Scarlett Padilla

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. Eisenhower’s 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.