DD TANKS
ON OMAHA BEACH

On January 27, 2012 I found on the internet something new, which would lead to a new impulse for these pages. A Belgian firm in model kits, Resicast, had a 1/35 model of an M4A1 DD Sherman tank in their catalog. A lot of details of the original were incorporated into this model, such as the exhaust system and the connection to a 'chimney'.

De Duplex Drive model kit van Resicast
(the propellers are switched by mistake)

I have one remark concerning this built kit. The turning of the propellers are clockwise compared with the original DD tanks at Musée de Epaves sous-marines de Débarquement (picture above), between Bayeux and Port-en-Bessin (a slip up of the builder?).

With this find I thought that the search was over, the only thing missing was a picture of the real thing with a 'chimney'. Until that find I had the nice built DD tank which is below shown. As a illustration I have a few pictures of the DD by Emilien Pépin from 'EL DIABLO MODEL'.


Slowly answers on detail etc. dropped in my mailbox. From Harald Melis I received this link to a French site which had a lot on the DD tanks. Especially on the American M4A1 version. During training in Italy it seems the 'funnel' was not used, but an extra canvas sheet behind the turret was used to lead the fumes away from the crew

In this picture the extra sheet of canvas can be seen behind the turret.
Picture taken in the South of France during Operation Dragoon.

Deployment of DD tanks from the
US 743rd and 741st Tank Battalion at Omaha Beach

DD TANK UNIT DOG-GREEN
LANDING CRAFT TANK (Mk 4)
743rd TB Company B (16 landed)
LCT-535, LCT-586, LCT-587 & LCT-589
DD TANK UNIT DOG-WHITE
743rd TB Company C (16 landed)
LCT-588, LCT-590, LCT-591 & LCT-713
DD TANK UNIT EASY-RED
741st TB Company B (3 landed, 13 sunk)
LCT-537, LCT-599, LCT-600 & LCT-603
DD TANK UNIT FOX-GREEN
741st TB Company C (2 landed, 14 sunk)
LCT-549, LCT-598, LCT-601 & LCT-602

One of the sixteen LCT's (Mk 4) that brought DD tanks towards Omaha Beach

Thru various channels, a picture was sent to me with two DD tanks riding on Omaha Beach. I compared these with ones Robert Capa took, and they look the same as the two of Capa's pictures. When compared they are not the same DD tanks as in Capa his pictures. One could think that, but their canvas skirts are more lowered then the ones on Capa his photo's. Were these DD tanks driven in on own power or dropped on the beach by an LCT? The last option I think is to be waved away, because of the many obstacles in the water. They were dropped off just before the obstacles and shought their own way through obstacles. The picture was taken from an LCI which came a bit later than the first waves in LCVP's (more on landing craft CLICK HERE). But it is the details on this picture, the lowered canvas and the funnel. According tot the French website http://omahabeach.vierville.free.fr this picture has being made in front of the sector DOG-White, from LCI(L) 91. These two are put onto the beach by a Landing Craft tank (LCT).

This picture, taken from an LCI (91?), shows two other DD tanks
(This is, according to a French site, DOG-White)

The situation becomes a bit more clearer,... but is that true? As shown a bit higher on this page, in the sector Easy-Red three DD tanks were active, and in the sector Fox-Green, two DD tanks drove onto the beach. In the much published pictures of Capa are two DD tanks visible (below). One of these has a distinctive white 'circle' at the right rear (a buoy).

On this picture by Robert Capa are two DD tanks visible

A new picture (at least I never saw it before) which was shot later then the one on Capa's photo. This picture, shown below, is also taken from an LCI, and it shows also the white buoy on the rear. This picture shows the differents in between the two seperated DD tanks and the ones in capa's pictures. The last ones only dropped the front of their canvas skirts. The other two dropped their skirts completely. These two are driving in the sector DOG-White.

A picture taken from another LCI, which shows also
the same DD tanks as those shown on the Capa pictures

The picture above is shot sometime after Capa took his famous photo's. You can see that the Sherman with the wadingtrunks with the M8 trailer in tow, at the far right, is now along side the two DD tanks. But, at a closer inspection, you also notice that the left DD tank has moved on in comparison with the picture of Capa. This DD tank has reached the surf and climbes onto the beach. The DD at the right, is now a bit behind and the skirt looks damaged. A puf of smoke seems to leave the tall chimney, the driver is given the engine some throttle.

Look for the differents; Left DOG-White, right EASY-Red

We can conclude that two pictures, who look at first glanes, to have been taken of the same LCI, that this is not the case. The LCI are, on close inspection, different from each other. Also, if you look at the surroundings and the terrain, you notice that the two separating DD tanks are driving on clean sand. The sector of EASY-Red is much more filled with debri, and a dark central edge of gravel is visible. The two separated DD tanks are the ones that landed after a long 'swim', landed on DOG-White.

It is fact that a DD tank, commanded by Staff Sergeant Sheppard of the 741st Tank Battalion, did fire on a 8.8cm gun in Wn 61, and put it out of action. Is it possible that the DD tank below is the DD tank from Sergeant Sheppard?

A DD tank has come to a standstill. Is this one of the two DD tanks
which 'swam' to FOX-Green? The location is obvious,
the shingle beach, the eastern side of FOX-Green

This frame, from a piece of film, shot a day after the landing
shows one of the DD tanks that landed on Omaha Beach.
The exact position is not yet clear, but it is near E-3 (Wn 61 - Wn 62).

Central in this picture the same DD tank can be spotted

In the left corner, below, a DD tank is visible (detail below)

This is in my opinion another DD tank than the one above, (in the frame of film)
the barrel of the gun is in higher elevation.
The army number of this tank is USA 3076472

Through professor Gunnar Liestøl from Oslo I received a picture in which railroad tracks also are visible (just as in the lager picture above). This is directly in front of Wn 62. The position of the DD can be determined from this picture (below).

Detail of the picture received from professor Gunnar Liestøl
(notice the railroad tracks running around the bent below Wn 62)


Pictures of DD tanks that came ashore in the sectors DOG-Green and DOG-White are very scares. Below is a photo which was taken at the boulevard between Les Moulins and Vierville-sur-Mer.

A DD tank out of action on the boulevard between Les Moulins en Vierville-sur-Mer

Near the same DD tank, some GI's are working on a Jeep
(Notice the covered bodies of killed soldiers)

This picture, above, was shot around noon, and shows at least 11 DD tanks
moving from the beach at DOG-Green and driving on the boulevard

Deployment of the
US 743rd and 741st Tank Battalion at Omaha Beach

OMAHA BEACH SECTOR
UNITS
NUMBER OF TANKS
REACED THE BEACH
END OF D-DAY
DOG GREEN
743rd TB Co.B
16 DD
8
8
DOG WHITE
743rd TB Co.C
16 DD
15
15
DOG RED'
743rd TB Co.A
8 (Deep Wading)
8
4
EASY GREEN
743rd TB Co.A
8 (Deep Wading)
8
4
743rd Headquarters
5 Assault Gun
5
5
EASY RED
741st TB Co.B
16 DD
3
0
FOX GREEN
741st TB Co.C
16 DD
2
0
EASY RED
741st TB Co.A
8 (Deep Wading)
8
1
FOX GREEN
741st TB Co.A
8 (Deep Wading)
3
1
741st Headquarters
5 Assault Gun
2
2
LOSSES 34.3 %
TOTAL LOSSES 63.4 %


UPDATE 2016: DD TANK ON OMAHA!
CLICK BELOW