June 6, 1944 -
#1

During D-Day of the Normandy invasion, 6 June 1944, the Seabees were among the first to go ashore as members of Naval Combat Demolition Units NCDU. Working with Army Engineers their crucial task was to destroy the steel and concrete barriers that the Germans had built in the water and on the beaches to forestall any amphibious landings. When dawn betrayed their presence, they came under murderous German fire. Whole teams were wiped out when shells prematurely detonated their explosives. Heedless of the danger, the survivors continued to work until all their explosive charges were planted. As a result of their heroic actions, the charges went off and huge holes were blown in the enemy's defenses. The approximately 10,000 Seabees of Naval Construction Regiment 25 began manhandling their pontoon causeways onto the beach. It was over these causeways that the infantry charged ashore. Under constant German fire, directed at slowing or stopping the landings, the Seabees succeeded in placing large numbers of these pontoon causeways. Allied troops and tanks subsequently swept ashore in ever greater numbers and pushed the German defenders inland. The Seabee contribution to the success of the invasion was not restricted to assembling and placing pontoon causeways. They also manned the large ferries known as Rhinos that carried men and supplies from the larger ships to the beaches. These ferries were actually little more than floating pontoon structures powered by giant outboard motors. Huge amounts of much neeeded equipment were hauled ashore on Rhinos during the first few days of the invasion. The Seabees also built offshore cargo and docking facilities, piers, and Breakwaters. These were constructed out of old cargo ships, special prefabricated concrete structures that were floated over from England, and the ubiquitous steel pontoons. The huge port area that was formed out of this odd combination of materials became known as Mulberry A. Even after the artificial harbor was partially destroyed in a severe storm, the Seabees landed hundreds of thousands of tons of war material daily. In addition to these massive amounts of supplies, by July 4, only 28 days after D-Day, they had helped land more than a million Allied fighting men!!! CAN-DO!!!

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#2

My husband and I saw a program on one of the Cable TV channels (probably the History Channel) within the last few weeks on the Normandy invasion and the intergral part played by the Seabees and other engineer units. It was just fascinating. And yes they suffered great casualties being on the initial assault. Amazing that any of them made it through alive to tell their stories.

 

CAN DO! :pdt34:

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#3

The hiistory books tell us the US Navy was in charge of all beach head landings. We infantry sometimes forget this.

We,d go ashore with our heads down while the navy helmsman had his up and watching where he would land us.

Brave men...

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