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Interesting picture...

Landing craft approaching the beach on D-Day.  Clearly not assault troops.




Suppressed photo recently released from the archives - taken moments after the first one.


10 Comments

I have always thought that this picture is of HHC, 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry.  The tall figure looking to the left looks like Capt. Albert E. Smith, the HHC company commander.  I neglected to ask him if the picture was taken in his landing craft, and I haven't seen any discussion of the picture, but that's my guess.  The other troops have M1 carbines and M1903 Springfields - commo platoon and Hq types most likely.
 
Yeah, I was mostly after the rifles and carbines - the second pic showed up when I was looking for the official caption to this one, and, well, the post wrote itself after that.
 
Correction:

Capt Albert H. Smith was Executive Officer, 1st Bn, 16th Infantry, not HHC Cdr, 2d Bn. He landed in the 2d wave with 36 members of the 1st Bn HQ, mostly commo types.  I believe that this picture is of his landing craft.
 
OK, so why aren't these assault troops?
 
They are not carrying the same weapons and other equipment that the men of the rifle companies that comprised the assault sections were carrying.  Their carbines were for self protection.  Their job was quite dangerous as it included running commo wire all over the battlefield and could be very hazardous to their health.  It's just that they were not expected to take on the German defenders.
 
At least second wave HQ troops - armed with M1 carbines and M1903 Springfields.  Not the weapons of assault infantry.  We've pretty much determined this is the half the HQs element (including the battalion commander) of the 1st BN 16th Infantry going in.
 
I see the Centurion weighed in. 

Not dissing the troops.  Nowhere was safe on that day.  There were just less dangerous places.
 
Assault waves were broken down into 2 types of Boat. Assault Boats and Support boats. An Assault boat held a OIC and NCOIC. 5man rifle team 4 man 60mm Mortar team, 4 man Bazooka team, 2 man Flamethower team, 4 man BAR team, 4 man Wire Cutting team, and a 5 amn Demo team. Support boats had OIC and NCOIC 5 man Rifle team 6 man M1917A1 section, 5 man Demo tm, 8 man 81mm Mortar tm, and a 4 man wire cutter tm. A Company command boat held 16 men from the assault company with the XO, Cdrs landed as extra men in the Assault tm boats. the excess in the cmd boat were LNO's and Shore party fire control teams.
 
This boat is from HHC, 1st Bn, 16th Infantry.  This company reported a strength of 14 Officers and 154 EM on the morning of 6 June.  Their next report, on 8 June had a present for duty strength of 10 Officers, 110 EM. 11 EM were reported MIA (almost all certainly KIA), and 4 Officers and 33 EM WIA and evacuated. Tough being a headquarters troopie on that day at least.
 
 Like I said, there were no safe places, just less dangerous ones.

And everybody got an arrowhead on their ribbon.