army had even seen the landing craft, while in the Navy the limitations of the various types had been determined only through trials and experiments. It became necessary, therefore, to evolve a technique which would meet the requirements of an amphibious assault on hostile shores. Operational features, such as speed of beaching, best beaching trim, most suitable methods of debarking troops and vehicles, most effective procedure for retraction, loads vs draft for each type of craft, and similar details had to be determined during the training phase. As these elements became known they had to be correlated in order that they might form a basis for the formulation of attack plans. The known characteristics of the beaches in the Gulf of Gela, Sicily, required that some means be developed to bridge the gap between the grounded LST and the shore line. Extensive trials were held to determine the relative merits of Army treadway bridges vs Navy pontoon causeways on beaches having gradients comparable to those in Sicily selected for assault. As a result of these tests, a method of carrying the pontoon causeways to the scene of the invasion, and of erecting them on the enemy shores, had to be devised.
- As a result of these well carried out investigations, ten LSTs were altered to provide for side-carrying of one complete causeway each. Another LST was converted into an auxiliary aircraft carrier for the transport and launching of the Army Cub spotting planes; still another was modified to carry the GCI equipment essential to the control of Fighter aircraft in the assault; others were provided with means for pumping fuel and water to shore tankage. Facilities were installed in some ships of this type to render them available as hospital ships for the evacuation of casualties. The most far-reaching innovation, however, was the utilization of the six-davit LST. Thirty-six LSTs were thus able to carry six LCVPs in davits, thereby permitting each craft of this type to embark one company of infantry for the initial assault in LCVPs, the ship later landing on the beaches to discharge the vehicle lift. This specially-fitted craft thus had a marked influence upon the development of the shore-to-shore technique.
- Acceptable methods having been devised, it became necessary to develop detailed plans. Since no "assault scales" or "light scales" of equipment and vehicles had been developed by the Army for this type of movement, and since the loading of craft was limited by beaching draft, the lessons of troop training shaped the pattern of the military and naval plans.
- Confronting the Commanders was also the task of developing an organization, a plan, and the vast facilities needed to meet the requirements of embarking 130,000 troops and loading 30,000 vehicles and 20,000 tons of ammunition and supplies in the 250 odd craft envisaged in the joint plans. Since such an undertaking had never before been attempted, there was no past experience upon which to draw guidance.
- The establishment of a "Port of Embarkation" to meet this enormous task meant that the natural facilities of the Bizerta-Tunis area must be greatly augmented. The naval requirements of such a port include:
- Sites protected from the open sea.
- Minimum interference with normal port operation.
- Minimum restrictions on naval operations.
- Suitable hydrographic conditions for craft.
- Adequate berthing space for craft at loading points.
- Fuel and water lines at craft berths.
- Adequate lighting for night loading at loading points.
Military requirements include:
- Suitable concentration area for units within ten miles of loading points; facilities for initial waterproofing of vehicles.
- Suitable staging areas; facilities for final water-proofing of vehicles.
- Suitable assembly area to permit necessary vehicle segregation.
- Suitable loading areas with adequate road nets to each loading point.
In meeting the above requirements new construction had to be held to a minimum due to shortages time, labor and material.
- Through the co-operative efforts of Commander Landing Craft and Bases, Commanding General 3rd Infantry Division, Commanding General Eastern Base Section SOS, and Commanding Officer 1st Embarkation Group, EBS, the sites were selected, necessary facilities provided, and the tremendous loading job effectively and efficiently carried out.
- Based on the experience gained in the launching of this, the first shore-to-shore assault, certain conclusions can be drawn regarding the loading and unloading of these types of craft. In the preparation of the Army plan, it is necessary that TQMs exercise the same precise investigations as in loading combatant transports. It is necessary, therefore, that TQMs inspect the ships and craft to be loaded and that they spot location of stanchions, deck fittings, structural interferences, etc., which greatly affect the space available for loading. He must determine the characteristics of the craft, the DIMEnsions of space available for loading, and the exact cubic DIMEnsions and weight of each type of vehicle to be loaded. Templates of deck arrangements and vehicles must be prepared and a template-loading worked out in detail. Suitable clearances must be allowed in this template loading to provide for the actual placing of the vehicle under its own power in the position indicated. From the template preloading, a prestowage diagram must be produced by the TQM, showing the order of loading necessary to obtain the result so diagrammed. Thus loading numbers assigned to the specific vehicles are derived from the diagram which shows a definite space for each particular vehicle and the loading number in the assigned deck space. A list of vehicles must then be prepared showing the precise order of loading, the serial number, Army organization, etc. Similarly, personnel lists and supply lists must be prepared for each ship and craft. Such stowage plans must be passed on by the Navy to determine if the load affects the stability and seaworthiness of the craft and if beaching draft is exceeded.
- Preparatory to loading it must be determined that waterproofing of vehicles has been completed in the staging area where vehicles have been segregated into craft loads; under no circumstances should waterproofing be deferred until vehicles are stowed in ships and craft. Troops should be transported from the concentration area to the assembly area by truck, and then marched to the craft at the loading points. In the assembly area vehicles should be arranged in the order of loading as shown in the prestowage diagram.
- The following wrinkles and results are applicable to the specific type of craft:
- The main deck also should be template loaded with a view to proper location of the maximum number of A.A. guns (up to 40mm caliber) to provide additional A.A. protection to the ship.
- In six-davit LSTs the TQMs should not plan to load forward of the elevator ramp (except on the elevator) nor aft of the after intake vents (except on the hatch); vehicles may be loaded on the elevator and light vehicles on the hatch. The capacity of the elevator is 10 tons, hence the heavy vehicles must be stowed in the tank deck,
- The space between the ladders at the after end of the tank deck is usually utilized for ships' stowage; it should not be included in the TQM diagram as available for Army gear.
- LSTs may be loaded forward of the point where the bulkhead narrows but tracked vehicles should be loaded to be discharged first, ahead of jeeps with trailers and other wheeled vehicles. If bulk stores are loaded they should be so stowed as to be discharged last.
- The personnel lift of the LST is dependent upon the dead-load carried and the duration of the voyage. Normally 180 bunks are available for Army personnel. A lift of about 350 may be carried if "hot bunks" are used; the maximum personnel lift is 500 but this should not be attempted except for short hauls because of limited messing and sanitation facilities available. The vehicle lift ranges from 40 to 110, depending on types and sizes of vehicles listed. Maximum stores capacity is 1600 measured tons or 1100 weight tons, but this must be reduced considerably if beaching draft of six feet forward and nine feet six inches aft is not to be exceeded,
- Loading times were:
Personnel --- 1/2 to 11/2 hours. Vehicles --- 11/2 hours, if no trailers; 6 hours if a number of trailers. Stores --- 15 to 25 tons per hour.
- Three methods of unloading LSTs were employed: (1) over naval pontoon causeways (2) into LCTs, and (3) into DUKWs.
- The naval pontoon causeways were brought to the assault area either by side-carry in LSTs or under tow of tugs. Some difficulty was experienced in rigging the pontoons particularly in the CENT area where the surf was high on D day and where considerable shifting of beach sites occurred. Where a current sets along the beach, special care in placing pontoon anchors is indicated. Once pontoons were placed, LSTs were unloaded with dispatch, the average time to unload vehicles being about one hour. Barrage balloons must be placed over both ends of pontoon causeways sited at the beach; pontoons in use by LSTs are special targets for enemy aircraft. A DUKW, manned by the pontoon crew, should be part of the equipment of each LST fitted as a pontoon carrier.
- Prior to the operation, sections of the bulwarks of LCTs were made portable to permit side loading from LSTs and unloading. In the operation LCTs were found to be very effective for rapid unloading of LSTs which were unable to either beach themselves, or for which no pontoon causeways were available. By this method two LCTs were placed athwart ships to the ramp of the LST to be unloaded. Vehicles were driven over the ramp across the first LCT and into the outboard LCT. When this craft was fully loaded, a third LCT was brought alongside in its place and the process continued.
- DUKWs were employed to a limited extent in the unloading of stores from LSTs; the sole reason they were not more fully employed being that they were diverted by the Army once they reached shore with their first load. DUKWs are particularly suited to the job of carrying stores and their ability to enter the tank deck from sea offers great possibilities in future operations.
- LSTs should be employed principally for carrying armor and vehicles; they are not suitable for transporting stores, particularly in such quantities as to increase the draft of the ships in assault forces beyond that favorable for beaching. In this operation LSTs loaded with from 600 to 1300 tons of bulk cargo were beached from six hours to two days, depending upon the availability of labor and transportation for unloading. It became necessary for the ships' personnel to be called away from their gun and other stations to unload these stores until sufficient Prisoners of War were captured and brought down to the beaches and engaged voluntarily in the labor of unloading beached craft. If in future operations LST are to be employed in carrying bulk cargo, these ships should have installed winches and booms or other mechanical means for discharging stores to boats and DUKWs alongside. It is unsound to load LSTs with stores to be unloaded over beaches; this practice extends inordinately the time of beaching, thus subjecting these immobilized ships to bombing and strafing attacks, and reduces the number of craft available for rapid follow-up movements.
- Assault LCTs should be loaded in such manner that tanks and S.P. guns are able to fire during the approach; this requirement should be met even at the partial sacrifice of economy of space. LCTs may be loaded forward of the point where the bulkhead narrows.
- No living space is available in LCTs and therefore the troop lift should be restricted to vehicle drivers, or about 35 men, who should be loaded at the latest possible hour. If the trip is of short duration and no vehicles are carried, as many as 105 men can be carried.
- Vehicle capacity is 5 medium tanks or 9 21/2 ton trucks plus 2 jeeps. Scorpions are too wide for LCT(5)s. Stores capacity is 200 measured tons or 150 weight tons. Loading time varied from ten minutes to one hour, depending upon the types and numbers of vehicles being loaded, and upon the ability of the drivers concerned. Supplies may be loaded at the rate of 25 tons per hour.
- LCTs have ideal beaching qualities and performed well during the operation. The sea keeping qualities are poor and this craft has the disadvantage of a low speed for
convoy employment. This operation tested the seagoing qualities of the craft severely and recommendations concerning strengthening of these hulls appear herein under "Material and Logistics."
- The utility of the LCT in unloading LSTs and combat-loaded transports is covered elsewhere in this report. In contemplation of this special employment, the crews of most LCTs were doubled prior to the operation. In spite of these measures, the crews of these craft were subjected to severe operational demands throughout the Sicilian campaign.
- These craft are solely personnel carriers. The capacity is 188 Army spaces. No vehicles or stores can be carried. Personnel should be loaded as near as practicable to the time of departure; loading time is about 20 minutes. Since this craft is designed to be beached, care must be taken not to have on board excessive amounts of provisions, fuel and water. It has good sea keeping qualities and adequate speed for convoy work.
- Providing the proper beaching draft is maintained, this type of craft can be beached without difficulty on most beaches. Recommendations regarding alterations to LCI-(L)s are contained herein under "Material and Logistics" and in separate correspondence.
- LCI(L)s were found to be a very useful type of craft. They were useful in transporting personnel from APAs and XAPs to shore. They were utilized as Task Group Commanders' leaders (Regimental Headquarters Ships) though they were cramped by the quantity of communication equipment essential to this function.
- As Traffic Control Boats, the LCI(L) is very suitable. Owing to its weight, power, and shallow draft, the LCI(L) is eminently suited for use as a salvage vessel. Recommendations in this particular appear herein under "Beach Party."
Section X -- SHORE PARTY Planning:
- When the "Montgomery" Plan was adopted by the Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces, the implications to the Western Task Force were clear. Not only were the beaches inferior for assault but the problem of maintenance reached serious proportions. It was recognized that the beaches south of the Gela River, and particularly those south of the Acate River, introduced unusual obstacles. These beaches were backed by soft sand dunes, with undulations reaching a height of from 40 to 80 feet, for a distance of one-half mile to one mile from the sea. Barren slopes and patches of thick shrub bordered the landward side of these vast dunes. Cart tracks running parallel to the beaches lay between the shore line and the nearest metalled road located from one to three miles from the sea. Exits from the beaches to the hinterland were non-existent.
- The fact that many beaches were flanked by groups of rocks, and all beaches were bordered to seaward by bars or runnels, presaged difficulties in beaching boats and craft, and in preventing stranding unless unloading was accomplished with dispatch. The locale of the landings thus foretold the need for reinforced Shore Parties, with particular emphasis on road construction units to prepare exits from the beaches, increased motor vehicle transportation to move stores from beaches to inland dumps and to the advancing troops, and finally a greatly increased labor force to quickly unload boats and craft at the beaches. Representations were promptly made to the 7th Army (Force 343) to augment the strength of the Shore Parties in order to meet fully the conditions peculiar to the beaches selected for the landings by United States Forces.
- The Shore Party organization adopted by the 7th Army consisted of:
CENT Force ---
40th Combat Engineer Regiment (3 Bns)
DIME Force ---
531st Engineer Shore Regiment
JOSS Force ---
36th Combat Engineer Regiment (3 Bns)
KOOL Force ---
540th Combat Engineer Regiment (2 Bns)
- The 36th and 540th had landed in North Africa as shore regiments in November 1942; the 40th had arrived in the theater with the 45th Infantry Division and lacked previous shore party experience.
- The average strength of these Shore Parties (exclusive of the Navy Beach Battalions) was approximately 3900 officers and men. Although the composition varied in detail, the basic organization provided for a Shore Regiment, a Signal Company, an Ordnance Company (MM)(Q), an Ordnance Company (Amm), a Medical Battalion, a Quartermaster Battalion (DUKWs), and a Military Police Company. Augmentation was made for this operation by small detachments of service personnel, such as dump operating details of the various services, railway personnel, gasoline supply troops, and truck companies. The Shore Regiment consisted of slightly over 2,000 men, about 20% of whom were available for unloading boats on the beach.
- The 7th Army plans governing the employment of Shore Parties provided:
- Prior to operations.
The Commanding Officer 1st Engineer Special Brigade is responsible for:
- The organization, training, and equipping of all beach groups incident to the operation until such time as these beach groups have been assigned to and joined the Sub-Task Forces.
- For the preparation of detailed plans for the operation of all beach groups (such plans to be coordinated with the indicated staff sections Force 343).
- Preparation of adequate plans to take over the operation of all supply activities at a date to be designated by the Commanding General, Force 343.
- During operations.
- Initially, beach groups will be under direct command of Sub-Task Force Commanders, and will remain under their command until such time as all supply activities are taken over by the Commanding General, Force 343.
- (2) When supply activities are taken over by the Commanding General, Force 343, the Commander 1st Engineer Special Brigade will assume command of the beach groups and all non-divisional and non-corps service units thereto attached and such other service units as are necessary and may be attached by the Commanding General, Force 343; and will be responsible for the execution of all supply plans within the theater of operations and emanating from Force 343, including the operation of ports, if any."
- Thus, the provisions for Shore Parties in the Assault Forces included one Engineer Shore Regiment and two Combat Engineer Regiments, with a Combat Engineer Regiment of two Battalions in the Floating Reserve--the latter to be landed through a prepared beach. Each of these Shore Parties was, during the assault, responsible to the Commander of the Infantry Division to which attached. Later, these Regiments passed to the Commander of the 1st Engineer Special Brigade who was charged with the execution of all supply plans of the 7th Army from the time the Army assumed control of the situation ashore.
Execution of Plan:
- That the 1st Engineer Brigade performed a magnificent achievement in the execution of Army Supply plans, after the establishment of the 7th Army ashore, is attested to by the supply statistics in the 7th Army's report on the Sicilian campaign. It is the assault phase of the operation, however, which most vitally affects the combat-loaded transports and it was in this phase that the grief occurred.
- Smooth, efficient operation of the assault beaches was not accomplished until after the departure of the assault transports from the Gulf of Gela. Beginning on D day, from H hour onwards until D plus 3, beach conditions were chaotic. In the JOSS area the beach situation was rectified more promptly. Boats were arriving at all beaches in such numbers that unloading by the Shore Party was at no beach able to keep pace with the arrival of loaded boats. Many vehicles, upon being unloaded from craft, came to an end on enemy mine fields which had not been located and marked by the Shore Party prior to the arrival of motor equipment. The destruction of these vehicles, and the lack of suitable exits and proper markers to show safe routes for traffic through enemy mine fields, soon created widespread confusion as trucks became blocked on the beaches. DUKWs transiting the beach from seaward also came to grief on the beach minefields, due to
beach limits and safe landing points not being adequately marked so as to be seen from seaward by approaching craft. As boats continued to arrive on the beaches and awaited unloading by the Shore Party, the boats were soon swamped or stranded. Eventually the beaches became crowded with miscellaneous personnel standing around idle. In the absence of properly marked staging areas, troops were observed loitering about on the sand dunes awaiting instructions as to movement. Many boats retracted from the regular beaches and moved to the flanks where a clear beach space could be found, and there the boat crews unloaded their own boats. This led to scattering of Army equipment and stores, in some cases placing material on the beaches of adjacent divisions, thus rendering more difficult the task of supplying the advancing troops. Other boats, unable to obtain shore party personnel to unload them at assigned beaches, returned to their transports still loaded. This resulted in many ship commands taking men from gun crews and engineers force and placing them in the boats as working parties in order to unload boats on the beaches. Finally, the unloading situation became so critical that transports organized working parties from each ship and sent these parties ashore to unload boats and craft. Such parties varied in size from 40 to 100 officers and men. On some beaches these naval working parties were augmented by gangs of Prisoners of War which engaged voluntarily in this labor. In this manner were the combat-loaders and landing craft finally unloaded during the assault phase.
- Dumps did not appear to be organized according to a predetermined plan. On some beaches there was a critical shortage of transportation, in spite of the thousands of vehicles being landed. Beach personnel migrated to the dumps in loaded vehicles thus depleting the party working the beaches. DUKWs were observed to move far inland well beyond beach dumps where they were diverted or came to grief through accident. Control of transportation on the beaches was totally lacking. There was a notable absence of Military Police on the beaches; these units had obviously moved inland with the troops.
- Supplies were piled high on the beaches without any effort to accomplish segregation. Gasoline, ammunition, water, food, and assorted equipment were strewn about in a hopeless mass. No fire fighting equipment was in evidence anywhere. As enemy planes made frequent strafing attacks along these beaches, fires were of frequent occurrence.
- The beach defenses were weak and ineffective. Barrage balloons were insufficient to cover the congested areas and anti-aircraft batteries were not only scarce and of small caliber, but lacked proper fire control.
- At night the Shore Party personnel were not to be found; they either disappeared in fox holes and dumps, or withdrew to the hinterland. The numerous soldiers idling on beaches during the day made no effort to unload their own equipment out of boats and craft. The discipline on the beaches was of a low order.
- As the locations of CENT beaches were shifted, the new beaches became as congested as the old. The Shore Parties became scattered and were uncertain of the location of the new beaches. Available man power was not utilized and idlers became numerous. Proper beach markers were not erected. Boats stranded after waiting hours on end to be unloaded. Labor and transportation facilities for handling cargo were lacking. Finally all unloading of the transports in the CENT area ceased until working parties sent from the ships could reach the shore and take over the job of unloading boats and craft.
- In the DIME area the chaotic condition on D day was terminated on D plus one by the evacuation of those beaches due to the advance of the German tanks. Enemy shelling of these beaches resulted in the Engineer Regiment being called inland as support troops and the withdrawal seaward by boats of other beach personnel. The DIME beaches were at a standstill on D plus one, though some ships diverted boats to the beaches near the Acate River in order to continue unloading. As the enemy threat was overcome, the DIME situation gradually cleared up as naval working parties took over unloading of boats and craft. But the status of supplies landed was not known to the Shore Party, for on D plus 2 the following message was received from DIME Green Beach by the Transport Division Commander in the DIME area: "120955 Col. Massey QMC requests all ships operating this beach send non-perishable food supplies X Army hungry X signed Marler." This, in spite of the fact that practically all ships were completely unloaded and that hundreds of tons of food supplies were available either on Green Beach or those immediately adjacent.
- The organization and operation of the beaches during the assault phase was one of the greatest difficulties in this operation, as it had been in the Moroccan Operation, last November. The recurring delay in getting boats unloaded after the first few hours of the assault was present
on all CENT and DIME beaches, and to a lesser extent on the JOSS beaches. This condition sets in at the critical period of a landing operation from about noon on D day to the night of D plus one. It is during this period when our troops have reached inland objectives and are well-engaged with the enemy, when the demands from our troops for ammunition and particular weapons and equipment is greatest, and when we are probably inferior to the enemy in artillery and possibly in infantry, providing he has carried out reconnaissance and has moved his reserves. He will exploit his air power on D day to the utmost and the beaches are the most favorable target the enemy can, and does, select. But it is at this critical period that boat crews and Shore Parties lag, when the beaches become congested, and when there is a grave danger of complete breakdown in the supply system.
- It is clear that adequate measures must be taken at once to improve the organization and training of our Shore Parties. Though amphibious operations in the Pacific have been on a much smaller scale than operations in this theater, the Action Reports received from that area relate the exact and precise shortcomings experienced in this theater. This cannot be coincidental; it is believed to be beyond happenstance to be basic, and hence readily recognized and amended.
- Since the Allied Nations are, by the geography of the globe, committed to many amphibious operations, the need for Shore Party organizations will be continuous. It is suggested that the cornerstone of these Shore Parties be Shore Engineer Regiments and not Combat Engineers. The platoons for boat labor on beaches should be doubled in strength. These Beach Groups with complete equipment and personnel should undergo amphibious training with Infantry Divisions, and the Divisions should land over beaches their full equipment, personnel, and vehicles; and considerable quantity of supplies both day and night. This training should require actual removal of mines, barbed wire, construction of exits, building roads, placing markers, dispersal movement of stores to selected dumps, transportation control, etc. Such full scale exercises will complement the basic training, which provides the discipline and physical conditioning, of the personnel. Shore Party personnel should receive practical training in all types of boats and landing craft, and in working cargo on board ship and as winchmen. Only such training on full scale can bring the Shore Party personnel to a true realization of the magnitude of their tasks in actual operations on the enemy's shores, and prepare them for those tasks.
- In landing on the enemy's shores it is essential that the equipment of the Shore Party be landed in early waves in order that they can begin preparation of the beaches, exits, dumps, etc., prior to the arrival of the motor vehicles. Mine detectors should be available to the Shore Party in adequate numbers, together with trained personnel, and, by mine removal, clear routes must be quickly prepared and marked. Trained traffic control personnel must erect proper sign-posts and control routing of traffic in both directions in safety and in such manner as to ensure proper dispersal to selected dumps.
- During the planning phase the Shore Party, in conjunction with G-3 and G-4, should prepare complete plans giving location of various dumps, dispersal layout, anti-aircraft locations, road routes, marker and sign-post systems, vehicle crews, etc. The Shore Party should have full knowledge of the Ships' unloading plans and be provided with Priority Lists. Personnel of the Shore Party should be briefed in these plans and, during the Rehearsals of the Infantry Divisions, these plans should be rehearsed by the Shore Party personnel concerned. This will ensure CENTralized control of unloading and consolidation of beach dumps with due regard to the tactical and supply needs of the landing forces.
- DUKWs should be used during the assault phase for the exclusive use of unloading ships and large landing craft; they should not be diverted during this employment, farther inland than the beach dumps. It is essential that an adequate number of vehicles be landed early for the use of the Shore Party in clearing beaches of supplies and in transporting stores to dumps. These vehicles should be provided with relief drivers in order that 24 hour operation can be assured, and these vehicles should not be diverted from their assigned employment except at the direction of the Shore Party Commander.
- Markers, to indicate flanks of beaches and safe landing points and road exits, should be placed well back from the beach on the high dunes in order that they may be seen by DUKW drivers. Without such markers DUKWs have landed on the beach in the midst of enemy mine fields and without any idea of the clear paths and routes to the dumps. Beach marker lights were not set up promptly during darkness. It is believed essential that beach marking personnel go ashore in
the second assault wave and that these vital colored markings be erected quickly to guide the waves enroute to the beaches.
- Anti-aircraft defenses of beaches require reexamination. The 37mm anti-tank gun is inadequate. The large number of craft and boats immobile on the beaches, and the uninterrupted movement of supplies and weapons, demands that beach protection be greatly augmented during the assault phase of a landing. Six large caliber guns per battalion should be provided. It is essential that all guns on a division beach be CENTrally controlled in order to exercise fire discipline. An adequate air raid warning system is a necessity on each beach. Barrage balloons every 200 yards along the beach frontage and over gasoline and munitions dumps will break up strafing attacks. The scale of AA defenses now assigned to beaches is entirely inadequate in any theater where enemy aircraft may oppose the landing.
Section XI -- BEACH PARTY
- The Beach Battalions were the weakest link in the naval organization and were faced with one of the most arduous and difficult tasks. During the assault phase of the operation the efficiency of the Beach Parties was no better than that of the Shore Parties of which they were a part. As the engineers of the Shore Parties became primarily involved in normal combat missions, with little concern for the operation of the beaches, the Beach Parties failed similarly in the prompt and full execution of their responsibilities.
- There was no concerted effort made to carry out prompt hydrographic surveys at first light on D day. Many craft, such as LCS(S)s, were observed lying idle off beaches at that time and could have been pressed into service. In a few isolated cases some soundings off-shore were obtained by some craft but there is no evidence that the results obtained were made known to the Beachmasters concerned, nor that any use was made of the soundings obtained. Since thorough surveys were not promptly carried out by all the Beach Parties, there was a dearth of channel markers. This resulted in LCTs and LSTs standing in to beaches to unload without any guidance as to favorable or unfavorable sites, resulting in the grounding of some craft some distance from shore and causing delays in beaching. In view of the dependence upon the successful employment of pontoon causeways, the off-shore investigations should have been planned in detail and executed promptly with the break of dawn. Since the Beach Party is not provided a boat from which to carry out this off-shore work, Beachmasters have had to confiscate boats to do this work. In future operations the plans of Naval Task Force Commanders should specifically provide for the allocation of survey boats at each beach. Scout Boats, stationed off beaches as markers to the assault waves, could undertake this work beginning at dawn. Fathometer equipment in these boats makes them particularly suitable; additional ratings required and special equipment as buoys, pennants, anchors, lights, etc., might be carried in this boat without interference in its beach marking or scout duties carried out during darkness. If this is not feasible, special boats should be assigned by Transport Commanders to execute the survey at daybreak on D day.
- Traffic control boats were conspicuous by their absence, except in the JOSS area. As boats and craft carrying equipment and stores followed the assault waves to the beaches, these movements landed without instruction from control vessels or Beach-masters. This led to congestion on beaches which was further aggravated by the absence or unwillingness of Shore Party labor to unload the boats and craft. Due to the sea then running, scores of these loaded boats quickly became swamped or stranded, thus rendering those landing points unavailable to other craft to follow. Some boats were at beaches for as long as 20 hours waiting to be unloaded by Shore Parties. Had Beachmasters carried out the Standard Operating Procedure by establishing Traffic Control Boats off the beaches, and directed the landing of craft and boats, many delays due to beach congestion could have been avoided. In the CENT and DIME areas, it appears that few Traffic Control Boats were provided by the transports. These boats should be specified in the plans of Naval Task Force Commanders and Transport Division Commanders. The Traffic Control Boat Officer must establish radio (TBY), bullhorn, and visual communication with the Beachmaster off whose beach he is operating. He must require boat movements in accordance with the orders of the Beachmaster. More training of Traffic Control Boat crews, and a closer liaison with Beach Parties, is indicated. Coordination between the Shore Party and Beach Party would have ensured that boats were landed when and where labor was available to handle the stores.
- When unloading beaches were shifted by the Shore Party, it appears that the decision
was not made known promptly to Beach Party personnel. Shore Party personnel became scattered over a long stretch of coast where they were left to shift for themselves; the lateral movement to and fro along the beaches caused the cessation of unloading until parties rejoined and reorganized at the new sites in some cases this did not transpire until the following day. Discipline, leadership, and control were absent. LSTs standing in to beaches to land received numerous conflicting orders, and these ships were required to move several times before they were allowed to unload at any specific beach. As pontoon causeways were shifted, no information was transmitted to the Commander of the LST group, and no effort to coordinate activities was displayed. This condition was forestalled in the JOSS area where CTF 86 placed three Group Commanders (from landing craft organization) ashore as Head Beachmasters and thus reduced the beaches and, boat control to order.
- It appears that the CENT beaches in some areas were changed as frequently as eight times during the first two days of the assault. The reason for these changes was stated to be that the Shore Party commander was selecting sites where better exits from the beach existed. The preliminary study of these beaches during the planning stage of the operation had conclusively shown the absence of suitable exits and the necessity of construction of such exits and roads by the Shore Party. This command at that time pointed out this fact to the Army Command and had suggested an augmentation of the Road Construction troops assigned to the CENT area in order that this demand for exits might be met on D day.
- Salvage operations of stranded boats were not undertaken promptly and, as more and more boats became stranded due to delays in unloading, the salvage soon grew beyond the capacity of the Beach Parties to handle with the limited facilities available. Some ships sent LCMs to the beach but most of these eventually stranded in attempting to retract other boats.
- The boat salvage measures now in use are inadequate to cope with an operation involving hundreds of boats. Regardless of the salvage equipment placed ashore, the fact remains that most salvage activities must be carried out from seaward. The Beach Party, on each beach of one infantry battalion front, should be provided by the transports with one LCM carrying a bulldozer to be placed ashore. This LCM should carry experienced Boatswain's Mates, and be altered for salvage work at the shoreline. A large reinforced towing bit should be installed just aft of the boat coxswain's steering station, and a power anchor windlass should be located aft. Additional equipment should include two anchors, anchor lines, two handybillies, one stationary salvage pump with necessary hose, four 31/2" towing lines complete, eight 3/4" towing wire pendants, spare ramp cables, shackles, tools, etc. The crews of the salvage LCMs from the transports should train with the Beach Parties during pre-invasion exercises and rehearsals.
- The plans of the Naval Task Force Commander should provide also for one LCI(L), especially fitted out with salvage equipment and trained personnel, to operate along the beaches of each Infantry Division after landing troops in first flight. This type of craft has the weight, power, and shallow draft needed to work close to the shore. These LCI(L)s should be provided with at least one 3" salvage pump with necessary hose, two portable pumps, a shallow water diving outfit, one complete welding outfit suitable for underwater welding, hawsers, towing pendants, line throwing guns, small pulling boats (as wherries) for running lines, etc. Fire fighting equipment should also be provided.
- Each infantry division beach should be provided with a "Jaheemey" with a bulldozer as a prime mover. The "Jaheemey" should be completely rigged and assembled when loaded in an LCT for transportation to the beach. Beach Parties should be trained in its use. At the CENT beaches a "Jaheemey" was sent ashore disassembled without instructions for assembly or all the parts needed. Since the weight of the vehicle totals nine tons, and in the absence of lifting facilities on the beach, the assembly could not be accomplished by the Beach Party. If it is not practicable to provide a "Jaheemey" on shore, self-propelled tractor cranes should be provided to the Beach Party.
- Beach Parties were provided with a complete set of plans and orders, yet they lacked a clear understanding of the unloading plans and apparently viewed the scene apathetically. The Beachmaster should be made fully conversant by the Army with the priority plans to ensure sufficient flexibility to permit some lateral mixing of supplies. Should any beach be closed down for any reason (as the DIME beaches due to enemy shelling on D plus one day), the Shore Party must be prepared to continue supply to the elements forward of that beach by operating through an adjacent one. This requires the closest cooperation between the Shore Party Commander and the Beach Party Commander. Unless such flexibility and understanding exists, efficient supply over the beaches cannot be brought about.
- Delays of several hours were reported on some beaches in evacuating causalities due to shortage of unloaded boats. Closer coordination should exist between the Army and Navy medical groups. Causalities should not be brought to the exposed beaches until boats are available to evacuate them at once. Positive land-line communications between the Army Casualty Station and the Beachmaster would ensure this. There appears to be an excess of medical personnel in Beach Battalions as now constituted; this should be studied with a view of reducing the numbers to actual service requirements.
- The Standard Operating Procedure provides that the Commander of the Navy Beach Battalion shall be provided with a jeep to enable him to be mobile. Even this single vehicle was not provided during this operation. A tactical plan (such as the CENT plan), which provides for landings to be made on a wide front, extending over a distance of 15 miles, obviously spreads shore and beach activities thin. As beach locations were frequently shifted to utilize selected exits to the hinterland, and other beaches were contracted or closed, a great lateral migration took place up and down the shore line. Entirely devoid of transportation, the Navy Beach Companies were required to pack their equipment on their backs and hike from scene to scene. Special equipment, such as radio apparatus weighing 1500 pounds, was immobilized until space could be arranged in some passing army truck. These lateral shuttles not only created widespread confusion ashore during the first two days, but also produced fatigue, thus contributing to the delay in efficiently organizing the CENT beaches and expediting the unloading of transports. The equipment and gear of a Navy Beach Battalion weighs 60 tons and measures 12,000 cubic feet. No shore transportation is now provided to this organization. Once placed ashore it is now without mobility. A Beachmaster cannot properly perform his duties unless he is constantly covering his beach and is on the exact spot where trouble exists. Immediate steps should be taken to render Beach Battalions mobile by providing them with an adequate number of jeeps, trucks, and trailers. A suitable number of vehicles would be 12 jeeps and 10 two-and-one-half ton trucks with one ton trailers.
- Due to the unsatisfactory conditions existing on most beaches during the assault phase, personnel of the Beach Battalions engaged in various pursuits in which they should not be employed. Some of these were: unloading boats, road building, loading trucks, trans-beach traffic control, labor in dumps, stevedore labor aboard merchant ships, gun crews on beach machine guns, shore patrol, guards on Prisoners of War, and Port Guards. While such aid as rendered was commendable, it is felt that Naval Beach Party personnel should not be diverted from assigned tasks unless dictated by an emergency.
- This operation imposed upon the American forces the possibility of beach maintenance for at least 30 days. Although the plans provided for coastal movement westward of our military forces, with a view of opening ports as soon as possible, it was realized that some beach maintenance would have to continue just so long as the 7th Army supply lines were connected to the Gela beaches. In order to meet these conditions it was planned to use Beach Battalions on these beaches as long as necessary and until Advanced Base personnel took over their normal duties. In the execution of this plan the Beach Battalions operated briefly as follows:
- 1st Beach Battalion.
Landed on the CENT beaches on 10 July (D day).
On 20 July shifted to port of Porto Empedocle.
On 25 July sent detachment of 1 officer and 20 men to assist in port of Palermo.
On 27 July sailed for Tunisian port, arriving on 30 July.
- 2nd Beach Battalion.
Landed on JOSS beaches on 10 July (D day) and began operating port of Licata the same day.
On 17 July sent detachment to port of Porto Empedocle until relieved by 1st Beach Battalion on 20 July.
On 23 July sent one company to port of Palermo.
On 29 July sent detachment to port of Termini until relieved by Advance Base party on 18 August.
On 2 August sent small detachments to north coast of Sicily to participate in leap-frog landings until 14 August. On 20 August returned to North African port.
- 4th Beach Battalion.
Landed on DIME beaches on 10 July (D day).
Operated port and beaches of Gela until closed on 29 July.
- From the above it will be noted that these units were required to work on beaches for periods of weeks, a task for which they were neither trained nor equipped to do. This resulted in a high perCENTage of ineffectives, due principally to fever, malaria, and dysentery. Any future operation requiring Beach Battalions to remain ashore for protracted periods should be preceded by suitable field training with the army with emphasis on care of the person and field sanitation. The equipment of the battalions should then include tentage, bedding rolls, field kitchens, water-making equipment, etc. Cooks should be included in the complement. Special precautions should be taken to provide mosquito bars, insect repellents, flea powder, etc.
- Beach Battalions should be relieved at the earliest possible date by Advanced Base organizations, whose responsibility it is to provide the naval administration of captured ports. The diversion of Beach Battalions to such employment as tabulated above, after these units had been exposed for a long period on assault beaches, is warranted only in emergencies. Beach Battalions should normally withdraw from the theater with the combat-loaded transports or as soon thereafter as the military maintenance situation permits.
- The Beach Battalion training in the past has not been what it should be. These units have been inactive during the period between operations and their training has suffered there from. These units require more navy life. They might well be quartered on board ship until the troops arrive aboard for amphibious training. Intensive shipboard training of all ratings along predetermined lines will produce better seamen and instill in the personnel of the Beach Battalion the necessary naval background. When troops come aboard the transports for training, the Beach Battalion might well then move ashore for their field training with the Shore Party. This should be laid out to include such basic training of the soldier as clean and orderly living in the field, how to get along with little and make that little do, how to take care of arms, equipment, and clothing and the necessity for doing so. Physical fitness, military courtesy and discipline should be emphasized in this training which should include overhead firing and other battle courses. Beach Battalions should be trained with the Shore Party Engineers in defensive tactics of the rifle squad and platoon, detection, removal, and destruction of mines and booby traps, removal of wire and beach obstacles, and in swimming and life saving. As the amphibious training of the infantry division advances to assaults on beaches, the training of the Beach Battalions should advance to their basic tasks on the beaches and the development of teamwork with the Shore Party. Such a program of training would keep the Beach Battalions fully occupied and would forge them into a skillfully trained unit ready for combat. These units are seamen first, and they should be garbed in a distinctive uniform in order that they may be distinguished on the beach. Helmets should be painted and marked so as to identify them as members of the Beach Party.
- Many of the failings of the past have been due to the lack of rank, experience, and personality of Beachmasters. Such officers become submerged in numbers and seniority of the Army ashore. They lack the necessary rank and assurance to stand up against the constant succession of conflicting requests, orders, instructions and commands received on the spot from higher ranking Army officers, who are interested in getting one particular task done, but have no immediate interest in the overall beach task. Many high ranking Army officers, not in the Shore Party, call upon the Beachmaster to subordinate his tasks in the behalf of this seniors peculiar interests, notwithstanding the capabilities and limitations of the Beach Party. Naval officers of suitable rank, experience, and quality can cope with such interferences and prevent diversion of effort. This need for improved quality and experience in the officers of the Beach Battalions is still existent. The best evidence of this fact is presented in the JOSS beaches where CTF 86 placed ashore on D day three Group Commanders of proven ability from his task force. These officers, Captains and Commanders, had the authority of their rank, experience, and personality, and were very effective in bringing the JOSS beaches from disorder to efficiency.
- The Shore Party and Beach Party organizations constitute very important elements in all amphibious assaults. Failure of these parties fully to meet their assigned tasks, due to whatever cause, might well result in the failure of the assault forces to seize and hold a beachhead; the implications of such a dislodgement are so great that almost any action would be warranted to forestall its eventuality. That both the Army and Navy fully appreciate the difficulties that would attend such a reversal, there is no doubt. Nevertheless, there appears to be absent that complete understanding by both services of where and when the responsibilities of each begins and ends. This unfortunate
circumstance is believed to be due to the imperfections and contradictions contained in the official publications which govern amphibious operations. The documents FM 31-5, FTP 155, and FTP 167 need revision at once. Much of these authorities is obsolete; the introduction of the air arm has brought with it further complications in command relationships. It would be helpful, however, if there existed a more thorough understanding that the Naval Commander has responsibility for the operation until the Landing Force is firmly established on shore, and that with him rests the authority commensurate with the responsibility.
Section XII -- SMOKE
- The employment of smoke for offensive and defensive purposes was incorporated in the naval plans but, in the execution of the plan, smoke was not employed to the fullest extent.
- The most notable use of smoke during the operation was made in the JOSS area during the early hours of daylight on D day. The destroyer Woolsey placed a very effective smoke screen on the left flank of one of the beaches using 5"/38 white phosphorous projectiles, thus hiding the beach and craft from shore batteries firing from Licata. Scout Boats were also employed in laying a screen to envelop LSTs unloading into LCTs offshore.
- Another occasion in the JOSS area took place about 0645 on D day when LCTs unloading tank units on Red Beach were placed under fire by enemy mortars and artillery. Distant targets were taken under fire by the cruiser Brooklynand destroyer Buck, while the British LCG-4 moved close to shore to engage mortar positions within range of her armament. Meanwhile the destroyers Woolseyand Nicholsonlaid a screen to cover the craft on the beach. The fire support silenced the threatening enemy batteries and the smoke screen was most effective in screening the beached craft.
- In the CENT area LCS(S)s employed smoke rocket projectors and smoke pots to cover one landing but the necessity therefore has not been reported.
- Due to the fact that the assault area was in a gulf, and to the further fact that shipping had to be moved close to shore as soon as possible to expedite the unloading operations, the timely detection of enemy aircraft by our radar was rendered most difficult. The practice of the enemy to make many attacks from landward through valleys rendered radar detection at such times virtually impossible. Many attacks made from seaward were near screening vessels and, in some cases, over the transport areas. Early detection of enemy flights would have permitted the Task Force Commanders to give the alert and direct smoke-laying operations.
- If smoke will lie at existing wind conditions, a large transport area should be covered within fifteen minutes. Upon the receipt of orders to lay smoke, all ships must send all available boats in the water to an up-wind position to lay floats and to make smoke-laying runs on such reverse courses as required to give a screen over own vessel. The ships themselves should throw floats or pots to windward from the ship so as to obtain a smoke cloud near the ship before the screen produced by the ships' boats drifts to the ships' anchorage. In daytime both black and white smoke should be employed.
- At night the screen should be begun in sufficient time to be effective by moonrise. During moonlight the screen must be maintained. During night attacks, smoke-laying boats should keep to windward of own transport; if boats circumnavigate own transport the flames of the smoke pot will serve to pin-point the ship as a target to the enemy. At dawn the screen must be thickened to ensure adequate coverage until sufficient daylight exists to ensure enemy aircraft being seen by own gunners.
- All APAs, XAPs, AKAs, and their boats are equipped with smoke pots and smoke floats. All fuel oil burning vessels have funnel smoke available. Many ships have smoke generators. Merchant ships should also be equipped with smoke pots prior to sailing for the assault area.
Section XIII -- BARRAGE BALLOONS
- The plans provided for the employment of balloons in accordance with the procedure adopted by the Royal Navy as a result of three years of warfare in the Mediterranean. The successful employment of balloons by merchant shipping in the Mediterranean, where convoys were under constant attack by enemy aircraft, was further emphasized by the skillful use of this apparatus by RAF detachments in numerous ports of Algeria, Tunisia, and Tripolitania, and on the beaches
where the North African campaign was being waged. Thus early in the planning stage of the Sicilian campaign it was recognized that lethal balloons were essential to the protection of the assault shipping and the assault beaches of the Western Task Forces.
- Since this equipment comes under the cognizance of the Army, early requests were made of that service to obtain balloon units in this theater adequate to meet the assault requirements. Early requests upon the War Department from this theater produced replies to the effect that no barrage balloon units were available for the Sicilian operation; this information was disconcerting in view of scenes appearing in newspapers reaching this theater from the United States wherein photographs appeared of innumerable balloons over cities of the California coast and at military training centers on the Florida coast. Repeated requests were made for the equipment and steps were taken by the naval commands to install shipboard fittings in all assault transports then in the United States and North African waters. Merchant vessels scheduled to enter the assault area during the initial attack were also fitted out in the same manner.
- In time, advice was received that three U.S. Army Barrage Balloon Batteries, the 102nd, 103rd, and 104th would be made available for the operation. With the passage of time and the non-arrival in this theater of designated Balloon Batteries, requests were made of the Royal Air Force to provide balloon detachments for use on the assault beaches. This resulted in the assignment of five RAF balloon detachments each consisting of one officer, 24 men, and 12 operational balloons.
- After the arrival from the United States of the CENT combat-loaders in June, steps were taken to ensure that available balloon units were scheduled in the 7th Army Troop List in accordance with the needs of each Task Force. No control over the distribution or loading of these units was exercised by any naval command. On 23 June, the Commander, Western Task Force, was advised by the Army Commander that balloons were being assault loaded as follows:
- CENT (103 balloons, assault loaded)
- 103 CA AA Balloon Battery: 45 operational balloons
- 102nd Det. CA AA Balloon Battery: 46 operational balloons
- 1 RAF Detachment: 12 operational balloons
- DIME (36 balloons, assault loaded)
- 2 RAF Detachments: 24 operational balloons
- 1 RAF Detachment: 12 operational balloons (in assault craft)
- JOSS (57 balloons, assault loaded)
- 104th CA AA Balloon Battery: 45 operational balloons
- 1 RAF Detachment: 12 operational balloons
- On 7 July, while at sea, it was learned that the actual distribution and loading of balloons in the ships and craft was as follows:
- CENT (52 balloons, assault loaded)
- 103rd CA AA Balloon Battery. The 45 balloons of this unit were found to be loaded in the holds of the Leonard Wood, Susan B. Anthony, and James O'Hara. The equipment could not be made operational until unloaded from the ships and transferred to shore.
- 102nd CA AA Balloon Battery. This unit had 40 operational balloons distributed among the combat-loaders and immediately operational.
- 1 RAF Detachment: 12 balloons distributed among the combat-loaders and immediately operational.
- DIME (36 balloons, assault loaded)
- 2 RAF Detachments: 24 balloons distributed among the combat-loaders and immediately operational.
- 1 RAF Detachment: 12 balloons distributed among assault craft due in transport area on D day.
- JOSS (12) balloons, assault loaded)
- 104th CA AA Balloon Battery. This unit had arrived in North Africa without its equipment which was enroute to the theater in a slow convoy. This battery was not loaded in the assault shipping.
- 1 RAF Detachment: 12 operational balloons distributed in assault craft.
Summarizing, the balloons available on D day were:
* Loaded in assault craft; to be shifted to beach defense when craft are unloaded at beaches.
- In order the balloon strength of the JOSS force might be augmented to provide additional protection to the large number of craft unloading over the beaches, and in order to provide for the protection of the port of Licata which was to be in our hands on D day, it was then proposed to the Army that the 103rd Battery be unloaded from CENT transports into LCTs and be diverted to JOSS. This shift was so ordered. It was then discovered that the equipment of the 103rd Battery was stowed in the transports deep in the holds under trucks and other material. In endeavoring to comply with the order that balloon equipment be discharged with dispatch, some of the ships suffered delays in overall unloading because of shifting cargo to gain access to the buried balloon equipment. This unit was finally discharged into LCTs but these craft apparently unloaded over the Gela-Scoglitti beaches since they did not arrive in the JOSS area.
- The balloons over the assault shipping were flown at 1000 feet, the greatest height attainable, and were very effective as a deterrent to strafing attacks. On the beaches, however, the barrage was so thin that it was virtually ineffective. The extreme length of the beaches being used by our forces required balloons in far greater number than were provided. The CENT beaches extended initially over a distance of twelve miles; DIME six miles; JOSS two detached areas, each three miles long, separated by a distance of about four and one-half miles. Obviously twelve balloons over beaches of such lengths offered a token effort only. During the first three days of the assault, enemy aircraft exploited the weakness of our beach defenses by making almost constant sneak raids along the beaches where landing craft, boats, pontoon causeways, stores and personnel were subjected to bombing and machine gun fire. These attacks continued until our own aircraft began operating from Sicilian airfields and our air supremacy made such raids unprofitable for the enemy.
- All APAs, XAPs AKAs, LSTs and merchant vessels taking part in amphibious assaults should have installed, as a permanent installation, masthead (or similar) fittings, deck winches, and related appurtenances. Each vessel should have aboard a Balloon Unit (consisting of trained personnel of the U.S. Navy) having sufficient lethal balloons and gas to ensure the maintenance of an effective barrage over all assault shipping.
- If this shipboard unit is not a part of the ships' organization, and the Navy continues to be dependent upon the Army for balloon protection, I recommend that the attention of the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army be invited to the necessity of providing for balloons in all theaters where U.S. forces are carrying out offensive amphibious operations.
- Although DIMEnsions of selected beaches will vary in different locales, and the organizational frontage employed in the assault will depend largely upon the military tactical plan being executed, it must be appreciated that early on D day there is invariably a shift in beach locations and an expansion in beach frontage as huge tonnages are being landed in the form of assault weapons, maintenance, and build up. Beaches where scores of landing ships, landing craft, and boats are immobile during unloading, and where pontoon causeways are rigged to ensure the landing of tanks, artillery, and vehicles, offer a most vulnerable target for enemy aircraft. With the inadequate scale of AA protection provided at assault beaches, the employment of balloon barrages becomes of even greater importance. Normally there should be a barrage balloon every 200 yards of beach frontage. Each pontoon causeway should have a balloon permanently over its seaward and shoreward end. Each LST should have over it its own balloon whether afloat or ashore.
- It is not sufficient that Balloon Batteries be shown in a Troop List; these units actually must be embarked in ships and be fully operational to meet the needs of assault shipping and beaches. Balloon Batteries should not be eliminated from the Army Troop List on the pretext that such units are not "fighting troops". In point of fact the space required aboard ship for the equipment of this unit is comparatively insignificant when weighed against the utility of the unit. The usefulness of the unit more than compensates for the shipboard space occupied by it.
- Although balloons have been viewed heretofore as passive defense weapons suitable for defense of ports and convoys moving in coastal and restricted waters, the Sicilian operation has forcefully demonstrated that this weapon is an essential and vital arm in amphibious assault operations, and one which thus far has not been fully exploited by the American forces.
Section XIV -- OPENING OF PORTS
- Amphibious operations requiring the landing and maintenance of military forces consisting of several divisions make is almost obligatory that a port be captured at the earliest date possible. If no port is available, or the captured port is incapable of handling the vast tonnages needed by the invading forces, it then becomes necessary to organize beach maintenance, a difficult and costly project placing a heavy drain on the resources of both the Army and the Navy.
- Under the original Outline Plan of the Theater Commander, the ports assigned to the United States were Palermo, Trapani, Marsala and Sciacca. The first-named was classified as a "major" port and the others as "minor" ports. Advice was received from the United States that base equipment for those ports was being shipped to the theater. It was known in this theater that Sciacca did not possess a port worthy of the name, and in our planning the port of Mazzara del Vallo and/or Porto Empedocle was substituted therefore.
- When the original plan was cancelled and the "Montgomery Plan" was adopted, the American assaults were shifted to the Gulf of Gela. The ports of Palermo, Trapani and Marsala under this plan were not to become available until late in the military campaign. In the support of our military forces we were committed, therefore, to beach maintenance for at least thirty days, a situation which could be alleviated only by capture of such small ports as existed in the wake of the advance of our military forces. For this reason it was suggested to the Army that early movements toward coastal ports would greatly aid the Navy in ensuring the continued maintenance of the military forces. It was decided therefore to initially establish a Beach Party component from a Port Party at Gela, and a minor Port Party at Licata. As the Army made subsequent movements to the westward, it was planned to open the small harbor of Porto Empedocle, followed by the ports of Mazzara del Vallo, Marsala, Trapani, and Palermo as these fell to our military forces. As the Army advanced and the lines of communication were shifted in order to prevent over-extension, it was planned to abandon in succession the ports of Gela, Licata, Porto Empedocle, and Mazzara del Vallo. With the opening of Palermo, on D plus 12, it was found the ports of Marsala and Trapani were neither suitable nor necessary to the support of the 7th Army, and United States naval Port Parties were withdrawn.
- It is essential, in the early planning stages of the operation, that the officers destined to be Port Directors be present and participate in the development of the naval administrative plans. Such officers should assist in the development of plans for opening of ports, including sweeping of channels to ports, assignment of salvage and harbor craft, port defense, and related subjects. This will ensure that the equipment and personnel, sent from the United States to the theater for Port Parties, are suitable for the ports under consideration, and will greatly facilitate the assembly of material and the training of Port Party personnel in the theater prior to the assault.
- In the interest of standardization, procurement of materials, etc.. Port Parties are organized in the United States to provide for the occupation of bases and ports in theaters of war. Thus in the case of Sicily, equipment and stores were shipped to this theater for the ports enumerated in the second paragraph, the scale of the standardized unit being determined by an estimate of whether the port is "major" or "minor." It appears that in making this determination a thorough study of reliable port information was not the basis upon which the determination was made. As a result there has been shipped to this theater a vast amount of equipment which is not applicable to Sicilian ports and for which no useful purpose can be found. If sufficient time is available it would be conducive to efficiency and thrift if the planning for port requirements were performed as suggested above, and procurement and shipment of equipment to the theater were based upon the plans developed by planners on the scene of action.
- When the military plans envisage the capture of ports on D day, or prior to the arrival of follow-up convoys, it is necessary that the Port Parties be embarked in the assault convoys, together with such equipment, appliances and stores as may be required by this organization to function efficiently until the arrival of later convoys bringing the remainder of the base equipment. The Army Troop Lists and Loading Plans must make provision for the loading of naval Port Parties in proper ship movements.
- Where ports are thus scheduled for capture before follow-up convoys reach the assault area, and prompt movement of our ships into captured ports for unloading is intended, it is most important that Army Troop Lists provide for necessary stevedore and dockside labor troops to be available concurrently with the entrance of our shipping into the ports. It is not a naval responsibility to employ naval personnel in the task of unloading merchant vessels.
Section XV -- PORT SECURITY and COMBAT INTELLIGENCE
- Four naval officers possessing special language qualifications and trained in counter-intelligence attended a one month course in combat counter-intelligence given by the Army's Counter Intelligence Corps (C. I. C.) shortly before the invasion of Sicily. For the latter operation these officers were assigned to Commander Advanced Bases as Naval Port Security officers for duty with each Naval Port Organization. On D day they landed early, two at Gela and two at Licata. They immediately located fishermen familiar with the beach minefields, the condition of channels, and the booby-trapping of port installations. They also passed through the enemy lines and reached the Italian naval headquarters near Agrigento, where they captured documents, amended to 9 July, 1943, showing location of minefields off both Sicily and the, Italian mainland. Two additional officers joined the original four after the assault.
- After the assault and as ports were opened up, Licata, Porto Empedocle, and Palermo the Naval Port Security officers worked closely with the Army C. I. C. and did valuable work not only in port security proper, but also arranged for local pilots to return to work, supervised the reassembling and putting to sea of the local fishing fleet in order to ease the critical food situation, assisted in the interrogation of prisoners, and obtained local battle-order information.
- I recommend that in future amphibious operations the specially qualified and trained Navy Combat Intelligence officers:
- Be landed in early waves attached to Naval Beach Party for local reconnaissance intelligence;
- Be provided with suitable transportation and portable radio in order that they may communicate intelligence directly to the Flagship.
- Be assigned to Advance Base Groups for the consolidation period after ports are captured in order to organize naval port security and to locate and seize with utmost speed documents and equipment of naval interest.
The above assignments should be temporary so that the specialized services of these officers may be utilized in each succeeding operation for which they are qualified.
Section XVI -- MAINTENANCE and BUILD UP
- The plans provided for assault forces, landing on D day, to be:
45th Inf. Div.
1st Inf. Div. (less 1 RCT)
1 Arm. Combat Command 82nd A.B. Div. (less 4 Bns.)
2 Bns. Rangers
3rd Inf. Div.
2nd Arm. Div. (less 1 Arm. CC)
1 Bn. Rangers
1 RCT (1st Inf. Div.)
1 Arm. CC (2nd Arm. Div.)
GENERAL RESERVE (in North Africa):
9th Inf. Div.
- The supply plan provided for the 45th Infantry Division, mounted in the United States, to land in the assault with 21 days maintenance and 10 units of fire. All other U.S. troops were mounted in North Africa and were to be provided with 21 days maintenance and 7 units of fire - these supplies to be carried in the assault, first and second follow-ups.
- Due to the unavailability of ports in the region of the American assaults, plans were laid for beach maintenance for about 30 days. This administrative risk was lessened to a degree by a plan by which 1000 tons per day were to be landed through the ports of Syracusa beginning on D plus 14.
- The rapid utilization of Sicilian airports was essential to the success of the military plan, and the logistic requirements of the air force were superimposed on those of the ground forces.
- The tonnages involved in maintenance and build up were so vast that it required the following planned shipping movements:
- CENT Force:
- On D day, (in convoy NCF-1), the assault forces in 1 AGC, 7 APA, 6 XAP and 5 AKA, carrying 21 days maintenance plus 10 units of fire for troops mounted in the U.S. (approximately 10,900 tons) - less amounts carried in 1st Follow-up (convoy NCS-2).
- On D day, (in convoy TC-1) assault forces in 14 LST, 8 LCT, and 6 LCI(L), carrying 7 days maintenance plus 2 1/3 units of fire for CENT troops from North Africa (approximately 2400 tons).
- On D plus 4 (in Convoy NCS-2) 7 store ships loaded in U.S. ex-UGS-10, carrying remainder of 21 days maintenance plus 10 units of fire for 45th Inf. Div. plus vehicles and supplies.
- On D plus 4 (in convoy TC-2), 8 LST, 4 LCI(L), and 2 coasters. Craft carrying personnel and vehicles; coasters carrying 7 days maintenance plus 1 1/6 U. F. (approx. 3800 tons) for assault troops and 1st Follow-up for troops loaded in North Africa.
- On D plus 8 (in convoy TC-3), 6 LST, 3 LCI(L), and 2 coasters. Craft carrying personnel and vehicles; coasters 7 days maintenance plus 1 1/6 U. F. (approx. 3600 tons) for troops in assault, 1st and 2nd Follow-ups from North Africa.
- On D plus 14 (in convoy TC-4), 2 coasters, 7 days maintenance plus 3 1/3 U. F. (approx. 3600 tons) for troops in assault, 1st and 2nd Follow-ups from North Africa.
- DIME Force:
- On D day (in convoy NCF-1), the assault forces in 4 APA, 3 XAP, and 2 AKA, carrying 7 days maintenance plus 2 1/3 units of fire for assault troops, including 82 A. B. Div. (approx. 4700 tons).
- On D day (in convoy TD-1), assault forces in 16 LST and 19 LCI(L) carrying personnel and vehicles. H. Q. 7th Army 7 days maintenance plus 2 1/3 U. F.
- On D plus 4 (in convoy NCS-2) 10 store ships carrying 7 days maintenance (approx. 7600 tons) plus 1 1/6 units of fire for DIME assault troops and 1st Follow-up, including 82 A. B. Div.
- On D plus 4 (in convoy TD-2), 10 LST, 12 LCI(L), carrying personnel and vehicles.
- On D plus 8 (in convoy NCS-3), 7 store ships and 1 tanker, carrying 14 days maintenance (approx. 12,800 tons) plus 2 1/3 U. F. for DIME troops in assault, 1st and 2nd Follow-ups, including 82 A. B. Div. Tanker carrying approximately 660 tons 100 octane gasoline.
- On D plus 8 (in convoy TD-3), 11 LST and 23 LCI(L), carrying personnel and vehicles.
- On D plus 14 (in convoy NCS-4), 1 tanker carrying approximately 660 tons 100 octane gasoline.
- KOOL Force:
- On D day (in convoy NCF-1) assault forces in 2 AP.
- On D day (in convoy TK-1) assault forces in 6 LST, 7 LCT, and 27 LCI(L), carrying personnel and vehicles and 21 days maintenance and 4 2/3 U. F. less amounts carried in 1st Follow-up (convoy NCS-1).
- On D plus 4 (in convoy NCS-1), 7 store ships carrying remainder 21 days maintenance (approx. 9700 tons) and 4 2/3U. F. for reserve (KOOL) forces.
- On D plus 4 (in convoy NCF-2) 4 troop ships, carrying remainder of KOOL Forces.
- JOSS Force:
- On D day (in convoy TJ-1) assault forces in 2 LSI(S), 40 LST, 85 LCT, and 54 LCI(L), carrying 7 days maintenance (approx. 6900 tons) plus 2 1/3 Units of Fire for JOSS Forces, personnel, and vehicles.
- On D plus 4 (in convoy TJ-2), 2 LSI(S), 22 LST, 28 LCT, 34 LCI(L), and 4 coasters. LSI carrying troops; craft carrying personnel and vehicles; coasters carrying 7 days maintenance (approx. 7800 tons) plus 1 1/6 U. F. for JOSS assault and first Follow-up.
- On D plus 8 (in convoy TJ-3), 15 LST, 24 LCI(L), and 5 coasters. Craft carrying personnel and vehicles. Coasters carrying 7 days maintenance (approx. 8600 tons) and 1 1/6 U. F. for troops in assault, 1st and 2nd Follow-up.
- On D plus 14 (in convoy TJ-4) 4 coasters carrying 7 days maintenance (approx. 8600 tons) plus 2 1/3 U. F. for troops in assault, 1st and 2nd Follow-up.
- On D plus 25, 4 coasters carrying maintenance supplies (approx. 6000 tons) for JOSS troops.
- After the 2nd Follow-up craft convoys, all craft (U.S. and British) were placed in a pool for the build-up of Allied armies.
- RESERVE SUPPLIES:
In addition to movements scheduled above in support of forces being maintained and built up through the southern beaches, the following additional movements were set up:
- To Syracusa on D plus 8, 1 AP carrying port depot parties, 2 store ships carrying 7 days maintenance (approx. 500 tons) for 2550 troops, and 2 LST carrying vehicles and personnel for depot parties.
- To Syracusa (or southern beaches) on D plus 14, 4 cargo ships, (ex-UGS-11) carrying Force 21 days maintenance supplies (approx. 22,000 tons) and 4 U. F., less amounts carried in 7 other ships in UGS-11 convoy.
- Held in North African ports to be called forward as required, 7 store ships (ex-UGS-11) carrying Force maintenance supplies.
- Due to arrive at Oran on D plus 22, 11 store ships (ex-UGS-12) carrying Force 21 days maintenance supplies and 4 U. F. To be held in port, and called forward as required. Maintenance convoys thereafter every ten days arriving direct from the United States. The number of ships in these convoys to be sent to ports for discharge to be based on acceptance due to rate of discharge and harbor clearance.
- The Reserve supplies held for the 7th Army at the Eastern Base Section (Bizerta) available on call, included 15 days maintenance for 140,000 men, 31/2 units of fire, 25% combat vehicles, 10% General Purpose Vehicles, and 10% weapons. Other supplies for the 82nd Air Borne Division were located at Kairouan for movement by air.
Execution of Plan:
- The assaults were carried out as planned. Licata was captured and opened to our craft on D day (10 July). On 16 July Porto Empedocle fell, and was opened at once to our craft. The total capacity of these two ports was insufficient to maintain the 7th Army and beach maintenance was continued. On 20 July the CENT beaches were closed, and on 24 July the beach personnel moved from the DIME beaches and Gela to occupy Palermo. The capture of that city on 22 July placed in our hands for the first time a port capable of accepting deep-draft vessels.
- The tonnages unloaded over the assault beaches far exceeded any record hitherto attained in war. A brief summary follows:
10-12 July incl.
Note: DIME beaches closed on 11 July due to enemy counter-attack, and reopened the following day.
- After the departure of the combat-loaders, the CENT beaches handled as high as 1900 D/W tons per day, and the DIME beaches and Gela averaged about 2500 D/W tons per day. During the period 10-31 July, approximately 104,134 D/W tons were moved through beaches in southern Sicily. The greatest daily tonnage discharged on the southern shore was 6638 tons, on 18 July.
- Palermo was opened to our shipping on 28 July (D plus 18) when 6 coasters from the D plus 14 convoy, carrying rations and gasoline loaded in North Africa, were diverted from the south coast of Sicily. Two of these coasters were routed onward to unload at Termini. Liberty ships of the UGS-11 convoy arrived off Palermo on 28 July and followed the six coasters to discharge points. Five other cargo ships of UGS-11 had been previously directed to the south coast for unloading. Thus essential supplies as food, gasoline and ammunition, which heretofore had to be trucked overland from the south coast, were brought directly to the troops. Palermo harbor was a wreck, when our forces entered the port, due to the heavy air bombardments which the harbor had so long endured. A total of 44 vessels, craft and barges were sunk in the channels and along the docks, reducing the capacity of the port to about 30 per CENT of its value.
- With the fall of Palermo the Army plan now provided-for the supplies to the eastward-moving troops to flow from two directions: from the southward through the Gela, Licata, Porto Empedocle areas forward to Nicosa; from the westward through Palermo forward to Cefalu, the terminus of the operating railroad at that time. On 3 August Torremuzzo Beach in the vicinity of San Stefano was opened and, during the following ten days, was used as a discharge point immediately in the rear of our advancing troops. Two Italian schooners, requisitioned by the Navy at Palermo, were loaded at that port and sailed to Torremuzzo Beach. For LSTs were loaded at south coast ports with rations, gasoline and ammunition and sailed westward around the island to San Stefano.
- On 1 August five personnel ships and seven cargo ships carrying elements of the 9th Infantry Division arrived at Palermo. The arrival of the 9th Division in Palermo slowed the discharge of cargo to the point where the total tonnage of rations unloaded fell below ration tonnage consumed. This was remedied on 10 August by the arrival of an LST from North Africa which carried a cargo of 200,000 rations. These were discharged at San Stefano. As the 3rd Infantry Division advanced eastward, a new supply point was opened on 16 August at Brolo Beach. At this point urgent ammunition was delivered close to the front lines by an LST loaded on the south coast and sailed around the island. Another LST carrying 195,000 rations from North Africa unloaded at this point. A coaster was partially unloaded at this point also. Barcelona Beach was used as an unloading point as the 7th Army progressed toward Messina and the land supply lines became greatly extended. From Brolo, rations and gasoline were shuttled to the 3rd Division at Barcelona Beach by LCTs on 16 August and 17 August. This movement of essential supplies at a time when they were critically needed, and when roads were impassable to motor transport, hastened the close of the campaign. In this manner the Army requirements of artillery and mortar ammunition, rations, motor fuel, and other essential combat supplies were met. These coastal movements by sea served two purposes: they augmented the stocks of ammunition and rations being built up in Palermo from deep-draft vessels, .and materially eased the strain on land transport. Road and rail transportation was greatly hampered by demolitions of bridges and cornice roads, minefields, and similar enemy action, while the terrain and long tortuous roads placed operational strain on trucks. Thus at times water transportation by craft was the only means available of ensuring prompt supply to the troops at the front by unloading immediately in the rear of our forces. Other landing ships and craft were engaged in lifting troops and equipment in execution of leap-frog landings on the North Coast.
- With the fall of Messina on 17 August, enemy resistance collapsed and Sicily was fully occupied, though the build-up and maintenance continued. By 29 August the port of Palermo had been brought to 60 perCENT of its capacity as a result of salvage operations. During the period 28 July - 31 August, this port received 48 ships in addition to numerous landing craft. These ships comprised 5 personnel ships, 32 Liberty cargo ships and 11 coasters. During this period 120,706 deadweight tons were discharged at this port. The largest daily tonnage was 5,718 tons.
- Although the plans provided for the employment of craft in the shore-to-shore assaults, and two follow-up movements to carry in the "tails" of the assault forces, in the execution of the plan the landing ships and craft were used for continuous ferrying and lightering service, until the island was fully reduced. The following is a summary of the trips made from Tunisian ports during this period (6-18 August):
The total trips in craft by types from Tunisian ports during these six weeks were:
Other ships movements from Tunisian ports were:
1 trip, carrying
(Transport) Chateau Thierry
1 trip, carrying
(Coaster) Bruce Jarl
1 trip, carrying
979 tons ammunition
1 trip, carrying
5 troops (scorpions)
4 trips, carrying
Thus the grand total of all voyages of all types of ships and craft from Tunisian ports was 736, all voyages but 8 being made by landing ships and craft.
- The breakdown of the loadings at ports is as follows:
Total personnel lift
The Bizerta loading is further broken down into assault and follow-up totals, as follows:
The 658 guns are broken down, as follows:
The total lift of 13,939 long tons of supplies is broken down, as follows:
Ch. War. Service
R. A. F.
Total (long tons)
- The figures given above indicate the tremendous logistic job carried out by the U.S. landing ships and craft, although the plan had not contemplated the employment of craft on this scale. The plans provided that with the completion of the passage of the follow-up division, the requirements of the Army would be met by the planned arrivals in the follow-up ship convoys. In fact it was far from the case. As late as 12August (D plus 33), craft of all types were being called upon for continuous ferry service or lightering to bring in units vaguely referred to as the "tails." This in spite of the capture of all ports in Sicily except Messina.
- It was recognized that in the absence of sufficient tugs and lighters it was inevitable that a proportion of LCMs and LCTs would have to be retained for lightering work. The scale of the continual long distance ferry service, however, was not anticipated. The follow-up and supply over the beaches is an exceedingly costly method and one which may be interrupted seriously by weather. It should be abandoned as soon as ports can be captured and exploited. Continued employment of landing craft in a maintenance shuttle service, a use for which they were not designed, produces
- a serious strain on the craft, reducing them eventually to a non-operational status,
- a serious strain on the craft maintenance and repair facilities, and
- an increasing handicap to the planning and mounting of future amphibious operations.
None of these is considered justified by the results obtained.
- LSTs are not suitable for carrying stores or "packaged goods"; when this is done there must be provisions made by the Army to furnish necessary manpower to expedite the unloading of the ships at their destinations. The crews of the LSTs are not adequate to cope with the task of unloading such cargo. This type of vessel is ideal for carrying vehicles and its use should be restricted to this lift. While the advent of this new type of craft has rendered the speed and ease of landing incomparably greater, it has, unfortunately, created a tendency toward laxity and opportunism in military planning. The LST is a lightly built ship with very unusual machinery, and is designed for a comparatively short life. The propelling machinery requires considerable maintenance without which breakdowns are of frequent occurrence. Therefore employment in follow-up schedules should utilize fully their quick loading and unloading capabilities to provide two or three trips with a rapid turn-round, followed by a definite period for "upkeep" in which maintenance work can be performed by shipsí force and base repair facilities. If craft are to be available for future amphibious operations, their employment must be restricted to providing the rapid build-up required in the early stages of the campaign.
- It is considered essential that in future amphibious operations the military logistic plans be so drawn as to permit follow-up commitments to be met by normally loaded ship convoys, and that the use of landing craft be confined:
- to the mounting and landing of minor outflanking operations
- to the minimum scale for the coastwise maintenance of advanced forces
- in exceptional circumstances, to meet emergency requirements.
Section XVII -- REDUCTION OF THE ISLAND
- In my Operation Plan No. 2-43, I had provided: "When military operations are undertaken for the reduction of the island, a Support Force, comprising light cruisers and destroyers, will be assigned to support the reduction operations by naval bombardment."
- The reduction phase of the campaign began with the fall of Palermo and the consolidation of the forces of the 7th Army for an advance along the north coast of the island and a break through on the Axis line San Stefano-Nicosa. On 28 July, I created Task Force 88, under the command of Rear Admiral L. A. Davidson, U.S. Navy, (ComCruDiv 8), with the assigned task: "support the eastward advance of the 7th Army by gunfire support and by effecting advance landings of military units."
- Forces available to C.T.F. 88 were:
CruDiv 8 - Philadelphia (F) Savannah (30 July-8 August) Boise (9-18 August) DesRon 8 - Wainwright (F) Rhind Rowan Trippe DesDiv 34 - Gherardi (F) } Available until 6 August Butler Shubrick (Bombed) Desron 7 - Plunkett(F) Benson Gleaves Ludlow Available when not required as escorts for convoys Bristol Edison Knight
- 14 PTs
- 2 LSTs } Due to damage in action, replacements made were 3 LSTs and 5 LCTs 10 LCI(L)s 7 LCTs
} Due to damage in action 2 PCs were replaced 6 SCs 4 YMSs
The landing craft and escorts were pooled with those assigned to defense of Palermo, in order to keep the combat quota filled.
- Operations carried out against the enemy by CTF 88 in furtherance of his mission were:
- bombardment of enemy positions in the immediate front of the 7th Army,
- bombardment of enemy positions and communications in the rear by day and by night,
- offensive sweeps nightly by destroyers to intercept attempts to supply or to evacuate,
- nightly patrol by motor torpedo boats on reconnaissance or on offensive missions,
- ferrying of troops, artillery and heavy equipment around demolished tunnels and bridges,
- amphibious operations behind enemy lines,
- expeditions against outlying islands.
- The following brief summary outlines the direct support rendered to the 7th Army during the reduction phase of the campaign:
- After the capture of Palermo on 22 July, the 45th Infantry Division moved eastward along the northern coast toward Messina, reaching Cefalu on 24 July. On 26 July this coastal movement reached the road junction north of San Mauro. On 27 July the advance continued to
Costel di Tusa, five miles west of San Stefano on Highway 113, and to San Mauro. On 29 July the 45th Division gained a position on the coast four miles east of the Tusa River, and moved one of its infantry units south to Mistretta and another to flank the enemy in the vicinity of San Stefano. The following day the advance of the 45th Division met stiff resistence from the 71st Panzer Grenadier Regiment of the German 29th Motorized Division. The destroyer Rowan by gunfire covered the advance of our troops. One infantry unit of the 45th moved eastward from Pittineo, six miles southwest of San Stefano, to Reitano and prepared to attack San Stefano from the south.
- On 31 July San Stefano fell to the 45th Division. The cruiser Philadelphia bombarded enemy positions near San Stefano to aid the advance of the troops on the coastal road. Cruiser plane spot was used. A 6 inch shore battery returned the fire against the ship. The 3rd Infantry Division now relieved the 45th Division on the left flank of the 7th Army, and on 1 August advanced about four miles east of San Stefano. On 2 August the coastal forces consolidated their positions between San Stefano and Coronia, about six miles to the eastward, preparatory to resuming the eastward advance. The cruiser Savannah and destroyer Rowan placed fire on enemy positions as requested by the Army.
- On the night of 2-3 August the Philadelphia, Rowan and Knight laid down a heavy fire on the coastal highway and enemy strong point near San Agata. This fire was reported to be very effective. During daylight of the 3rd the Philadelphia, Savannah, Gherardi and Rhind shelled the same area, enabling the 3rd Infantry Division to reach a position within two miles of the Furiano River, close westward of San Fratello. Cruiser planes provided spot.
- On 4 August a considerable concentration of enemy artillery on the coastal road was observed, and increased resistance was met during the forenoon as the 15th Infantry Regiment made an unsuccessful attack across the river under cover of naval gunfire. This infantry unit then moved up the valley about two miles in search of a more favorable route across the river. Later that day, as the 1st Infantry Division attack on Troina gained momentum, the 7th RCT with attached artillery was shuttled by sea in landing craft to the area behind the 15th RCT, about one mile west of the Furiano River and two miles west of San Fratello, preparatory to an attack on San Fratello Ridge. Simultaneously, bombardment by the cruiser Savannah was laid down on San Agata, Cape Orlando, highway 113, bridges, and defiles in that area. The shore battery at Cape Orlando returned the fire.
- During the night of 4-5 August the destroyers Gherardiand Rhind placed a bombardment on enemy positions near San Agata. On 5 August the 3rd Infantry Division continued its attack toward San Agata with the 30th RCT attacking San Fratello ridge from the southwest, while the cruiser Savannah and destroyers Rowan and Trippe took under fire enemy positions between San Agata and Cape Orlando. The shore batteries near the latter point returned the fire of the bombarding ships.
- On 6 August the Savannah and Rowan carried out bombardment of positions a-head of our military forces, who made an unsuccessful attempt to gain a foothold across the Furiano River.
- The next day strong enemy resistance was met by our ground forces near the coast, the enemy counter-attacking north of San Fratello. The cruisers Savannah and Philadelphia, using own aircraft for spot, laid a heavy bombardment in the area between San Agata and Cape Orlando. An enemy freight train and concentrations were taken under accurate gunfire.
- During darkness on the morning of 8 August an amphibious landing was made in the rear of the enemy. A military force of one battalion of infantry, one tank platoon, and two batteries of field artillery landed near Terranova, at a point about six miles southwest of Cape Orlando. The naval forces consisted of two LSTs, one LCI(L), and seven LCTs with escorts. Support was given by the cruisers Philadelphia and Savannah, and the destroyers Wainwright, Rhind, Rowan and Trippe. Gunfire support was rendered on call from Shore Fire Control Parties. This landing took the enemy by surprise and broke his resistance in the San Fratello area. Units of the 3rd Division quickly took the heights of Mount Fratello and occupied the towns of San Fratello and San Agata. During the day the Philadelphia shelled enemy positions in the vicinity of Cape Orlando, using Army planes for spot. This gunfire was returned by enemy batteries firing at a range of 16,000 yards.
- On 9 August units of the 3rd Division advanced slowly over heavily mined areas as the enemy withdrew east of the Zappula River. The following day our forces crossed this river after beating off an enemy counter-attack; the enemy appeared to be organizing a defense on the line Cape Orlando-Naso.
- During darkness early on 11 August, another amphibious landing was made in the rear of the enemy's lines. A military force of one infantry battalion, reinforced with armored artillery and tanks, landed two miles east of Cape Orlando and captured a position astride the highway and railroad two miles west of Brolo. The naval forces consisted of one LST, two LCI(L)s, and six LCTs with escorts. Support was given by the cruisers Philadelphiaand Boise, and the destroyers Rowan, Rhind and Trippe. Resistance to the landing was met from artillery emplacements in the hills and from 20 mm guns located in pill boxes on the beach. Fire from these positions was sporadic and inaccurate, and these positions were completely neutralized by naval gunfire. During daylight the Philadelphia broke up a German counter-attack which threatened the forces just landed. This gunfire was extended to the road east of Brolo and west of Cape Orlando. This cruiser, on 11 August, fired 1062 rounds of 6"/47 H. C. ammunition. The enemy returned the fire, but all shots fell short of the cruiser.
- On 12 August the 3rd Infantry Division moved into Cape Orlando and joined the forces which had landed west of Brolo. Under the cover of gunfire from the cruiser Boise, the 30th RCT of the 7th Infantry moved rapidly along the coast road and took Brolo; other elements of this regiment entered Ficarra, five miles south of Brolo. During the night of 12-13 August the destroyers Benson and Plunkettbombarded the coastal road between Brolo and Patti where enemy forces were withdrawing to the eastward.
- On 13 August the 3rd Division continued its advance eastward to within two miles of Patti. The advance past Cape Calava, four miles northwest of Patti, was impeded by a large crater blown in the road at the eastern end of the Calava tunnel where the road had been carved from solid rock formation. This block was by-passed by embarking the troops with their artillery and vehicles in LCTs and ferrying them around the cape to a point to the eastward of the road-block.
- On 14 August the cruiser Boise and destroyers Rowan and Benson placed a heavy bombardment on enemy artillery, motor transport, and grounded aircraft concentrated near Milazzo; our troops advanced rapidly along the coast road, captured Oliveri and Falcone, and reached a position three miles east of Barcellona.
- During the night of 14-15 August the destroyers Plunkett and Gleaves laid a bombardment behind the enemy lines on the forces withdrawing on the coastal road. On 15 August the American troops moved into this area capturing Spadafora, twelve miles east of Barcellona.
- During darkness early on the morning of 16 August, another amphibious landing-was made from landing craft. The 157 RCT of the 45th Infantry Division was to have been landed eastward of Milazzo but, due to the rapid advance of the 3rd Division to Spadafora, the 7th Army decided to land this RCT behind our own lines. The landing was diverted, therefore, to the beaches northwest of Barcellona. The naval forces consisted of three LSTs, eight LCI(L)s, and thirteen LCTs with escorts. Cover was provided by Philadelphia, Boise, Bristol and Knight. The screen was composed of the destroyers Wainwright, Rhind, Rowan and Trippe. On the 16th our forces advanced from Spadafore and by dark had reached Divieto. During the night, patrols entered Messina, which was fully occupied the next morning. With the fall of Messina, the island of Sicily was fully reduced.
- On the night of 17-18 August U.S. Naval forces carried out bombardments of the Italian mainland. The Philadelphia, Plunkett and Benson placed well directed fires into Gioia Taura, while the Boise, NIBLACK and Gleaves bombarded Palmi. On the night of 19-20 August, the destroyers Wainwright and Trippe bombarded Gioia Taura, starting a large fire on shore.
Expeditions against Islands:
- On 4 August the destroyers Plunkett and Gleaves with LCI(L) 213 sailed to the island of Ustica, demanded and received the surrender of the military garrison.
- On 17 August the destroyer Trippe with six PT boats demanded and received the surrender of the Lipari Islands.
Offensive Sweeps and Patrols
- MTBron 15 had been operating out of Palermo for some time when Task Force 88 was formed. As destroyers then became available for use in maintaining a continuous security patrol off Palermo, the PTs extended their offensive sweeps against enemy shipping along the north coast of Sicily to the Straits of Messina and into the Gulf of Gioia and the Gulf of S. Eufemia.
- On the night of 29-30 July two PTs engaged with guns and torpedoes two enemy "F" lighters and four escorts south of the Lipari Islands. Our craft sank one enemy escort, but enemy gunfire damaged our craft and nine men of the crews were wounded.
- The destroyers Gherardi and Rhindmade an offensive sweep south of the Lipari Islands on the night of 3-4 August. A German "F" lighter, escorted by two motor torpedo boats, was encountered. The Gherardi destroyed the "F" lighter by gunfire, while the Rhind sank one escort and damaged the other which escaped. On the nights of 4-5 August and 5-6 August, these two destroyers conducted offensive sweeps off Milazzo, but no enemy shipping was found.
- Five enemy "E" boats attempted an attack on the harbor of Palermo on the night of 5-6 August. The destroyer Gleavesin the outer screen drove them off by gunfire. Floating torpedoes were subsequently found in the area. Shipping off Palermo was subjected to an enemy bombing attack about 0430 on 6 August, and the "E" boat attack may have been coordinated with the aircraft raid.
- On the morning of 6 August, during darkness, SC 550, with a water barge, was lying off Ustica island when attacked by two destroyers or small cruisers which withdrew at high speed.
- On 7 August an enemy submarine was reported 60 miles from Palermo; later sightings placed the enemy nearer the port and again off Cape Cefalu. Destroyer searches were negative. No offensive action by this submarine was reported.
- Two enemy cruisers of the GARIBALDI class and two destroyers were reported headed for Palermo on the night of 7 August. CTF 88 in Philadelphia was then conducting the first "leap-frog" amphibious operation off Cape Orlando. A task group, composed of Philadelphia, Savannah, Rowan and Rhind proceeded at once on a scouting line to intercept the enemy forces between Palermo and Ustica Island. No contact was made. At daylight a reconnaissance by Allied aircraft showed the enemy forces then to be 100 miles to the northward proceeding at high speed on a northerly course. The task group returned to Cape Orlando to support the amphibious forces.
- On the night of 11-12 August the destroyers Wainwright, Trippe and Rowan made a sweep within two or three miles of the Italian coast from Point Iscolelli to Point Licosa; no enemy shipping was observed.
- Other offensive sweeps by destroyers were made on the nights of 12-13, 13-14, 14-15 and 15-16 August. No enemy forces were encountered.
- On the night of 15-16 August, three PTs, while patrolling in the vicinity of the Lipari Islands as a flanking screen of the last amphibious landing, engaged two enemy "E" boats by gunfire in a running battle. The enemy escaped due to superior speed but both sustained damage. Five men of our craft were wounded by shrapnel from a time-fused projectile believed to be larger than the 40mm normally carried in this type of enemy craft.
- At dawn on 16 August our PT patrol captured Italians fleeing Lipari Island; information acquired from these prisoners led to the movement against the island group on the 17th.
- On the night of 17-18 August two groups of cruisers and destroyers made offensive sweeps into the Gulf of Gioia, and on the night of 19-20 this sweep was carried out by the destroyers Wainwright and Trippe. No enemy shipping was observed but all vessels executed a bombardment of pre-arranged shore targets.
- The offensive movements briefly outlined above constituted a threat to the enemy which greatly hampered his efforts to evacuate troops by sea along the North Coast during the reduction phase of the campaign.
- Flanking movements by sea, or "leap-frog" landings, were executed on three occasions. The first two of these operations placed our troops behind the enemy lines under the protection of
naval guns, thus enabling our troops to capture strong points and crack the enemy defenses, thereby speeding the advance of our ground forces toward Messina. The third landing, on 16 August, was not executed behind the enemy lines due to the rapid advance of our ground forces on the preceding evening. The troops were landed, at the request of the 7th Army, behind our own lines but served the purpose of moving our forces forward to a position where pressure on the enemy could be maintained.
- Landing craft and escorts were assembled at the loading point at San Stefano preparatory to an assault on 7 August. Bombing attacks on 6 and 7 August on assembled craft damaged one LST and one PC, requiring the operation to be postponed one day. Two of the four FW190's making this attack were shot down. The embarked military units consisted of the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry, a tank platoon of the 753rd Tank Battalion, and two batteries of the 58th Armored Field Artillery Battalion. The convoy group consisted of two LSTs, one LCI(L), and seven LCTs under the escort of one PC. The screening group comprised three destroyers, two PCs, two SCs and two YMSs. Flank screening to the northeastward was provided by six Motor Torpedo Boats. Gunfire support was provided by the cruisers Philadelphia and Savannah, and destroyers Rowan and Trippe. At 0150 on 8 August the two LSTs reached the lowering position three miles from the selected beach which is located near Teiranova, about six miles southwest of Cape Orlando. LCVPs were lowered and the assault wave landed unopposed at 0315, with subsequent waves following at fifteen minute intervals. All landing craft landed and troops and vehicles unloaded by 0408. By 0425 all craft had retracted and made rendezvous at the initial lowering position. The landing was a complete surprise to the enemy. No losses were sustained. Over 1200 prisoners and much equipment was captured. The landing resulted in the collapse of enemy resistance in the San Fratello area.
- After the first landing was completed, all craft were assembled at Caronia preparatory to executing a landing scheduled for the morning of 10 August. This operation was delayed until 11 August in order to permit the 3rd Infantry Division to advance further in the direction of Cape Orlando. On the evening of 9 August three FW190's bombed the assembled craft, sinking one LST. Two enemy aircraft were shot down. On the morning of the 10th five FW190's made a low bombing attack on the craft; two enemy planes were shot down.
- The troops embarked for this landing consisted of the 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry, reinforced with armored artillery and tanks. The convoy group comprised one LST, two LCI(L)s, and six LCTs under the escort of three PCs. Vessels of Destroyer Squadron Seven acted as screen. Gunfire support group was Philadelphia, Boise, Rowan, Rhind and Trippe. The convoy sailed from Caronia at 1845 on 10 August and reached the lowering position, three miles off the selected beach, at 0025/11. The landing point was two miles east of Cape Orlando. The assault waves reached the beach at 0246 with other craft following at prescribed intervals. Resistance was encountered in the form of 20mm fire from pill boxes on the beach and artillery farther inland. This opposition was neutralized by naval gunfire and all craft reached the beach on schedule and retracted without damage. At 0419 all craft had assembled at the initial lowering position for retirement. This landing enabled our ground forces to envelop the enemy defense line Cape Orlando - Naso; the German counter-attack which developed on the 11th of August was routed by a prolonged bombardment accurately placed by the cruiser Philadelphia, thus destroying the last determined stand made by the enemy along the north coast.
- This movement was planned at a time when our ground forces were making rapid movements along the coast, where the enemy was concerned primarily in a hurried evacuation. The plan provided for the 157th RCT of the 45th Infantry Division to land near the town of Rodi, about eight miles southwest of Milazzo. The loading plans required three LSTs and eight LCI-(L)s to load troops and DUKWs at Termini, and thirteen LCTs to load the remainder of the troops and vehicles at San Stefano. The escorts were two PCs; the screen was four destroyers, the Wainwright, Rhind, Rowan and Trippe, and two PCs, two SCs and two YMSs. A flanking screen of six Motor Torpedo Boats was assigned. The craft left Termini at 1340 on 15 August to effect rendezvous off Cape Orlando with the other units. Information was then received that our ground forces had occupied Rodi, and the landing was directed to land at a point east of Milazzo. At 2010 orders were again changed due to the rapid advance of our troops, and the
vessels were directed to land at the original point near Rodi behind our own lines. The lowering position three miles off the beach was reached at 2308. The first wave reached the beach at 0050/16. Although all craft were heavily overloaded, all were completely unloaded by 0212/16.
- The high degree of efficiency achieved in these landings, which were undertaken without bomber support or shore artillery support, and which were executed on schedule and without confusion, was due largely to the employment of experienced naval commanders and crews and well-trained troops. This fact made it possible to launch these operations with little preparation and on short notice. Because of the ever-present enemy bombers, these operations were so planned that the landing craft would be in the landing area a maximum of 31/2 hours, and be withdrawn prior to daylight. This time element necessitated loading the heavy mechanized equipment in LCTs, and carrying in LSTs the assault troops and DUKWs loaded with supplies. With experienced forces and some knowledge of the beach approaches, the existence of exits and roads for vehicles and suitable terrain for a beachhead, the task groups were dependent upon the offensive spirit and the will to win brought into the operations.
Ferrying of Troops
- The terrain in which the campaign was waged has been best described by the Army officers who participated therein. The following account, compiled by AFHQ, is an excellent word picture:
"The campaign of the American forces, after the initial establishment and extension of the beachheads, was on the whole a pursuit action throughout. The enemy for the most part fought a stubborn rearguard and delaying action, utilizing the terrain, prepared defenses, mines, and demolitions to the fullest possible extent. ----- The country fought over was of the roughest kind. Its chief features were high, rocky mountains and hills of volcanic origin studded and broken with sharp and rugged outcroppings of rock formations, crossed by tortuous tracks and trails, and cut by deep and narrow valleys and dry watercourses. Such terrain as this, encountered throughout most of the island, presented difficulties of movement and transport not generally equaled in the Tunisian Campaign. In almost every sector the road nets were limited and restricted, and in the northern coastal area where German resistance was most stubborn it was practically confined to one road, flanked on one side by steep mountains cut by traverse valleys, and on the other by the sea. Over this single road the advance in this sector was forced to move in pursuit of the withdrawing Army who demolished almost every bridge from Palermo to Messina. This same road had also to serve for communications and supply as the advance was ultimately pushed to the Straits. This type of terrain, coupled with the lack of parallel, auxiliary, or alternate roads necessitated - - - -a special operation on a grand scale, involving amphibious operations and mountain warfare almost exclusively.
"The influence of the terrain and road net in conjunction with the extensive use of mines and demolitions by the enemy, on troop movement and maneuver can hardly be exaggerated."
- To meet the extraordinary conditions confronting our ground forces on the north coast, a number of amphibious landings were executed. In addition to these tactical movements, seven LCTs were employed in a ferrying service. These craft lifted Army personnel, artillery and heavy mobile equipment from point to point along the coast, and were frequently subjected to bombing and strafing by enemy aircraft. The enemy depended principally upon demolished bridges, blown tunnels, road blocks and mined roads left in his wake to impede the progress of our advancing forces. These elaborate and thorough demolitions were by-passed, and the enemy's actions in a large measure nullified, by our exploitation of sea communications -- an avenue not enjoyed by the enemy due to our Navy exercising control of the sea areas. Thus these LCTs enabled the artillery and armor to keep pace with the rapidly advancing infantry and maintain constant pressure on the retreating enemy. Had these sea movements not been made, the progress of our heavy weapons would have been seriously delayed and the momentum of the U.S. offensive considerably retarded, thus prolonging the campaign.
- The employment of U.S. landing craft, in providing the logistic requirements of our military forces fighting on the north coast, is outlined herein under "Maintenance and Build Up."
Bombardment of Enemy Positions:
- Naval gunfire was employed as close and deep supporting fire, interdiction, and harassing fire on call targets in direct support of the Army, and interdiction and harassing fire on roadway
intersections, railways, and strong points well in advance of our Army and behind the enemy lines.
- The effect of this gunfire was exceedingly satisfactory. Several mobile shore batteries of six and eight inch caliber engaged the ships, but no damage from shore artillery was sustained. The Army credited the Savannah with knocking out one of the eight inch batteries.
- The original plan for these gunfire missions provided for the employment of cruiser aircraft (SOC-3) as spotters under the protection of fighters from the 12th Air Support Command. This arrangement did not prove satisfactory. Cruiser planes were forced to spot from a seaward position due to heavy and accurate enemy AA fire behind the lines. The firing ships, during the first few days, were unable to communicate with the fighters; after proper radio equipment was installed in the fighters, the ships were not informed when the fighters left the area. This report was dispensed with by the air command in order to prevent radio interception by the enemy of the knowledge that the fire support ships were unprotected. This resulted at times in the vulnerable cruiser observation planes operating over enemy territory without any form of protection; a risk warranted only by the excellent effects of the naval gunfire.
- The Shore Fire Control Parties were often hampered in spotting fall of shot by the rugged terrain along the coast. The mountainous spurs separated by deep ravines made it difficult for these land-based spotters to reach suitable sites for observation of the ships' fire.
- During the last part of the bombardment phase, good spotting results were obtained by using the Army Piper Cub planes which operated from roadways or fields behind our own lines, where the observers were in close contact with the Army commander and had reliable information regarding the position of the front lines, disposition of forces, etc. These small planes were unable to establish radio communication direct with the firing ship, and spots had to be relayed via the Shore Fire Control Party. This procedure slowed the rate of fire. Another difficulty which had to be overcome was the different method used by the Army and Navy in spotting. The Army practice is to give the error of the M.P.I., while the Navy system is to give the correction necessary to put the M.P.I. on the target.
- During night bombardments and during hazy weather in the day, radar was used with uniformly excellent results in determining the ships' position and range to target.
- The operations along the north coast of Sicily were conducted within 200 miles of fifteen enemy airfields, four of which were within 60 miles until the fall of Catania on 5 August. As a result, the ships and craft operation off the north coast were, until the middle of August, under repeated bombing and strafing attack by enemy aircraft. Due to the inadequate air coverage provided the naval operations, an effort was made to limit the time the cruisers would be in the gunfire support areas. To station those vessels in daylight positions offshore, awaiting call by the Army, invited enemy air action. The continuity of the air coverage provided was inadequate to protect naval movements, and frequent enemy attacks were pressed home without interception by our fighters. The thin fighter cover provided was apparently due to an inadequate number of aircraft being available to meet all air requirements. Communications with fighter air coverage when present were not good; this is believed to be due largely to lack of indoctrination in procedure and lack of experience on the part of both ship and air force personnel. Communications between naval commanders and the air force control stations were poor. This was aggravated by the fact that the Air Support Command was not located at Corps Headquarters, whence requests for gunfire missions originated. This resulted in loss of time in arranging for fighter cover and on some occasions, resulted in none being furnished. If the 12th Air Support Command had taken a more active part in the initial planning of the campaign and had been less desirous of showing its independence vis-a-vis the Army, difficulties might have been obviated.
- The operations of Task Force 88 were, it is believed, unique in the following particulars:
- A combatant naval force operated for a period of 22 days from an unprotected anchorage within easy bombing distance of enemy shore-based aircraft.
- Denied to the enemy command of a sea area within which the task force carried out its operations.
- Rendered continued support to our troops during this period by bombardment immediately in front of our ground forces and against the rear of the enemy; these areas being inaccessible to our Army artillery because of the distinctive mountain aretes.
- Conducted improvised amphibious operations around the enemy's unprotected seaward flank.
- Ensured the safe and prompt delivery by sea of food, gasoline and ammunition to our troops when supply lines over land were heavily strained.
- Overcome the obstacles of demolished bridges, blown tunnels, and mined roads by moving heavy artillery and armor by sea to keep pace with the advancing infantry, and thereby demonstrated the power of coordination and cooperation between ground, air and sea forces, and contributed to early capture of Messina by the 7th Army.
- During the operations of this Task Force, over 20 enemy planes were shot down, one "F" lighter and two escort vessels were sunk and several "E" boats and escort vessels damaged. The Island of Ustica and the Lipari Islands (a group of seven islands) were taken, with 140 prisoners of war, their arms and several valuable secret codes and ciphers.
Section XVIII -- DIVERSIONS AND DEMONSTRATIONS
- A Demonstration Group was organized as Task Group 80.4 with the mission of conducting deceptive operations in assigned areas. The craft allocated the group were 10 ARBs and 1 PT. These craft mounted special deceptive equipment and employed specially-trained personnel to assist in the execution of diversionary tactics. CTG 80.4 was also given duties as an Air-sea Rescue Service.
- The plan called for the group to conduct a diversionary operation at 0215 on D Day in the neighborhood East of Point Granitola. The moderate to heavy seas and the wind (20 to 30 knots) encountered forced the cancellation of the operation. The craft were unable properly to execute their mission under such severe conditions of wind and sea.
- CinCMed's plan for a large scale diversion (code name Operation FRACTURE) in the Marsala-Mazzara area, involving the use of battleships and cruisers as well as MTBron 15 and Task Group 80.4, contemplated execution on pre-dawn of D plus 3. Provisions were made for this date to be advanced or retarded according to military developments. As it was, the operation was advanced to the night of D plus 1. Due to a delay in communication, TG 80.4 did not receive timely information regarding the change in plan. An independent demonstration was, however, conducted by this group in Porto Palo area. Searchlights, heavy MG and AA fire resulted. Operation FRACTURE was considered successful in its assigned mission.
- On the night of D plus 2/3 TG 80.4, together with units of MTBron 15, carried out two small scale diversions in separate sectors off the Southwestern Sicilian coast. The defenses East of Cape Granitola displayed limited interest by MG fire and searchlights, but the other group reported a reaction of defenses off Mazzaro del Vallo. Radar-controlled shore batteries took this group under fire with light and heavy guns before demonstration was begun, and the group was forced to retire. One near-miss, presumed to be from a 6" battery, bent both propeller shafts of one craft. Other small scale operations mounted from Palermo provided limited results. Shore defenses sent up rockets on occasion, but none of the demonstrations was mounted on a big scale and little more could be expected.
- Detailed enemy reports as to the effect of these various demonstrations were not available. However, enemy press reports after FRACTURE stated that they had repulsed a landing attempt on the Southwest coast. The plan for these demonstrations was not able to provide for the allocation of the right type of craft to exploit this form of diversion. Furthermore, heavier gunfire support - together with cooperation of Air Force units - would have aided the effect desired. As all branches of the service were strained to support the main attack, these could not be provided. Only in FRACTURE was it possible to assign large units for a diversion in which their group was to be an important implementation. The short time allowed to organize this special group, and the limited means available to plan for its employment on an important scale, precluded the possibility of its having a more concrete effect on operations.
- Diversionary operations should be carefully planned, well in advance, and as much attention should be given it as the strategic and tactical situation will allow. A diversionary group will have considerably greater effect if every effort is made to make the operation appear real. Otherwise no important results can be expected. In addition to whatever force is assigned the task of executing the diversionary mission, the proper employment of special deceptive equipment can be
of considerable value. Coordination with the air forces, together with their uses of additional special equipment, is required. The Diversionary Task Group may also be used as a raiding group, to interfere with enemy light coastal traffic, to execute small-scale amphibious raids (if Special Service military personnel are available), or to augment landings on a larger scale by diverting the attention of enemy defenses. Whenever possible, the planning for diversions should be tied in with the basic "cover plan" for the operation. Greater efficiency in the tactical execution of diversions can be achieved if the Task Group or Force is organized and operated as an independent unit directly under the senior Task Force Commander in the area. In this way, a closer planning liaison can be maintained with the strategic concept of the highest echelon. Units from the Group could be detached and assigned to a Task Force Commander as and when required.
Section XIX -- OPERATIONS OF P. T. BOATS
- MTBron 15 was designated (with U.S.S. Ordonaux) as Task Group 80.3 (Screening Group) and was assigned the mission of screening JOSS Attack Force against hostile surface forces approaching from bases in West Sicily. They were also to frustrate enemy E-boat raids. After preliminary assault the Ordonaux was to return to CONTROL Force. MTBron 15 was to return to Pantellaria and prepare for further operations. They were further assigned missions in Sicilian areas until the fall of that island.
- The Group proceeded to the area of Port Empedocle. The PTs formed a patrol line toward shore with the Ordonaux at the seaward end. An offensive sweep Westward was conducted until the Group approached the harbor of Port Empedocle. An effort was made to drive put by gunfire any enemy light craft (E-boats and MAS boats) which might be based there. Firing by the Ordonaux commenced at 0245, H-hour. The four 5"/38 calibre guns were fired from the director, Master Key, salvo fire every six seconds. Range and deflection was spotted to cover an area approximately 1500 yards beyond, 500 yards short, and 1000 yards on either side of the target. At 0247, "Cease Firing" was ordered. 26 salvos for a total of 80 rounds of AA common projectiles were fired. No firing from shore batteries was observed, but 3 searchlights were trained on the Ordonaux. 0248 firing had recommenced -- directed at the searchlights, one of which was extinguished. Ranges averaged 9000 yards. In less than a minute of continuous fire, 24 more rounds had been expended and "Cease Firing" was again ordered. The Group continued to patrol the area off Empedocle while searchlights looked for it in vain (the Group was out of searchlight range). At 0500, the Group retired as planned, and returned on the night of the 10th to repeat the operation of the night before, with 11 PT boats of MTBron 15. The patrol was uneventful and no enemy surface forces threatened the screen. No gunfire was reported and our left flank remained secure.
- On D plus 2 Day, units of MTBron 15 were ordered to participate in a diversionary operation. The squadron, with the ARBs of the Demonstration Group, demonstrated as part of Task Group 80.4 in two sections. The results are recorded under "Diversions and Demonstrations". On D plus 4, MTBron 15, together with Task Group 80.7, was ordered to operate against enemy shipping in the Western Sicilian area, including Palermo. Later, when Palermo was taken by our forces, MTBron 15 based itself on that port and operated against enemy shipping off the south Italian coast and near the Western entrance to the Straits of Messina. On five occasions, July 24, 25, 28, 29, and August 15, it successfully engaged enemy vessels, scoring several hits. A cargo transport ship, a tug or coaster, and two F-lighters were sunk while damage to E-boats and F-lighters was reported. Minor damage only was sustained by our own craft.
- On August 17th, six of the squadron, together with the destroyer Trippe, accepted the surrender of the islands of Alicudi, Filicudi, Salina, Strombeli, Lipari and Vulcano. Other missions required the putting ashore of special agents behind enemy lines for sabotage and Intelligence purposes.
- MTBron 15 performed invaluable service during Operation HUSKY. It's aggressive spirit was highly commended by CTF 88 to whom it was attached between July 28th and the end of the Sicilian campaign. Despite its limitations as to numbers of boats, it proved itself capable of fulfilling most assigned missions. Comparatively inexperienced when it arrived, the squadron quickly adapted itself by extensive and aggressive operations in the Tunisian campaign. The special and secret missions assigned to certain units were executed with proficiency and dispatch. This squadron performed outstanding duties over a period of many months and the fact that it was able so efficiently to execute operations without overhaul or rest, is worthy of considerable commendation.
A command of the size of NavNAW, would be better served by more than one PT squadron. There were several instances when at least two more squadrons could have been employed to marked advantage. Despite requests for additional squadrons they were not forthcoming, and assistance was sought from already hard-pressed British light forces, (b) The boats of MTBron 15 were all of the old Higgins design and it was found that they are not suitable for this type of duty. They are not fast enough nor are they good sea-boats. Their armament is insufficient for many of the tasks assigned. British MTBs and MGBs, heavier gunned than our PTs (though not so fast) consider themselves under-armed.
Section XX -- ENEMY NAVAL LOSSES
One submarine was sunk by Buck while escorting convoy (several prisoners were taken); one F-lighter sunk by Gherardi; tug or lighter, and two F-lighters reported by MTBron 15 in the North coastal waters of Sicily, comprised the only enemy losses. Several engagements between our PTs and enemy E-boats resulted in unassessable damage. U-boats sunk during HUSKY will be found recorded in the report of NCETF.
Section XXI -- BEACH INTELLIGENCE
- Available information from all sources including particularly photographic reconnaissance was worked into graphic presentations in the form of panoramic beach sketches. It was early recognized that the known presence of offshore bars made reconnaissance by scout parties of utmost importance, but the lack of trained personnel and the short period each month suitable for reconnaissance, as well as the great stretch of coast to be surveyed, restricted these operations to the few points considered typical, or where information was most lacking.
- Depths over bars, distance of outer bar from shore and average gradient as determined by wave study of offshore photographs were found to be accurate within acceptable limits.
Section XXII -- AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS
- The necessity of provision for photographic reconnaissance was strongly apparent. Both vertical aerial photographs commencing as far as possible before the campaign and at least one low oblique sortie is necessary to provide details and up-to-date information required.
- One low angle oblique sortie was flown on approximately D minus 15, too late for the information which they revealed to be incorporated in the panoramic beach sketches printed for the operation. For future amphibious operations at least one oblique sortie should be flown during the early part of the planning phase in order to aid in the preparation of beach sketches; one other should be flown as late as possible before D day in order to obtain last minute information which is not ordinarily revealed by vertical photographs (location of land mines and of guns hidden in caves and cliffs). Inasmuch as the assault convoys will probably already be at sea before the latter sortie is flown, adequate provision must be made in advance for interpreting the photographs and transmitting the information obtained to the Flagships.
- It is believed that repetitive aerial photographic reconnaissance over a restricted area, combined with one or two low oblique sorties of the same area, materially reduces the chances of effecting surprise. The value of the information revealed by the photographs is such, however, as to more than compensate for this reduction of the possibility of surprise. An additional factor to be considered is that the photographic reconnaissance program may be utilized to deceive the enemy, or keep him in doubt as to the area of our primary interest.
Section XXIII -- CHART-MAPS
The gridded chart-maps, scale 1/50,000, issued by the Hydrographic Office for the use of the Western Naval Task Force, were very highly regarded by all who used them. They were of particular value to gunfire support ships; such gridded chart-maps should be prepared for probable areas of future amphibious operations. The time required to prepare, print and distribute chart-maps, combining all necessary features of both map and charts with up-to-date corrections both, is such that they could not have been employed in an operation with a shorter planning
phase than was the case in the attack on Sicily. Recommend that in future issues the contour interval of the land portions be 25 instead of 50 meters. This will increase their usefulness for naval gunfire control.
Section XXIV -- SCOUT BOATS
- Experience to date has indicated the following requirements for scout boats:
- Low freeboard and silhouette;
- As small a bow wave as possible;
- Thoroughly muffled engines;
- Best available piloting aids including good compass, hand bearing indicator or pelorus, and shallow water echo ranging equipment.
- It has been reported that the LCS used in Sicily was not suitable because it had a prominent silhouette and was noisy, and that the Fol-boat, towed to the line of departure by an LCS and .launched from there, should be substituted in its place. It is felt that the Fol-boat would not be satisfactory because it is too slow, because it lacks maneuverability, and because it is too susceptible to the effects of wind, surf, and currents.
- It is recommended that the LCS continue to be employed as a scout boat until a specially constructed boat becomes available.
Section XXV -- SCOUTS and THE LOCATING OF BEACHES
- Amphibious scouts used to locate the beaches on which assault units were to land were in general highly successful. It is recommended that their selection and training be emphasized and that they be employed in future amphibious operations. They cannot be expected to carry out their most important and difficult mission unless they are properly trained, equipped and specially instructed for each mission.
- An analysis of the reports reveals that in order for the scouts to locate beaches satisfactorily and mark them for the assault waves, it necessary that:
- Scouts be furnished with a suitable scout boat (see above);
- Scouts be supplied with night binoculars;
- Scouts, scout boat, and crew be carried on the ship from which they are to operate.
- Scouts receive from a qualified intelligence officer a thorough briefing during which the minute details of conspicuous landmarks on the beaches are correlated with the general silhouette of the whole area;
- Scout boat be the first in the water in order to give the scouts the maximum time to perform their mission;
- At about H minus 20 minutes, scouts display a directional light of sufficient intensity to be clearly visible to the control vessel and boat waves.
Section XXVI -- UNDERWATER and BEACH OBSTACLES
- No underwater enemy-placed obstacles were found on the assault beaches. A few sand bars and false beaches caused some interference with the beaching of landing boats and craft. Anti-vehicle and anti-personnel mines as well as wire were encountered above the high water mark. Naval demolition parties were available in the transports to deal with underwater obstacles, but it was unnecessary to call these parties ashore during the assault. On the afternoon of D day, one party assisted in the development of Scoglitti by removing barbed wire from the beach.
- The recent formation of Naval Combat Demolition Units fills a need for qualified personnel to remove underwater obstacles. Underwater mine disposal should be a part of the curriculum. Although in two amphibious landings, no underwater obstacles have been found, it is believed that as beach defenses are improved by the enemy, he will make extensive use of such obstacles which we must be prepared to defeat.
- After the assault, or when the Demolition Unit has completed its underwater work, it is recommended that the Unit then report to the Naval Beach Battalion where the Unit may be employed in salvage, marking channels, and in sounding and surveying offshore.
Section XXVII -- HYDROGRAPHIC RECONNAISSANCE OF BEACHES
- The importance of making soundings and hydrographic surveys of beaches at the earliest time after the initial assault by the hydrographic unit of Beach Parties, and of putting to practical use the results obtained, is obvious and should be stressed in all operations. The entire unloading program over the beaches depends upon the coordination of this information, and the greatest advantage being taken of the findings, to enable landing craft of all types to use the best channels of approach to the beach. The responsibility for carrying out this task rests with the Beach Party.
- Experience in the Sicilian landing has shown that detailed performance of this task is still not sufficiently coordinated to produce the maximum results. Soundings off beaches may be made by individual units, but the details as to marking buoys for channels, beachmarkers; the coordinating of all reports of soundings into one comprehensive report covering the entire beach area, are still not sufficiently well executed.
- In order to further assist the Beach Party hydrographic unit, Scout officers (after completion of their identification of beaches) should be assigned to the hydrographic unit and perform the tasks of soundings and beach surveys.
- These Scout officers should be specially trained and qualified in this type of reconnaissance. Heretofore, after the beaches have been identified and the assault waves have landed, the Scouts have been used to assist control vessels, or in some cases, have remained idle. It is believed that the Scout officers can begin the soundings off beaches very soon after the completion of their primary function of beach identification, and by so doing enable the Beach Parties to make use of the findings and increase the efficiency of the landing of all types of craft on the beaches.
Section XXVIII -- AEROLOGY
- Weather during the approach was typical of Mediterranean summer conditions as shown by preliminary statistical survey, until the forenoon of D-l. At this time, as a result of steepening pressure gradient on the eastern edge of a moderate high pressure area, northwesterly winds commenced to freshen. At 0900 strong winds were forecast to continue throughout the day, slackening after dark. Surface winds developed to 30 to 37 knots in the afternoon, with moderate to rough choppy sea. At 1500, forecast conditions for H hour were: northwest winds 10-15 knots, decreasing, with inshore breakers 3-4 feet or less. Delay in H hour was not recommended because of the improved conditions anticipated. Winds continued strong until after 2000 when they gradually slackened. Conditions at 0300 D day were: wind NNW 7 knots, clear sky, Visibility 7 miles, Swell 2-3 feet high, inshore breakers (variously reported) 2-6 feet. There was no important change during the initial assault phase.
- During the unloading and the subsequent period of maintenance over beaches, there were few occasions when operations were adversely affected by weather conditions. Afternoon sea breezes reinforcing a moderate gradient wind occasionally caused a strong breeze onshore which prevented the operation of smaller landing craft.
- Weather conditions during the approach and the assault had the following notable effects on landing operations:
- Considerable seasickness among troops, especially among those embarked in the landing craft.
- Slowing of landing craft convoys; difficulty in keeping station.
- Roll and pitch of transports in the choppy sea caused considerable difficulty in hoisting out and resulted in loss of some landing craft.
- Debarkation of troops was delayed to some degree.
- Assault formations were irregular; landing of each wave not simultaneous.
- The moderate surf in some cases assisted the landing craft to pass the outer bars.
- The moderate surf washing down the beach from Northwest to Southeast caused many boats to broach while beaching and unloading.
- Complete Aerological units were available in the Flagships of Commander Western Naval Task Force (USS Monrovia) and Commander Task Force 85 (USS Ancon); arrangements were made to have twice daily forecasts and special warnings from the major meteorological stations at Malta and Algiers for the benefit of ships not having forecasting facilities. Owing to
the crowded communication channels, these messages, which covered only a twelve hour period, were delayed at times for higher precedence traffic to such degree that they were of no use when received.
- Decrypted synoptic weather reports from stations in CENTral Europe, Italy, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balkans were available from the Air Ministry stations at London and Cairo. They proved to be invaluable aids to forecasting.
- In order to obtain adequate Meteorological reports by radio it was necessary to keep a continuous watch on two receivers. Specially trained radio operators were required to effect the necessary shifts of frequency and to copy efficiently the long broadcasts in special codes.
- An observation unit consisting of two Aerographer's mates was established at Licata under the command of Commander Naval Advance Bases, Sicily, on D plus 5. These men took charge of the local weather station and furnished regular skilled observations of weather and surf through the period of maintenance over beaches. These reports were passed by regular communication channels to the Naval forecasting center at Algiers.
- As a result of experience in operation HUSKY the following recommendations with regard to weather information are made:
- An aerological unit trained and equipped to furnish the special forecasts peculiar to amphibious operations is essential. Such unit should be in the Flagship of each Naval Commander who may be required to make decision to delay or postpone the landings.
- Complete weather information is essential even during the fair weather season of a theater which is known to enjoy "generally excellent" weather conditions.
- Forecast of conditions affecting landing operations should be disseminated expeditiously to all ships concerned throughout the periods of assault and maintenance over beaches. To accomplish this, sufficient priority must be ascribed meteorological traffic in order to insure its prompt reception.
- The task of copying sufficient meteorological radio traffic for a forecasting aerological unit under war time conditions requires a continuous watch of specially trained radio operators.
- The services of a qualified aerologist during the planning phase of an amphibious operation are essential, in order to furnish necessary climatological research, to supply forecasts for training exercises, and to organize weather facilities prior to embarkation.
- The aerological unit may be well and conveniently organized as part of the Intelligence Section of a general staff organization.
- Decrypted enemy reports are invaluable, even when delayed 12 to 18 hours. Every effort to obtain these should be made.
Section XXIX -- PRISONERS OF WAR
- Prisoners of war with the exception of captured Italian Medical Officers, Chaplains and Italian soldiers of Sicilian birth, were evacuated to North Africa as rapidly as shipping facilities became available. Escort guards from Army M. P. Battalions accompanied prisoners to Base Section Inclosures for final processing, which was a responsibility of Commanding General NATOUSA. It was planned to carry out the evacuation of prisoners of war in all types of ships and craft except combat-loaders. Returning LST's and LCI(L)'s transported the first prisoners taken to Bizerta, Tunisia, where they were turned over to Eastern Base Section Inclosures.
- The large number of prisoners captured during the first two or three days of the invasion, and before adequate collecting cages were established in Sicily, greatly complicated the problems of evacuation. Divisional units were turning prisoners in to beach areas faster than they could be properly assembled, checked, classified, and cleared. It became necessary for the Army to augment escort guard units by detaching for this duty combat troops arriving in follow up convoys from North Africa, and to provide additional shipping space for transportation. On the request of Army authorities the Task Force commander then decided to authorize the use of combat-loaders for this purpose, the number of prisoners to be embarked being dependent upon the sanitary facilities, the life saving capacity, and the number of causalities to be evacuated in each ship.
- Normally the use of combat-loaders for the evacuation of prisoners is highly undesirable, if battle casualties had been as heavy as was expected, this procedure would not have been authorized. In such case it would have been necessary for the Army to speedily set up temporary
collecting cages in the vicinity of the beaches, and to assemble and control the evacuation of prisoners coming in from field units until shipping space could be arranged.
- Arrangements for the control of prisoner evacuation from the beaches should be made by the Army unit headquarters through the Division Beachmaster, who is in the best position to receive information from the Task Force Commander afloat to enable him to determine proper ship assignments and to thereby expeditiously clear the beach areas.
- All ships carrying prisoners should be thoroughly fumigated as soon as prisoners are disembarked.
Section XXX -- MINE SWEEPING
- During the theater build-up preparatory to HUSKY, the lack of escort vessels presented a serious problem. It was necessary to use Mine Sweepers for escort and patrol. As a result, little opportunity for training for the designed mission was available. The Commanding Officers of the majority of Mine Sweepers were relatively inexperienced in sweeping operations, particularly in "0" type sweeping, and had no training in night sweeping. During a two weeks training period in June, night sweeping in formation was emphasized.
- Detailed sweeping plans for each one of the three assault areas were made by each Attack Force Commander. In general, channels and then the transport areas were swept for moored, acoustic, and magnetic mines. There was no evidence of enemy mines in any of the transport areas. Enemy minefields were encountered off Porto Empodocle and to the westward thereof. Had mines been encountered in the transport areas, serious delays and perhaps losses would have resulted as adequate sweepers were unavailable to the Attack Force Commanders.
- During sweeping operations off Porto Empodocle on 15 July 1943, the USS Staff was seriously disabled when a contact mine exploded under the forward engine room. As this time the Staff was effectively engaging enemy shore batteries. The full report of this dual role is contained in the Commanding Officers letter, AM114/A16-3 Serial 209 of 7 August 1943.
- Although intelligence reports gave no indication that the enemy was planting mines in shallow water against landing craft, the possibility was not overlooked. Experiments were conducted in the United Kingdom and at the Invasion Training center in North Africa, but no reliable method of dealing with shallow mines was devised. It was decided that if such mines were encountered, initial losses must be accepted.
- That for future operations, sufficient mine sweepers be made available to the Naval Commander to enable him to assign adequate sweepers to each Task Force Commander, and that sufficient escort and patrol vessels be assigned to the theater so that mine sweepers need not be diverted from designated missions.
- That effective methods of sweeping or detonating mines inside the five fathom curve be developed. As demolition methods are not always reliable, the development of a "shallow-water boat sweeper" is suggested.
Section XXXI -- MINE LAYING
- A defensive anti-submarine minefield was laid on D plus 1 according to plan. There is no evidence that any submarines were damaged or destroyed, but the detonation of a few mines was observed on D plus 2.
- No ships were torpedoed in the transport area.
- Full particulars of the laying of the minefield are contained in the report of Commander Mine Division 50 to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, A16-3 Serial 0023 of 20 August 1943.
- During a period of poor visibility in the early morning of 14 July, 1943, two mines were detonated by the Brooklyn. Fortunately, only minor damage was sustained, due to the fact that the mines were planted against submarines, too deep to seriously affect surface ships. Details of this incident are contained in Commander Cruiser Division Thirteen secret letter FF13-5/L11-1, Serial 0015 of 17 July, 1943.
- The feasibility, of furnishing additional protection to the transport area by laying three miles of anti-torpedo net was investigated. Early in June experiments were conducted using a LST as a net layer but the plan was discarded when it developed that ten LSTs would be required, each making three trips from the net depot to the transport area. A complete report on this trial is contained in Annex (A) to ComNavNAW Serial 00379 of 26 June 1943.
- When waters adjacent to a transport area permit, a defensive minefield is the most expeditious means at present available for defending a transport area against submarine attack and for reducing the number of screening destroyers required.
- If ports will not be available and a transport area must be used for an appreciable length of time to maintain the Army over the beaches, it is then recommended that defensive minefield be planted as early as practicable, and that an extra light indicator net or "preparatory" net be laid, followed by an anti-torpedo net if such is feasible.
Section XXXII -- NAVAL GUNFIRE
- Detailed plans for naval supporting fire were made by each Attack Force Commander. The plans were based on the Army plan of attack, latest intelligence information, and on making full use of modern fire control and radar installations. The majority of fire support ships had fired practice bombardments at Bloodworth Island, in Chesapeake Bay, but as it was desired to rehearse the Army shore fire control parties which would control fire in Operation HUSKY, additional practices were fired in the Oran area. These practices afforded excellent training for all personnel involved, and in addition, succeeded in bringing Army and Navy personnel closer together in a mutual understanding and appreciation of the problems involved and the value of naval gunfire. In May, shore fire control parties, naval gunfire liaison officers, and naval aviators were sent from the Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet, to the United Kingdom to report to HMS Abercrombie (a 15" Monitor which was assigned to CTF 85 for HUSKY), in order to acquaint the British with our methods of shore fire control and to work with the Monitor during practice bombardments. Provisions were made for plane spot for this ship as well as for the cruisers. A Naval Gunfire Liaison Officer was assigned to each infantry battalion and to each Army division commander. Other miscellaneous assignments of N.G.L.O.s were as follows:
1 with Commander Cruiser Division 8
1 with Commander Cruiser Division 13
1 with Commander Eighth Amphibious Force
2 with 82nd Airborne Division
1 aboard H.M.S. Abercrombie
1 with KOOL (Reserve) Force.
The officers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division were qualified parachute jumpers, volunteers, and received three weeks training in paratroop tactics prior to the operation. Unfortunately, paratroops were not dropped in the selected zones and the naval gunfire liaison officers were unable to function as planned.
- In the interest of maintaining the element of surprise, no naval gunfire was employed until about H - 15 when the destroyers of CTF 85 (CENT area) supported and covered the first assault waves. The landing on CENT beaches was generally unopposed, due to the close support furnished by the destroyers. Prearranged fire before daylight was delivered by one cruiser and the Monitor. The flashless powder used by cruisers and destroyers was effective.
- After daylight, fire support ships delivered counter-battery, interdiction, prearranged, deep supporting, and numerous call fires, the latter predominating. The Monitor was used to bombard the defenses of the airfield at Comiso at a range of 26,000 yards. Call fires delivered by this ship were particularly effective. The terrific bursts of the 15" bombardment projectiles were excellent deterrents.
- All sources of information indicated that naval gunfire support was outstanding, more effective and accurate than the military commanders had believed possible. Enemy batteries were; silenced, at times by direct hits; searchlights were extinguished and troop concentrations scattered. Most noteworthy is the part played by the cruisers and destroyers in turning back the German counter-attack at Gela when the Herman Goering Division almost succeeded in erasing the narrow First Infantry Division beachhead. Fire from cruisers and destroyers was "largely responsible for turning the German tanks back. Several tanks were destroyed by direct hits, while others were disabled by near misses. Direct fire with top spot was successfully employed at times. In other
areas Army commanders attributed their rapid advance to objectives to the timely employment of naval gunfire against enemy troops, batteries, and tanks.
- Communication between fire support ships and shore fire control parties in general was excellent. Air spot and air reconnaissance were effective until enemy fighters made the air untenable for the slow SOC and OS2U-3 aircraft. No direct fighter protection could be obtained for spotting planes.
- All fire control equipment, fire control radars, and ammunition functioned exceedingly well. One report of 6" duds was received, but investigation proved the report in error. The devastating effect of the six inch high capacity projectile has now been well advertised to friend and foe. A captured German tank sergeant asked an interrogator "what is your new secret weapon that you used against our tanks?"
- Naval guns supported the Army's advance as long as targets could be reached. Cruisers and destroyers played an important role in the successful "leap-frog" tactics employed by the 7th Army in its advances eastward to Messina along the north coast of Sicily. During that part of the Sicilian campaign, one cruiser was always on call to furnish supporting fire. Unfortunately, at times the cruiser fire was not fully exploited because, after naval guns forced the enemy to evacuate an area, it was reported that the 7th Army did not always move forward promptly and occupy the vacated area. An Army commander, when requesting naval support, should have his forces ready to move into the area as soon as naval gunfire has forced the enemy to withdraw.
- As an outstanding example of excellent coordination of navigation and fire control personnel, a requisite for any shore bombardment mission, the following incident is cited: the Savannahwas 18,000 yards off the north coast of Sicily, weather hazy, visibility about 500 yards. A request for fire was received. The ships position was fixed by SG radar and a ranging salvo fired. The spot came in shortly: "No change, right 400 yards."
- The following communications are of particular interest:
"From: CinC, Mediterranean. 181751B, August, 1943. To : Commander, 8th Fleet. Information: Comdg. Gen., 7th Army; CTF 88; CinC, Allied Forces.
We have watched with admiration the splendid and rapid advance of the 7th Army to Messina. I am very fully aware of the great contribution of the U.S. Navy to the success of that advance and I request that you will express my satisfaction to all U.S. Naval Forces who have operated on the north coast of Sicily on what has been a model of the effective application of sea power in the support of land operations.
"7th Army Headquarters
21 August, 1943.
My dear Admiral Davidson:
Please accept for yourself and for the officers and men of your force the sincere and heartfelt appreciation and admiration the 7th Army feels for your constant, gallant and generous assistance. Everything that we have asked from you, you have more than granted.
The gunfire support that you have provided has been of inestimable value, and it is my considered opinion that the three landing operations, carried on by you, were of critical importance in the rapid and successful advance on Messina.
It is our hope that in future operations we shall again have the pleasure of being associated with you and your men.
I have forwarded a copy of this letter to Admiral Hewitt with the request that it be made of record.
G.S. PATTON, Jr.,
Lieut. General, U.S. Army,
- Prior to any landing on a defended, hostile shore, prepare the beaches by naval bombardment. Employ destroyers to support closely and cover the assault waves as was done by TF 85.
- In the selection of beaches, consideration must be given to sea room for fire support areas. Interference between adjacent fire support groups is to be avoided.
- A six inch high capacity projectile fitted with Mark 32 fuse will produce "automatic" air burst and will be extremely effective against personnel and lightly armored vehicles.
- Provide a land plane, for spotting naval gunfire, which is capable of defending itself against enemy fighters. The Army P-51 appears to be such a plane.
- An ammunition ship, loaded with all types of ammunition, but principally bombardment for cruisers and AAC for destroyers, should be stationed in a rear area where any type of ship may replenish any type of ammunition. If the employment of fire support ships is such that time will not permit replenishment in a rear area, then provide transportation to the assault area for reserve ammunition. An LST will carry approximately 700 tons of ammunition.
- Add to the curriculum of the naval gunfire liaison officer school some of the elements of Ranger training, particularly that portion which simulates actual combat conditions, in order to condition and prepare him for execution of his mission while under fire.
- Temporarily increase the allowance to 80 of white phosphorus projectiles for destroyers assigned fire support missions. White, phosphorous smoke is an excellent demoralizer.
Section XXXIII -- AA DEFENSE and AIRCRAFT RECOGNITION
- Initially, AA fire discipline was poor, particularly in the smaller ships and landing craft. It was apparent that enough emphasis had not been placed by some commanding officers on aircraft recognition, as on numerous occasions fire was opened on Spitfires and P-40's. Much of the fire on friendly planes is attributed to initial nervousness and to the fact that fighter cover was inadequate. By D plus 2, fire discipline had improved. Fighter bombers, usually FW-190s, made frequent sorties, so the air picture was generally confused. At times friendly fighters were seen at about 4,000 feet while enemy aircraft bombed the assault area from 15,000 to 20,000 feet. The need for more explicit anti-aircraft rules for transport areas was very evident.
- Ships which had on board graduates of the Renshaw School at Columbus, Ohio, reported excellent fire discipline. The majority of these officers were assigned before the ships left the United States. Instruction in aircraft identification was held at every opportunity and the results were evident.
- In general, 20 MM guns were employed against aircraft well out of range. This was true, particularly at night, when many guns fired blind endangering personnel on adjacent ships. Fire discipline of the 40 MM guns was better, while that of the 5" batteries was generally excellent. Commander Cruiser Division Eight reports the recent ordalt which permits radar control of the 40 MM guns a success. A separate report on this subject has been forwarded.
- Numerous enemy aircraft were shot down by anti-aircraft fire, but an accurate individual ship account is impossible, as enemy aircraft were normally engaged by several ships simultaneously. On D plus 1, the air defenses of the DIME area were augmented by the arrival of HMS Colombo, an anti-aircraft cruiser.
- The control of AA fire at night is an unsolved problem. Radar control for AA batteries offers only a partial solution because, in an amphibious operation, the transport area is near land where radar interception is unreliable. The establishment of Gun Defended Areas and Inner Artillery Zones as employed by the British, coupled with controlled night fighter aircraft, appears to offer the best present solution to the problem.
- The use of tracer ammunition at night is a controversial subject. It is the belief that heavy barrage such as can be put up by transports, landing craft, and combatant ships in a transport area, succeeds in keeping the attacking planes up where they must resort to area bombing. On the other hand, reports have been received which indicate that enemy bombers seek
shelter in our flak when chased by night fighters apparently a case of the lesser of two evils. Enemy planes are known to direct bombs against targets which disclose their importance by the volume of their fire.
- Smoke was not effectively employed to cover the transport area when air attack was imminent. As mentioned above, radar warning when enemy aircraft approach from over land is unreliable and about fifteen minutes is the minimum time required to smoke a transport area, provided smoke boats are standing-by. A large transport area can be effectively covered with smoke in fifteen minutes, provided smoke will lie.
- Assign Identification School graduates to all destroyers and larger ships and make their services available at bases or training centers to the personnel of all other ships and craft. Require all commanding officers to submit monthly reports on the number of officers and men under instruction in aircraft identification. Adequate instruction can never reach too many officers and men.
- Provide non-tracer 40 MM projectiles for use of radar controlled 40 MM guns at night.
- Prohibit the use of 20 MM guns at night unless directly attacked by aircraft which can be seen and are within range.
- Develop a self-destroying 20 MM projectile.
- In conjunction with Army AA personnel, and the Army Air Force, develop rules for the defenses of a transport area which will define limits for AA fire and altitude restrictions for aircraft. (This problem is under study at Allied Force Headquarters.)
- Provide all APAs, AKAs, and Merchant ships which will be in the transport area with sufficient Mark 3 smoke pots to last while the ships remain in the area. It is estimated that 200 Mark 3 smoke pots per ship should suffice.
Section XXXIV -- ENEMY AIR ACTIVITIES
- During the three days from 0245 on 10 July through 1815 on 12 July 1943, (D through D plus 2), approximately 200 enemy flights were plotted on the operations board. Over half of these flights were inland flights which did not reach the CENT, DIME or JOSS areas. Of the 89 plotted enemy raids aimed at the assault areas, 26 were intercepted and driven off prior to entering the areas. The remaining 63 raids entered the areas but were, in most cases, engaged by the fighter cover.
- Enemy raids consisted of all types: strafing, dive-bombing, low-medium and high-level bombing and reconnaissance flights. A great deal of trouble was experienced from enemy raids strafing and bombing the beaches and beached landing craft. These raids came in very low, down f the valleys, and then darted over the ridge of hills onto the beaches. Since these raids could not be picked up by the radar, and aircraft lookouts were handicapped by the smoke and haze over the beaches, they were surprise attacks. These raids were frequent, and are not included in the 89 raids plotted by radar.
- These attacks were sometimes coordinated with high-level bombing of shipping in the transport areas, the attention of all gunners then being concentrated on the beaches. These high-level attacks were in most cases delivered out of the sun by formations of from three to as many as twenty-seven aircraft. The accuracy of these attacks was poor and the resultant damage not great.
- The night attacks were preceded by the dropping of flares in parallel lines. The flares were effective in that they blinded the gunners, but it is believed that they did not illuminate the ping sufficiently to make good targets. The losses attributable to night attacks were slight, most disturbing effect of these raids was when the enemy aircraft would fly close to the water between the transports. This caused the ships to fire toward each other with resultant confusion. This type of attack also led to the suspicion of aircraft mine laying, necessitating immediate exploratory sweeps as a safety measure.
Section XXXV -- JOINT AIR PLAN
- The Joint Air Plan covered in broad general terms all air operations necessary to an amphibious operation. The role of the air forces as outlined in the plan were as follows:
- The destruction or neutralization of enemy air forces within range of the operations.
- Air operations intended to prepare the way for the assault and assist its execution.
- Support of the naval operations.
- Protection of the assault convoys.
- Support of the assault forces.
- The air operations necessary to launch the paratroop attacks included in the Plan.
- Air attack on enemy shipping and naval forces.
- The protection of Northwest Africa, and of the captured areas of Sicily, against air attack.
- Participating in the cover plan and in diversionary operations aimed at keeping the enemy air forces as widely dispersed as possible.
The detailed plans for each of the above roles were made the subject of further plans submitted by the lower echelons.
- The joint plan provided that the Air Commander-in-Chief from a Command Post near Tunis would control all air operations during HUSKY. This meant that there was no officer at the scene of operations with any authority to control air activity during the assault. Due to the unavoidable delay in communications with headquarters established in the rear, this resulted in an unsatisfactory situation as urgent requests regarding air cover or air support could not be acted on for several hours.
- Role (a) was, by and large, successful. However, the enemy air forces were fairly active from D through D plus 2 day - (See comments on "Enemy Air Activities").
Role (b) was successful. Enemy targets were well selected prior to the amphibious attack.
Role (c) was not given sufficient importance nor were the final plans completed until the assault convoys had already put to sea. This resulted in improper briefing of personnel with resulting confusion and inefficient employment of the aircraft assigned to the protection of the assault areas. (See comments on "Fighter Cover and Air Support").
Role (d) was the most carefully planned and the most successfully executed of all. The Coastal Air Force deserves great credit for the planning and execution of the protection of the many convoys involved in the operation.
Role (e) was non-existent as understood by the Navy during the assault phase. (See comments on "Air Support").
Role (f) was only partially successful. There was not sufficiently close cooperation on the part of the other services during the planning stage. The plans were not completed until the assault convoys had put to sea and strict radio silence prevented the proper dissemination of information. Had the route to be flown by the transports been submitted to the Navy for approval, a strong objection would have been made. Never would the Navy have agreed to routing the transports over convoys and the assault areas. Although the planned route had been requested on numerous occasions, it was not submitted, and the Navy only learned of it when it was already too late for any changes to be made. Errors in aircraft navigation plus lack of timely information resulted in such regrettable instances as troop carrier aircraft being shot down by both ship and beach AA fire.
Role (g). No comment.
Role (h). It must be assumed that adequate protection was provided Northwest Africa the captured areas of Sicily. Enemy air activity over these areas was light at all times and sustained was correspondingly very light.
Role (i) was also successful since the enemy was never able to muster sufficient strength f to seriously endanger any of the operations by air attack.
- No provisions were made in the plan to regulate the flight of friendly aircraft in the assault areas and for the control of AA fire. This resulted in unnecessary red alerts, when friendly planes approached the area without being identified as friendly, and in excessive AA fire on friendly planes.
For future operations of this nature all planning officers should be geographically located in one place; more emphasis should be placed on the protection of the assault areas and
close air support of the initial assault phase; a senior air officer with the authority to command that portion of the air forces assigned to protection and support of the assault phase, should be placed on board the Flagship. All details of the plan should be distributed sufficiently in advance of the operation, in order that the personnel entrusted with the execution of the plan may be thoroughly informed of the operation.
Section XXXVI -- FIGHTER COVER and AIR SUPPORT
- While it is believed that the Tactical Air Force made a strong effort to provide continual daylight cover over the assault areas and the beaches, the amount of protection was insufficient and not commensurate with the naval effort and the value of ships, men and material involved.
- The average number of fighters over each of the areas, CENT, DIME and JOSS was approximately ten aircraft. There were several "holidays" in the schedule when no cover existed over one or two of the areas and, on two occasions, there were no fighters in any of the areas. To provide this cover approximately 440 sorties were made each day; two-thirds from Malta, one-third from Pantelleria. Spitfires operated from Malta and P-40's from Pantelleria.
- With the limited amount of cover, patrols could be maintained at one level only, thus making interception of both high and low-level attacks difficult.
- Sufficient fighter aircraft were present in the theater- to provide additional cover. The Air Forces, however, stated that additional aircraft could not be made available for the following reasons:
- Limited operational capacity of Malta and Pantelleria.
- Great distances from operating fields to assault areas, hence short time of cover provided by each sortie.
- The large commitments for fighter escort for the many bombing missions.
Cover at night was provided by night fighters of the Coastal Air Force controlled by G. C. I. equipment installed in LST's.
- Close support by aircraft in amphibious operations, as understood by the Navy, did not exist in this theater of operations. The opinion of the North African Tactical Air Force is that close support by aircraft is not practicable. If close support is requested, and granted, it cannot be delivered for at least two hours. In one of the few close air support requests that were granted in the invasion of Sicily, the time lag was twelve hours. Under these conditions the shore air support liaison parties have little or no value.
- Close support by aircraft and spotting for Naval gunfire in amphibious assaults are considered essential. At Gela, while speaking of close aircraft support, one U.S. Army General was heard to remark, "What we need now is some U.S. Naval Aviation."
- Though the Army Air Officer aboard the Monrovia was on the same echelon as the Naval Commander Western Task Force and the Commanding General Seventh Army, he had no authority over any aircraft except those entering the assault areas assigned to Fighter cover and the 111th Observation Squadron. Therefore all requests for additional aircraft for fighter cover or close support of the ground forces had to be relayed to Tactical Air Force Headquarters located near Tunis for their consideration.
- For future operations additional emphasis should be placed on the protection of shipping and the beaches in the assault areas. During the critical stage, until the Army is firmly established ashore, persistent and determined enemy air attacks may take such a heavy toll of shipping, men and materials as to make the operation a failure. In order to make available additional fighter aircraft, longer range planes such as the P-38 should be employed, belly tanks should be used when possible, and bombing missions either curtailed or their escort reduced.
- Protective patrols should be flown at three levels about seven or eight miles inland from the beaches, in order to be able to intercept any form of threatening attack. With many friendly aircraft in the area, valuable reconnaissance can be made and close support of ground operations by the fighter cover is possible.
- The Air Officer aboard the Flagship should have the authority to order additional aircraft for protection of the assault areas and close support missions of ground forces.
In this connection it is proposed that in the event of Naval Aviation not being available, bombing flights with previously assigned targets should report to the Flagship by VHF radio on approaching the assault area to inquire whether there is not a more important target of opportunity than the previously assigned mission. The Air Officer, receiving the reports from reconnaissance flights and from the ground forces, would be in an excellent position to evaluate the importance of the targets and would then be able to order attacks on the enemy at the time they are needed, without referring the matter to the Headquarters in the rear for consideration.
Section XXXVII -- FIGHTER DIRECTOR CONTROL
- Army Air Corps fighter director units were placed on board all Flagships. These units were sent over from the United States especially for this operation. While they were composed of highly trained personnel, many being instructors in fighter direction, none had experience in a war zone. They were also hurriedly gathered together and had no opportunity to be trained as a team. Upon arrival in this theater shortages of certain types of personnel were discovered which were supplied from personnel in the theater.
- Notwithstanding the above handicaps, and the fact that the plan covering the fighter protection of the assault areas was not completed until after the assault convoys put to sea, it is my considered opinion that a most creditable performance was turned in by the fighter director units, particularly by the unit aboard the USS Monrovia.
- Fighter director facilities were in general inadequate. Those in the Biscayne and Samuel Chase were wholly improvised in this theater, utilizing such Army VHF equipment and such spaces as could be made available. The elementary facilities in the Monrovia were improved in so far as time and available equipment permitted. As a general rule the location of the Fighter Director room was poor, it was far too small, and the poor ventilation seriously impaired the efficiency of the operating personnel. The SCR 522 VHF equipment installed by the Air Force proved unsatisfactory for fighter direction purposes. It failed in some respects in all three ships, and in the case of the Biscayne did not provide communication with the fighter cover. The facilities in the Ancon, an AGC, were considered satisfactory by CTF 85 for the fighter control task assigned that ship.
- Fighter patrol was established at 0500 on D day. It was immediately contacted over VHF radio and was continually controlled throughout the landing operation. Fighter directors were ordered to first protect the shipping, second the beaches, and third, to provide Air Support for ground operations.
- From 0245 on 10 July 1943 to 1815 on 12 July 1943 approximately 200 enemy flights were plotted on our operations board. Not all of these were in the JOSS, DIME, and CENT areas, as about half of them were inland flights which never reached the fighter-covered areas.
- Eighty-nine enemy raids were aimed at the assault areas, not counting numerous enemy raids which sneaked down the valleys and which were not picked up by the radar. Twenty-six of the plotted raids were intercepted, engaged, and driven off by fighter direction of the covering patrols before they reached the assault areas. Sixty-three plotted raids entered the areas but were in most cases, engaged by the protecting cover.
- A great deal of trouble was experienced from planes strafing and bombing the beaches and beached landing craft. These came in very low, down valleys, and then darted over the ridge of hills onto the beaches. These raids could not be picked up by radar, and visual observers were handicapped by the smoke and haze which hung over the beaches. Because of severe AA fire during their attempts to engage low-flying aircraft over the beaches and shipping, our cover was not over-anxious to engage this type of raid. The AA situation, however, was greatly improved, by "attempting to control the AA fire of all ships from the Flagship over the TBS circuit.
- On a few occasions the fighter director ordered part of the fighter cover on reconnaissance missions.
- For future operations the following are recommended:
- That separate fighter control ships be provided and equipped with G. C. I. for the control of night fighters. This will enable the fighter director to place the ship in the most advantageous position from the point of view of radar coverage.
- That ample room, ventilation and satisfactory communication facilities be provided. The personnel and equipment will not function efficiently where excessive heat is encountered.
- That the fighter director personnel be permanently assigned to a ship and trained and kept as a team. The senior officer of the unit should have the authority to promote and discipline personnel under his command.
- That the senior fighter director officer in any operation be a member of the Commander's staff and assist in making plans for fighter direction, radar coverage, communications, fighter cover, reconnaissance flights, close air support, and control of AA fire.
Section XXXVIII -- SPOTTING PLANES
- Air spotting of naval gunfire contributed greatly to the success of the operation and must be considered as a necessity in all amphibious operations. The spotting planes reported the movement of enemy tanks which later counter-attacked and were the main threat to the success of the operation in DIME area. Air spot contributed directly to the destruction of shore batteries and several enemy tanks.
- Fighter cover to assault areas was given primary consideration and with the number of fighters available, none could be spared for direct escort of cruder spotting planes. Request for fighter escort to cruiser planes was made prior to this operation, but was not granted. Request was made for suitable land-based aircraft to spot for cruiser gunfire, but A.O.C. Mediterranean Air Command stated none was available. Cruiser planes were operated from their ships with varying success. In general it was proved that use of present type cruiser planes for spotting, when opposed by enemy fighter aircraft, is either impracticable or excessively costly. Direct fighter escort to present type cruiser planes is not considered satisfactory. It is strongly recommended that land or carrier-based naval aircraft that can serve the dual purpose of spotting and afford self protection be used in future operations.
Section XXXIX -- NAVAL AIR LIAISON OFFICERS
- Naval Air Liaison Officers were not employed in the operation. Task Force 85 was e-quipped to provide this service but, due to the lack of Naval Aviation and the almost complete lack of Air Support as understood by the Navy, there was no opportunity to make use of Air Liaison Officers.
However, the use of this service is strongly recommended in all amphibious operations provided that Naval Aviation be employed for close support. Should amphibious operations be planned without the aid of Naval Aviation, it is recommended that the supporting air forces place dive bombers at the disposal of the Naval Commander to carry out vital close support missions until such time as the ground forces are firmly established ashore. In such case, Naval Air Liaison Officers would be required.
Section XL -- Staff ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION
- It has been recommended by one Task Force Commander that the N-2 and N-3 sections be combined into a joint section in which N-2 functions under N-3. No reasons were adduced to support such a recommendation. It has been the experience of this command that in the planning and execution of large amphibious operations, the duties of the Intelligence Officer are so numerous and so diverse that a separate section conforming to Army and Air practice is vitally necessary.
- Attention is invited to the fact that the composition and functioning of the staff of a Naval Attack Force Commander in an amphibious operation will vary according to the size of the landing force embarked, i.e., division, corps, or army. The composition and especially the functioning will further vary in accordance with the extent to which the commander exercises visual observation of his forces. When landing a reinforced division, he can normally see the operation as a whole. When landing a corps or an army, visual observation is not possible and he is dependent on situation maps and charts. Consequently he relies much more heavily on his staff.
- The staff of a Naval Attack Force Commander should engage in several exercises in staff operation aboard ship before going into action. The exercises should be based on staff instructions I which give the action station and duties of each staff officer.
Section XLI -- PRESS RELATIONS
- Correspondents accredited to both the Army and Navy frequently requested permission to transmit copy via naval communications. This was not granted in view of the Commander in Chief's order that no press copy would be transmitted by radio from ships. Normally, the press should obtain news releases from the rear echelon based on the Combined Situation-Intelligence Reports sent back periodically from the assault area. Those may be supplemented by background material in form of official despatches to the Press Relations Officer rear echelon for information but not for release. In addition, arrangements should be made aboard the principal Flagships whereby correspondents may send back copy, suitably addressed and labeled, via the first returning ship, craft, or airplane.
- In general it is believed that insufficient information was released concerning the naval aspects of the invasion of Sicily, and particularly of the activities of the Western Naval Task Force, to adequately convey to the families of U.S. Navy personnel, the public at large, and the Congress a proper realization of the magnitude of the U.S. Naval effort in this theater.
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