The Landing Craft used by 21 BDS on D-Day
From various sources it is known that the first Echelons of 21 BDS were transported from the UK to Omaha Beach in 5 landing craft. The most authoritative reference is Headquarters Force O Loading Table (US National Archives). In order to assist in answering the question “Where did they land?” I attempted to research which specific landing craft formed the sub flotilla and although a definitive position has still not been arrived at covering all the landing craft that were used, evidence suggests the following composition of their transportation:
The 5 landing craft which carried 21 BDS were originally planned to be part of Headquarters Force O and a special section of this was Navy Task Group 124-5, Assault Group 03. According to the planned composition on the whole of Force O the 5 landing craft were made of 2 x LCT (landing craft tank) of a Mk IV variety and 3 x LCT of the Mk VI variety. It is almost certain that the 2 x Mk IV were part of the Royal Navy and the 3 x Mk VIs were part of the US Navy.
Evidence suggests that the numbers of the 5 landing craft were as follows:
- Mk IVs – LCT528 , LCT611
- Mk VIs – US LCT551, LCT649 and LCT 650
Also it has been possible to make intelligent assumptions about what each landing craft carried based on the size and number of vehicles which each radar type consisted and supported by a photograph taken by Sergeant Muir Adair taken on D-Day as the landing craft were on their way which showed US 551 carrying the type 14 equipment.
- LCT 528 – this landing craft carried the Type 14 and Type 15 working parties, members of the RAF regiment and other miscellaneous members of the 21 BDS.
- LCT 611 – this carried Type 15 equipment which consisted of a minimum of 6 prime movers and 1 trailer plus a jeep and a crane. (Reference Norman Best’s Diary: Section – Men and their experiences)
- LCT 551 – Carried Type 14 radar equipment which consisted of 4 prime movers.
- LCT 649 – carried the Type 11 radar equipment which consisted of 4 prime movers and a trailer. (Reference Richard Rycroft’s Diary: Section – Men and their experiences).
- LCT 650 – carried the Type 13 radar equipment which consisted of 4 x prime movers.