DUPLEX DRIVE TANKS
ON OMAHA BEACH

Four Sherman are visible, with on the left an old Roman ruin
(click for an enlargement on the picture)
(picture: NCAP, through prof. Gunnar Liestøl)

In January 2017 I recieved a mail from professor Gunnar Liestøl from Oslo, Norway. He enclosed a picture I never had seen before in such a large resolution. It shows a couple of tanks, two are obvious DD tanks, and one is a standard M4A1. To the right another Sherman is visible, near the surf. On the picture on the previous page (and below shown once again) are also three Shermans, but that were two Shermans with wadingtrunks, and one DD tank. But, it is unmistakable the same location as on professor Liestøl his produced picture. When looking better at his picture you may also notice the casualties on the beach, between the 30 and 50 can be counted.

The same picture from the previous page, once again,...

The picture from professor Liestøl gave a new impuls to continue te recearch on the DD tanks on Omaha Beach, and especially in the sectors EASY-Red and FOX-Green. With the last arial photo, there was a follow up in the sequence of procedings with the tanks, on EASY-Red, in the picture mentioned before.

One thing became obvious, the M4A1 Sherman with the wadingtrunks and M8 trailer are stuck in the soft ground. The picture below is of bad quality, but shows the DD tank and the Sherman with wadingtrunks. And what is of more importans, the DD tank has moved up, from the surf, more inland. It seems both pictures are taken within minutes between them. The Sherman with the wadingtrunks behind the one that is stuck is still at the same position.

A poorly picture, but tells a lot on the positions.

It is obvious, the Sherman with the wadingtrunks has completly stopt and stands firm in the sand and gravel. Behind this Sherman, another Sherman is visible, also with wadingtrunks, is this tank giving cover to the stranded tank? The DD tanks has passed the two Shermans with wadingtrunks through the surf, and has moved inland, and became also victim of the loos terrain and drove itself stuck? I think the commander of the DD tank was forced to order this route to his driver, because they were heading tot drive across wounded and dead American soldiers. As mentioned before on the picture of the page before, a medic is visible who is running in front of the DD tank. With steering inland, the DD tank could give some more cover to the stranded Sherman with the M8 trailer where some soldiers were seeking shelter. But it also was the end of the DD tank, because it drove its tracks solid into the sand, as the photo shows.

Dozer tank #10, in the middle an M4 standaard Sherman (and the 2 DD tanks).
on the right an M4A1 Sherman heads also for the beach (with ammo trailer)

In my opinion this one is one of the DD tanks Robert Capa shot with his camera (the one on the right without the white buoy). The second DD tank, at some 7 to 8 meters more eastward, runs itself also stuck in the beach, or became a victim of enemy fire or mines. On a map, issued before the landing, it was shown, that this area was a minefield. In the pictures of Capa Dozer tank #10 is prominent at the left. Dozer #10 was the point to focus on for Gap Assault Team 10. Dozer #10 and two standard M4 Shermans with wadingtrunks came to Omaha Beach on LCT 2425 around 06.40 hours. The two standard Shermans fired their guns over the bow when the had their run in to the beach. After leaving LCT 2425 one tank moved to the right and the other to the left, to give room for Dozer tank #10.

Detail of the arial picture,... a Sherman with wadingtrunks and three DD tanks

As the arial photo shows, the DD tank that was forced to move from its heading, and to drive more inland, was damaged. Obvious is the damage on the canvas skirt on the front left. But it is uncertain if it was enemy fire or a mine.

The Sherman with the wadingtrunks that stood behind the stuck one, has disapeard in the arial picture. Has the crew managed to start and move on out? Or has it been towed from the beach by another tank? For the purpose of evidence, the picture below was constructed from two frames of pictures shot within second of each other. The rear part was constructed to show you that the tank on the right was also one with wadingtruks. Is it the same as the one on the previous page,... is it still wearing the number 2?

The Sherman with wadingtrunks behind the one that is stuck
(or is this another one,... is that a '2' on the rear trunk?)

Professor Liestøl mentioned in his mail, that he thinks that the Sherman which stands at the edge of the picture (on the right), is a so called 'Dozer tank', and he thinks it might be Dozer #10 from the Capa picture (see higher on this page). But in my opinion is it also a DD tank, the missing third one, that was also launched from LCT-600. The dark shadow at the rear (pointing towards the sea), is part of the canvas skirt that is still partial up. And the rear end is also rounded instead of square, rounded as with the canvas skirt. Further more, I don't see the dozerblade at the front, only the rounding of the transmission armour. So, the front was hit by enemy fire, from Wn 62, or a tellermine, which tore of most of the front and canvas skirt.

The tank on the right is also a DD (in my opinion)

My strongest point is that the wadingtrunk at the rear is not visible on the most right standing tank. When you measure the tanks, the right one has the same dimentions as the two DD tank centre on the picture. The tank most left, with the M8 ammo trailer, is a bit longer because of the rear wadingtrunk.

This DD tank still has a light spot where the high funnel was located.
Notice the stowage of the packages, high on a platform on the turret.
Also visible (in the top square) the commander steering platform

The three tanks on the right has distinctive blank spots on the rear deck. These are packages of some sort, accentuated by the platform that is placed at the rear of the turret, where the commander could operate the DD tank when the canvas screen was raised (see picture above). The most right tanks has the same light spots as the other two DD tanks. I think this is the 'missing' third DD tank from LCT-600.

Look at the picture again, and look for the differences.
Yes, the front is unclear, but if right stands Dozer #10,…
where is the rear wadingtrunk?

Below, again two details of DD tanks, the two shot by Capa (on the right) and one with the stuck Shermans. The arial picture, below left has been turned 180 degrees, for better comparison. Visible is the white buoy on the left rear end of the DD tank in both pictures.

I always suspected that the white 'circle' at the rear of the canvas skirt was a buoy. But in January 2017 I stumbled on a picture with some DD tanks on board of an LCT. And yes, there it was, a good picture of a buoy on the canvas skirt, and as a bonus a good view on the tall funnel. Also shown is that the DD tank at the bow has no chimney.

DD tanks on board of an LCT. The one in the center has a funnel and the buoy.

I started this story on the DD tanks at Omaha with
the lines below, and I finish with these lines also,...

The 'Duplex-Drive' (DD) tanks would be launched from LCT's at 6000 yards (5500 meter), when the sea was not TO rough. Every LCT had four DD tanks on board. But despite that the sea was very rough, some LCT launched the DD's early. After the war some DD's were located at 9000 yards (8 kilometers) from the coast. Of the 32 launched DD tanks from the 741st Tank Battalion, only two would reach the beach, in the left sector, FOX-Green, by 'swimming'.

The special launch platform for DD tanks

Three other DD tanks were dropped near the beach. After the first DD drove from the ramp of LCT-600, and drowned before the eyes of the crew of the LCT, on board of the LCT-600 the order was given to bring the tanks closer to shore. The second tank, ready to launch, drove a bit back and damaged the canvas skirt, or the part of the ramp (sources differ). Now the order changed again, to bring the tanks on to the beach (EASY-Red).


Professor Gunnar Liestøl and his team developed a 'sitsim app' for the iPhone
that can be used on Omaha Beach, near Wn 62 (free download at the app store).
For more information, check out this short Youtube movie


The DD in Saumur

In July 2014 I visited the Tankmuseum in Saumur, French again. I knew now that they had a DD in their inventory. It is a curious thing, and that is maybe why it still waits for restoration. It sits in a yard with other tanks and vehicles.

The DD tank from Saumur stand forlorn between other vehicles
(click for an enlargement on the picture)

With some caution a moved through the rusty tanks and vehicles (it was an of-limit terrain) to look for the DD tank. I had read somewhere that the DD had te wrong turret, a 76mm version. This tanks was delivered after the war to France for testing and training. During this period, it lost it's turret, and when it arrived at Saumur, here they gave it the current turret.

The two points where the propellers were attached, and above,
a part of the exhaust, a simple sheet of metal
(click for an enlargement on the picture)

There were voices who thought this tank was used in the movie 'The Longest Day', as the tank who Kieffer fetches to attack the Casino of 'Ouistreham'. But these tanks differ, and the one in the movie is obvious a 'prop'.

A detail of the system where the funnel was located
(click for an enlargement on the picture)

The 'boatform' at the front with the apparatus for the canvassheet
(click for an enlargement on the picture)

Detail of the rear

In March 2019 I received from Ger Ticheler a couple of pictures of the same DD tank. The DD was no longer between other vehicles in the depot. Can this mean that the DD will be restored to it's former glory?

Ger Ticheler was in March 2019 in Saumur and took this picture
(click for an enlargement on the picture)

The tank crews were ordered to remove the DD equipment after the landing. The story goes that enemy fire took care of it, more than once. But a lot of pictures show otherwise. A lot of canvas skirts look intact and even after days, some DD's were still driving around with their DD outfit, like pieces of canvas and the propellers at the rear. But even undone of the DD equipment, these tanks were always recognizable because of the items that could not be removed (see below).

Notice the remains of DD configuration, like the bow, on this Sherman


Below is a short movie on the working of the Duplex Drive Sherman tank,...


The DD tanks on Omaha Beach is an ongoing project, and I
suspect more information in the future to share with you.

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