Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Photographs: Training on Landing Crafts (1).

HELP WANTED: 1000s of Landing Crafts and Crews.

[Photo: Troops coming ashore from Landing ships, during Operation Fabius, an
invasion exercise in Britain, 5 May 1944. Photo Credit - The Observation Post]


The time - October 1941, when Lord Louis Mountbatten was interviewed by Churchill.

The place - Chequers, London, England. 

Churchill said something like this: 

I want you to succeed Roger Keyes in charge of Combined Operations.... I want you to start a programme of raids of ever-increasing intensity, so as to keep the whole of the enemy coastline on the alert.... But your main object must be the re-invasion of France

You must create the machine which will make it possible for us to beat Hitler on land. You must devise the appurtenances and appliances which will make the invasion possible. You must select and build up the bases from which the assault will be launched.

Before that you must create the various Training Centres at which the soldiers can be trained in the amphibious assault....

You are to give no thought to the defensive. Your whole attention is to be concentrated on the offensive. (Page 88, The Watery Maze)

Upon Mountbatten's shoulders rested a tremendous weight. Where to begin?

Obviously two of the most urgent problems were the provision of landing ships and craft, and the crews to man them.... As an illustration of the magnitude of the crew problem, the Joint Planners, in the very month of Mountbatten's appointment, had persuaded the Chiefs of Staff that our requirements in Landing Craft Tanks (LCTs) alone for the eventual invasion would be 2,250 - a figure to daunt almost anybody.

And where were the crews to come from? Canada made an offer, which was gratefully accepted, of 50 officers and 300 ratings, but this was a drop in the bucket. (Page 93, The Watery Maze)   

Training centres, types and sizes of landing craft, and the numbers of men trained to man landing crafts gradually grew over succeeding months and years.

Canadians out of Halifax (e.g., Effingham Division of the RCNVR, incl. my father) volunteered for Combined Operations as early as November 1941. In memoirs and stories they say they received early training on ALCs and LCMs at Hayling Island, near Portsmouth (HMS Northney I and III), Inveraray (HMS Quebec, No. 1 Combined Operations Training Centre) and Irvine (RAF Dundonald and (Navy) Camp Auchengate), early in 1942, in preparation for their first action - the Dieppe raid.

In this and subsequent entries, several photographs re landing crafts will be displayed from the Imperial War Museum (IWM) as found within its extensive and valuable archives. Camps visited by the Canadians in Combined Ops will be featured on occasion.

[Please link to IWM at Search Our Collections and browse at your leisure through photographs, films and audios, etc.]

Landing Craft Types. Inveraray, Scotland, October 1942:

Photo A12054. LCT (2). Photo Credit - Lt. R.G.G. Coote
As found at Imperial War Museum, UK.

A12055. LCT (2). Lt. R.G.G. Coote, IWM.

A12056. LCT (2), front view with ramp down.
Lt. R.G.G. Coote, IWM.

A12057. LCT (2), front view with ramp down.
Lt. R.G.G. Coote, IWM.

A12058. LCT (2), interior view.
Lt. R.G.G. Coote, IWM.

A12059. LCT (2), interior view, from the bridge.
Lt. R.G.G. Coote, IWM.

A12060. LCT Mark 2 beached with ramp down at Inveraray, Scotland.
Lt. R.G.G. Coote, IWM.

A12061. LCM (3). Lt. R.G.G. Coote, IWM.

A12062. LCM (3). Lt. R.G.G. Coote, IWM.

A12063. LCM (3), front view with ramp down.
Lt. R.G.G. Coote, IWM.

More to follow.

Please link to Story: HMC Landing Craft Infantry, Large

Unattributed Photos GH

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