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RichTO90
Bremerton WA USA
Posts: 689
Joined: 2004
Myths of D-Day
11/30/2022 1:20:34 PM
The last couple of posts regarding D-Day have gotten me to thinking a fun post would be to look at some of the myths about D-Day that have taken hold.

To start, "the Eighth Air Force bombed so far inland that none of the beach was cratered as promised so the infantry had no cover when they got off the landing craft".

The first problem with that is that it ignores the reason the Air Force bombed so far inland. It was because the safety measures placed on them prevented them from getting closer than 1,000 yards from the leading boat waves. Then, since they knew they would have to bomb using H2X and GEE rather than visually, they had to go by timing rather than visually observing where the boat waves were, which added an additional safety factor. That they managed to get bombs within a mile of the beach defenses seems miraculous in retrospect.

The next problem is that nowhere in the actual air bombardment plan is there anything about cratering the beaches. In fact, the opposite is true; the plan actually specified that cratering was not desired, which is why mostly 150-lb HE and 120-lb Fragmentation bombs were loaded, along with a relatively few 500-lb HE. On top of that, they were nose fuzed instantaneous and no tail fuze was installed, so there would be no delay causing cratering.

The question then becomes why did so many of the troops landed at OMAHA believe that cratering was intended? And why have so many accounts of OMAHA accepted the myth and repeated it, when a quick look at the bombardment plan would have been enough to show it wasn't true?
OpanaPointer
St. Louis MO USA
Posts: 1574
Joined: 2010
Myths of D-Day
11/30/2022 3:58:38 PM
They couldn't bomb the beaches just before the first wave came to about two miles from the shore?
RichTO90
Bremerton WA USA
Posts: 689
Joined: 2004
Myths of D-Day
11/30/2022 5:08:04 PM
Quote:
They couldn't bomb the beaches just before the first wave came to about two miles from the shore?


Okay, so the problems...

The decision was to land just after the turn of the tide to give enough time to clear paths through the beach obstacles. That meant there was about 750 yards of beach flat from the water line to the high tide line and the German defenses. The flatness of the beach and shoreline gave a poor echo for the H2X and GEE, thus the 1,000 yard limit.

Except they could not see the boat waves so had to go with the assumption they were on time according to the plan. So they added a further time limit to make sure.

The overloaded infantrymen could be expected to stumble at a pace of around 1.5 miles per hour, with a 1/2 mile of flat that was expected to take 15 to 20 minutes.

The LCVP/LCA were capable of a maximum 12 knots so two miles off shore would take around 10 minutes...to get to the 750 yard beach flat. So the assumption was that would be 35 to 30 minutes after the bombing and the Germans would no longer have their heads down.

Pretty much magical thinking but there it is.

In retrospect it would have been better to lighten the load, crash the boats through the obstacles at high tide, and forego the bombing...except that would have entailed a lot of boat losses and the passengers therein so perhaps no casualty savings.

So the real solution was to attack where the Germans weren't, between the draws with their concentrations of defenses.

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