CHAPTER V FOLLOW UP - THE SUPPORT PERIOD AT OMAHA AND UTAH BEACHES Following the initial invasion period, Seabee activities on Omaha and Utah Beaches consisted primarily of the operation and maintenance of Rhino Ferries, causeways and the beach camps. Such operations were conducted around-the-clock with Rhino crews standing watches of 48 hours on and 48 hours off. Small crews' accommodations were constructed on each Rhino for this purpose. Beach Ferry Control offices were established on each beach, which contributed materially to the effective use of the Rhinos. Storm condition of lesser intensity than those described in the previous chapter, were experienced on 22 July, 26 August, 7 October and 21 October. The peak periods, while not reaching the totals achieved during the first ten days of operation on the beaches, were considered creditable. During the period 8 to 15 July at Omaha Beach, while operating 20 Rhinos, 4500 vehicles and 20,000 tons of bulk cargo were handled. The peak at Utah was reached between 22 and 29 July when 3500 vehicles were brought ashore by eleven Rhinos. (Figures 3, 4 and 5). Personnel were unloaded continuously over the causeways on both beaches, but unfortunately no records were maintained. The 1006th CB Detachment operating causeways were relieved of the operation and maintenance of these units on 10 July and returned to the U. K. for transportation to the United States. The Army took over the operation and maintenance of the causeways with such assistance s was required by the 111th Battalion, at Omaha, and the 81st at Utah Beach. The original plan called for the operation of the beaches for approximately ninety days after D-Day, or through the middle of September, and therefore pup tent facilities only were provided. As logistic support demanded the operation of the beaches beyond the originally specified period, a limited winterizing program was approved, and pyramidal tents, Quonset hut showers and latrine buildings, laundries and a recreation building were authorized for each beach. These facilities were completed in late September. The first section of the 111th Battalion departed Omaha Beach on 8 October for return to the U. K. and transportation to the United States. The second section departed from Omaha Beach on 18 October when relieved by the 69th Battalion, who took over the operation and maintenance of Rhinos, causeways and beach camp facilities. The 81st Construction Battalion continued the operation of Rhinos and beach camp facilities until relieved by the 114th Construction Battalion. The first section of the 81st Battalion departed Utah Beach on 6 October and the second section on 18 October for return to the U. K. and transportation to the United States. The MULBERRY installation on Omaha Beach was discontinued on about 25 July, at which time the remaining pierheads and bridge trains were salvaged and sent to MULBERRY B, at Arromanches, France. Several damaged pierheads were towed to Southampton, England for repair and further use. The artificial harbor elements, reinforced by the addition of PHOENIXES and GOOSEBERRIES at Omaha, the GOOSEBERRIES at Utah, continued to give service throughout the remainder of the operations on the beach; however, suffering damage during each storm. The 69th Battalion continued to operate the Rhino Ferries until it was determined that due to increasing number of storms and their intensity, with the resultant inoperative days on the beaches, that the Rhinos could well be used at other locations. Consequently, six Rhino Ferries were towed to Cherbourg and placed in operation by the 114th Battalion, and 21 Rhino Ferries were towed to LeHavre. Of these, eleven were made available for use, and ten, inoperative, were utilized as floats in the harbor development program. Utah Beach was decommissioned on 31 October 1944. All material and equipment was shipped to U. S. Naval Advanced Base, Cherbourg. Omaha Beach was decommissioned on 19 November 1944, and all materials and equipment were shipped to U. S. Naval Advanced Bases at LeHavre and Cherbourg. At the request of U. S. Army authorities, the beach camps and other materials and supplies, surplus to the Navy at both locations, were turned over to the U. S. Army.
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