Allied Naval Forces
The U.S, Congress had authorized a two-ocean navy and a huge air force,
and passed the 1940 Selective Service Act. With draft boards under the
Selective Service system providing most of the recruits, the armed forces
enrolled about 15 million Americans. The army had about 8.5 million
men, the navy 3.5 million, and the marines 1/2 million. When men had
to go on frontline duty, women branches took over necessary noncombat
duties. On June 6,1944 (D-Day), American and British forces, led by
General Eisenhower, crossed the English Channel and landed in Normandy
in northern France. This greatest invasion in history established a
second front. The invading forces met a powerful German army, which
had been kept from the Russian front in anticipation of the attack.
Allied forces pushed back the Nazi army, recaptured Paris, and drove
the Germans from France.
The landing of the Allies in Normandy is considered "the most
dramatic of the whole war." (Stuart, 347) Eisenhower went ahead
with the invasion despite the unfavorable weather, however at dawn the
weather seemed to be at his favor. The invasion took place in the 60-mile
arc along the Normandy coast between Cherbourg and Le Havre, this was
convinient because the English coast was near and air fighter was covered.
The Allies had to be careful of the Germans artillery, their barbed
wire, their under water obstacles and mines. The germans were not fully
aware of what a surprising invasion was taking place. Once they began
to move, the French Resistance flew harassing attacks. Eisenhowers
forces stood by the beaches and increased their strength. Within a week,
300,000 British and Americans were ashore. They had artificial harbors
right off the beaches which helped ship in supplies. On July 25, American
forces began to advance into France.
Combat ships included battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. Battleships
for gunfire support, small carriers for air support, and destroyers
for antisubmarine protection. Task forces consisted primarily of tankers,
ammunition ships, ans salvage tugs, with a cruiser flagship and small
carriers and destroyer types for protection. Only the Japanese and United
States navies developed carrier operations to a high degree. The
primary striking carrier weapons in the United States Navy were the
TBF Grumman Avenger, which could be used as a torpedo plane...
All American ships were equipped with aircraft and surface radar by
the end of 1942. The Amphibious operations; primarily operations intended
to seize beachheads from which large forces would subsequently break
out for land campaigns. The operation needed six steps: Command relatinships,
naval gunfire support, air support, ship-to-shore movement, the securing
of the beachhead, logistics. The landing craft wer of two basic types:
Ships and boats that had the ability to beach without swamping and also
to withdraw, and amphibians. The amphibian could be propelled both in
water and on land. The reason for the success was due ti the adequate
craft for the landing of assault units and for logistic support over
the beaches until proper port facilities could be built.