Ships and invasion barges departed from the U. K. on 5 June, moving towards the east 
shore of the Normandy Peninsula, which was then under heavy aerial attack. Allied Naval 
batteries began shelling the beachheads and installations lying immediately in the rear. All 
pontoon units were under tow by LST's and departed from Portland, Fowey, Falmouth and 
Weymouth for OMAHA, and from Dartmouth, Salcombe, Falmouth, Weymouth and Helford for 
UTAH. (Appendix A). MULBERRY units were towed by the British craft from Selsey Bill and 
the Isle of Wight. The landings on the beaches were made simultaneously at OMAHA and UTAH 
by U. S Forces and at three beachheads to the eat by British and Canadian units. Both of the 
American beaches were well defended and were provided with a network of beach obstacles, 
tetrahedrons, mines and demolition tanks.


	The first LST's towing five Rhinos, operated by the 111th Construction Battalion, arrived 
off the beach at 0530 on 6 June and the Rhinos were cast off - each Rhino proceeded to marry the 
designated LST's, which was accomplished under difficulty, as the seas were rough, with wave 
crests of about six feet. The Rhinos, after loading, proceeded to beach, but were ordered to stand 
off until such time as the beach obstructions were removed. Rhino #10, however, landed between 
two beach obstacles six hours after the landing had begun. Other Rhinos arriving were held off 
until 1130 on 7 June - at which time a Rhino unloading area was designated. During the first two 
days, the Rhinos were damaged by mine explosions, hit submerged vehicles and other objects at 
high water, and at all times during the initial stage were subjected to enemy fire from shore 

	The Rhino Repair Barge arrived on 7 June. On the second day of the landing, and during 
the critical hours when the Army was expanding the beachhead, an urgent request for heavy guns 
was filled when the Rhinos delivered the required armament to the beach. Twenty Rhino units 
were employed on OMAHA Beach, of which nineteen remained in service until the beginning of 
the storm. During the period 8 to 16 June, Rhino Ferries delivered 14,749 vehicles and 33,091 
tons of bulk cargo to the beach.

	The Causeways were delivered off OMAHA Beach on 7 June, and the installation was 
held off until 9 June, awaiting decision from the Army General Staff and the Naval Officer in 
Charge as to its final position. The first structure was placed by the 1006th Construction 
Battalion Detachment on 9 June. Causeway No. 1 was constructed four wide (28' x 1456') with 
blisters spaced at approximately 300'. Causeway No. 2 was begun on 13 June, four wide (28' x 
1050'), with three blisters on either side. Each causeway took approximately three days to 
construct and were in full operation on 13 and 16 June, respectively.

	From 11 to 17 June, Causeway No. 1 operated 110 hours, unloading 12 LCT's, 14 RHF 
and 95 miscellaneous craft, which included LCM's, LCVP's and British small craft. The number 
of vehicles unloaded during this period totaled 746, with bulk cargo tonnage 3,500, and 8,695 

	Causeway No. 2, in operation on 16 and 17 June, for a total of 32 hours, unloaded 49 
LCT's, 139 smaller craft, discharging a total of 4,700 personnel.

	MULBERRY units began to arrive off OMAHA and the blockships (GOOSEBERRIES) 
were moved into position on the two fathom line previously designated. The HMS "Centurion" 
was sunk as the key ship for the harbor entrance - with the location of the first PHOENIX unit 
approximately 700 yards in a north-easterly direction. The GOOSEBERRIES were located and 
sunk by the British Naval forces. A Seabee hydrographic crew was utilized by these forces in 
making soundings, taking sights for the purpose of spotting and placing the GOOSEBERRIES 
and PHOENIX units. BOMBARDONS, steel hulls which were cross-shaped in sections, were 
placed outside of the line of PHOENIXES and GOOSEBERRIES, for the purpose of breaking 
wave action. The work of sinking the PHOENIXES was carried on in an expeditious manner by 
the 108th Construction Battalion. Bridge trains and pierheads began to arrive on schedule and 
were anchored - one bridge train being damaged by seas about ten miles off the Normandy Coast 
due to failure of the concrete beetles. The bridges over the damaged beetles were cut away to 
save the remaining part of the string.

	On 11 June, the shore ramp of the Mark I bridge unit was installed, and on 14 June two 
Pierheads were moved in place - completing the 25-ton bridge and pier installations. Work was 
then concentrated on the Mark II Bridge unit, which was completed on 18 June. During the 16, 
17 and 18 June, 15 LCT's and 22 LST's were unloaded - delivering, 1,168 vehicles to the beach 
over this installation.

	On 18 June, a north-easterly wind arose, commencing with a velocity of ten knots, which 
increased to 25 knots the following day, necessitating the abandonment of all unloading 
operations on the beach. As the intensity of the storm increased, small craft were thrown upon 
the beach, and in some cases directly on the causeways. Landing craft of all types collided with 
the bridging units, causing extensive damage thereto. Many of the PHOENIXES, forming the 
outer harbor, began to crack up and crumble, thereby removing protection from the MULBERRY 
unit. Several GOOSEBERRIES' backs were broken by the wave action and the erosion of the 
bottom that occurred before and after of the blockships. Two pierheads broke spud cables and 
became unmanageable - the crews being removed. The Rhinos were thrown high on the beach as 
the velocity of the wind increased to 30 knots, with wave action of eight to ten feet on the 
exposed portion of the beach, and six to eight feet in the sheltered harbor. The storm continued 
through 21 June - the wind reaching a maximum velocity of 35 knots. The weather cleared on 22 
June and the seas subsided to such an extent that it was possible to commence limited unloading 
of cargo. None of the Rhino Ferries were operative, but repairs were immediately effected.

	After the storm, the beach was cluttered with ships and boats of all descriptions that had 
broken their moorings, had been damaged and forced adrift, and those that sought shelter by 
beaching. The beach was strewn with debris. Working parties were organized to inventory the 
damage, to clean up the beach and to salvage operative units.

	A total of 286 craft was counted on the beach, as follows:


	LST			 2		LCVP			34
	LCT			43		LCVP Br.		 5
	LCI			 4		Liberty			 3
	LCT Br.			35		LBV Br.			17
	LCI Br.			 4		BVD Br.			 6
	LCF			 1		SC			 2
	LCM			82		Control Ship		 1
	LCM Br.			 1		Rep. Barge Br.		 2
	RHINOS			19		Petrol Barge Br.	 1
	RHINO Tugs		22		Food Barge Br.	         1
	RHINO Rep. Barge	 1	
						 TOTAL:		        286

	Sand bars had been built up by tide action at three places along the causeways. The 
majority of the BOMBARDONS were broken loose during the storm and in drifting shoreward, 
collided with the PHOENIXES subjecting the walls thereof to excessive punching stresses that 
contributed greatly to the failure of the PHOENIX units. In addition, the drifting 
BOMBARDONS caused damage to vessels and considerable structural damage to midsection of 
Causeway No. 1, over which several BOMBARDONS broached. The blockships 
(GOOSEBERRIES) were thrown out of alignment by wave action. The damage done to the 
WHALE installation was so extensive that only sufficient bridging and beetles remained to 
reconstruct one Bridge Unit. Of the 35 PHOENIX units, 27 had been damaged beyond repair.

	A camp construction party of the 111th Naval Construction Battalion arrived on 9 June 
and immediately began installation of a temporary pup tent and fox hole camp. This camp was 
poorly located as it was in a direct line of fire from the anti-aircraft batteries of the ships and was 
also subject to strafing as well as bombing. Land mines were encountered and accounted for 
some casualties. Subsequently, the camp was transferred to three more desirable areas offering 
dispersion. During the storm period, the initial camp provided food and housing for 2,000 Allied 
casuals, principally from small boats stranded, sunk or wrecked by the storm or combat activity. 
Medical facilities were provided by Seabees for all personnel on the beach.

	By 22 June, the beach was cleared sufficiently and LST's were dried out on the beach and 
unloaded directly. Ammunition was moved by DUKW's from coasters. Seven Rhinos were in 
service, with the remainder awaiting arrival of replacement engines from the United Kingdom.

	Causeway No. 2 (westerly one) was repaired and placed in service on 23 June, and began 
unloading of troops and cargo from LCM's and LCT's. Work was begun on the retrieving of 
sufficient bridging and pierheads to reconstruct one bridge span.

	P.O.L. A 146th Construction Battalion Detachment arrived on 9 June and began the 
unloading of construction materials and supplies and proceeded to construct POL facilities. This 
included one 6-inch Diesel lines, one 4-inch gasoline line and one 4-inch water line, which were 
completed on 19 June. The sea connections were, unfortunately, located in an exposed area, not 
protected by the GOOSEBERRIES. A 4 x 12 pontoon barge floating station was outfitted and 
provided service for the smaller craft. This services was later discontinued due to the wrecking of 
the barge during the storm of June 19-21.

	A 475-ton drydock was installed within the harbor, and during the storm the drydock was 
critically damaged and rendered unfit for use.


	The first LST's towing Rhinos arrived on 6 June, in a rough sea. Four Rhinos completed 
the marriages to LST's and proceeded to the beach, approximately ten miles distant, and 
proceeded to unload cargo. Six additional Rhinos arrived on the early morning of 7 June and 
were pressed into operation. Between 8 and 16 June, 4,307 vehicles and 31,580 tons of bulk 
cargo was delivered to the beach by Rhino Ferries.

	The artificial harbor was formed by the installation of the blockships (GOOSEBERRIES), 
which were placed and sunk by British Naval units, utilizing a Seabee hydrographic crew for 
making soundings and taking sights for the placing of each GOOSEBERRY on a predetermined 
line. No PHOENIXES or WHALE elements were included in this installation.

	The 1006th Causeway-Pontoon Detachment arrived on 7 June and began the assembling 
of Causeway No. 1, which was completed on 9 June. Causeway No. 2 was completed on 
15 June. Both causeways were two pontoons wide and 2,250 feet in length - No. 1 having eight 
blisters, and No. 2 having five. As early as 8 June, personnel and vehicles from LCM's, LCT's, 
LCI's and Rhinos were off-loading infantry, vehicles and supplies on the two causeways. 
Between 6 and 13 June, 85% of all vehicles and cargo was brought ashore over Rhinos or 

	It was found that the Rhino tugs were not required to retract from the beach and were 
therefore used to handle cargo that was too heavy or unwidely for DUKWs. During the initial 
invasion period, the Rhinos handled 33% of all vehicles unloaded on the beach. The Rhinos 
Repair Barge arrived on 7 June and began servicing of Rhinos and other types of craft. During 
the invasion phase, the Repair Barge maintained the Rhinos at 80% efficiency, with 8 to 9 of the 
11 units being operative at all times.

	During the initial stage, all Rhino Ferries were subjected to enemy fire from the 
beachhead. In one instance, a Rhino tug was sunk by enemy dive bombing attack, with 12 Seabee 
casualties resulting.

	On 18 June, the storm, described previously, began to effect the operations on this beach. 
Up until this time, eleven Rhino Ferries had made 175 trips to the beach, bringing ashore 50,000 
tons of cargo. As the storm increased to an intensity of about 35 knots, all operations were 
secured. Soon after the storm subsided, crews from the 1006th began salvage work on the beach. 
An inventory taken on 22 June, of the craft up on the beach, is as follows:


	LCI			 1	LCVP Br.		10
	LCT			33	RHINO Ferries		10
	LCT Br.			12	RHINO tugs		11
	LCF			 3	Brit. Petrol Barge	 1
	LCM			64	Liberties		 5
	LBV Br.			25	Br. Repair S.		 2
	LCVP			35		
						TOTAL:         212

	On 23 June, three Rhinos were in operation unloading Liberty ships. One causeway was 
damaged by ships broaching, and Causeway No. 1 was canted severely. Both causeways were 
widened to four-wide and refloated and relocated after preparing new sites with bulldozers.

	The camp construction detail of the 81st Naval Construction Battalion arrived on 9 June 
and constructed a pup tent and fox hole camp, dispersed over several areas, sufficient to 
accommodate 1,500 men and 70 officers. These facilities included six galleys, nine hospital tents, 
Quonset or headquarters hut, radio and visual communications and an equipment repair shop. 
Subsequently, the temporary camp was relocated in three areas. Over 1,600 Allied survivors from 
ships and small craft damaged by the storm and enemy action were housed and fed in the Seabee 

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Return to Operations of the 25th NCR

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SeabeeCook Publishing, Shingle Springs, CA.
Last update: August 1, 1996