Mulberry harbour

Mulberry harbour

Overview
A Mulberry harbour was a British type of temporary harbour developed in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to offload cargo on the beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy.


Two prefabricated or artificial military harbours were taken across the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 from Britain with the invading army in sections and assembled off the coast of Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

 as part of the D-Day
D-Day
D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

 invasion of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1944.

The Dieppe Raid
Dieppe Raid
The Dieppe Raid, also known as the Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM and by 10:50 AM the Allied...

 of 1942 had shown that the Allies
Allies
In everyday English usage, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out between them...

 could not rely on being able to penetrate the Atlantic Wall
Atlantic Wall
The Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of coastal fortifications built by Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1944 along the western coast of Europe as a defense against an anticipated Allied invasion of the mainland continent from Great Britain.-History:On March 23, 1942 Führer Directive Number 40...

 to capture a port on the north French coast.
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Encyclopedia
A Mulberry harbour was a British type of temporary harbour developed in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 to offload cargo on the beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy.


Two prefabricated or artificial military harbours were taken across the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 from Britain with the invading army in sections and assembled off the coast of Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

 as part of the D-Day
D-Day
D-Day is a term often used in military parlance to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. "D-Day" often represents a variable, designating the day upon which some significant event will occur or has occurred; see Military designation of days and hours for similar...

 invasion of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in 1944.

Background


The Dieppe Raid
Dieppe Raid
The Dieppe Raid, also known as the Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM and by 10:50 AM the Allied...

 of 1942 had shown that the Allies
Allies
In everyday English usage, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out between them...

 could not rely on being able to penetrate the Atlantic Wall
Atlantic Wall
The Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of coastal fortifications built by Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1944 along the western coast of Europe as a defense against an anticipated Allied invasion of the mainland continent from Great Britain.-History:On March 23, 1942 Führer Directive Number 40...

 to capture a port on the north French coast. Thus, the Mulberries were created to provide the port facilities necessary to offload the thousands of men and vehicles, and tons of supplies necessary to sustain Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

 and the Battle of Normandy. The harbours were made up of all the elements one would expect of any harbour: breakwater
Breakwater (structure)
Breakwaters are structures constructed on coasts as part of coastal defence or to protect an anchorage from the effects of weather and longshore drift.-Purposes of breakwaters:...

, piers
Pier
A pier is a raised structure, including bridge and building supports and walkways, over water, typically supported by widely spread piles or pillars...

, roadways etc.

Development


The actual proposer of the idea of the Mulberry harbour is disputed, but among those who are known to have proposed something along these lines is Hugh Iorys Hughes
Hugh Iorys Hughes
Hugh Iorys Hughes was a civil engineer and unsung hero of World War II who advised on the design of the Mulberry harbours used in Operation Overlord....

, a Welsh civil engineer who submitted initial plans on the idea to the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

, Professor J. D. Bernal
J. D. Bernal
John Desmond Bernal FRS was one of Britain’s best known and most controversial scientists, called "Sage" by his friends, and known for pioneering X-ray crystallography in molecular biology.-Origin and education:His family was Irish, of mixed Italian and Spanish/Portuguese Sephardic Jewish origin...

, and Vice-Admiral John Hughes-Hallett
John Hughes-Hallett
Vice-Admiral John Hughes-Hallett was a British naval commander and politician. He was the Naval Commander during the Dieppe Raid of 1942.-Biography:...

.

At a meeting following the Dieppe Raid
Dieppe Raid
The Dieppe Raid, also known as the Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM and by 10:50 AM the Allied...

, Hughes-Hallett declared that if a port could not be captured, then one should be taken across the Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

. This was met with derision at the time, but in a subsequent meeting with Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, the Prime Minister declared that in 1917 he had surmised a similar scenario using some Danish Islands and sinking old ships for a bridgehead for an invasion in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The concept of Mulberry harbours began to take shape when Hughes-Hallett moved to be Naval Chief of Staff to the Overlord
Operation Overlord
Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

 planners.

A trial of the three eventual competing designs was set up, with tests of deployment including floating the elements, in Garlieston
Garlieston
Garlieston is a small planned coastal village in south west Scotland founded circa 1790 by Lord Garlies.-Location & History:The village lies northwest of Whithorn and a few miles north of Cruggleton Castle which was abandoned in the 17th century...

, Wigtownshire
Wigtownshire
Wigtownshire or the County of Wigtown is a registration county in the Southern Uplands of south west Scotland. Until 1975, the county was one of the administrative counties used for local government purposes, and is now administered as part of the council area of Dumfries and Galloway...

. The designs were by Hugh Iorys Hughes who developed his "Hippo" piers and "Crocodile" bridge units on the Conwy Morfa
Conwy Morfa
The Conwy Morfa is a piece of originally marshy-sand based spit, north of the western end of the modern A55 entrance to Conwy in Conwy county borough, north-west Wales....

, using 1,000 men to build the trial version; the Hamilton "Swiss Roll" which consisted of a floating roadway; and a system of flexible bridging units supported on floating pontoons designed by Major Allan Beckett
Allan Beckett
Allan Harry Beckett MBE was a brilliant and practical engineering designer whose floating roadway was crucial to the success of the Mulberry harbour that was used in the Normandy Landings...

, Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

. The tests revealed various problems (the "Swiss Roll" would only take a maximum of a 7 ton truck in the Atlantic swell). However the final choice of design was determined by a storm during which the "Swiss Roll" was washed away and the "Hippos" were undermined; Beckett's floating roadway (subsequently codenamed Whale) survived undamaged. Beckett's design was adopted and manufactured under the management of J. D. Bernal and Brigadier
Brigadier
Brigadier is a senior military rank, the meaning of which is somewhat different in different military services. The brigadier rank is generally superior to the rank of colonel, and subordinate to major general....

 Bruce White
Bruce White
Brigadier Sir Bruce Gordon White, KBE, FCGI, FICE, FIEE was one of the leading British consulting engineers of his generation. Son of the engineer Robert White , Bruce White joined his father's practice in 1919 together with his brother Colin White in 1923. On his father's death Bruce White...

, under the orders of Churchill.

The proposed harbours called for many huge caissons
Caisson (engineering)
In geotechnical engineering, a caisson is a retaining, watertight structure used, for example, to work on the foundations of a bridge pier, for the construction of a concrete dam, or for the repair of ships. These are constructed such that the water can be pumped out, keeping the working...

 of various sorts to build breakwaters and piers and connecting structures to provide the roadways. The caissons were built at a number of locations, mainly existing ship building facilities or large beaches like Conwy Morfa around the British coast. The works were let out to commercial construction firms including Balfour Beatty
Balfour Beatty
Balfour Beatty plc is a British construction, engineering, military housing, rail and investment services company. It is one of the largest construction companies in the UK, and the 15th largest in the world...

, Costain
Costain Group
Costain Group plc is a British construction and civil engineering company headquartered in Maidenhead. It was part of the original Channel Tunnel consortium and is involved in Private Finance Initiative projects.-History:...

, Nuttall
Edmund Nuttall
BAM Nuttall Limited is a construction and civil engineering company headquartered in Camberley, United Kingdom. It has been involved in a portfolio of road, rail, nuclear, and other major projects worldwide...

, Henry Boot, Sir Robert McAlpine
Sir Robert McAlpine
Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd. is a private British company headquartered in London. It carries out engineering and construction for the oil and gas, petrochemical, power generation, nuclear, pharmaceutical, defence, chemical, water and mining industries.-History:...

 and Peter Lind & Company
Peter Lind & Company
Peter Lind & Company is a private building contractor of Danish origin based in Central London with operating centres at Spalding in Lincolnshire & Barnsley Yorks.-History:The Company was founded by Peter Lind, a Danish engineer, in 1915....

, who all still operate today, and Cubitts
Holland, Hannen & Cubitts
Holland, Hannen & Cubitts was a major building firm responsible for many of the great buildings of London.-History:It was formed from the fusion of two well-established building houses that had competed throughout the later decades of the nineteenth century but came together in 1883: this was...

, Holloway Brothers
Holloway Brothers (London) Ltd.
Holloway Brothers Ltd was a leading British construction company specialising in building and heavy civil engineering work based in London.-Early history:...

, Mowlem
Mowlem
Mowlem was one of the largest construction and civil engineering companies in the United Kingdom. Carillion bought the firm in 2006.-History:Founded by John Mowlem in 1822, the company was awarded a Royal Warrant in 1902 and went public on the London Stock Exchange in 1924. It acquired SGB Group in...

 and Taylor Woodrow, who all have since been absorbed into other businesses that are still operating. On completion they were towed across the English Channel by tugs
Tugboat
A tugboat is a boat that maneuvers vessels by pushing or towing them. Tugs move vessels that either should not move themselves, such as ships in a crowded harbor or a narrow canal,or those that cannot move by themselves, such as barges, disabled ships, or oil platforms. Tugboats are powerful for...

 to the Normandy coast at only 4.3 Knots (8 km/h or 5 mph), built, operated and maintained by the Corps of Royal Engineers, under the guidance of Reginald D. Gwyther, who received a CBE for his efforts.

Deployment


By 9 June, just 3 days after D-Day, two harbours codenamed Mulberry "A" and "B" were constructed at Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach
Omaha Beach is the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II...

 and Arromanches, respectively. However, a large storm on 19 June destroyed the American harbour at Omaha, leaving only the British harbour which came to be known as Port Winston at Arromanches. While the harbour at Omaha was destroyed sooner than expected (due to it not being securely anchored to the sea bed, a result of incorrect and hasty assembly by the Americans), Port Winston saw heavy use for 8 months—despite being designed to last only 3 months. In the 10 months after D-Day, it was used to land over 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tonnes of supplies providing much needed reinforcements in France. In response to this longer than planned use the Phoenix breakwater was reinforced with the addition of extra specially strengthened caisson.

The Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

 built a complete Mulberry harbour out of 600,000 tons of concrete between 33 jetties, and had 10 miles (15 km) of floating roadways to land men and vehicles on the beach. Port Winston is commonly upheld as one of the best examples of military engineer
Military engineer
In military science, engineering refers to the practice of designing, building, maintaining and dismantling military works, including offensive, defensive and logistical structures, to shape the physical operating environment in war...

ing. Its remains are still visible today from the beaches at Arromanches, and a section of it remains embedded in the sand in the Thames Estuary
Thames Estuary
The Thames Mouth is the estuary in which the River Thames meets the waters of the North Sea.It is not easy to define the limits of the estuary, although physically the head of Sea Reach, near Canvey Island on the Essex shore is probably the western boundary...

, accessible at low tide, about 1,000 m off the coast of the military base at Shoeburyness
Shoeburyness
Shoeburyness is a town in southeast Essex, England, situated at the mouth of the river Thames Estuary. It is within the borough of Southend-on-Sea, and is situated at the far east of the borough, around east of Southend town centre...

. A Phoenix unit known as The Far Mulberry sank off Pagham
Pagham
Pagham is a coastal village and civil parish in the Arun district of West Sussex, England, with a population of around 5,500.-Geography:The village comprises three main areas:*Pagham Beach, coastal area, developed in the early 20th Century,...

 and lying at about 10 metres is an easily accessible scuba diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

 site.

Harbour elements and code names


Below are listed brief details of the major elements of the harbours together with their associated military code names
Code name
A code name or cryptonym is a word or name used clandestinely to refer to another name or word. Code names are often used for military purposes, or in espionage...

.

Corn cob


"Corn cobs" were block ships that crossed the channel either under their own steam or that were towed and then scuttled
Scuttling
Scuttling is the act of deliberately sinking a ship by allowing water to flow into the hull.This can be achieved in several ways—valves or hatches can be opened to the sea, or holes may be ripped into the hull with brute force or with explosives...

 to create sheltered water at the five landing beaches.. Once in position the "Corn Cobs" created "Gooseberries". The ships used for each beach were:
  • Utah Beach
    Utah Beach
    Utah Beach was the code name for the right flank, or westernmost, of the Allied landing beaches during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, as part of Operation Overlord on 6 June 1944...

     (Gooseberry 1): Benjamin Contee, David O. Saylor, George S. Wasson, Matt W. Ransom, , , , Willis A. Slater, Victory Sword and Vitruvius.
  • Omaha Beach
    Omaha Beach
    Omaha Beach is the code name for one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during World War II...

     (Gooseberry 2): Artemas Ward, , Baialoide, , Courageous, Flight-Command, Galveston, George W. Childs, James W. Marshall, James Iredell, Olambala, Potter, and Wilscox.
  • Gold Beach
    Gold Beach
    Gold Beach was the code name of one of the D-Day landing beaches that Allied forces used to invade German-occupied France on 6 June 1944, during World War II....

     (Gooseberry 3): Alynbank, Alghios Spyridon, Elswick Park, Flowergate, Giorgios P., Ingman, Innerton, Lynghaug, Modlin, Njegos, Parkhaven, Parklaan, Saltersgate, Sirehei, Vinlake and Winha.
  • Juno Beach
    Juno Beach
    Juno or Juno Beach was one of five sectors of the Allied invasion of German-occupied France in the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, during the Second World War. The sector spanned from Saint-Aubin, a village just east of the British Gold sector, to Courseulles, just west of the British Sword sector...

     (Gooseberry 4): Belgique, Bendoran, , Empire Flamingo, Empire Moorhen, Empire Waterhen, Formigny, Manchester Spinner, Mariposa, Panos and Vera Radcliffe.
  • Sword Beach
    Sword Beach
    Sword, commonly known as Sword Beach, was the code name given to one of the five main landing areas along the Normandy coast during the initial assault phase, Operation Neptune, of Operation Overlord; the Allied invasion of German-occupied France that commenced on 6 June 1944...

     (Gooseberry 5): Becheville, Courbet
    French battleship Courbet (1911)
    Courbet was the lead ship of her class, the first dreadnoughts built for the French Navy. She was completed before World War I and named in honour of Admiral Amédée Courbet. She spent the war in the Mediterranean, helping to sink the Austro-Hungarian protected cruiser in August 1914...

    , Dover Hill
    SS Dover Hill
    SS Dover Hill was a steam-powered cargo ship built to a First World War standard design by Northumberland Shipbuilding Co in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She was launched on 17 December 1917 as Maenwen but after completion she entered service with Clan Line who named her Clan Macvicar...

    , , , Empire Tamar, Empire Tana, Forbin and HNLMS Sumatra
    Java class cruiser
    The Java class was a class of light cruisers of the Royal Netherlands Navy, named after the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies . Originally, three ships were planned: HNLMS Java, HNLMS Sumatra, and HNLMS Celebes...

    .

Gooseberry


The sheltered waters created by the Corn Cob block ships. Two of the "Gooseberries" grew into "Mulberries", the artificial harbours.

Mulberry


Mulberry was the code name for the artificial harbours. These were the "Gooseberries" which metamorphosed into fully fledged harbours. There were two harbours, Mulberry "A" and Mulberry "B". The "Mulberry" harbours consisted of a floating outer breakwater called "Bombardons", a static breakwater consisting of "Gooseberries" and reinforced concrete caissons called "Phoenix", floating piers code named "Whale" and pier heads code named "Spuds". These harbours were both of a similar size to Dover harbour.

Mulberry "A"


The Mulberry harbour assembled on Omaha beach at Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer
Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer
Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer is a commune in the Calvados department in the Basse-Normandie region in northwestern France.-Population:-References:*...

 was for use by the American invasion forces. Mulberry "A" was not securely anchored to the sea bed, resulting in such severe damage during the Channel storms of late June 1944 that it was considered to be irreparable and its further assembly ceased. It was commanded by Augustus Dayton Clark
Augustus Dayton Clark
Augustus Dayton Clark , a 1922 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a United States Naval captain, was Commanding Officer of Force Mulberry A at Omaha Beach during the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944...

.

Mulberry "B"


Mulberry "B" was the harbour assembled on Gold Beach at Arromanches for use by the British and Canadian invasion forces. It lasted much longer than Mulberry "A".

Golden Arrow


"Arrow" was the code name for the port at Arromanches and "Golden" was a reference to the Gold Beach sector.

Bombardon


Large floating breakwaters fabricated in steel that were anchored outside the main breakwaters that consisted of Gooseberries (block ships) and Phoenix (concrete caissons). During the bad storms at the end of June 1944 these broke loose, and possibly caused more damage to the harbours than the storm itself. The design of the Bombardons was the responsibility of the Royal Navy while the Royal Engineers were responsible for the design of the rest of the Mulberry harbour equipment.

Phoenix


Reinforced concrete caissons constructed by civil engineering contractors around the coast of Britain, collected and sunk at Dungeness, the Cant and Pagham
Pagham
Pagham is a coastal village and civil parish in the Arun district of West Sussex, England, with a population of around 5,500.-Geography:The village comprises three main areas:*Pagham Beach, coastal area, developed in the early 20th Century,...

. The engineers were unable to refloat the Phoenixes and US Navy Captain (later Rear Admiral) Edward Ellsberg
Edward Ellsberg
Rear Admiral Edward Ellsberg, OBE was an officer in the United States Navy and a popular author. He was widely known as "Commander Ellsberg."-Early years:...

, already well-known for quickly refloating scuttled
Scuttling
Scuttling is the act of deliberately sinking a ship by allowing water to flow into the hull.This can be achieved in several ways—valves or hatches can be opened to the sea, or holes may be ripped into the hull with brute force or with explosives...

 ships at Massawa
Massawa
Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa Massawa, also known as Mitsiwa (Ge'ez ምጽዋዕ , formerly ባጽዕ is a city on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea. An important port for many centuries, it was ruled by a succession of polities, including the Axumite Empire, the Umayyad Caliphate,...

 and Oran
Oran
Oran is a major city on the northwestern Mediterranean coast of Algeria, and the second largest city of the country.It is the capital of the Oran Province . The city has a population of 759,645 , while the metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1,500,000, making it the second largest...

, was brought in to accomplish the task, though not without obtaining Churchill's intervention in taking the task away from the Royal Engineers and giving it to the Royal Navy. The Phoenixes, once refloated, were towed across the channel to form the "Mulberry" harbour breakwaters together with the "Gooseberry" block ships. Ellsberg rode one of the concrete caissons to Normandy; once there he helped unsnarl wrecked landing craft and vehicles on the beach.

Whale


The dock piers were code named "Whale". These piers were the floating roadways that connected the "Spud" pier heads to the land. The roadways were made from torsionally flexible bridging units that had a span of 80 ft., mounted on pontoon units of either steel or concrete called "Beetles". After the war many of the "Whale" bridge spans from Arromanches were used to repair bombed bridges in France, Belgium and Holland. Such units are still visible as a bridge over the Meuse River
Meuse River
The Maas or Meuse is a major European river, rising in France and flowing through Belgium and the Netherlands before draining into the North Sea...

 in Vacherauville
Vacherauville
Vacherauville is a commune in the Meuse department in Lorraine in north-eastern France....

 (Meuse
Meuse
Meuse is a department in northeast France, named after the River Meuse.-History:Meuse is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

), as a bridge over the Moselle River
Moselle River
The Moselle is a river flowing through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. It is a left tributary of the Rhine, joining the Rhine at Koblenz. A small part of Belgium is also drained by the Mosel through the Our....

 on road D56 between Cattenom
Cattenom
Cattenom is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.It lies about 8 kilometres north of Thionville.-Nuclear power station:...

 and Kœnigsmacker
Kœnigsmacker
Kœnigsmacker is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France.Kœnigsmacker was the birthplace of Father Jean-Vincent Scheil , a French Dominican scholar and Assyriologist, who was one of the discoverers of the Code of Hammurabi in Persia. The area was the scene of fighting...

 (Moselle
Moselle
Moselle is a department in the east of France named after the river Moselle.- History :Moselle is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

) and in Vierville-sur-Mer
Vierville-sur-Mer
-External links:* *...

 (Calvados
Calvados
The French department of Calvados is part of the region of Basse-Normandie in Normandy. It takes its name from a cluster of rocks off the English Channel coast...

) along road D517.

Beetle



Beetles were pontoons that supported the "Whale" piers. They were moored in position using wires attached to "Kite" anchors which were also designed by Allan Beckett. These anchors had such high holding power that very few could be recovered at the end of the War. The Navy was dismissive of Beckett's claims for his anchor's holding ability so Kite anchors were not used for mooring the Bombardons. The only known surviving Kite anchor is displayed in a private museum at Vierville-sur-Mer although a full size replica forms part of a memorial to Beckett in Arromanches.

Spud Piers


The pier heads or landing wharves at which ships were unloaded. Each of these consisted of a pontoon with four legs that rested on the sea bed to anchor the pontoon, yet allowed it to float up and down freely with the tide.

German equivalent of Mulberry


In the period between postponement and cancellation of Operation Sea Lion, the invasion of the UK, Germany developed some prototype prefabricated jetties with a similar purpose in mind. These could be seen in Alderney
Alderney
Alderney is the most northerly of the Channel Islands. It is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown dependency. It is long and wide. The area is , making it the third-largest island of the Channel Islands, and the second largest in the Bailiwick...

, until they were demolished in 1978. The remaining foundations for the Alderney jetty formed an obstruction to the commercial quay extension project carried out in 2008/9.

Daily Telegraph crosswords


"Mulberry" and the names of all the beaches were words appearing in the Daily Telegraph crossword puzzle in the month prior to the invasion. The crossword compilers, Melville Jones and Leonard Dawe
Leonard Dawe
Leonard Sydney Dawe was an English amateur footballer who played in the Southern League for Southampton between 1912 and 1913, and made one appearance for the England national amateur football team in 1912...

 were questioned by MI5 who determined the appearance of the words was innocent, but after the turn of the century, a former student identified that Dawe frequently requested words from his students, many of whom were children in the same area as US military personnel.

Deception


Some troops from the American Ghost Army
The Ghost Army
The Ghost Army was a United States Army tactical deception unit during World War II officially known as the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. The 1,100-man unit was given a unique mission within the Army to impersonate other U.S. Army units to deceive the enemy...

went to Normandy two weeks after D-Day to simulate a fake Mulberry harbour. The deception was created in such a way that at night its lights drew German gunfire away from the real Mulberries.

Further reading

  • J. Evans, R. Walter, E. Palmer, 'A Harbour Goes to War: The Story of Mulberry and the Men Who Made It Happen'. Publisher - South Machars Historical Society (2000), ISBN 1-873547-30-7

  • Stanford, Alfred B., Force Mulberry: The Planning and Installation of the Artificial Harbor of U.S. Normandy Beaches in World War II, New York: William Morrow & Co., 1951 - details the design, assembly and construction of the American artificial harbour (Mulberry A) at Omaha Beach. Much of this book deals with the 108th Seabees, the unit which was responsible for construction of the Mulberry. Stanford was deputy commander of harbour during the invasion.

  • Hartcup, Guy, Code Name Mulberry: The planning, building and operation of the Normandy harbours, David & Charles (Publishers) Ltd, 1977 - This book covers the background to Mulberry harbours as part of Operation Overlord, the prototypes, the testing and development, the building (including contributions of suppliers) plus the installation and running. A book that covers the whole project very well.

  • Institution of Civil Engineers, The Civil Engineer at War, vol 2. Docks and Harbours, 1959 - This is a collection of papers read at a symposium. They include a number of detailed plans and calculations contributing towards the final designs. Included are estimations of extracting power from waves by floating and stationary breakwaters.

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