Section I - GENERAL
- Communications during operation HUSKY were reasonably satisfactory. They were a distinct improvement over communications in operation TORCH. The improvement was chiefly due to:
- Previous experience and training of some ships, military and naval commands in amphibious operations.
- Designation and improvisation of "headquarters" ships for Navy and Army attack force and task group commanders, and installation therein of essential radio equipment.
- Procurement of an adequate number of naval communication personnel, officers and enlisted men, and the setting up adequate communication staffs for Navy and Army commanders afloat and ashore.
- Successful operation of principal Army command circuits from "headquarters" ships, which prevented acute overloading of Navy channels with Army traffic.
- Planning of the operation in close association with the Naval Commander-in-Chief (CinCMed) and the Army Task Force Commander (C.G. 7th Army).
In addition the following factors contributed to improved communications:
- Provision of a U.S. Navy communication liaison unit to the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean at the assault headquarters and communication center, Malta.
- Provision of Royal Navy nucleus cryptographic teams to U.S. Navy task force commanders.
- Retention of ECM's on board the majority of U.S. vessels normally allowed this equipment.
- Training of special coding boards to handle British cryptographic systems for task force commanders.
- Communication preparations for the operation were handicapped by the distance of the headquarters of this theater from the Navy Department, and the difficulty of obtaining required personnel and material before the demands could be justified on the basis of definite operation ns. Many equipment deficiencies ashore and afloat were met by borrowing from Army and, to an extent, from the Royal Navy. The personnel problem was acute until the embarkation period, when the arrival of a large number of naval district communication personnel alleviated the shortage in numbers. However, this personnel generally had no sea-going or operational experience, and lacked any knowledge of amphibious and British communications.
- Further difficulties during the pre-assault stage were:
- The concurrent creation of a shore communication organization, with inadequate personnel and materiel, to meet the rapidly expanding (and changing) training and operational demands.
- The lack of previously established amphibious training activities.
- A continually increasing load of administrative and operational despatch traffic which threatened to swamp all radio and wire facilities just before the operation.
Section II - PLANNING
- Many communication matters which are accepted as elementary in naval communications, become complicated in joint operations, and in major combined operations in which six services operating under coordinate ground, sea, and air commands, as is the case in the Mediterranean a -- some of the elements of communications become exceedingly complex. Certain items at point are: procedures, call signs, cryptographic aids, frequencies.
- Communication planning for HUSKY had in particular to provide for command by the pal Navy Commander in Chief, coordination with British task forces, command of British vessels in the Western Naval Task Force, coordination with the U.S. Army and Royal Air Forces operating as a combined Air Force, coordination with the U.S. Army ground forces in the Western
Task Force, and for the simultaneous execution of one "ship-shore" assault, one "shore-to-shore" assault, and one "mixed" assault.
- The "ship-shore" assault employs combat-loaded transports organized by divisions, troops are landed in ship's boats, similarly organized to support the landing attack plan. This form of assault has application in an overseas movement and the technique has been fully developed through training and combat experience. The "shore-to-shore" assault employs landing hips and craft and has application where scene of the assault is not far distant from mounting or staging ports. In the "mixed" assault, part of the assault troops were embarked in transports, art in landing craft.
- Ship-shore assault communication doctrine has become fairly well standardized. The use of landing ships and craft in a full scale "shore-to-shore" assault was an operation much discussed, but previously untried. A "shore-to-shore" communication doctrine was promulgated, which, with modifications, was used in the shore-to-shore assault. The inexperience of landing craft communication personnel required that circuits and equipment be kept as simple as practicable.
- Other difficulties encountered in planning were:--
- The absence of one attack force commander (CTF 85).
- The uncertainty as to the communication and fighter director facilities which could be definitely provided afloat, prior to embarkation of Navy, Army, and Air commands.
- A change in the locale of the assault and the late settling of the details of the operation plan.
- Progressive changes and increases in the Air Force requirements.
- Concurrent organization and expansion of area communications, previously mentioned.
- Owing to the large number of small ships and craft involved and the comparatively inexperienced personnel therein, to the late arrival of the transports and combatant ships and their unfamiliarity with communications in the Mediterranean, to the necessity for making plans intelligible to other services, and to the specialized nature of amphibious operations, the communication plan was drafted in full with complete appendices on every pertinent subject. The result was a formidable-looking document but reports indicate that communication officers of small ships were able to assimilate the pertinent portions with minimum difficulty and confusion.
- The communication plan was prepared as rapidly as possible, but owing to late completion of operational details, the plan reached the attack force commanders at a late date. However, attack force commanders were kept advised of planning developments by conference and by advance copies of appendices. The detailed nature of the plan permitted attack force commanders to go into the operation with a minimum of additional instructions.
- On Royal Navy and one U.S. Army signal liaison officer, assigned to the staff of the Naval Commander Western Task Force, were of invaluable assistance in the preparation of the plan. The similar assignment of an Air Force signal officer, had it been practicable, would have been of material assistance in anticipating the needs of the Air Force.
Section III - COVER PLAN
- In implementation of the cover plan which indicated the mounting of two independent assaults, one in the Oran area, the other in the Bizerta area, an endeavor was made to break the communication link at Algiers. Messages handled by radio between Oran and Algiers were, insofar as practicable, transmitted by teletype between Algiers and Bizerta, and vise versa. Owing to the Unreliability of teleprinter service at the time, and to the traffic overload, it was not always possible to carry out this scheme perfectly. Practically all traffic was handled point to point. Flagships were served by direct teleprinter lines to base radio stations. The reported movement of enemy aircraft to Sardinia prior to the operation indicates that the cover plan may have had effect.
Section IV - "HEADQUARTERS" SHIPS
- There was but one specifically designed "headquarters" ship in the Western Naval Task Force. This was the Ancon, the flagship of Commander Task Force 85 who commanded the CENT assault. Other vessels used as "headquarters" ships, were wholly or partially outfitted in theater. The fact that the Ancon was any better fitted than other transport flagship was
not known by NCWTF until the preliminary plans for the operation were definitely settled.
- The Monrovia, flagship of Naval Commander Western Task Force, had had some inadequate modifications made prior to arrival in North Africa. Further essential modifications were undertaken alongside the tender in the only time available, a period of ten days. The joint operations room was enlarged, a joint communication office and three code rooms were provided, the radio rooms were enlarged, the radio installation was considerably increased and rearranged to separate receivers and transmitters, the SG radar was moved from its position completely blocking the center of the signal bridge, and the signal bridge was approximately doubled in size and facilities. An air operations office was constructed, after embarkation.
- The headquarters arrangements in the Samuel Chase, flagship of Commander Task Force 81 who commanded the DIME assault, were completely improvised in the theater. The joint operations, communications, and coding spaces were provided and all extra radio equipment was installed alongside the tender.
4. The Biscayne, flagship of Commander Task Force 86 who commanded the JOSS assault, was similarly modified in the theater. This small vessel was chosen for the flagship of the shore-to-shore (landing craft) assault because of the undesirability of exposing a single large transport to probable bombing and loss owing to its outstanding target characteristics among a group of landing craft. It was expected that the Biscayne would appear to be just another escort vessel. The small size of the ship limited the facilities which it was practicable to provide. An SG radar was installed under conditions of great pressure, just prior to the assault.
5. The ORIZABA was used as "headquarters" ship for the KOOL (Floating Reserve) group. Its equipment and personnel were provided in the United States on a last-minute request by the Army.
- Landing Craft "headquarters" vessels were improvised in LCI(L). Additional radio equipment and personnel were provided. These craft were called Regimental Combat Team "headquarters" ships, as they corresponded to Transport Division flagships in a ship-shore assault. However, the Navy's needs for command craft are primary; the provision for a regimental commander should be considered a secondary factor.
- Additional radio equipment was also provided in the transports carrying transport group and unit commanders and Army regimental combat team commanders, and in flotilla and group LST and LCI(L) flagships.
8. None of the improvised "headquarters" ships was wholly satisfactory in the operation. The Biscayne, which was found to be well suited to its particular assignment, requires complete conversion and additional ventilation for satisfactory service. The LCI(L)'s performed their communication missions but were unsatisfactory from a navigational and flagship point of view. The specially equipped combat-loaders were in no way satisfactory. The characteristics of a "headquarters" ship and a combat-loader can not be incorporated in the same vessel. Time and equipment available did not permit provision of more extensive facilities, nor were alterations permanently affecting the characteristics of the vessels authorized. The chief deficiencies were inadequate and insufficient communication equipment and fighter direction facilities, mutual interference, inadequate working space for the required Navy, Army and Air staff personnel, insufficient radio channels for Army and Air Force requirements, and poor working conditions. However, inadequate as were the ships, it is considered that the operation could not have succeeded without them. Owing to the late arrival of equipment from the U.S., much of the additional radio equipment installed was obtained on loan from the Army.
Section V - DEFICIENCIES
- While communications generally met the demands of the operation, certain deficiencies which have been reported were
- Breaking of radio silence (on TBS) prior H hour (in CENT force).
- Overloading of TBS circuit (in CENT and DIME forces).
- Poor security and discipline and misuse of voice circuits -- (general).
- Interference on many channels -- (general).
- Insufficient number of shore fire control channels -- (in CENT force).
- Failure of fire control channels -- (in JOSS force).
- Failure of VHF communications with planes -- (equipment causalities in certain "headquarters" ships).
- Non-use of "Radar Reporting Wave".
- Mutual interference on "headquarters" ships.
- Insufficient radio channels for Army and Air Force.
- Overloading of Task Force Commander's circuit.
- Strictest radio silence had been ordered from 1600 D-l day until H hour. However, radio silence was broken on the TBS by the CENT forces on arrival in the transport area. Owing to the delay in unloading of this Force, the CENT commander desired to delay H hour and utilized the TBS in this connection. The continued transmissions and the pertinent information broadcast might well have eliminated all element of surprise. If the enemy thus received warning of the attack, no counteraction was noted.
TBS and other Voice Circuits
- The TBS was intended to be used as a tactical and local warning circuit. Attack force commanders were provided with individual voice channels for use within their own forces. However, the CENT and DIME forces which were generally equipped with the TBS, utilized this circuit to transmit any and all types of traffic, resulting in the overloading of this channel and preventing its satisfactory utilization by combatant vessels. A common VHF voice channel is required. The proposal that each attack force be provided a separate TBS frequency is not recommended until equipment is installed which will provide two VHF channels and permit instantaneous switching from one channel to the other.
- Some confusion was reported when orders transmitted by one attack force were heard by vessels of another attack force. Proper attention to calls and procedure would normally obviate this difficulty.
- Voice circuits were generally subject to misuse. Discipline was poor. Security was poor. Many messages handled in plain language should have been coded and transmitted by key. Coded messages were sometimes unnecessarily transmitted by voice, entailing prolonged blocking of the circuits concerned. These deficiencies can be overcome only by more training of communication personnel and by better indoctrination of the senior officers who in many cases are utilizing or controlling the voice channels.
Frequencies -- Interference and Allocation
- Interference was experienced on many channels, from foreign stations and from own or associated forces. All radio frequencies were allocated by the Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces. Demands for frequencies in the usable spectrum far exceeded the number of available channels. Many low power channels had to be shared. The large naval, and ground forces operating within a comparatively small area, and the lower standards of frequency stability prevailing in some services, made the complete avoidance of interference impracticable. However, every effort was made by the Command-in-Chief to so allocate frequencies that undue interference from allied or foreign sources would not be encountered. Owing to the shortage of channels, it was not possible to assign each naval attack force all the frequencies desired by its commander.
Fire Control Channels
- Shore fire control channels are reported to have operated successfully except in the JOSS assault. It is believed that the failures in this area were due to loss of equipment by shore fire control parties or separation of shore fire control parties and the landing force unit commanders. No information on this subject has been received from the Army.
VHF Communication with Planes.
- Owing to the non-receipt of VFH equipment from the United States, and in accordance with the desires of the Air Force, SCR 522 (aircraft) equipment was installed in the Biscayne and Samuel Chase for fighter direction communications. Two sets were also provided in the Monrovia in addition to the previously installed EC 639/640 equipments. The SCR 522 equipment proved unsatisfactory, owing to lack of ruggedness of its motor generator and to low power and frequency instability. The Biscayne did not establish communications with planes. The
Samuel Chase could communicate only with planes directly overhead. The burning out of motor generators in the Monrovia limited this ship to the two channels provided by the regularly installed BC 639/640 equipments. However, all fighter control was successfully handled by the Monrovia and the Ancon. (The Air Force had previously decided not to utilize the fighter direction facilities of the Leonard Wood).
- All radar information for fighter control was in general obtained from the "headquarters" ship's own radar. Radar guard ships had been directed to report plots over the radar reporting wave. Very few plots were so received. This situation was corrected for later operations by further training and emphasis on radar plotting.
Mutual interference and shortage of radio channels on "headquarters" ships.
- Considerable mutual interference was experienced on the improvised "headquarters" ships. Owing to the space and antenna limitations of the ships, the hasty installations, and the lack of alternate Army, Navy, and Air Force frequencies, some interference was to be expected. It was found that the low power TCS equipments were generally the worst offenders. Mutual interference conditions can be improved by the provision of specially designed "headquarters" ships.
- Owing to the limited amount of equipment available in the improvised "headquarters" ships, the number of radio channels made available to the Army and Air Force was less than the number desired by those services. These services have stated that the resultant situation was not satisfactory and that the Navy should arrange to provide more channels in future operations.
Overloading of Task Force Commander's circuit.
- Commander Task Force 85 reports that the task force commander's circuit was overloaded and recommends that additional circuits of this type be provided in future operations.
- 13. Provision was made for a secondary Task Force Commander's circuit which was occasionally used to handle overflow traffic. On the evening of D + 2 day, Commander Task Force 85 reported a large amount of traffic on hand and requested establishment of an overflow circuit. Unfortunately the flagships were then leaving the assault area and radio silence prevented the establishment of the new circuit.
Remedy for reported deficiencies
- Aside from the materiel troubles mentioned, most of the deficiencies were the result of misuse or non-use of the prescribed communication channels and failure to follow normal communication doctrine. The communication plan is considered to have been sound. The majority of the deficiencies may be ascribed to insufficient training and unfamiliarity with conditions pertaining in an air-amphibious assault. Improved communications in a later operation, hastily planned, and effected against strong enemy resistance, bears out this contention.
Comment on other features of communications during the operation follows.
Section VI - CALL SIGNS
- The necessity for preparation and use of special U.S. Navy operational call signs is a moot subject. Current U.S. Navy doctrine requires encipherment of normal call signs except under conditions of tactical emergency. This exception envisages the requirements of a naval engagement, normally lasting not more than two or three hours. "Hot" communications during an amphibious operation will normally continue for three days and may continue for two or three weeks. During this period main operational circuits work at full capacity and the traffic handled by "head-quarters" ships is exceptionally heavy. The encipherment of calls is unacceptable from the stand-point of speed and if done would probably compromise the cipher. The use of unenciphered U.S. Navy calls presents the enemy with information gratis, and in the case of new calls, eventually compromises them. The same is true of regular combined calls. The preparation of special call joists involves additional labor and paper, but for the reasons given and for convenience in assigning calls to the principal commanders of other services, it appears to be the best solution of an unsatisfactory situation.
- In combined operations, in which Royal Navy and U.S. Navy vessels are intimately mixed, the only common call list is the combined one. This does not provide for the U.S. system of task fleet, force, group, and unit numbers. Temporary calls may be assigned by the Royal Navy senior officer, but this also involves extensive paper work. Special U.S. Navy operational call lists can be provided the Royal Navy ships and commands requiring them without additional labor in preparation.
- As the time required for preparation and distribution of special call lists to miscellaneous forces disposed throughout a wide area is sometimes a critical factor, it is suggested that, until some more satisfactory solution is arrived at, special call lists in blank be prepared in the Navy Department and issued in required numbers to commanders conducting amphibious operations. However, as the tendency in this theater is to allocate mixed British-U.S. forces to an assault on very short notice, a combined naval call system is required which can be previously distributed and held by all commands likely to be involved in an operation, which is designed to meet the needs of an amphibious assault (and follow up), and which is mutually satisfactory to U.S. and British naval authorities.
- As ground force and air force call signs are also employed in "headquarters" ships circuits, the naval call signs should, if practicable, be of a distinctive form. The wide variety of forms of call signs employed in this theater makes some understanding with the other services on this score desirable.
Section VII - AUTHENTICATION
- As CCBP 0122 was not acceptable to all services concerned, no combined system of authentication was prescribed for operation HUSKY. As only an advance copy of O122 was then available, a somewhat similar authentication system previously prepared by Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Northwest African Waters and acceptable to the Seventh Army, was adapted for joint use in the Western Task Force, (the American portion of HUSKY).
- Enemy attempts at deception in this instance, were not numerous and, for the most part, were clumsy and transparent. Authentication was therefore seldom required or used. The Royal Navy in this area does not believe an authentication system necessary or desirable. However, NCWTF is of the opinion that an authentication system should always be available, for use when the need develops. If employed as a matter of routine, any system practicable of use during an amphibious operation will have little or no security. In the few instances when enemy deception is serious, an authenticator is highly desirable and a system such as prescribed for HUSKY should have the necessary security.
- C.O. Savannah, with reference to later leap-frog landings along the north coast of Sicily, states that an authenticator should be provided for use on shore fire control circuits. Authenticator sheets were prescribed for HUSKY only until D + 10 day. However, these tables could well have been used at later dates by local arrangements with the Seventh Army.
Section VIII - CRYPTOGRAPHIC AIDS
- Reduced allowances of U.S. cryptographic aids, (generally eliminating world wide systems), were prescribed for HUSKY. Further reduction was ordered for vessels operating in specially hazardous waters. Landing ships and craft held few cryptographic systems. However, ECM's were retained on board all ships normally holding this device, except those assigned specially hazardous duties. This materially expedited encryption and decryption of Western Naval Task Force traffic. The provision of a communication liaison team, also equipped with ECM s, to the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean materially expedited high command traffic and collective address messages affecting only the Western Naval Task Force, which would otherwise have been encrypted in combined or British systems.
- Special British systems were prescribed for combined (Royal Navy - U.S. Navy) use by Commander-in-Chief, Mediteranean. The distribution problem, as was the case in TORCH, involved both sides of the Atlantic, the Admiralty and the Navy Department. Distribution to all vessels concerned prior to sailing was correspondingly troublesome. This problem will continue to be troublesome until appropriate combined publications are approved, distributed, and made available for special operations.
- U.S. coding boards continued to experience difficulty with British type codes and "cyphers". U. S. operators continued to garble number code transmissions. However, there is nothing inherently wrong with British-U.S. systems. They are admittedly slower than the ECM. (A sampling on board NCWTF flagship showed an average of 46 groups per man per hour). Considerable experience is required to use these cryptographic systems effectively. Unless continuously operating in a British area, ships with small communication departments generally have not mastered the present combined systems, and it is doubtful if they ever will.
- While the joint systems prescribed for the U.S. Army and Navy more or less meet the needs, the U.S. Army requires special systems for working with the British Army; the Royal Navy, special systems for use with the British Army and Royal Air Force. As such systems are generally provided by liaison personnel, six distinct coding units will usually be found on board a high command "headquarters" ship in this theater.
- While the situation was greatly improved over that existing in TORCH, occasional delay was entailed in flag ships by necessary encipherment of messages in two systems, or by the reencipherment of an incoming message in a second system in order to pass it to new action, or information addressees. This practice is highly undesirable from a security point of view. When encipherment involves the question of transmission security versus physical security, there is no ready answer.
- The views of Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Northwest African Waters on basic combined cryptographic channels normally required for combined operations in this theater were communicated to the Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean and to the Combined Security Board. These channels are briefly
- A high security system for Navy flag officers, general officers commanding Army corps and task forces, and Air officers of the same echelon.
- A system of good security distributed down to class 3 ships (U.S.) and major war vessels (R.N.), Army division commanders or senior officers in the assault (if of a lower echelon), and U.S. Army Air Force Group (R. A. F. Wing) commands.
- A low grade system for general distribution, prepared in several editions.
- The CCM when distributed appears to be-the logical system for channel (a), and possibly (b). The British "Fleet Code" has been redrafted locally by representatives of the Armies, Navies S and Air Forces of the U.S. and Great Britain, and is being submitted to the Combined Communication Board as a suggested low grade system for channel (c).
Section IX - VOICE CODES
- Probably the bulk of traffic on landing craft, amphibious, and lower command channels was transmitted in plain language over voice radio circuits. While this is satisfactory with the If majority of messages so handled during the-assault proper, many voice messages require temporary security, particularly following the initial landing.
- A special voice code was prepared and promulgated for U.S. Naval use in HUSKY. In review of the number of voice channels used in landing operations, a code of some sort is essential. However, if sufficient code words are provided to give a fair degree of security, the code is too awkward and slow for practical assault purposes. The usual short code, most convenient to use has little security. The NWTF code was stated to be too long and awkward by some users. The satisfactory solution to reasonable security (when required) on voice circuits is not clear. The most promising partial solution appears to be the Codex device, adapted by the British Army from the Germans, and by the U.S. Army in this theater from the British Army. A limited number of these devices was obtained from the Army for such use as might be feasible. As it was found impracticable to obtain other than the Army (military) vocabulary, the Codex was actually little used by the naval forces in HUSKY.
- Whatever voice code may be devised, "security minded" personnel are required to make the code effective. Generally the security violations occur, not from lack of suitable cryptographic systems, but from lack of thought or intent on the part of the talker concerned. In this feature the U.S. Navy in general needs much training.
Section X - SPECIAL CODES
A combined Air Warning Code, Fighter Director Vocabulary, and Mediterranean Area
Fighter Operations Grid (MAFOG) were prescribed by higher authority for appropriate use in connection with aircraft. These specialized codes appeared to be adequate for their designed purpose. Fighter direction personnel used all three publications as one document and actually committed much of it to memory.
Section XI - RADIO CHANNELS
- With the exception of the shore fire control circuits in the JOSS area, amphibious radio channels were generally satisfactory. There was a tendency to use voice, even when key was prescribed, if the equipment permitted. While voice circuits have a definite useful function in air-amphibious operations, voice communications can be overdone. The tendency to use voice is increased by the large proportion of radiomen, inexperienced in tactical key circuit operation, and of communication officers inexperienced in tactical communications, now found in the war-time navy. This is particularly true of landing ships and craft. Further training will be remedial.
- Paralleling a British "Shore Bombardment Wave," a "Common Fire Support Calling" circuit was provided for HUSKY. There is little comment on this circuit in the reports of subordinate commanders. Operations following the assault have proven the desirability of this channel. Commander Cruiser Division EIGHT has developed this shore fire control communication system so that one common calling channel and six shore fire control channels provide desired flexibility and meet the normal needs of an assault in division strength.
- Owing to the satisfactory operation of the usual command channels and to the ability to broadcast messages in U.S. procedure and cryptographic systems over the Malta "Area Broadcast," the WNTF "Force Fox" was not used as much as expected. However, this is a very useful channel in emergencies.
Section XII - VISUAL
- Visual communications were used to capacity throughout the operation, and the heavy traffic load was, in the main, handled efficiently. "Headquarters" ships reported 120 to 350 visual messages serviced per day. Minor faults noted were in general due to inadequate training, and in the smaller vessels, possibly, to insufficient personnel.
- As British landing craft, motor torpedo boats, and ships, and both U.S. and British merchantmen were involved in the Western Naval Task Force, visual call signs were something of a problem. Enroute in U.S. ship convoys, station unit designations were used as much as practicable, employing task organization number calls when applicable. International calls were used with British ships; hull numbers were generally used by both British and U.S. landing craft.
- Landing craft visual communications have been handicapped by lack of a suitable signal book. As LCT's do not carry a full set of flags, any signal system applicable to all landing ships and craft must be simple. LST's and LCI(L)'s are capable of handling general signals and normally hold the auxiliary signal book, which publication is not authorized to be held in landings. Prior to HUSKY the LCT signal pamphlet was revised and the course, speed, and turn pennants were added to the LCT flagbag in the hope that this simple system would be adequate for an assault. However, in the mixed (ship and craft) task force and reserve task group, it was found necessary to employ Mersigs enroute. The shore-to-shore task force utilized an extract from the Auxiliary Signal Book in addition to the LCT(5) signal pamphlet. As the regular publications or extracts there from were not permitted to be beached, difficulty arises after the initial landing, when the landing vessels are shifted from one task force to another and the occasion arises to exchange signals with various types and groups of ships.
- A landing craft signal book is required which may be used by LCT's as well as LST's and LCI(L)'s, which will meet the requirements of landing craft convoy movements as well as assault I landings, which will provide the minimum signals necessary to coordinate operations with ships and which may be lost without seriously compromising the General Signal Book. Lacking such a I specialized signal book, it appears desirable that landing craft carry the "Auxiliary Signal Book" and "Mersigs" at all times.
- British craft used the "Major Landing Craft Signal Pamphlet" which appears to be adequate for their own needs. British ships are now provided with the General Signal Book and extracts from "General Tactical Instructions" for limited tactical cooperation between British and
U.S. forces. It is probable that future operations will 'find British and U.S. landing craft acting in close tactical cooperation. It appears that a combined landing craft signal pamphlet, which reasonably meets the U.S. requirements set forth in the preceding paragraph, will be essential.
Section XIII - NAN EQUIPMENT
- Equipment available for this operation consisted of the following units:
- 8" Signal Searchlight (ship and beach).
- 32 pt. navigational beacons.
- 6" portable beach markers.
- Receivers, type "A."
- Receivers, type "EMI."
- The transports of the Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet arrived in this theater fully equipped with this apparatus and schooled in its use. The equipment to be installed in vessels based in North Africa did not arrive until a late date, allowing but a limited time for distribution and training. The results attained were roughly proportional to the amount of training received by the operating personnel. Commander Transports, Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet reported that, "When unwise to use normal visual channels, NAN proved invaluable, especially during the approach to the transport area and in the transport area before departure of boat groups for their line of departure." CTF 86 reported that visual communication by NAN method was unsatisfactory because signalmen failed to appreciate the amount of motion ships had in the prevailing sea and failed to keep the apparatus pointed at the receiving ship. CTF 81 reported the usefulness of this equipment "as a means of visual communication between vessels in the transport area after dark. Its use in connection with units ashore, especially as markers, was not satisfactory. The IR markers ashore or in the scout boats could not be located."
- With respect to the specific units of equipment, the following comments appear warranted.
- The 8" searchlight was of marked value to transports and control vessels during the approach.
- The navigational beacons were very useful to ships for station keeping and in anchoring in the transport area, and for boat waves in keeping station on the control vessels and on the transports while in the rendezvous area. (Beacons on two beach marking submarines were picked up without difficulty by the COWIE, which had been detailed to this duty).
- The storage battery powered lights on the beach marking boats are reported to have been too low powered; many of the lights were not observed by the boat waves. The beach markers placed ashore were reported to have about 60% of the range expected from Bureau of Ships tests.
- The type "A" receiver was found to be superior to the type EMI, but neither receiver is wholly satisfactory. Gunfire flashes and pyrotechnics on shore effectively neutralize the receivers.
- NAN equipment unquestionably has some value in amphibious operations. With adequate training in the use of the equipment, better results may be expected in future operations.
Section XIV - RADAR and IFF
- Model SG radar again proved to be of great value in the approach, both to station keeping and to navigation - finding the proper location off the proper beach in the dark. The operation of air search radar and the dissemination of information there from was poor.
- Most guard ships were ill-prepared to perform efficient radar search duty. Radar plots were inadequate; many radar operators appeared to lack indoctrination and training. When designating ships for radar guard duty, some Task Force Commanders and O.T.C.'s failed to give complete, and specific instructions; in many cases the watch schedule provided neither standby guard ships nor kept up with the change of events. Slow procedure and delays in making reports over the radar reporting wave rendered it practically useless. Either enemy planes had already attacked or unrecognized allied planes had been fired on before word was received of their presence. There were too many cases of detection reports not being followed up by further tracking
information. Consequently plotting officers on other ships could have no idea of speed, course id height of the original target, and could not predict who might expect friendly or enemy planes overhead.
- The IFF situation was such that recognition information was always scanty and sometimes misleading. Many allied planes failed to switch on IFF even when so equipped. The Mark I system was brought into effect so close to "D" day that ships had little time for tuning, sting and indoctrinating personnel in IFF gear. In many cases, instruction books and test equipment were lacking, frequencies and coding position unknown or not understood, and material status either inoperative or unknown.
- The necessary steps have been taken to correct the deficiencies found in the operation of radar during HUSKY.
Section XV - COUNTERMEASURES
RCM Unit No. 4 was assigned Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Northwest African Waters r the operation. Some investigational work was accomplished but unfortunately its main equipment did not arrive in time for the assault.
Section XVI - RADIO EQUIPMENT
VHF Ship-Plane Equipment
- The SCR 522 equipment is mentioned in Section V, paragraph 8. While not designed for shipboard installation, and while generally of little use in this operation, the set does have potential value in smaller ships for emergency communication with fighter planes. Properly inducted technicians can keep it on frequency. Its motor generator is adequate for intermittent use.
- The BC 639/640 has stood up well under all operating conditions to date including lock of gunfire and near-misses. It has furnished reliable communications for fighter control.
- The TBY was used with success by operators trained and expert in its use. SGR 510 equipment was used by CTF 86 for boat control circuits. No reports of drowning of SCR 510 sets aye been received. The water proofing method employed appears to have been wholly successful. When comparatively untrained and inexperienced operators must man portable sets, Army FM equipment has much in its favor.
- Model TBX equipment continued to give reliable service on the beach. However, its limited frequency range makes frequency allocation in the overcrowded Mediterranean ether, difficult. Requests for a means of transportation were received from beach parties which were required to shift location several times between widely separated beaches.
- Beach battalions have requested one vehicular radio set of increased power (per battalion) for communication between main beaches, and between beaches and off-shore task forces. This request has merit and as concurred in. An SCR 193 mounted in a ¼ ton 4x4 would be satisfactory.
- Shore fire control parties experienced difficulty in keeping pace with the movements of the assault units, and recommendations have been received that all SFCP radio equipment be vehicle-mounted. This request has merit and is concurred in principle. However, owing to the need of keeping the number of vehicles in the assault waves to an absolute minimum, it is recommended that but three SFG parties per division be so equipped. This matter comes under the cognizance of the Army.
- Advanced Base groups have been provided with equipment which, with the exception of he TBW, requires normal shore station facilities to set up. The setting up of such gear entails entirely too much delay in establishing base communications, particularly when a coastal movement is involved. For HUSKY, three TBW's were mounted in vehicles in this theater. These three sets were the chief reliance of the Advanced Base Units (four in number) for nearly one month, hiring this period communications to and between Sicilian ports remained unsatisfactory. It is recommended that half the radio equipment provided Advance Base groups operating under any similar conditions be vehicular mounted, complete with power supply and antennas. Equipments of the type of the Army SCR 299 are required.
Section XVII - CONCLUSION
- Considering the conditions under which the U.S. naval forces in this theater simultaneously organized, trained, and planned for a major combined operation, the difficulties encountered in getting communication personnel and materiel into the theater, and in full consideration of all deficiencies set forth, communications in operation HUSKY were better than the more optimistic expectations of NCWTF. The following deficiencies of general application warrant emphasis.
- U.S. ships were not satisfactory in the individual and coordinated employment of air search radar under conditions of air assault.
Ships taking part in later operations have shown marked improvement in this respect.
- Voice circuits were misused, discipline and security were poor.
Voice channels are necessary and most useful, but are dangerous facilities in the hands of personnel not fully indoctrinated in the principles of security.
- Communications in a full scale air-amphibious combined operation will never be fully up to normal Navy standards. Some of the reasons are:
- A new and complicated communication organization is established involving other services, which for reasons of security, is not made known to the majority of personnel concerned until after sailing.
- "Headquarters" ship, transports, and landing craft communication staffs are temporarily reorganized, are made up of Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel who may not have seen each other until sailing date.
- Wholly new communication circuits have to be established under stress of battle, and in many cases under most unfavorable physical conditions.
- The total Army, Navy, and Air Force traffic handled on board ship is tremendous. It is necessary to utilize all available communication personnel, many of them in duties in which they have had little previous experience.
However, amphibious communications can be satisfactory. Training and experience in successive operations has been productive of a steady improvement. It is expected that the general standard of amphibious communications will continue to improve through future operations.
- Necessary factors in satisfactory air-amphibious combined operations are:
- Specifically designed "headquarters" ships for attack (task) force and higher commanders participating in the assault.
Operation HUSKY succeeded with improvised facilities, but a bitterly contested landing, involving prolonged air-amphibious communications in the assault, area, will require every known "headquarters" ship facility.
- Communication personnel adequate in numbers and training.
The numerous circuits and heavy traffic load during and following the assault require more communication officers and men than are normally allowed. Combined communications require furthest- additional personnel. Key personnel, skilled in air-amphibious and combined communications, are required from the initiation of planning.
- Communication materiel available in the theater, adequate to meet reasonable needs as they arise during the vagaries of operational planning.
- Planning in close association with the commanders of the other services in the same echelon, and with the commanders of the next higher and lower naval echelons.
- Common procedures, call sign systems, and cryptographic aids.
- A common landing craft signal book, designed to meet all essential needs of landing ships and craft enroute, in the assault, and during follow-up operations.
- In the Mediterranean theater, British and U.S. forces have become more intimately mixed in each successive operation. British and Dutch ships operate under U.S. Navy command, U.S. ships under Royal Navy command; British and French troops may be landed in an assault from U.S. Navy ships and craft, supported by Royal Navy and Dutch gunfire and by U.S. Army Air Force and (R.N.) Fleet Air Arm aircraft. A common method and common systems for handling radio, visual (and sound) communications are required. Common procedures have been established. Combined systems of call signs (and delivery groups), combined cryptographic aids, and combined landing craft signal book -- all designed to meet the special needs of amphibious operations -- are essential.
- As the conditions now existing in the Mediterranean will undoubtedly prevail in other theaters, every effort should be made to expedite the provision of a "universal" communication system, available for use "between and within each and every service of the United States and the British Commonwealth, wherever located."
- Cooperation between all services concerned in the planning and handling of communications for operation HUSKY was par excellence in spirit and in practice. This spirit of cooper-Ration was continuously evident in the day to day dealings of both officers and enlisted men.
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