The first three maps in the set — The English Channel Map, Normandy Coast Map, and Utah Beach Planning Map — show the planned D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. These maps follow a similar format and contain similar information to extant official printed United States maps of the period (see examples in the last four of our posted images), but the ones in the Deyo set are hand drawn and painted on a relatively large scale, — each now with a mylar transparent overlay cover as they apparently originally were made — the larger ones folding. This would have enabled their practical use by Deyo and his crew, as well as by liaison officers, aboard the Tuscaloosa during the Utah beach bombardment and landing. Revisions and additions, as well as notes, could be made on the maps for command and control updates with a grease pencil on the overlay.
The fourth and highly important Utah Beach Situation Map provided the Tuscaloosa with positions of ship stations of 13 specific ships assigned to bombard the beach in the two entry sectors of the fire support area in the early morning of June 6, 1944 before the landing. The map also shows positions of buoys and other data of practical interest to the bombardment fleet. Of particular note, it shows the positions where three of the American ships involved in the bombardment sank first on June 6th, and up to June 10th when the USS Glennon capsized at 20:45. The map also shows the revised area where the troops actually landed — about 2000 yards from where originally planned before H-hour — and it provides other data about operations on the beaches and further inland. We know of no other single map than the Situation Map with such particular contemporaneous details of the D-day invasion, including periodic on-the-scene updates for at least several days. Moreover, we know of no other complete set of original battle maps used on a U.S. naval flagship in the D-Day invasion or otherwise. For further documentation and comparison, we welcome any information on similar purposed or styled extant naval maps from World War II, or indeed from any other United States navy battles throughout history.
Part 2. Set of Four D-Day Maps, Admiral Deyo, USS Tuscaloosa
Maps such as these typically would have been used in command and control operations aboard the flagship Tuscaloosa in a CIC (combat information center) or AIC (action information center). A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships. It is the lead ship in a fleet of vessels, typically the first, largest, fastest, most heavily armed, or best known. A CIC or an AIC on a flagship functions as a tactical command center and provides processed information for command and control of the near battle space and other areas of operation. The Deyo set of four maps would have been among Deyo’s tools for orchestrating the attack from the perspective of Task Force U. Liaison officers representing the different ships in the bombardment group, as well as representing other armed forces (Army, Air Force, Marines) typically would relay updated information from the CIC or AIC aboard the Tuscaloosa to their respective counterparts. Pertinent updated information likewise would be relayed back to the liaison officers in the CIC or AIC from remote land, air or other sea command posts. It would be helpful if the C2 ( Command and Control) log or diary kept by the Admiral’s staff for the Tuscaloosa for this period could be located. That might refer to the these maps and otherwise might enable comparison of its data with information as updated on the Situation Map.
- Three Preliminary Planning Maps for the Utah Beach D-Day Normandy Invasion
These three maps (from the set of four total) were uniformly made by the same draftsman (or team), with identical painting, type, format, and style. They are on a stiff illustration board and mounted on a simple wooden stretcher frame, all likely as issued. They have all been recently restored with a new 3/4-inch-wide plastic strip border screwed on the face of the maps at the edges. This strip holds down new clear mylar sheets allowing for writing plans and notes with a grease pencil. This restoration by adding new plastic strip border and mylar cover was based on remnants of old cracked brittle plastic strip border present on the maps when acquired by George Glazer Gallery from the Deyo estate. The mylar cover was added in restoration as an example of an overlay that was likely held down by the border strips (they would have served no other known practical purpose), though the actual original overlay might have been of a different material such as a translucent thin paper.
By content, the three maps form a subset, starting with a general English Channel Map, followed by a sectional Normandy Coast Map and finally a detailed Utah Beach Planning Map in preparation for the landing of troops. As described below, the fourth map, which is the most detailed and important map of the set — the Utah Beach Situation Map — is of different materials, style, and format and with no overlay.
Map 1: [English Channel Map]
Pen, ink, and opaque paint on illustration board, folding in halves on two panels mounted on wood stretchers joined at the center by hinges
44 x 55 inches
This map of the English Channel provides an overview of the southern portion of Great Britain and the northwest portion of France on either side of the English Channel, with islands and major coastal towns labeled. Land is outlined in black and colored green.
Map 2: [Normandy Coast Map]
Pen, ink, and opaque paint on illustration board, single map panel on wood stretcher
28 x 44 inches
A map of the Normandy Coast, with an overview of the French coast along the Baie de la Seine, extending from Cap de la Hague to Le Havre. The Utah Beach landing site is outlined with a rectangle that corresponds to the third map. Within this outlined area are two sections are labeled Tare Green and Uncle Red, code names for the two entry points on Utah Beach. The land is painted green, with some blue highlighting around the coasts, and dark red highlighting of towns. North is indicated by an arrow, and there is a mileage scale lower left.
Map 3: [Utah Beach Planning Map]
Pen, ink, and opaque paint on illustration board, folding in half on two panels mounted on wood stretchers joined at the center by hinges
44 x 56 inches
This much more detailed map of Utah Beach entry points and troop routes corresponds to the outlined area on the above Normandy Coast Map. It shows the Tare Green and Uncle Red beach landing sites centered around St. Martin de Varreville. Black arrows indicate planned inland routes (four of them named Exit 1, Exit 2, Exit 3, and Exit 4). Black ovals indicate planned landing force objectives. Roads and towns are painted red.
- Fourth Map, Operations Commencing June 6, 1944 on Utah Beach
Map 4: Utah Beach 6 June 1944
[Utah Beach Situation Map]
Pen and ink, opaque paint, and various cut and applied papers, dissected in two vertically, mounted on linen
Now mounted in a black hard shell carrying portfolio
40.5 x 56.6 inches
This fourth map — referred to herein as the Situation Map — was used for operations beginning on D-day for the Utah Beach bombardment and landing. It is of different materials, style, and format than the other three maps in the set. The Situation Map is made of various cut and applied papers (some with preprinted patterns representing different terrain). The different and less refined construction of this map (compared to the first 3 maps in the Deyo set) is consistent with it having been created aboard ship. Overall the map is dissected and had been joined in two halves on a backing material. The map has now been restored with the two halves separated, housed in a custom hard-shell portfolio, held in place but removable inside a mylar sleeve, the portfolio opening to display it as a single large map.
This Situation Map is the most significant map of the set providing unique information and detail. The map’s subtitle explains that it is “A general sketch of the coast line, beaches, enemy batteries and strong points, assault force areas, supporting forces and mine sweeping plan.” It has numerous keys and symbols marking positions in the planning and execution of the battle. These positions are as of June 6, 1944, prior to and the bombardment and landing, then periodically updated from H-Hour through the end of the landing operations approximately on June 8th, and thereafter updated at least up to June 10, 1944. Green Beach and Red Beach are labeled and correspond to Tare Green and Uncle Red on the map of the French coast. To the west is a line labeled “Tactical Limit,” beyond which the coast is labeled “British Beaches,” pointing towards Omaha Beach, and to the east of that, the three beaches on which British and Canadian forces landed in their missions on D-Day. North is indicated by an arrow, and there is a mileage scale in the upper left.
A key for “Ships on Stations” on the right side of the Situation Map assigns numbers to 13 ships: (1) Hobson, (2) Shubrick, (3) Corry, (4) Herndon, (5) Fitch, (6) Enterprise, (7) Nevada, (8) Soemba, (9) Quincy, (10) Hawkins, (11) Tuscaloosa, (13) Black Prince, and (15) Erebus. These ships are shown variously positioned by their numbers, which are lettered in applied white circles in the yellow shaded lanes in the Ships on Stations section on the left side of the map. There are no ships numbered 12 or 14. The Corry is shown as number 3 still in station where it sank in the early morning on D-Day. Presumably the 15 ship numbers were assigned when the Situation Map was made during the planning stages of the operation before D-Day. It may further be posited that when two ships were subsequently eliminated from use for whatever reason (numbers 12 and 14) that the staff left them blank instead of reassigning new numbers to the revised attack group because doing so right before a battle could cause catastrophic confusion. Perhaps the Ships on Station data tag pastedown key listing 13 of the 15 ships at station as currently is present on the map was substituted for a prior version in real time simply omitting ship numbers 12 and 14. Further to analyzing this aspect, please see Part 5 below that further describes a modern list indicating 18 ships in the fleet.
A key for “Buoys” on the right side of the map assigns letters and symbols for ones shown variously positioned on the left side, including dan buoys (small buoys sometimes made of cork with a small flag, used to temporarily mark a position at sea):
G Green, Fixed Position Buoys
R Red, Fixed Position Buoys
W White, Fixed Position Buoys
-G- Fixed Green Dan Buoys Every Mile
-R- Fixed Red Dan Buoys Every Mile
-W- Fixed White Dan Buoys Every Mile
* Green, Group Flashing
The left side of the map marks various positions , including the following:
F.S. Area One, F.S. Area Two, F.S. Area Three, F.S. Area Four
F.S. Unit One, F.S. Unit Two, F.S. Unit Three
F.S. Channel 1, Fast Channel, Slow Channel
Ships on Station
F.S. Unit One Anchor 0235; (Under Way 0356)
YMS Flotilla & ML’S
F.S. probably refers to “Fire Support.” Naval gunfire support (NGFS) — also known as shore bombardment — is the use of naval artillery to provide fire support for amphibious assault and other troops operating within their range. (It has alternatively been suggested that F.S. might be an abbreviation for the Forward Staging area assembly point for the military operation). “Fast Channels” would be for faster ships such as PT boats and mine sweepers. “Slow Channels” would be for slower ships like landing craft, liberty ships, and supply ships. The notation “F.S. Unit One Anchor 0235; (Under Way 0356)” means that in the fire support area, the ships shown by number in Unit 1 were planned to be at anchor on June 6, 1944 in the early morning at the time 02:35 and would begin operations at 03:56. Y.M.S Flotilla refers to YMS-1 Class auxiliary motor minesweepers and ML’s refers to small mine sweepers.
The left side also has a table with red symbols for three ships that sank between June 6 and June 10, 1944 — The Glennon, The Rich, and The Corry — and variously places these symbols on the map:
[Cross] At 0800/8 Glennon Struck Mine/ At 2045/10 [Glennon] Turned Over and Sank
[Cross in Square] At 0850/8 Rich Stuck Two Mines and Broke in Two
[Double Cross] At 0900/8 Rich Sank
[Square with Extension] Correy [sic.] Hit By Mine and Shell Fire Sank/ O633 [updated version]
Correy is misspelled, but some yellow glue residue is present on the mistaken “ey” of Correy suggesting that a pastedown correction had been added but has since fallen off and now is lost. Of considerable interest and significance, the last entry above for the Corry was amended by handwritten cross-outs and insertions. Originally it said: “At 0637/6 Correy Hit By Shell Fire. At 0728/6 Sank” meaning that it was hit by shell fire June 06:37 and sank at 07:28. This was amended to state instead that it was hit by a mine and shell fire, sinking at 0:633. This is consistent with the the current historical record that at first it was thought the Corry was sunk by German artillery fire, but this was later corrected to reflect that the Corry was sunk by first hitting a mine at 06:33 on June 6, 1944 (as shown in the hand-written corrections on the map). Moreover, this is evidence that the Situation Map was in practical use on June 6, 1944, with changes periodically being made on board the ship in real time to reflect updated information including the June 10th sinking of the Glennon. The history of these 3 ships is discussed further in Part 6, below.
Another significant aspect of the Situation Map involving updates is that it shows the revised actual landing area of the troops which, due to unforeseen strong currents and other factors, was about 2,000 yards from the original intended landing zones opposite Les Dunes de Varreville. The map also has numbers in applied white squares, as well as red circles and red triangles variously placed on the beaches and inland adjacent shore areas. They are not identified by any extant key present on the map to indicate what exactly they represent. Nonetheless, the subtitle of the map indicates what they probably are intended to show “enemy batteries and strong points, assault force areas, supporting forces and mine sweeping plan.” It should also be noted that red symbols on naval maps generally indicate enemy points of interest including units, posts and installations, equipment and activities. The map indicates different waters and lands by coloration, but without an identification chart. These likely include navigable waters for large ships; littoral, shallow waters, and wetlands offshore close to the beach; beach areas; and inland areas, including indications of swamps.
The data for the Situation Map (titles, information, symbols, etc. ) is present on separate paper data tag pastedowns (some literally pasted down and others adhered with cellulose-based clear tape). These pastedowns are fairly uniform throughout, but some in slightly different fonts and styles. It is unknown what baseline information was originally included on pastedowns on the the map before any pastedown corrections were added. The timeline of the Situation Map begins with Fire Support Unit Two at 01:24 and Fire Support Unit One at anchor at 02:35 — underway at 03:56. This pre-attack information was the starting point for offensive operations. Some of this information might have been added after the map was originally constructed, fairly close in time to the early hours of June 6th. Generally a skilled draftsman would have worked on a map like this with block lettering. This is a skill that either requires a very practiced hand or some form of tool such as a lettering kit, guide, template, or tracing machine. Proper drafting standards mandate that all letters be the same font, style, and size, so if a different draftsman were making additions he would generally try to maintain that style by using the same tools and process. The draftsmen that made updates on the Situation Map apparently started lettering some of the entries without exactly measuring the size of the other letters on the map, but rather as approximations of the same size. For example, a careful examination reveals that the updated Glennon ship sinking information on June 10th appears to have been drawn just slightly larger than the June 8th updates for the sinking of the Corry and the Rich. Another apparent variation is that all three of these updates were made with a wider nib pen than the lettering for some of the other updates. Thus, it may be It may be presumed that the lettering on the baseline map was likely made by one draftsman and the updates were either made by different draftsmen or by the original draftsman using a different lettering tool. A detailed survey of the fonts, size, letter thickness and style on the map, as well as different types of paper and adhesives, could help decipher when the various information was supplied to the map. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the lettering for the F.S Area 3 and F.S. Unit 3 had losses when George Glazer Gallery acquired the map. This has since been replaced by a restorer with later pastedowns having lettering in manuscript facsimile; accordingly these aspects should not be used in comparing fonts, etc. to others on the map. Furthermore, it is noted that although some of the pastedowns were originally affixed by cellulose tape (rather than paste), the map restoration included removal of the tape (since considered acidic with damaging oil adhesives) and reaffixing the pastedowns with reversible adhesive. The Gallery has available pictures of the map as it was when acquired, before restoration, in case examination of the map in this state is desired.
Part 3. Historical Background
The Normandy landings on Tuesday, June 6, 1944 began the Allied invasion of German-occupied France which laid the foundations of the Allied victory in World War II on the Western Front. Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history, which began with the landing of 24,000 American, British, and Canadian airborne troops after midnight. Infantry and armored divisions followed about six hours later. The U.S. zones were codenamed Utah Beach and Omaha Beach; Utah Beach was the westernmost of the five landing areas. It was approximately three miles wide, and the battle plan divided it into two sectors designated Tare Green and Uncle Red, which are marked on the Planning Map and on the Situation Map.
The plan was for two U.S. Infantry divisions to seize control of the area and begin the assault. Next troops and Sherman tanks would land opposite Les Dunes de Varreville, marked on the map as St. Martin-de-Varreville. However, a combination of strong currents, poor visibility and loss of three of the four control craft to mines, caused the force to land 2,000 yards to the east. Although the assault thus began in confusion, the American division commander managed to regroup and forge ahead. By the end of D-Day (June 6), however, few objectives had been seized and losses were heavy, with about 1,200 casualties in each division that landed on Utah Beach. In addition, as noted on the Situation Map, three ships in the U.S. fleet — the USS Corry, the USS Glennon and the USS Rich — struck mines and sank between June 6 and June 10. By June 12. however, all five beachheads were connected and the operation gained a foothold. Combined casualties during the D-Day invasion were high: 4,000 to 9,000 German men, and at least 10,000 on the Allied side.
Rear Admiral Deyo, aboard the USS Tuscaloosa CA-37, commanded the western Operation Neptune Force “U,” supporting the landing of the American First Army at Utah and Omaha beaches. Naval gunfire was part of the preinvasion strategy to soften German coastal defenses and the Tuscaloosa was the lead ship for coordinating bombardment from a distance. Naval bombardment of areas behind the beach commenced at 05:45, while it was still dark, with the gunners switching to preassigned targets on the beach as soon as it was light enough to see, at 05:50. The Tuscaloosa bombarded the notorious Crisbecq (Marcouf) German battery, a location marked on the Planning Map. The USS Corry — a destroyer in the bombardment group — sunk at about 06:33 after it struck a mine while evading fire from the Crisbecq battery. Inasmuch as landing by assault troops was scheduled for Utah and Omaha beaches as 06:30 — an hour earlier than the British beaches — they received only about 40 minutes of prior naval bombardment. The Tuscaloosa was involved in the organized relief efforts for the USS Glennon and the USS Rich after they struck underwater mines and ultimately sank between June 8th and June 10th, as detailed on the Situation Map. The Tuscaloosa continued to support the advance of American ground forces with gunfire until June 21, before it moved west to participate in the bombing the batteries of Cherbourg on June 25.
Part 4. Admiral Morton Lyndholm Deyo
Morton Lyndholm Deyo (1887-1973) was a career naval officer who progressed to the rank of Rear Admiral in 1942; upon his retirement he advanced to the rank of Vice Admiral on the basis of his leadership in combat. His naval career began in World War I. In the 1920s, he served as aide on the staffs of two admirals. Thereafter, he taught at the Naval Academy and the Naval War College. From October 1936 until January 1939 he was Operations Officer on the staff of Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet. In 1940-41 he served as Aide to the Secretary of the Navy. From 1941 to the summer of 1944, he was deployed in a succession of commands in the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Among his most important roles, he served as commander of Operation Neptune Task Force U aboard the lead ship USS Tuscaloosa CA-37, on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He commanded the Fire Support Group for the assault on Normandy, and executed the bombardment of Cherbourg, which enabled the Army to enter that key port city. He then played a key role in the assault on the south coast of France, commanding one of the two U.S. Bombardment Groups. Deyo was awarded the Legion of Merit for his leadership during the Normandy invasion, the citation noting: “After careful planning, Rear Admiral Deyo skillfully directed his force during the assault period of the invasion and, by the effective fire support of his various units, contributed to the successful landings by the First United States Army on the beaches in the Madeleine area.” Later in 1944, he deployed to the Pacific Fleet, where he directed units involved in the amphibious assault on Okinawa Gunto in 1945. After the end of World War II, Deyo served in a variety of administrative posts until retiring in 1949 with numerous military honors bestowed by the governments of the United States, Britain and France.
Part 5. Ships on Station, Tables of Details
.A. Class, Series and Number Identifications of 13 Ships on Station as Referred to on the Situation Map
USS Hobson (DD-464/DMS-26), a Gleaves-class destroyer
The Gleaves-class destroyers were a class of 66 destroyers of the United States Navy built 1938–42, designed by Gibbs & Cox
USS Shubrick (DD-639), a Gleaves-class destroyer
USS Corry (DD-463), a Gleaves-class destroyer, (also known as the Bristol class)
Corry stuck a mine at 0:633, June 6, 1944 and sank.
USS Herndon (DD-638), a Gleaves-class destroyer
USS Fitch (DD-462/DMS-25), a Gleaves-class destroyer
USS Enterprise (CV-6), a Yorktown-class carrier
One of three American carriers commissioned before World War II to be deployed in World War II and survive it.
USS Nevada (BB-36), Nevada-class battleship
Launched in 1914, Nevada was a major advance in dreadnought technology.
HNLMS Soemba (Dutch: Hr.Ms. Soemba), a Flores-class gunboat
Built in the mid-1920s for the Royal Netherlands Navy.
USS Quincy (CA-71), a Baltimore class heavy cruiser
USS Hawkins (DD-873), a Gearing-class destroyer
USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37), a New Orleans-class cruiser
USS Tuscaloosa was a New Orleans-class cruiser of the U.S. Navy. Commissioned in 1934, she spent most of her career in the Atlantic and Caribbean, participating in several European wartime operations. In early 1945, she transferred to the Pacific and assisted in shore bombardment of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. She earned 7 battle stars for her service in World War II.
On 3 June, Tuscaloosa steamed in company with the rest of Task Force 125 (TF 125) bound for the Normandy beaches. At 0550, 6 June, she opened fire with her 8 inches (203 mm) battery, and three minutes later her 5 inches (127 mm) guns engaged Fort Ile de Tatihou, Baie de la Seine. For the remainder of D-Day, coast defense batteries, artillery positions, troop concentrations, and motor transport all came under the fire of Tuscaloosa’s guns, which were aided by her air spotters and by fire control parties attached to Army units on shore. VOS-7, a US Navy Spotter Squadron flying Supermarine Spitfire VBs and Seafire IIIs, was one of the units which provided targeting coordinates and fire control. Initial enemy return fire was inaccurate, but it improved enough by the middle of the day to force the cruiser to take evasive action. On the afternoon of 9 June, Tuscaloosa returned to Plymouth to replenish her depleted ammunition. Back in the vicinity of the Îles Saint-Marcouf on the evening of the 11th, she remained on station in the fire-support area until 21 June, providing gunfire support on call from her shore fire control party operating with Army units.
(12) No Ship Numbered 12
(13) Black Prince
HMS Black Prince, a Dido-class light cruiser of the Royal Navy, of the Bellona subgroup
(14) No Ship Numbered 14
HMS Erebus, an Erebus class monitor of The Royal Navy that served in both world wars
.B. Errata. Wikipedia lists 18 ships in the Utah Bombardment Group. The following is a list of discrepancies in comparison of that list to the 13 shown as Ships on Station on the Situation Map and other information:
.1. USS Rich (DE-695) was a Buckley-class destroyer escort
Not numbered in Ships on Station on Situation Map
Included among the 18 Utah Bombardment Group ships
Shown on the Situation Map regarding when and where it sank after it hit a mine on June 8, 1944
.2. USS Glennon (DD-620), a Gleaves-class destroyer
Not numbered in Ships on Station on Situation Map
Not included among the 18 Utah Bombardment Group ships
Shown on the Situation Map regarding when and where it sank after it hit a mine on June 8, 1944.
.3. Six Ships
Not numbered in Ships on Station on Situation Map
Included among the 18 Utah Bombardment Group ships
Not shown on the Situation Map
.a. Butler, a destroyer, U.S. Navy
.b. Forrest, a destroyer, U.S. Navy
.c. Gherardi, a destroyer, U.S. Navy
.d. Bates, a destroyer escort
.e. Hotham, a frigate, Royal Navy
.F. Tyler, a frigate, Royal Navy
.4. USS Quincy (CA-71), a Baltimore class heavy cruiser
Numbered in Ships on Station on Situation Map (number 9, as above)
Not included among the 18 Utah Bombardment Group ships
.C. Wikipedia List of 18 Ships U.S. Navy Force U Bombardment Group
From Wikipedia: “Below is a list of ships responsible for bombarding targets at Utah Beach as part of the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, the opening day of Operation Overlord This force, code-named “Bombardment Group A”, and commanded by Rear Admiral Morton Deyo, was a group of eighteen warships assigned to support the amphibious landings on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944 (“D-Day”); this was the opening day of Operation Overlord, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II. It was part of US Navy Force U, which consisted of 865 ships under Rear Admiral Don P. Moon. This was in turn part of the Western Naval Task Force, under Admiral Alan G Kirk.”
Nevada Battleship US Navy Captain P. M. Rhea
Erebus Monitor Royal Navy Captain J. S. Colquhoun
Hawkins Heavy cruiser Royal Navy Captain J. W. Josselyn
Tuscaloosa Heavy cruiser US Navy Captain J. B. Waller; flagship of Rear Admiral Morton Deyo
Black Prince Light cruiser Royal Navy Captain D. M. Lees
Enterprise Light cruiser Royal Navy Captain H. T. Grant
Soemba Gunboat Netherlands Lt. Cmdr. H. H. Propper
Butler Destroyer US Navy Cmdr. M. Matthews
Corry Destroyer US Navy Lt. Cmdr. G. Hoffman
Fitch Destroyer US Navy Cmdr. K. Walpole
Forrest Destroyer US Navy Cmdr. Letts
Gherardi Destroyer US Navy Cmdr. M. Curtin
Herndon Destroyer US Navy Cmdr. G. Moore
Hobson Destroyer US Navy Lieutenant K. Loveland
Shubrick Destroyer US Navy Lt. Cmdr. W. Blenman
Bates Destroyer escort US Navy Lt. Cmdr. H. Wilmerding
Rich Destroyer escort US Navy Lt. Cmdr. E. Michel
Hotham Frigate Royal Navy A/Lt.Cdr. Sydney Ayles
Tyler Frigate Royal Navy Lt. Christopher H. Rankin
Part 6. Corry, Rich, and Glennon — Three Ships that Sank
Verbatim Text from Wikipedia below
USS Corry (DD-463), a Gleaves-class destroyer
Invasion of Normandy
Corry cleared Norfolk on 20 April 1944 for Great Britain, and the staging of the Normandy invasion. Getting underway from Plymouth, England, she was the lead destroyer of the Normandy Invasion task force, escorting ships and transports across the English Channel. Upon arriving off the coast of Normandy, France, she headed for Îles Saint-Marcouf, her station for fire support on the front lines at Utah Beach. On D-Day morning 6 June 1944 she fired several hundred rounds of 5-inch ammunition at numerous onshore targets.
As H-Hour (06:30) neared, when troops would begin fighting their way onto the beaches, the plane assigned to lay smoke for Corry to conceal her from enemy fire was suddenly shot down, leaving Corry fully exposed to German gunners, who were now firing at her in full fury. At approximately H-Hour, during a duel with a shore battery, Corry suffered direct heavy-caliber artillery hits in her engineering spaces amidships. With her rudder jammed, she went around in a circle before all steam was lost. Still under heavy fire, Corry began sinking rapidly with her keel broken and a foot-wide crack across her main deck amidships. After the order to abandon ship, crewmembers fought to survive in bone-chilling 12 °C (54 °F) water for more than two hours as they awaited rescue under constant enemy fire from German shore gunners. One crewmember raised the American flag up Corry’s main mast, which remained above the surface of the shallow 30-foot-deep (9.1 m) water when the ship settled on the bottom at 49°30′50″N 1°11′30″WCoordinates: 49°30′50″N 1°11′30″W. Corry survivors were rescued by Fitch, Hobson, Butler, and PT-199. Of her crew, 24 were killed and 60 were wounded.
Discrepancy over the sinking of Corry
The official loss of ship report for Corry states that at 06:33 she hit a mine, which was said to have exploded below her engineering spaces. Initial reports by the commanding officer, however, state that Corry was sunk by a salvo of heavy caliber projectiles which detonated amidships below the water level in the engineering spaces and caused the breaking in half and sinking of the vessel. German reports also state that the Saint Marcouf (Crisbecq) battery commanded by Walter Ohmsen, located 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) inland, with its three 210-millimeter (8.25 in) guns scored a direct hit on an American warship at approximately H-Hour (0630), causing its sinking. The warship was initially believed to be a light cruiser (due to Corry’s silhouette resembling that of a light cruiser at a distance). About two weeks after D-Day, a detailed report stating that heavy artillery fire had sunk Corry was about to be submitted as the official loss of ship report, but it was suddenly scrapped and rewritten stating that Corry had struck a mine. No officers or crew were consulted for input on the rewrite of the report. This final official loss report for Corry stated on its last page that shelling received simultaneously with the proposed mine resulted in “merely incidental damage.”
USS Rich (DE-695), a Buckley-class destroyer escort
On 23 May, [1944, USS Rich] arrived at Derry, Northern Ireland, and awaited a convoy to escort back to the United States. Instead, Rich was assigned to the Normandy Invasion force, and commenced preparations for “Operation Neptune”, the naval phase of the invasion of Normandy. She arrived at Plymouth, England on 4 June, and was assigned as an escort to the battleship Nevada.
Delayed by weather for 24 hours, the “U” force sailed for France on 5 June, with Rich and her sister ship Bates in the screen of the bombardment group of Task Force 125 (TF 125), which consisted of the battleship Nevada and the heavy cruisers Quincy (CA-71), Tuscaloosa, and HMS Black Prince. From 6–8 June, she screened the heavier units as they supplied gunfire support for the troops landed on Utah Beach to the northwest of the Carentan Estuary. On 6 June, Rich laid down a smoke screen which foiled an attack by German E-Boat.
Soon after 08:45 on 8 June, she was ordered by the Commander of Task Group 125.8 (TG 125.8) aboard Tuscaloosa to Fire Support Area 3 to assist the destroyer Glennon which had struck a mine northwest of the Saint-Marcouf Islands. Rich proceeded at full speed to the area, and then followed in the wake of two minesweepers to the immediate area of the Glennon. Closing Glennon, Rich dispatched a whaleboat, only to learn that her assistance was not needed at that point. Rich then started to round the disabled ship and take up station ahead of the minesweeper which had taken Glennon in tow. She moved at slow speed, with extra hands on the lookout for enemy planes and mines.
At approximately 09:20, when Rich was about 300 yd (270 m) from the minesweeper Staff, which was in the process of taking Glennon in tow, a mine exploded 50 yd (46 m) off Rich’s starboard beam. This tripped circuit breakers, knocked out the ship’s lighting, shook up the ship hard, and knocked sailors off their feet, but caused no structural damage. Within a minute, the engine room reported that they were “ready to answer all bells”. Three minutes later, a second mine went off directly under the ship. Approximately 50 ft (15 m) of her stern was blown off, from frame 130 aft, just aft of the 1.1 in (28 mm) mount in ‘X’ position. Even though the blown-off stern section caught fire, survivors clung to her wreckage, and it sank shortly afterward. There was a 3 ft (0.91 m) sag in the main deck, and two torpedoes ran hot in their tubes. A third mine — another influence mine — exploded below the ice machine room forward, delivering the final blow two minutes later. The forward section was totally wrecked, the flying bridge demolished, and forward fire room severely damaged, and the mast came crashing down. Life rafts were ordered cut loose, and Rich was ordered abandoned. Several PT boats in a squadron commanded by Lt. Cdr. John D. Bulkeley came alongside Rich to take off personnel. All this time, they were being shelled by German shore batteries. A few minutes later, she sank in about 40 ft (12 m) of water at 49°31′N 1°10.6′WCoordinates: 49°31′N 1°10.6′W. Of her crew, 27 were killed, 73 were wounded, and 64 were missing; in all, 91 were killed outright or died of wounds following their rescue. Rich was the only American destroyer escort lost in the invasion force. Lt. Cdr. Michel — who suffered a broken leg — was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism in the incident.
After the Normandy beachhead was no longer being actively used, machinery, guns, ammunition, and other equipment was salvaged from the wreck. After the war, the wreck was thoroughly stripped by scavengers. A few of her artifacts are on display at the Normandy D-Day Museum. One of her propellers is also on display in front of the museum.
USS Glennon (DD-620), a Gleaves-class destroyer
Invasion of Normandy and sinking
Assigned to Assault Force “U” of the Western Naval Task Force, [USS Glennon] arrived in the Baie de la Seine, France, on 6 June. After patrolling around the bombardment group for submarines and fast German torpedo boats, she joined in gunfire support of troops ashore.
On 7 June, she hurled in 430 5-inch (127 mm) shells ashore in support of troops advancing north toward Quinéville. Under command of Commander Clifford A. Johnson, she was again approaching her gunfire support station at 08:30, 8 June, when her stern struck a mine. A whaleboat picked up survivors while minesweepers Staff and Threat arrived on the scene, one passing a towline while the other swept ahead of the damaged destroyer. The destroyer escort Rich closed in the wake of the minesweepers to assist, then felt a heavy explosion as she slowly rounded Glennon’s stern to clear the area. Minutes later a second explosion blew off a 50-foot (15 m) section of Rich’s stern, followed by a third mine explosion under her forecastle. Rich sank within 15 minutes of the first explosion.
The minesweeper Staff found she could not budge Glennon, whose stern seemed to be firmly anchored to the bottom by her starboard propeller. Most of her crew boarded Staff, and those remaining on Glennon lightened her stern by pumping fuel forward and jettisoning depth charges and topside gear. On 9 June, salvage equipment was assembled, and some 60 officers and men of Glennon came back on board. The following morning, just as Cdr. Johnson was preparing to resume efforts to save his ship, a German shore battery near Quinéville found her range. A second salvo hit Glennon amidships and cut off all power. After a third hit, Cdr. Johnson ordered his crew to abandon ship and the men were taken off in a landing craft. Glennon floated until 21:45, 10 June 1944, then rolled over and sank (location: 49°31′15″N 001°09′16″WCoordinates: 49°31′15″N 001°09′16″W). She suffered 25 lost and 38 wounded.
Glennon was awarded two battle stars for services in World War II.
Part 7. References
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Laurenceau, Marc. “USS Tuscaloosa.” DDay Overlord. 2003-2020. https://www.dday-overlord.com/en/material/warships/uss-tuscaloosa (13 February 2020).
“Maps IV, VII. Utah Beach to Cherbourg. CMH Pub 100-12.” Center of Military History, United States History. 2 October 2002. https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/utah/utah.htm (14 February 2020).
“Morton Lyndholm Deyo.” Naval History and Heritage Command. 11 August 2017. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/library/research-guides/lists-of-senior-officers-and-civilian-officials-of-the-us-navy/district-commanders/first-naval-district/deyo-morton-lyndholm.html (14 February 2020).
“Normandy landings.” Wikipedia. 23 January 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normandy_landings (13 February 2020).
Soerfm. “Utah Beachhead.” 2 July 2016. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Utah_Beachhead-crop.png (14 February 2020).