Chapter IV
The Port Discharge and Shipping Problems

(1) The Seine Ports--Le Havre and Rouen

The logistic support of U.S. forces reached its lowest ebb in the month of October. At no other time during the eleven months of continental operations did the supply situation appear so unfavorable in all its aspects. This can be attributed in large measure to the unsatisfactory port situation.

In October, as expected, bad weather at last had its adverse effect on operations at the beaches and, by preventing the dispatch of shallow-draft shipping, on the full utilization of the smaller ports particularly Granville. Cherbourg's reconstruction was far from complete, and its worst bottleneck, clearance, remained unsolved. The small Brittany ports were making only a minor contribution to total U.S. needs. In the first three weeks of October, consequently, unloadings averaged less than 25,000 tons per day against an estimated requirement of about 40,000.1 The theoretical discharge capacity of ports then in operation was only 28,000 tons.2

Although the final solution did not come until the opening of Antwerp, the entire port situation took an encouraging turn for the better in the first week of November. The improvement was attributable in part to the progress in overcoming the clearance problem at Cherbourg. More important, however, was the opening of two new ports, Le Havre and Rouen, which lay at least 100 miles nearer the front lines than did Cherbourg. Both ports were in operation by mid-October, making it possible to close all the minor ports in both Normandy and Brittany except Granville and Morlaix by the end of that month.

U.S. requirements went beyond the need for additional deep-draft facilities for direct ship-to-shore discharge. New coaster capacity was needed to replace existing facilities, most of which were located on lines of communication already too congested and too far to the rear. Coaster ports such as St. Vaast, Barfleur, and Isigny, for example, were


cleared by the same road and rail net which served the port of Cherbourg and the Normandy beaches. There was already a large enough accumulation of supplies in the Normandy depots to saturate the carrying capacity of those lines for months to come.3

There was also an urgent need for developing new bulk POL intake facilities. As of mid-October Cherbourg was virtually the only bulk POL port operating on the Continent. It possessed only one tanker berth, and that was located along the Digue de Querqueville in the Grande Rade, where stormy weather frequently interfered with berthing and discharge. A foretaste of future difficulties was given on the night of 4 October, when a storm destroyed eight of the ten unloading lines, completely shutting down intake for eight hours and materially reducing it for another twenty-four. A fairly heavy import of gasoline had been achieved thus far only by the use of large 15,000-ton tankers, but the advent of bad weather made it extremely doubtful that such vessels could continue to be handled at the Querqueville Digue. Early in October operating difficulties caused by bad weather, plus shutdowns occasioned by the failure of tankers to arrive, resulted in POL being withdrawn from the Cherbourg tank farms faster than it could be replaced, with the result that stocks again became dangerously low. Small tankers were still bringing POL into Port-en-Bessin, but there was danger that bad weather would also force a stoppage of imports there. By mid-October, then, it had become essential that POL ports be developed which would afford safe berthing in adverse weather.4

Finally, French officials were appealing for the use of some of the available port capacity to meet civil import requirements. There was small hope of meeting such demands in view of the urgent requirements for military purposes. Military needs of all kinds--railway rolling stock and shipping, as well as port capacity--so far exceeded the available means in October that the allocation of port capacity for French civil needs had to be postponed.5 The opening of Le Havre and Rouen nevertheless aided greatly in halting the deteriorating port situation in October by more than compensating for the diminishing returns at the beaches and by making it possible to end the uneconomic use of most of the small ports in the Normandy and Brittany areas.

The Seine ports had figured in Allied planning from the start. Plans for the period after D plus 90 had assumed, in fact, that logistic considerations would require crossing the lower Seine and taking Le Havre and Rouen as a first priority operation after the capture of the lodgment area. Le Havre was particularly valuable. With its fourteen


basins and eight miles of quays, including facilities for the reception of large oil tankers and a pipeline to Paris developed as the result of a tremendous improvement program a few years before World War I, Le Havre had become the second port of France. Both Le Havre and Rouen, however, were intended for British rather than American use. They were expected to relieve British forces from dependence on their original Normandy landing beaches at about D plus 120, and were not to be turned over to U.S. forces until about D plus 210. By that date British lines of communication were to be based on ports farther up the coast.6

The rapid developments during the pursuit largely invalidated these plans. As early as 3 September the SHAEF Logistical Plans Branch recommended that the Seine ports be turned over to U.S. forces in view of the more than adequate facilities the British would soon have in such ports as Dieppe, Calais, and Boulogne, which were already uncovered, and in view of the imminent fall of Antwerp (which occurred the following day).7 The 21 Army Group did not favor the release of Le Havre until it could be certain that Antwerp and Rotterdam would be available,8 and for several days there was no decision on the matter. On 11 September, however, Maj. Gen. Charles S. Napier, the SHAEF Deputy G-4 for Movements and Transportation, recommended to the G-4 that Le Havre be assigned to the Communications Zone. General Crawford immediately asked the COMZ commander whether he was prepared to undertake the development of the port on the assumption that a portion of the port's capacity might initially have to be allocated to the British, and on the additional assumption that the Communications Zone in all probability might still have to open the port of Brest.9 Supreme Headquarters did not wait for a formal reply to its query, but on General Lord's statement that the Communications Zone could assume the responsibility, notified General Lee on the 13th that it had decided to assign Le Havre to the Communications Zone, and informed him that the Allied Naval Commander was prepared to send two Royal Marine Engineer companies to assist in the work of rehabilitation.10

The COMZ commander was still dubious about the value of Le Havre. In his analysis of the port problem he noted that the port would contribute in only a limited degree to the shortening of the lines of communication. Only Antwerp and the other northern ports, in his opinion, could satisfy that need and provide the capacity required. He therefore thought it advisable that Le Havre be developed solely as an interim port with a capacity of between 8,000 and 10,000 tons, and with a minimum expenditure of effort.11 Theater officials


concurred in this view, and embodied the COMZ commander's recommendation regarding Le Havre in the port development plan which finally crystallized toward the end of the month.12

General Lee's misgivings as to the probability of developing a large discharge capacity at Le Havre in the near future stemmed in part from his knowledge of the port's condition. The enemy garrison at Le Havre had resisted to the bitter end, and had forced the Allies to subject the city to heavy bombardments from the sea, land, and air for a full week before it capitulated. When First Canadian Army forces entered Le Havre on 12 September, therefore, they found one of the most thoroughly demolished ports captured thus far. Port facilities had been destroyed with characteristic thoroughness. In addition, the repeated bombings had destroyed approximately two thirds of the city's business and residential sections and caused an estimated 6,000 civilian casualties. The bombings had also created an understandable resentment among the city's inhabitants toward their liberators, and at best an indifference to the activities of the units which shortly arrived to rebuild the port.13

The damage to Le Havre's port facilities followed much the same pattern as at Cherbourg and Granville. In one sense the destruction was actually more serious at Le Havre, for most of the port's facilities had centered around the wet basins, and a quick survey on 13-14 September disclosed that all the lock gates had been damaged and the basins rendered inoperable. This had the further result of subjecting all the basins to tidal action, and the hydrostatic pressure caused by the tides in turn caused many of the quay walls to fail.14 In addition, there were the usual obstructions--the many sunken craft in the various channels and basins, demolished cargo-handling equipment, and bombed-out warehousing.15

COMZ officials initially established two general priorities for the rehabilitation of the port: the immediate development of tonnage reception of 1,500 tons per day from Liberty ships by the use of dukws and lighters, and then an increase in the port's discharge capacity to 7,000 tons, but without a major reconstruction effort.16

The principal engineer units dispatched to Le Havre to accomplish this mission consisted of two general service regiments, two PC&R groups, a port repair ship crew, a gas generating unit, a maintenance company, a dump truck company, and two Royal Marine Engineer companies. All were placed under the operational control of the 373d Engineer General Service Regiment, commanded by Col. Frank F. Bell. Work began on 20 September under a three-phase program drawn up by the commanders of the 373d Regiment and the other engineer units, and by the Channel Base Section Engineer.17

The first-phase program consisted


mainly of clearing the beaches of mines, wire, and tetrahedra; preparing landing sites for dukws and various types of landing craft; opening access roads connected with the inland highway net; and providing storage areas near the beaches. The second-phase program, which got under way in October, involved continuing work on roads and railways, repairing damaged quays, removing sunken vessels, repairing existing POL facilities and lock gates, and reconstructing storage. In some cases the removal of debris and the restoration alongside quays would have involved too time-consuming an effort. Instead, it was decided to provide entirely new berthing by the construction of a floating ponton pier and piers made with caissons diverted from the MULBERRY winterization program.18 Third-phase work, which carried on into December, in many cases consisted simply of the continuation of earlier projects and the provision of various complementary facilities such as lighting and refrigeration.

Clearance of the beach areas had progressed sufficiently to permit the entry of a few vessels on 2 October. These were unloaded within the next few days by the 16th Port (Brig. Gen. William M. Hoge), which had arrived from Brittany to take over the operation of Le Havre.19 The discharge rate was negligible in the first two weeks, for the presence of mines in the harbor temporarily limited the port's use to LCT's and coasters. As at Cherbourg, this resulted in delays in bringing some of the port equipment ashore, for portions of it were aboard Liberty ships and could not be transferred to dukws.20 Lack of proper cargo-handling and clearance facilities contributed to the awkwardness of operations at first, necessitating multiple handlings of supplies.21 On 13 October three Liberties were finally ordered forward, after which discharge improved steadily. In its first full week of operations Le Havre discharged about 2,000 tons per day. In the second week the average rose to 3,650, double the tonnage expected of it at that date.22

Progress in rehabilitation was excellent, and the encouraging discharge performance in the first weeks quickly dispelled earlier doubts concerning the port's value. As early as 23 October the plan of operations which the port commander proposed to the base section commander raised Le Havre's target to 9,100 tons (exclusive of POL and coal), which was to be achieved within thirty days.23 Within another week the port was averaging about 5,000 tons, and on the last day of the month it fell just short of the 6,000-ton mark. By that time the value of Le Havre and Rouen was clearly recognized, not only because of their advantages over Cherbourg, but because they served as insurance against the possible neutralization of Antwerp by mine laying and by the enemy's use of V-1's and V-2's. The two ports took on a significance beyond all expectation as the opening date of Antwerp receded


DUKWS TRANSFERRING CARGO from ships to boxcars, Le Havre, 15 November 1944.

further and further into the future. Le Havre and Rouen had proved to be the biggest nest egg since the capture of Cherbourg.24 Early in November, therefore, the Communications Zone directed the Channel Base Section to develop still greater capacity at Le Havre, raising the target to 9,500 tons by 1 December.25

Le Havre's discharge capacity actually exceeded this target by the end of December, although full advantage could never be taken of its capacity. Port officials had recognized that the crux of the problem at Le Havre, as at Cherbourg, would be the ability to clear. Limitation on clearance resulted from the fact that all traffic from Le Havre had to cross British lines of communication, from the usual shortage in rail cars and locomotives, and from the lack of alongside berths where cargo could be transferred directly to rail. Despite these handicaps Le Havre continued to make a handsome contribution to the total tonnages discharged on the Continent, averaging more than 5,000 tons per day throughout November, and 5,400 tons in December. In January the port bettered this record with a daily average of 6,470 tons.

Le Havre never developed the number of alongside Liberty berths planned, for the use of caisson piers proved unsuccessful. An abnormally large percentage of the tonnage therefore continued to be brought ashore by lighters


and dukws, the latter alone accounting for 33 percent.26 The extensive use of lighters had its disadvantages, of course, including multiple handling and interruptions from bad weather. The continued use of dukws brought its inevitable maintenance problems. One amphibian company estimated that its vehicles had operated the equivalent of 70,000 miles. Inability to replace worn-out vehicles and the lack of spare parts led to widespread cannibalism and other expedients, such as the manufacture of propeller strut bearings from applewood and rudders from scrap steel. At times in November the amphibian companies were operating with 76 percent of their vehicles deadlined.27 In mid-January the port organization was strengthened by the arrival of the 52d Medium Port. Le Havre then reached a peak strength of about 20,000 men, of whom 4,000 were French civilians and an undetermined number were prisoners of war.28

Meanwhile, the port of Rouen, the ancient Norman capital lying seventy-five miles up the Seine River, had also helped relieve the deficit in port capacity by developing a discharge of several thousand tons. Rouen had been captured on 30 August, but obviously could not be utilized until Le Havre had also been taken and the Seine estuary cleared. Damage to this port hardly compared with that at Le Havre. Fortunately its quays were largely intact. But its cargo-handling equipment, such as cranes, was completely demolished and many vessels had been sunk, both along the quays and in the Seine channel between Rouen and Le Havre. The principal rehabilitation task consisted of removing these sunken craft and cranes and fell mainly to the U.S. Navy, aided by French civilians. Storage space at Rouen, both covered and open, was excellent, and the major engineer task there proved to be clearing debris, filling bomb craters, erecting cranes, and reconstructing railways.29

The COMZ directive of 27 September had established a target of 3,000 tons per day for Rouen. All cargo had to be discharged from coasters, since the port was accessible only to ships with a maximum draft of from nineteen to twenty-five feet. Although the rehabilitation of Rouen did not get under way until the beginning of October, the port was ready to receive cargo on the 13th, the same day on which Le Havre took its first Liberties. The port discharged its first supplies three days later. For the first few days the operation of the port was carried out by a detachment of the 16th Port, sent over from Le Havre. On 20 October the 11th Port, which had operated the minor Normandy ports until a few days before, arrived to take over Rouen.30

By the end of the month Rouen was handling well over 2,000 tons per day, and in the first week of November averaged more than 4,000 tons. The port's encouraging development soon made it possible for Le Havre to cease discharging coasters. On 8 November the Communications Zone went a step further



and ordered all coasters except those carrying coal sent to Rouen,31 making it possible to close all the shallow ports in Normandy and Brittany. At times Rouen took Liberty ships after they had been lightened to the proper draft at Le Havre.32 Meanwhile the Communications Zone raised Rouen's discharge target to 7,500 tons.33 Rouen did not meet the new target, but did perform very creditably in the next few months, averaging 4,200 tons per day in November, 4,138 in December, and 5,072 tons in January. Early in 1945 the port's operating strength rose to 9,000 Army personnel, 9,000 prisoners of war, and 5,000 civilians.34

Le Havre and Rouen together averaged approximately 8,500 tons per day in November, the month preceding the opening of Antwerp, and accounted for approximately one third of all tonnage discharged in that period. The total daily discharge on the Continent had risen from approximately 25,000 tons per day to 27,300 tons since mid-October.35 Le Havre and Rouen did not provide the final solution to the port problem, therefore, but they more than made up for the loss of the beaches, and placed a substantial portion of the total U.S. discharge capacity a sizable distance farther forward on the line of communications, relieving the desperate shortage in transport and serving as an important stopgap pending the opening of Antwerp.


(2) Antwerp and the Other Northern Ports

Although it was not to receive cargo for nearly three months, Antwerp became the master key to all port policy and plans after its capture early in September. The advantages which Antwerp possessed over other ports had long been appreciated, and once the port was in Allied hands both the 12th Army Group and the Communications Zone lost little time in urging SHAEF to allocate a portion of the port's capacity to U.S. forces.36 General Bradley strongly hoped that the early opening of the port would assure a constant source of supply for the armies and thus obviate the necessity for a long build-up period and postponement of the offensive.37

Small wonder that Antwerp's capture raised hopes of solving the Allies' long-standing logistic problem. Antwerp ranked with Hamburg, Rotterdam, and New York as one of the world's great ports, even though it did not approach the size of those cities in population. In 1938 alone it had registered 12,000 vessels and handled almost 60,000,000 tons of freight.

Antwerp is an inland port, situated on the right bank of the Schelde estuary, fifty-five miles from the sea. Unlike other ports on tidal streams, it could receive large seagoing vessels at all stages of the tide, for even the minimum depth along the quays in the river was twenty-seven feet. Furthermore, the Schelde was more than 500 yards wide at Antwerp and thus permitted easy maneuvering of the largest ships.

Antwerp's port facilities were located partly along the river itself and partly in a complex of wet basins built off one side of the river. Approximately three and one half miles of quays lined the right bank of the Schelde, forming the western limits of the city. The greater portion of the port lay to the north of the city and consisted of eighteen basins, to which access was obtained through four locks. These basins provided nearly twenty-six miles of quays. The port therefore offered more than twenty-nine miles of quays, and these were equipped with more than 600 hydraulic and electric cranes, plus numerous floating cranes, loading bridges, and floating grain elevators.

Storage accommodations were commensurate with these modern discharge facilities. There were nearly 900 warehouses, plus a granary with a capacity of almost a million bushels, and cold storage chambers with about 750,000 cubic feet of capacity. Petroleum intake and storage installations were also on a grand scale. Pipelines ran directly from tanker berths to the 498 storage tanks, which occupied 208 acres and could hold 124,000,000 gallons of POL.

Equally important were the excellent clearance facilities. Antwerp alone possessed more than 500 miles of rails, plus ample marshaling yards, and was well tied in with a Belgian transportation network consisting of 3,250 miles of railways and 1,370 miles of navigable waterways, including the Albert Canal, which


connected Antwerp with the Meuse River.38

Antwerp therefore had a potential capacity which completely dwarfed that of all the other ports the Allies thus far had captured and put to use. Furthermore, Antwerp's appearance upon capture was in startling contrast to that of Cherbourg and Le Havre, for the port had suffered only minor damage. The swiftness of the British advance had allowed the enemy little time to prepare demolitions, and the port had been saved from complete destruction largely through the gallant action of a Belgian reserve lieutenant employed in the port administration who had worked out a tactical plan which effectively frustrated the enemy's attempted demolitions.39

Nor had Antwerp sustained the damage which Le Havre had suffered from Allied bombardment. The only demolitions of any importance had been carried out on the locks, thus preventing immediate use of the wet basins. But the quays lining the river were in good condition and, subject to the removal of two small coasters which had been sunk in the estuary, could accommodate twenty-three Liberty ships. Practically all of the port's 625 cranes and other unloading machinery were found in working order, and warehouses and sheds were also largely intact. Damage to the rail lines was limited to three demolished bridges, and there was a large quantity of immediately usable rolling stock in the port. In addition, local authorities reported an adequate supply of trained boat crews, crane operators, mechanics, and dock labor to man the port.40

Supreme Headquarters concluded that Antwerp's potentialities were ample to meet both U.S. and British needs. On 19 September SHAEF instructed General Lee to send a senior planner to 21 Army Group headquarters immediately to work out plans for the base layout and for sharing the port's facilities.41 General Lee arranged a conference between COMZ and 21 Army Group officials, and representatives of the two headquarters met at Antwerp between 24 and 26 September. Tentative agreements were reached on the allocation of tonnage capacity and storage facilities, the use of rail lines, and on the port's command and administrative organization. A temporary division of the port between U.S. and British forces was also made, pending its complete rehabilitation, and agreement was reached as to the responsibility of the respective forces for undertaking various repair and reconstruction projects.42 There was still considerable optimism over the prospect that Antwerp might soon be in operation, even though the approaches to the port were still in enemy hands.

The capture of Antwerp had not ruled out the use of other ports which had been uncovered along the Channel and


North Sea coast during the September drive. The Communications Zone had not lost sight of their possible value, and in the port plan which it submitted to SHAEF on 14 September recommended that all requirements be reviewed when the other north coast ports were captured so that an equitable apportionment of their facilities could be made.43 At the end of the month the COMZ directive on port development specifically mentioned Calais, Boulogne, and Ostend as ports which might either be assigned to U.S. forces or shared with the British, and announced that the Channel Base Section and Navy would reconnoiter the entire coast east of Le Havre, particularly to find suitable beaching sites for LST's.44 The latter were urgently needed to replace the OMAHA and UTAH Beaches as points of entry for tracked vehicles. Channel Base Section reconnoitered four of the ports--Dieppe, Le Tréport, Boulogne, and Ostend--within the next few days.

On 5 October U.S. and British officials met again, this time at Brussels, to review the entire port situation in the northeast and specifically to consider how the smaller ports could be utilized pending the opening of Antwerp. By this time the optimism over Antwerp had declined noticeably, and a target date of 15 November was accepted for the opening of the port. Le Havre and Rouen were still unknown quantities at this date. On the basis of either intelligence reports or reconnaissances already carried out, therefore, about ten of the smaller north coast ports were carefully studied during the four-day conference. A few of the ports, such as Dunkerque and Zeebrugge, were still in enemy hands; several others, like Nieuwpoort, Gravelines, Blankenberge, and the Calais-Ostend reach, which was considered as a possible landing site for vehicle-carrying LST's, were ruled out for one reason or another.

Only four ports were accepted as having potential value. These were Boulogne, Dieppe, and Ostend, which were assigned to the British with the reservation that U.S. forces should share in POL reception at Ostend, and Calais which was assigned to the Americans. The Communications Zone concluded on the basis of a reconnaissance that Calais could provide the needed LST berths for vehicle discharge, and Channel Base Section made preparations for certain improvements there, including plans for the construction of an unloading ramp. But it failed to carry through on these plans, and when 21 Army Group requested permission to construct a train ferry terminal there, and later a hard for a vehicle discharge, SHAEF promptly approved. On 23 October it designated 21 Army Group as the agency henceforth responsible for developing, operating, and administering Calais, although it was understood that the Communications Zone would share in the use of the port.45

None of the ports mentioned above had anything but limited value and they were obviously no substitute for Antwerp.


Small wonder that the Supreme Commander and his logistic planners became more and more anxious, therefore, as the supply situation deteriorated in October without any sign that the great port might soon be placed in operation. The current concept of Antwerp's importance was well expressed by Colonel Whipple, the chief of the SHAEF Logistical Plans Branch, early in October. "The failure to open Antwerp," he wrote, "is jeopardizing the administrative soundness of our entire winter campaign. The placing of this operation as second priority within 21 Army Group had temporary justification while the Northern salient was being reinforced, but I see no excuse for it now. The present lack of support of troops of [the] US 3rd and 9th Armies and minimum support of 1st Army cannot be rectified until Antwerp is opened. Fifteen divisions are held impotent for lack of success in this relatively small operation, and this weakness may involve us in winter weather to such an extent that our advance into Germany may be delayed until spring."46 In Colonel Whipple's view it was imperative that "21 Army Group be directed to place the clearing of Antwerp as highest priority and to make such other adjustments as are essential to insure it will not be further delayed."

General Eisenhower needed no convincing in this matter. He had assessed the true value of Antwerp some time before, and had repeatedly impressed on the 21 Army Group commander the urgency of getting the port into operation. By early October the Supreme Commander had become impatient and alarmed over the protracted attention which Field Marshal Montgomery was giving the Nijmegen bridgehead at the expense of the Schelde operation. Clearing the Antwerp approaches simply could not be postponed any longer, and in the second week of October General Eisenhower insisted that Montgomery give unequivocal first priority to that operation. Operations designed to clear the mouth of the Schelde were initiated by the First Canadian Army a week later, and were completed in the first week of November.47

It was with an obvious sense of relief that the Supreme Commander saw the 21 Army Group finally turn to the Schelde operation. Eisenhower had predicted that operations would come to a standstill if the port were not in operation by mid-November. In fact, he had emphasized the importance of Antwerp so frequently that General Marshall expressed fear that the ETOUSA commander was putting all his eggs in one basket. Late in October he cautioned General Eisenhower against relying too heavily on a single port, particularly in view of its vulnerability to rocket attacks. With the large concentration of shipping and supplies there, particularly ammunition, Antwerp offered a lucrative target, and enemy attacks would do tremendous harm to the war effort if


offensive operations depended on this one vital but vulnerable asset.48

General Eisenhower immediately assured the Chief of Staff that, far from relying solely on that port, SHAEF was taking steps to develop every other port to its maximum capacity.49 Le Havre and Rouen had in fact just come into operation; the bottleneck was soon to be broken at Cherbourg; and there even were hopes that before long Marseille might develop capacity in excess of the 6th Army Group's needs and help support the Third Army. It was expected, however, that Antwerp's opening would provide the additional capacity required to build forward reserves and to receive and maintain additional divisions in the line.50 It would also make possible the discharge of ships carrying engineer and quartermaster Class II supplies and vehicles, all of which had had low priority in the preceding months because of the emphasis which had unavoidably been placed on the discharge of rations and ammunition. Finally, the opening of Antwerp would make it possible to eliminate the tremendous backlog of shipping waiting to be accepted in European ports.51

In the meantime U.S. and British forces had proceeded with the necessary rehabilitation of the port, and COMZ and 21 Army Group officials worked out detailed plans for administering the port and sharing its facilities. SHAEF had settled the issue of control of the port at the time it agreed that Antwerp should be developed for both U.S. and British use. General Lee had suggested joint control.52 But the Supreme Commander had decided that the port would be opened under British control, since experience had shown joint operation of a port to be unsatisfactory.53

The manner in which this control was to be exercised was first outlined at the Antwerp meeting of 24-26 September. Additional matters, such as the labor situation at Antwerp, were taken up at the Brussels Conference on 5 October. The Communications Zone immediately thereafter sent qualified personnel to the various Anglo-American committees which were established to work out the detailed plans for the use of the port. Planning the clearance alone of a port the size of Antwerp was a tremendous undertaking, for it required close coordination to make the most efficient use of rolling stock and railway running rights, especially in view of the fact that the port was to be used by both the Americans and British.

The operational plan which American and British experts worked out in these weeks was finally formalized on 18 October in a "Memorandum of Agreement" signed by Miles H. Graham, major general in charge of administration, 21 Army Group, and by Colonel Jacobs, the Channel Base Section commander, who had been the chief COMZ representative in the negotiations with the British. The stated purpose of the agreement was to establish the basic plan and procedure for the development of the


maximum capacity of the port, and to provide the necessary facilities and controls for road, rail, and inland water transport in order that the requirements of both forces might be met with minimum cross-haul and interference. A target date of 15 November was established for the completion of all work necessary for the opening and operation of the port.

Naval command of Antwerp, which included the control of shipping within the port, was vested in the Royal Navy; and the Naval Officer in Charge, or NOIC, was initially designated as the Chairman, Port Executive Committee. A British base sub area commander was made responsible for the local administration of the Antwerp area, and the defense of the port by air, land, and sea, was also a British responsibility. So far as berthing facilities were concerned, the port's inner basins were simply geographically divided, the northern section of the port being allocated to the Americans, and the southern to the British. It so happened that each of these areas also had a marshaling yard. The river berths were unassigned, their allocation being left up to the Port Executive Committee depending on current needs and on the basis of tonnage allocations established by SHAEF. At the first Antwerp meeting at the end of September a tentative division of tonnage capacity had allocated 25,000 tons to the Americans and 15,000 to the British. This was now changed to 22,500 and 17,500 tons respectively, exclusive of POL.

Joint use of Antwerp's facilities was thus avoided so far as possible, and in that part of the port specifically allocated to U.S. forces there was to be a U.S. Army officer designated as port commander. Above him was the Channel Base Section commander, who was responsible for the "coordination, control, and the administration" of all U.S. forces in the area. There were many "common use" facilities and installations, of course, such as POL, coal, grain, cold storage, signal, and repair, and where such facilities were jointly used the commandant of the area specifically allocated to the British was to co-ordinate British and U.S. activities in consultation with the U.S. port commander, both of whom were members of the Port Executive Committee.

The great importance of port clearance was recognized in the provision of a joint British-U.S. Movements and Transportation Committee, which was to plan and co-ordinate all traffic by road, rail, and inland waterway, and handle all dealings with Belgian transport organizations. The agreement of 18 October made an initial allocation of transportation facilities to the two forces, however. It gave U.S. forces primary rights over highways southeastward to Liège and Namur, and the British primary rights to Brussels; assigned to the Americans control over railways south and southeastward to Liège and (via Brussels) to Namur and Luxembourg, and to the British control over lines running to the north and northeast.54

The rehabilitation of facilities required for maximum operation of the


port was the responsibility of the 21 Army Group, although it was agreed that U.S. forces could be called on for whatever assistance was necessary to meet the 15 November deadline. U.S. forces undertook several projects, including the repair of the vital Kruisschans Lock, which led most directly into the American portion of the port, mine clearance in the inner basins, clearance and minor repairs to the quays and transit storage sheds, and repair and reconstruction of road and rail facilities assigned to the Americans.55

These projects were not fully completed by 15 November, but it was not for this reason that the port could not open on that date. Clearing the mines from the Schelde proved a time-consuming task, as at Cherbourg, and was not completed until 26 November. At that time much still remained to be done in the port itself, but of the 242 berths in the port 219 were completely cleared, all of the 600 cranes were in operating order, and all bridges needed for operations had been repaired.56

The Communications Zone had nominated seventy-odd ships for entry into Antwerp in the first ten days, almost all of them commodity-loaded--that is, loaded with a single type of supply, such as engineer supplies.57 The long-awaited opening of the port finally took place on 28 November, when the James B. Weaver, a Liberty ship carrying personnel and organizational equipment for the port headquarters and a party of war correspondents, was berthed. Thirteen vessels entered the port on the following day, and seven more on the 30th.58

U.S. operations at Antwerp were organized and controlled by the 13th Major Port, which had operated briefly at Plymouth and Falmouth before moving to the Continent in October. When operations actually got under way the 13th was reinforced by the 5th Port, which began arriving from Brittany at the end of November.59 The entire U.S. organization was commanded by Col. Doswell Gullatt, who had already had wide experience in both marine construction and port operations. Colonel Gullatt had commanded the 5th Engineer Special Brigade at OMAHA Beach, and earlier in his Army career, as District Engineer at Mobile, Alabama, had had varied experience in the construction of piers and docks, in canal dredging operations, and in general construction work.

Logistic planners estimated that U.S. discharge at Antwerp should reach 15,000 tons per day in December, 21,500 tons in January, and finally achieve the full tonnage allocation of 22,500 in March. Unloadings built up to the planned rate very rapidly. By the end of the first week the 13th Port had reached the 10,000-ton mark, and in the second week of December the port was already averaging 19,000 tons per day and accounting for approximately 48 percent of all the U.S. tonnage discharged on the Continent (exclusive of Marseille on the southern line of communications).60

The port had hardly achieved this performance


when clearance became a bottleneck just as it had at Cherbourg. Clearance had not become a limiting factor through oversight. Mainly because of it, in fact, logistic planners had planned a maximum combined import at Antwerp of only 40,000 tons per day, knowing that the port possessed capacity far in excess of this target. The principal limitation so far as U.S. operations were concerned was in storage. Antwerp, with all its magnificent facilities, lacked sufficient warehousing to permit any sizable backlogging of cargo in the port itself, for it had been the practice in peacetime to clear incoming cargo via rail, highway, and canal immediately after it was unloaded.

It was evident after the first reconnaissance that there would not be adequate covered or open storage in Antwerp to satisfy both American and British needs. Antwerp, lying in the British zone, was a logical base for the support of 21 Army Group, and British officials, realizing the inadequacy of storage facilities in the area had opposed the establishment of U.S. base installations there.61 Only a small amount of storage space, all of it uncovered, was allocated for American use, therefore, purely for intransit purposes, on the theory that all U.S. cargo would be promptly dispatched to depots in Liège and Namur or as near that area as possible.

COMZ supply planners were under no illusions as to the probable implications of this deficiency. Colonel Potter, the G-4 plans chief, estimated that an accumulation of more than 15,000 tons (less than a day's intake) would create a serious obstacle to further unloading and outshipment. Since there appeared to be no immediate solution to the problem, however, it was decided to hope for the best, and if it proved impossible to phase in certain types of cargo (particularly engineer supplies) at the rate at which forward depots could receive it, to "pile the stuff on the ground, and brace ourselves for the repercussions to come."62

Within two weeks of the port's opening about 85,000 tons of cargo had already accumulated in sheds and under tarpaulins back of the quays, threatening to hamper unloading operations. Storage space for 100,000 tons of supplies was being utilized in the U.S. section of the port, and space for an additional 50,000 tons was granted in the British area in December. It was estimated that in another ten days operations would be entirely dependent on the ability of the port to clear tonnage as discharged.63

The difficulty was attributable in part to the shortage of railway rolling stock, particularly in the first days after the opening of the port. Clearance by rail improved after the middle of the month, and eventually accounted for approximately 45 percent of the 313,500 tons cleared in the first month.64 Clearance by barge, however, fell considerably below expectations. It had been hoped that fully a third of the port's intake could




be cleared in this manner, principally via the Albert Canal, which was to have opened by 15 December.65 Delays in the removal of obstructions, particularly the wrecked Yserburg Bridge at the entrance, postponed the opening of the canal until 23 December, by which date 198 loaded barges had accumulated. There was some movement via canal after that date, but the total shipments by inland waterway totaled only 48,000 tons in December, equal to 15 percent of the total tonnage cleared.66

The clearance problem had barely shown signs of improving when it was aggravated afresh. Late in December the enemy counteroffensive, which threatened to overrun the advance U.S. supply installations in Belgium, caused the Communications Zone to place an embargo on all shipments to ADSEC depots. The embargo applied to barge as well as rail shipments, with the result that large numbers of loaded barges and rail cars began to accumulate in the port area. By 4 January nearly 3,500 loaded freight cars were awaiting dispatch, and the entire port had become seriously congested. At the ADSEC depots, meanwhile, thousands of cars were being held under load so that forward stocks could be kept mobile.67

To relieve the pressure on both Antwerp and the ADSEC depots General Plank, among others, had advocated the acquisition of overflow storage facilities in other Belgian cities as early as November, but without success. In January the backlog at Antwerp was finally relieved by opening such facilities in the Lille area, and by lifting the embargo. But the congestion was not easily cleared up, and the number of rail cars ordered for loading at the port consistently fell short of the number required.68

Antwerp's discharge rate inevitably reflected these difficulties. After attaining an average of 19,000 tons in the second week of December the port's intake fell to 13,700 tons per day for the remainder of the month, and to approximately 10,500 tons in the first half of January. It mattered little, therefore, that the port had a discharge capacity of between 80,000 and 100,000 tons per day as long as inadequate transportation and depot facilities limited clearance.69

Antwerp operated under another handicap which precluded its providing an ideal solution to the port problem. Long before it actually began to accept cargo the port came under attack from the enemy's vaunted secret weapons--pilotless aircraft and rockets. The Nazis had begun to employ the V-1's and V-2's in mid-October, and warned the people of Antwerp that they would send 3,000 planes over their city on the day the first Allied ship entered the port.70 This threat was not fulfilled, but the enemy did maintain an almost constant rain of the dreaded missiles on Antwerp and other cities of Belgium for more than five months, terrorizing the population


and causing many people to move into the country.

The V-bombs had surprisingly little effect on port operations, although their potential destructiveness forced the Allies to take special precautions in handling their most sensitive commodity, ammunition. Early in November Supreme Headquarters raised the question of admitting ammunition ships to Antwerp and requested the various interested headquarters to present their views on the matter. The Communications Zone recommended that ammunition be excluded entirely, and proposed that all Class V supply continue to be handled at Cherbourg and Le Havre. Neither the Allied Naval Commander nor the 21 Army Group considered it necessary to exclude ammunition from Antwerp, but did advocate that certain precautions be taken, including a restriction in the number of ammunition ships permitted in the port at one time, the dispersion of such vessels, and the prompt clearance of ammunition from the port so that there would be no accumulation at quayside.71

The policy which the chief administrative officer laid down a few days later generally followed these recommendations. It did not forbid the acceptance of ammunition at Antwerp, but restricted the quantity to the operational requirements at the discretion of the Communications Zone and the 21 Army Group, and specified that it be handled in a separate and remote section of the port, that no dumps be permitted even for sorting, and that special fire-fighting preparations be made.72

When Antwerp actually opened at the end of November the Port Executive Committee asked that all ammunition be excluded temporarily, and SHAEF approved this request, specifying that no ammunition would be unloaded at Antwerp for fourteen days except in emergency.73 An exception was immediately made, however, in granting a request of 21 Army Group to admit certain British vessels,74 and a few weeks later ammunition began to be received regularly, subject to the restrictions laid down earlier.

In mid-January the rules for ammunition acceptance required reconsideration. The scale of attacks by V-weapons had showed no signs of slackening. The main area of impact had in fact shifted to the docks, resulting in greater damage and increased casualties. In the opinion of the Port Executive Committee the current policy simply courted disaster. It therefore recommended much more stringent regulations. The problem was not serious for U.S. forces, since all ammunition on American account could easily be handled at other ports; the 21 Army Group readily agreed to have more ammunition discharged at Ostend and Ghent. Both the amounts and types of ammunition, to be brought in via Antwerp accordingly were reduced to a minimum.75


These restrictions were not relaxed until late in April, barely two weeks before the end of hostilities. Even then the number of vessels which could discharge at one time was limited, and no stacking of ammunition on the quays was permitted.76

In addition to imposing a handicap on discharge operations, the V-weapon attacks contributed greatly to the distress of Antwerp's inhabitants. Antwerp came under intensified attack by the dreaded "vengeance" weapons during the enemy counteroffensive in the last half of December. One of the most disastrous attacks occurred on the afternoon of 16 December, when a direct hit on the crowded Rex Theater killed 567 soldiers and civilians and seriously injured another 291. U.S. engineers, aided by other port units, worked nearly a week recovering bodies from the debris.77

Antwerp sustained nearly 4,000 hits before the attacks finally ceased at the end of March 1945. The city suffered heavy material damage, and sustained more than 10,000 casualties, two thirds of all those caused by the V-weapons on the Continent. Of these, about 82 percent were civilian, the remainder military.78

Under these attacks living conditions, already very bad, became worse. Shortages of food, clothing, and coal created great distress during the winter, and finally led to a strike among dock workers on 16 January. The strike was not directed against the Allied port organization, but was intended rather as a protest against the arduous working conditions and terrible economic conditions which forced people to resort to the black market for the barest essentials. The demonstration lasted only one day, and workers returned to their work on assurance from the burgomaster that more food and coal would be made available at regulation prices.79

Civilian labor was plentiful for the most part, although the movement of many workers out of the city produced a transportation problem. There were the usual difficulties over language, and over reading the complicated markings on U.S. cargo. But Belgian labor was both co-operative and industrious, and U.S. forces made the maximum use of the local manpower resources, reserving their own port battalions for supervisory jobs. In December an average of 9,000 civilian workers were employed in the U.S. section of the port, and on one shift a record 13,125 men.80

Antwerp recovered from the worst effect of the embargo and clearance handicaps in the second half of January and


REMAINS OF DECANTING SITE, POL Depot, Antwerp, hit by a German V-weapon.

by the end of the month was again discharging 18,000 tons per day. With the help of Le Havre and Rouen, which were contributing 12,000 to 13,000 tons, U.S. discharge by that time was averaging between 40,000 and 50,000 tons per day, double the intake in October. Antwerp did not provide the immediate solution to all logistic difficulties, but its opening at least eliminated port capacity as a limiting factor in the support of the U.S. armies. For the first time the Communications Zone enjoyed a surplus in discharge capacity, which permitted some choice in the use of ports and a more economic use of shipping and inland transport. It also opened up the prospect of relaxing the prohibition on civil imports. Whatever strain still remained on the logistic structure now centered on the transportation system, and even this was greatly relieved by the shortening of the lines of communication.

(3) Southern France

Providing the necessary port capacity for the support of Allied forces in southern France proved a far less protracted and less worrisome problem than in the north. Requirements were considerably smaller, for one thing, since plans initially called for the support of a force of only ten divisions via the southern line of communications. The problem was further simplified by the fact that there existed in southern France a major port, Marseille, the capacity of which was known to be ample to meet all Allied


SEARCHING FOR CASUALTIES IN WRECKAGE caused by V-bomb hits in Antwerp.

discharge requirements in that area.

Port discharge facilities in southern France had had an important bearing on the final decision to launch the DRAGOON operation. The southern France landings had long been planned as an operation closely linked to OVERLORD, and as an operation best calculated to utilize Allied forces in the Mediterranean, particularly French divisions. Early in 1944 the decision to strengthen the cross-Channel operation, which necessitated the withdrawal of landing craft from the Mediterranean, jeopardized the future of ANVIL, as the southern France operation was then called. The decision to strengthen OVERLORD at the expense of ANVIL led first to the realization that the southern operation could not be launched simultaneously with the Normandy invasion, and then to a prolonged argument between the British and U.S. Chiefs of Staff as to the best way in which to employ Allied forces in the Mediterranean. The issue still remained unresolved at the time OVERLORD was launched.

ANVIL had been envisaged as aiding OVERLORD by both drawing enemy forces away from the northern bridgehead and providing a way by which additional Allied forces could be committed against the enemy in France. At the end of June, with Allied forces bogged down in Normandy hedgerows and bottomlands, the desirability of a diversion in southern France designed to forestall enemy reinforcement of the northern defense line


assumed added importance. The desirability of having another major port through which additional forces could be supported became an even more compelling argument with the acknowledgement by the OVERLORD planners that there were more divisions available for the European theater than could be supported through the northern ports.

At the end of June the shortage of shipping, which had been the major factor in the postponement of DRAGOON, no longer obtained. General Eisenhower at that time stated the case for the southern operation in the strongest possible terms, arguing that France was the decisive theater in Europe, and that a rapid concentration of the maximum forces against the enemy there could be achieved only by seizing another major port.

On 1 July, following an appeal from President Roosevelt, the British finally gave their consent to the DRAGOON operation, although even at this date they did not abandon their efforts to have the resources of the Mediterranean used elsewhere. In the first days of August, when it appeared that the Brittany ports would soon fall into Allied hands, they advocated that the DRAGOON forces be brought into France via Brittany, thus obviating the necessity for an assault of defended shores.

The proposal appeared to miss the whole point of the Supreme Commander's argument--namely, that logistic factors, particularly port capacity, limited the number of divisions which could be received in the OVERLORD lodgment. Moreover, it was impossible to foresee how soon the Brittany ports could be put to use. A long delay in employing the DRAGOON forces was unacceptable to General Eisenhower, who steadfastly insisted that the interests of OVERLORD would be served best by carrying out the southern France landings as planned. Loading for DRAGOON had already begun, and on 10 August the signal finally went to General Wilson, the Supreme Commander in the Mediterranean, instructing him to proceed with the assault as planned.81

As in OVERLORD, logistic plans for the southern France operation provided for support over open beaches in the first stages. But reliance on the beaches was to be of short duration, and no plans were made for elaborate artificial harbors as in the north.82 Instead, there was to be an early shift to existing ports, first to Toulon, and eventually to Marseille.

Toulon, like Cherbourg, was primarily a naval base, although it had a considerably greater freight-handling capacity, estimated at 10,000 tons per day. But it normally handled relatively small quantities of freight, and was deficient in clearance facilities. Nevertheless, the planners concluded that Toulon could well serve as an interim port, which,


along with the beaches, could easily handle the maintenance and build-up required for the consolidation of the bridgehead and the advance on Marseille. They hoped that the port would be captured by D plus 20 and that it would have an initial discharge capacity of about 2,000 tons per day.83

While Toulon was expected to have only passing importance in the maintenance of the DRAGOON forces, Marseille was planned to become the main gateway through which the southern forces eventually would be sustained. It was, in fact, essential for a build-up prerequisite to an exploitation up the Rhône valley. Marseille, with a population of nearly a million, was the second city of France and its foremost port. It had long played an important role in the commercial life of the Mediterranean, serving as early as the sixth century B.C. as an outpost of the Greek trading complex and coming into great prominence with the development of the north African colonies and the opening of the Suez Canal. It is largely an artificial port, consisting of ten basins with approximately thirteen miles of quays, almost all of which are served by rail. The port could accommodate all types of shipping, and possessed ample facilities for the transfer of all types of cargo between ships, bargelines, trucks, rail cars, sheds, and warehouses. Clearance facilities were equally good, for hard-surfaced highways and standard-gauge railways linked the port with the major cities of France. In addition, the Marseille-Rhône Canal, extending fifty-seven miles to the northwest, connected Marseille with the satellite Port du Bouc, which had important POL receiving and storage facilities, and the Rhône River. Marseille did not equal Antwerp in size or facilities, but it was known to have a peacetime discharge capacity of 20,000 tons, which was ample to meet the estimated daily requirement of about 15,000 tons for the DRAGOON forces.84

Allied planners in the Mediterranean were under no illusions about the chances of capturing either Toulon or Marseille intact. They had had sufficient opportunity to observe the enemy's destructive ability in that theater, having witnessed one of the best examples of it at Naples. The Seventh Army fully expected that it would have to rehabilitate both Toulon and Marseille and scheduled the introduction of both engineer troops and equipment for the reconstruction task which they envisaged.85

The choice of Toulon and Marseille as the first major objectives dictated that the assault area be within easy striking distance of these targets. The sites finally selected for the landings lay in the general vicinity of St. Tropez-St. Raphael, between thirty and fifty miles northeast of Toulon. Landings were successfully carried out in that area on 15 August as scheduled, and engineer shore groups quickly organized the three beaches,


GENERAL DESTRUCTION AT MARSEILLE. Note ships waiting in outer harbor.

known as ALPHA, DELTA, and CAMEL, for the build-up of supplies and troops. The small neighboring ports of St. Raphael, St. Maxime, and St. Tropez were also captured and cleared for the use of small craft.

For the first two weeks the bulk of all maintenance supplies for the Seventh Army was brought ashore via the beaches, which averaged more than 10,000 tons per day. Logistic planners had calculated that the support of the DRAGOON force would require that about 278,000 tons of supplies be passed over the beaches in the first thirty days.86 In the first month the beaches easily met this goal, handling 280,000 tons.87

Meanwhile both Toulon and Marseille were captured earlier than expected, providing a welcome bonus in port discharge capacity. The Seventh Army's operational plans had assigned to French forces the mission of capturing the two ports, giving first priority to the seizure of Toulon. The unexpected ease with which the landings were accomplished made it possible to improve on this plan. By 20 August French forces had already driven past Toulon to a point midway between that port and


CLOSE-UP OF DAMAGED DOCK FACILITIES and sunken craft, 1 September 1944.

Marseille, creating the inviting opportunity of striking at both ports simultaneously. Such attacks were immediately ordered, and after a week of savage fighting Toulon and Marseille capitulated on the same day, 28 August. Toulon was captured a full week ahead of schedule, and Marseille almost four weeks earlier than expected.88

The condition of the two ports attested once more to the enemy's appreciation of their value for the Allies if surrendered intact. The demolitions and blocking do not appear to have equaled those at Cherbourg, where the enemy's destructive art apparently reached its height. Nevertheless, both Toulon and Marseille were useless for the moment. The first reconnaissance at Marseille indicated that all channels and entrances were completely blocked by sunken ships. Both the inner harbor and the waters beyond the outer mole were sown with hundreds of marine mines; jetties, quays, and cranes had been blasted; and the entire port area was mined and boobytrapped. Toulon had suffered even more severely, Allied naval and air bombardment having made a contribution to the damage.

Since the two ports had been captured at the same time there was little point in following the original plan of giving


priority to the restoration of Toulon. Marseille possessed better facilities for both discharge and clearance, and was better located to support the advance northward. After the preliminary reconnaissance, therefore, it was decided to concentrate most personnel and equipment resources at Marseille and to bring that port to its fullest development as quickly as possible.89

In accordance with this decision three Liberty ships, standing by with port construction personnel and equipment, including the 6th Port headquarters which was to operate the port, were immediately called forward and were unloaded from anchorage by dukws. The first survey had revealed that the southern end of the port could be restored quickly for lighterage operations. Construction was initiated first in that area, therefore, to provide hards and ramps for LCT's and dukws. Meanwhile U.S. naval units started on the task of clearing the harbor of mines and obstacles. They declared one basin free of mines as early as 3 September, and port ships began discharging shortly thereafter. Although seventy-five vessels had been scuttled in the harbor, a hydrographic survey revealed that channels and entrances fortunately were not as completely blocked as first appeared, and it was found that Liberty ships could safely pass around sunken ships and into the harbor.

Onshore rehabilitation was accomplished entirely by the 1051st Port Construction and Repair Group, supplemented by an engineer general service regiment and a dump truck company. It was unnecessary for the most part to construct timber-pile wharves or quays, as at Cherbourg, since sufficient berthage was made available by removing debris and patching quay walls. Rehabilitation was rapid, therefore, and on 15 September Marseille received its first Liberty ship for direct ship-to-shore discharge. Within another ten days sixteen alongside berths and twenty-three offshore berths were in use.90 Toulon had been brought into use on 20 September, and Port du Bouc, mainly for bulk POL reception, on the 9th.

The rapid recovery of the ports made it possible to abandon the beaches somewhat earlier than anticipated. ALPHA Beach was closed out as early as 9 September; unloading at DELTA ceased on the 16th; and the closing of CAMEL Beach on the 28th of the month brought all movement over the beaches to an end.91 During the period of their operation the beaches handled well over 300,000 tons of supply, and movements through the ports in September brought the cumulative cargo receipts, exclusive of POL and vehicles, to approximately 500,000 tons by the end of that month. In October the southern French ports discharged a total of nearly 400,000 tons, averaging about 13,000 tons per day.92


With discharges of this magnitude no difficulties in the support of the 6th Army Group were foreseen. At the end of October it was decided to turn the port of Toulon back to the French.93 It had been used almost exclusively for the import of civil affairs supplies. Port du Bouc's chief function was to receive bulk POL; relatively minor tonnages of general cargo passed through that port. Marseille consequently accounted for the great bulk of all other classes of supply discharges in southern France, as was originally intended. At the end of October fifty-four berths were in use in the port, thirty-two of which could accommodate Liberty ships.94

While port discharge thus posed no serious problem, the southern line of communications at times suffered from the same limiting factor which plagued operation in the north--port clearance. A bottleneck first developed early in October, when clearance failed to keep pace with the rising discharge rate. By the middle of the month more than 40,000 tons had accumulated on the quays, forcing a slowdown in unloadings of all cargo except ammunition and items which could be cleared most easily. The principal cause, as in the north, was inadequate rail clearance capacity. For several days in October it was necessary to press every available vehicle into service, including horse-drawn wagons, to move the backlog of supplies.95 Clearance, and therefore discharge, was again affected in January, February, and March 1945, when snowbound railways and shortages of rail cars, locomotives, and engine crews limited the rail traffic forward of the Delta Base Section.96 For the most part, therefore, the southern line of communications was unable to provide the surplus capacity which, it had been hoped, would enable it to aid in the support of the 12th Army Group, although several divisions intended for movement through the northern ports were routed through Marseille in the fall of 1944.

In November, December, and January Marseille and its satellite, Port du Bouc, handled approximately 1,270,000 tons of general cargo, averaging 13,800 tons per day, nearly 90 percent of it at Marseille. (Table 4)97 Work continued in these months to increase Marseille's discharge and clearance facilities, and by the end of January the number of available berths had risen to seventy-two, of which forty-five were suitable for Liberties.

The port was operated from the beginning by the 6th Port headquarters (Col. R. Hunter Clarkson), an organization with long experience in North Africa and Italy. By January the port employed an average of 18,000 men, of which nearly 6,000 were U.S. military


[Long Tonsa]

Cherbourg Normandy
Rouen Antwerp Ghent Southern

June 291,333 182,199 109,134 -------- -------- -------- -------- -------- -------- -------- --------
July 621,322 356,219 193,154 31,658 40,291 -------- -------- -------- -------- -------- --------
August 1,112,771 348,820 187,955 266,644 125,353 9,499 -------- -------- -------- -------- 174,500
September 1,210,290 243,564 150,158 314,431 100,126 75,198 -------- -------- -------- -------- 326,813
October 1,309,184 120,786 72,728 365,603 58,816 77,735 61,731 26,891 -------- -------- 524,894
November 1,402,080 13,411 12,885 433,301 48,707 64,078 148,654 127,569 5,873 -------- 547,602
December 1,555,819 -------- -------- 250,112 50,749 27,327 166,038 132,433 427,592 -------- 501,568
January 1,501,269 -------- -------- 262,423 47,773 -------- 198,768 157,709 433,094 15,742 385,760
February 1,735,502 -------- -------- 286,591 41,836 -------- 195,332 173,016 473,463 69,698 495,566
March 2,039,778 -------- -------- 261,492 39,691 -------- 192,593 268,174 558,066 172,259 547,503
April 2,025,142 -------- -------- 181,043 47,542 -------- 165,438 240,708 628,227 277,553 484,631

a Exclusive of bulk POL and vehicles.
b Including Granville.
Source: Historical Report of the Transportation Corps, ETO, Vol. VII, April-June 1945, App. 7, Table 8A.

personnel (chiefly port battalions), the remainder consisting of French civilian labor, prisoners of war, and a small number of French Indochinese troops.98

(4) The Shipping Tie-up

In the first six months of operations inadequate port discharge capacity on the northern lines of communication had inevitable repercussions on other parts of the logistic structure. Its effect on the use of shipping--both coasters and ocean-going ships--was particularly serious.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff, recognizing the great need for shallow-draft shipping in the early stages of OVERLORD, had allocated 625,000 dead-weight tons of coasters for the first weeks of the operation. They had intended that this shipping should gradually be replaced by ocean-going vessels, leaving about 100,000 tons of coasters in cross-Channel service after D plus 42. Shortly before D Day, OVERLORD logistic planners, following a re-examination of shipping requirements in light of the enlargement of the operation and the planned acceleration in the troop build-up, got permission to retain an additional 150,000 tons of coaster shipping after D plus 42. They had argued that additional shallow-draft shipping would be needed for use inside the MULBERRIES, where ocean-going ships could not be accepted; for


the various special express services, in which rapid loading and discharging were required; and for taking fuller advantage of the capacity of the small ports. Modifications in the invasion plan also led to an increase in the allocation of MT shipping.99

Providing the needed coaster shipping for OVERLORD placed an additional strain on the economy of the United Kingdom, which relied heavily on coastal shipping for the movement of iron, coal, steel, and other commodities. The allocation of 625,000 tons to OVERLORD, representing about two thirds of the entire British coaster fleet, caused a drastic curtailment in movements and, in turn, a temporary shutdown of about one fourth of the United Kingdom's blast furnaces. British authorities naturally desired that coaster shipping be released from military use as early as possible.100

From the very start of the invasion there were shortages in practically every category of shipping, and hope quickly faded that shallow-draft vessels could be returned to coastal service as originally scheduled. Before the end of June U.S. authorities took steps to have additional LST's and MT shipping made available from the United States, and to have the release of coasters postponed.101 The shortage remained critical throughout the summer and fall. In September, contrary to plans, 560,000 tons of coaster shipping were still engaged in cross-Channel service, and in November the total exceeded 600,000.102

Poor turnaround performance was the initial cause for the shortage, resulting in part from piecemeal or selective discharge on the far shore, in part to interruptions from bad weather, diversions from one port or beach to another, and unexpectedly long deadlining of vessels for repairs. An analysis of the worst period, late October and early November, revealed that sixty-three round trip voyages had required 1,422 ship-days instead of the planned 606, representing a turnaround time 135 percent greater than expected. The repair problem became particularly acute in November and December when 20 to 25 percent of the total coaster fleet was immobilized.103

At the root of these difficulties lay the shortage of deepwater berths on the Continent, which necessitated the extended use of shallow-draft facilities. Not until December, after Antwerp came into operation, was it possible to release 50,000 tons of coaster tonnage, and then only by withdrawals from support of 21 Army Group. The U.S. allocation was actually increased during the month.104

The need for a large coaster fleet continued to the very end of the war. Early in 1945 SHAEF refused to accept a reduction of the coaster allocation below 500,000 tons, which it insisted was the absolute minimum to meet operational needs. It actually desired a larger allocation, in part to obtain more flexibility


in the use of ports, and in part because coasters were the most economical means for coal shipments. At the end of February SHAEF again asked the Combined Chiefs of Staff for additional tonnage, requesting that all of the twenty-six Baltic type of coasters then under construction in the United States be allotted to the European theater to augment the available fleet.105 In March the Combined Chiefs promised that all but three would be sent to Europe.106

The dearth of deepwater berths on the Continent had an even more far-reaching impact on ocean shipping. The theater's inability to berth and discharge all the deep-draft ships arriving from the United States inevitably led to an accumulation of shipping in both U.K. and continental waters--shipping which could be ill-spared from the world shipping pool.

The War Department first called the theater's attention to the problem in mid-July 1944, pointing to the many commodity-loaders and pre-stowed ships being held at anchor in the United Kingdom. Brig. Gen. Robert H. Wylie, the Deputy Chief of Transportation for Operations, presented figures showing that the European theater was getting more ships than it could handle, and questioned its justification for requesting 285 ships for August loading. He reminded General Ross and other theater officials that the shipping situation was critical, and that the retention of ships under load for excessive periods only aggravated the world-wide shortage by lengthening the turnaround time. General Ross could not agree that the theater had been wasteful in the use of shipping, and argued that the pipeline must be kept full, particularly for the eventuality of a breakout from Normandy. "I'm in the habit," he said, "of rather seeing a fellow spill a little over the side of the bucket and get his feet wet, than to worry about his brocade shoes."107

Before the end of the month the theater modified its requests somewhat, but stated that its "irreducible" minimum for August loading (September delivery) was 250 ships, of which 175 were intended for continental discharge, the other 75 for the United Kingdom. It estimated its needs for succeeding months as averaging about 265 ships, an increasing percentage of which it planned to send directly to continental ports. These requirements were based on estimated discharge capacities of 27,000 tons per day in September, and 40,000 tons thereafter, estimates which proved far too optimistic.108

Early in August the War Department presented additional figures to show that the theater was building up an excessively large bank of ships and that its discharge performance did not justify the


estimates of its needs. It pointed out that of 41 prestowed ships called forward from the United Kingdom, 10 had been held at anchor from 23 to 30 days, and that of 61 commodity-loaders called forward, 31 had been held at anchor more than 7 days and 9 of them from 23 to 30 days. Prestowed vessels thus far had averaged 46½ days in European waters between arrival in the United Kingdom and return sailing to the United States following continental discharge.

The War Department argued that this immobilization of shipping hazarded the support of operations in other parts of the world, and was unjustifiable in view of the frequency of convoys and the lessened submarine menace. By the end of September, it pointed out, the theater would have received 219 ships for continental discharge in that month alone, 44 more than ETOUSA had stated as its requirements. The theater, it stated, was unduly concerned about meeting future requirements, for sufficient shipping was available to support all operations in progress or planned if it were properly used. Once again the War Department assured ETOUSA that the current program of sailings from the United States would more than match the theater's most optimistic estimates of discharge capabilities, and that loading could easily be stepped up whenever the discharge rate indicated that the backlog of shipping was being reduced. But it warned that the theater must accept responsibility for deferring shipments from the United States when it became apparent that congestion would develop. It specifically asked that commodity-loaded vessels be phased so that they were not held at anchor longer than one convoy interval, or approximately seven days.109

The theater defended its shipping policy by noting that it was simply impossible to predict the progress of tactical operations accurately enough to schedule the arrival of shipping in exact consonance with needs. Weather conditions were also unpredictable, often interrupting discharge and delaying the towing of floating equipment to France. Finally, it argued that in the absence of suitable quays, discharge in French ports was still essentially a lighterage operation, which accounted for some of the slowness in unloading.110

Theater shipping officials were well aware of the serious backlog which was forming off the beaches and ports of Normandy, but did not feel justified in "turning off the tap" in view of the planned acceleration in the movement of divisions to the Continent in September. The Communications Zone objected strongly to any reduction in the program, arguing that priority demands for supplies could be met only if sufficient stocks were held offshore.111

The current practice was nevertheless recognized as both dangerous and wasteful. The Allied Naval Commander was concerned that congestion of shipping would not only invite attack from the sea and air, but that shipping in open


anchorage would soon suffer from equinoctial gales. He recommended limiting the number of vessels authorized to be in the U.S. area at any one time. One of the major causes for the congestion, selective unloading, was finally recognized as a bad practice by both SHAEF and COMZ officials. Late in August they ordered the practice stopped.112 Apparently encouraged by tactical developments, the theater at the same time accepted without protest a proposed cut of approximately ten ships from each of six convoys sailing from the United States in the four weeks between 12 September and 10 October. In the end the theater canceled a total of 600,000 tons of supplies of all classes which had been scheduled for delivery by the end of November.113

These measures had no effect in September, and shipping continued to pile up in European waters. Late in the month it was estimated that only 90 ships would be discharged that month, and the prediction was made that even if unloadings were increased to 150 there would still be 271 on hand at the end of September.114

On 6 October the War Department announced a further cut of forty ships from European sailings. This time the theater protested vigorously. Rather than attempt to justify its earlier requests entirely on the basis of predicted port performance, however, it now offered a truer explanation for its exorbitant demands. Admittedly, the discharge rate had failed to come anywhere near the 40,000-ton figure which had been predicted a month before. The shortage of inland transportation had aggravated the problem by making it impossible to move the major continental supply reserves out of the Cotentin. Only rations, gasoline, and ammunition, plus a small tonnage of highly selective items, were being moved forward to the armies. In the absence of adequate discharge capacity, General Lee explained, the large backlog of ships had been the theater's only salvation by making it possible to meet high priority demands for specific items of supply. In other words, the large bank of ships in European waters had been the necessary substitute for supply depots which should have been established on the Continent. The loaded ships were in effect serving as floating warehouses.

While port capacity remained almost stationary, the theater's supply needs continued to grow with its troop strength, and the COMZ commander now urgently appealed to the War Department to meet what he referred to as "conservative estimates" of the theater's needs. These amounted to 139 more ships than the War Department offered to dispatch for October, November, and December. Lee estimated that the theater's discharge capabilities would be more than doubled by December, basing his prediction on the expected performance of Le Havre, Rouen, and Antwerp,


and on the transfer of the Arromanches MULBERRY to American use. He predicted that the backlog would be virtually eliminated by that time and that some discharge capacity would actually be wasted by mid-December if the War Department carried out its proposed reductions.115 In effect, however, the theater was demanding a bank of shipping not only large enough to insure full utilization of all continental berths which it forecast would become available, but, failing the development of adequate discharge capacity, one which would hold a large portion of the theater's reserves at anchorage off the ports and beaches and thus permit flexibility in the selection of items for which emergency need might develop.116

This time the War Department could not be shaken. The retention of shipping in the European theater, it claimed, was already threatening to strangle operations in other parts of the world. The War Department could not view with composure theater practices which, as related by General Lee himself, had recently made it necessary to call forward nineteen commodity ships loaded with engineer supplies to obtain an average of only 150 tons of priority cargo from each vessel.117 On 9 October it notified the theater that the new sailing schedules would be followed until ETOUSA had demonstrated a capacity to unload at a faster rate and until the bank of ships had been substantially reduced.118

The War Department's action appeared amply warranted by the theater's performance, for the backlog of shipping continued to grow. By 20 October there were at least 240 ships in European waters, of which about 140, mostly commodity-loaders, consisted of Liberties under load in the United Kingdom.119 In view of this obviously deteriorating situation the War Department imposed additional restrictions. On 20 October General Somervell told the theater that it would get no more commodity-loaded ships with rations, vehicles, or, with certain exceptions, ammunition until it had reduced its bank of such ships to a reasonable level.120 In reply General Lee made his most urgent appeal yet, citing figures to show that practically all ammunition, ration, and vehicle ships had been called forward for discharge, and repeating the argument that the War Department's cuts would not only result in a loss of the selectivity which had made supply of the armies possible thus far, but result in serious over-all shortages.121

General Somervell was unmoved. The shipping situation, he said, simply would not permit the use of ships as base depot storage to the extent of nearly 200 commodity-loaders, some of which had been "on the hook" more than 60 days. He agreed that the theater should have a safe working margin of ships on hand at all times--perhaps 75 or 80--to provide


a measure of selectivity. But he rejected as entirely misleading the theater's figures on the number of ships which had been called forward to the continental ports for discharge. The fact remained that projected discharges in terms of completely unloaded vessels had not been realized; the theater had only released about 70 ships for return to the United States in October. In the War Department's view the theater had consistently overestimated its capabilities to receive supplies. The War Department, already under attack from shipping authorities for inefficient use of shipping, refused to accept the theater's assurances of improved discharge, and saw no alternative but to deny the theater's requests until it had demonstrated its ability to unload ships and restore them to useful service.

Two weeks later the War Department once more pointed out how unreasonable the theater's requests had been in view of its reception capacity. It cited the monthly shipping requests since July, which had they been granted, would have resulted in a bank of 500 idle ships in European waters. In his strongest reproof to date General Somervell wrote: "It is necessary . . . that your headquarters cease repeating by rote figures previously arrived at and take a realistic view of the situation. To do otherwise," he observed, "destroys confidence in the estimates, and delays our supply of the equipment which you can actually handle."122 Meanwhile he sent Brig. Gen. John M. Franklin, the Chief of Transportation's director of water transportation and a former president of the United States Lines, to France to aid theater authorities in improving the turnaround of shipping and to gather more realistic estimates on the theater's future discharge capabilities.123 The War Department's concern over shipping was by no means confined to the European theater. The Pacific areas, particularly the Southwest Pacific, had also consistently overestimated their discharge capacity and had followed the same wasteful practice of holding loaded vessels at anchor. Meanwhile, Mediterranean requirements had unexpectedly risen sharply as civil relief needs claimed attention, contributing to the worldwide shortage.

By the fall of 1944 shipping agencies in the United States saw the need for drastic measures to impress upon area commanders the necessity of releasing shipping and to enforce a more rigid accountability on the handling of vessels. On 14 November the War Shipping Administration brought the problem before the Joint Military Transportation Committee, and a few days later the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acting on a proposal of General Somervell, approved and sent to the President their recommendations on the steps to be taken. Included were proposed reductions in allocations of vessels to the U.K. import program, British and Russian lend-lease, and civil relief.124


President Roosevelt disapproved of most of the reductions and insisted that additional efforts be made to improve the use of shipping and to meet requirements from the United States, thus throwing the problem back into the laps of the military shipping agencies. This left them with little choice but to correct some of the abuses of current shipping practices.

Early in December the Joint Chiefs of Staff approved a memorandum defining policy on the use of shipping. It specifically prohibited the use of ocean shipping for storage purposes, ordered that shipping needs henceforth be based on a realistic appraisal of discharge capacities, and ordered a scaling down of supply levels to bring them within the capabilities of shipping. Selective unloading was prohibited save in the early phases of amphibious operations, as was also the use of ocean-going vessels for local, short hauls, a practice which the European theater had followed in moving supplies from the United Kingdom to the Continent.

Shortly thereafter the Joint Military Transportation Committee laid down a detailed reporting system by which theater commanders were thereafter required to report periodically on the status of all ships. Its obvious purpose was to disclose flagrant cases of ship retentions, to keep area commanders constantly conscious of the turnaround problem, and to provide planners with more reliable data on which to allot shipping. Within another few weeks this requirement was followed by instructions to the theaters that they establish shipping control agencies to co-ordinate the use of shipping within the theaters and to enforce strict economy in its use.125 Such a watchdog agency, known as the Shipping Control Board, had already been established in the European theater in December.126

The War Department's several actions of November and December left the theater with no choice but to release ships at a faster rate. One of its first measures following General Somervell's firm stand on allocations was to consider the return to the United States of twenty-five of thirty-five Liberties which it had been using to transfer supplies from the United Kingdom to the Continent. Another step was to release ships still partially loaded with supplies not urgently needed. In this way about 35,000 tons of pierced-steel landing mats and other airfield runway surfacing were returned to the United States in twenty-one vessels, only to be shipped back to the theater on the next sailing. The New York Port naturally frowned on the practice, pointing out that cargo capacity equivalent to about six ships had been wasted. In any case, these measures actually brought little immediate improvement. The Liberties used in the cross-Channel service, for example, were not released until December.

Meanwhile the theater was given ample evidence that the War Department was keeping critical watch over its handling of shipping. Late in November, taking note of the idle vessels off southern


France, the War Department cut nine ships from the December sailings to Marseille. At the same time it called attention to the fact that of the last two convoys arriving in the theater, both of them loaded with supplies of the highest priority, only two vessels had been called forward for discharge.127

A few weeks later, when, despite the recent opening of Antwerp, it appeared that the northern ports would not achieve the target of 200 discharges for that month, the theater accepted without protest a proposed diversion of sixteen January sailings to Marseille, with the understanding that it might later request an increase if warranted by need and discharge capabilities. This left the northern ports with 175 instead of the scheduled 191 for that month.128

The long-awaited opening of Antwerp at the end of November promised to solve not only the discharge problem but the closely related shipping tie-up. Meanwhile the theater had also had some success in raising tonnage receipts by increasing the hatch rates. In mid-November, faced with what amounted to an ultimatum from the War Department on the use of shipping, port commanders instituted competition between unloading crews, offering special incentives in the form of awards and pass privileges to winners. These measures, in addition to more efficient port organization and operating procedures, brought about a rise in the hatch rate from 327 to 457 tons per ship per day by December.129

These improvements had hardly begun to have their effect when they were partially canceled by tactical developments. The German counteroffensive of mid-December resulted in a sudden embargo on shipments into the forward areas. Since few base or intransit storage facilities were available to U.S. forces in the Antwerp area, this stoppage in movements had its inevitable result in a saturated port and a partial shutdown in unloading operations. This again threatened to aggravate the shipping backlog. Foreseeing the chain of effects, the theater on 23 December voluntarily requested an immediate reduction of an additional twenty-four sailings in the next convoys.130

The month of December, which had opened so hopefully, had a daily discharge record of only slightly above 30,000 tons, and January's record was hardly better. Consequently the theater's earlier requests for 240 commodity-loaded vessels per month were certain to exceed its capabilities. Early in January, therefore, on the basis of more conservative estimates of discharge provided by General Franklin, the War Department cut the allocation for January and February to 175 per month.131

The bank of shipping shrank somewhat in January--to 116 idle vessels--


but limited discharges that month led to the realization that the requested schedules would result in added accumulations of shipping in European waters. On 3 February the theater therefore asked for a cutback of thirty vessels scheduled for March arrival, and certain diversions to Marseille.132 Almost simultaneously the War Department announced that it was cutting the March allocation by 61 ships, reducing the sailings from 233 to 172.133

ETOUSA objected to this drastic reduction, partly on the basis of anticipated improvements in rail clearance from the port of Marseille, which had been the biggest bottleneck on the southern line of communications,134 and succeeded in getting sixteen ships restored to the March allocation. In mid-February, therefore, the sailing schedules called for 253 arrivals in that month (177 in the north, 76 in the south), and 306 in March (218 in the north and 88 in the south).135 By that time--mid-February--steady improvement in both discharge and forward movement was evident in the European theater. Unloadings that month were to exceed 50,000 tons per day, a jump of about 20,000 over the record of December and January. With this improvement, less than three months before the end of hostilities, both the discharge and shipping problems, which had plagued logistic support of U.S. forces since D Day, finally appeared resolved.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (III) * Next Chapter (V)


1. Exclusive of wheeled vehicles and POL. Adm Appreciation, SHAEF G-4 Post-NEPTUNE Opns, 17 Jun 44, SHAEF 12 A Gp 370.2.

2. SHAEF G-4 War Diary/Jnl, Basic Statistical Rpt 2, 14 Oct 44, App. 4 of Exec Br SHAEF G-4 War Diary/Jnl.

3. Ltr, Vissering, Chief of Mov by Land, Mov and Tn Br G-4 SHAEF, to Deputy Chief Mov and Tn Br, sub: Suggested Plan for Mov of U.S. Cargo Through Calais, 16 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers, Wharves, Docks, and Berths, III.

4. Memo, Brig D. H. Bond, Chief G-4 Petroleum, SHAEF, for Crawford, sub: Dev of the Port of Le Havre, Seine River, and Rouen for Bulk POL, 27 Oct 44; Ltr, Normandy Base Sec to CG COMZ, sub: POL Situation, Normandy Base Sec, 17 Oct 44, EUCOM 463.7 Gasoline and Motor Oil IIB; CAO Mtg, 27 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 337-14.

5. Memo, Maj Gen Charles S. Napier for CAO, sub: French Ports, 27 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . . , IV, COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications Diary/Jnl, 23 Oct 44, ETO Adm 145C.

6. SHAEF Plng Study, sub: Post-NEPTUNE, Course of Action After Capture of the Lodgment Area, 30 May 44 SHAEF G-3 War Diary.

7. Memo, Whipple for CAO, sub: Port Dev, 3 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . . , III; SHAEF G-4 War Diary/Jnl, 3 Sep 44.

8. Cbl, 21 A Gp to ANCXF, 7 Sep 44, MA9, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . . , III.

9. Memo, Napier for G-4, 11 Sep 44, and Cbl FWD-14635, Crawford to Lee, 12 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . . , III.

10. Cbl FWD-14711, SHAEF to Lee, 13 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . . , III.

11. Ltr, Lee to SHAEF, 14 Sep 44, COMZ G-4 Plans and Communications Diary/Jnl, ETO Adm 145C.

12. Ltr, Hq ETO to CG COMZ, sub: Alloc of Ports, 19 Sep 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . . , III.

13. Channel Base Section History, I, 207, ETO Adm 588; History of TC ETO, V, 16th Port, 40-41.

14. Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 275.

15. Port Construction and Repair, Hist Rpt II, OCE ETO, 26ff.

16. Ltr, Hq COMZ to Chiefs of Svs and Stf Secs, sub: Dev of Continental Ports, 27 Sep 44, EUCOM 400 Supplies, Svs, and Equipment, V.

17. History of TC ETO, V, 16th Port, 8-9.

18. Ibid., pp, 9-18; Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 275.

19. General Hoge commanded the port at Le Havre only until 21 October, when he went to a new assignment. After an interim period of ten days, command of the 16th Port went to Col. Thomas J. Weed. History of TC ETO, V, 16th Port, 6.

20. History of Channel Base Section, I, 207.

21. History of TC ETO, V, 16th Port, 33, 36.

22. CAO Mtg, 27 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 337-14.

23. History of TC ETO, V, 16th Port, 30.

24. Memo, Col James McCormack, Chief of Mov Br G-4 12 A Gp, to Barriger, 31 Oct 44, 12 A Gp Tonnage 137.

25. Ltr, Hq COMZ to CO Channel Base Sec, sub: Dev of Port Facilities and Port Clearance--Le Havre and Rouen, 6 Nov 44, EUCOM 825 Tunnels and Pipelines, Docks, Piers, Jetties.

26. History of TC ETO, VI, 16th Port, 119.

27. Ibid., V, 16th Port, 27-28.

28. Ibid., VI, 16th Port, 119.

29. Ibid., V, 16th Port, 119; Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 275-76; Engr Hist Rpt II, pp. 37ff.

30. The 11th Port relinquished control of Granville on 24 October, when the 4th Port of Cherbourg took charge there.

31. [Cutts] American Port Plans, II, 34-35.

32. History of TC ETO, V, 11th Port, 2-3.

33. Ltr, COMZ to Channel Base Sec, 6 Nov 44.

34. History of TC ETO, VI, 11th Port, 58.

35. See Table 4, p. 124, below.

36. Memo, Moses for Crawford, 10 Sep 44, SHAEF AF 323.3-2 Ports (Captured Ports); COMZ G-4 History, I, 45; Ltr, Lee to SAC, 14 Sep 44, EUCOM 800 Rivers, Harbors, and Waterways.

37. Conf at COMZ, 18 Sep 44, G-4 History, I, 46.

38. History of TC ETO, VI, 13th Port, 74-77; Hist Rpt II, OCE ETO, pp. 40-42.

39. Maj Gen Sir Colin Gubbins, "Resistance Movements in the War," Journal Royal United Service Institution, XCIII (May, 1948), 219.

40. Engr Hist Rpt II, p. 43.

41. Ltr, SHAEF to CG COMZ, sub: Alloc of Ports, 19 Sep 44, EUCOM 800 Rivers, Harbors, and Waterways, I.

42. Ports--Development of Antwerp, prep by Lt A. Gratiot, G-4 Sec COMZ, Jan 45m MS, ETO Adm 244; Ltr, Lt Col E. W. Weber, Roads, Railroads Br G-4 COMZ, to Potter, sub: Alloc of Facilities of Port of Antwerp, 27 Sep 44, ETO Adm 145C.

43. Ltr, Lee to SAC, 14 Sep 44.

44. Ltr, Lord to Chiefs of Gen and Special Stfs and Base Sec Comdrs, 26 Sep 44.

45. [Cutts] American Port Plan, II, 37-45; Cbls, 21 A Gp to Gale, 18 and 21 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 323.3-2 Ports (Captured Ports); Cbl, S-63627, G-4 SHAEF to 21 A Gp, 23 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . . , IV.

46. Memo, Whipple for G-4, sub: Capture of Approaches to Antwerp, 8 Oct 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . . , III; SHAEF G-4 Log Plans Br Diary/Jnl, 8 Oct 44.

47. Cbls S-61466 and S-61621 Eisenhower to Montgomery, 9 and 10 Oct 44, Eyes Only Cbls, Smith Papers; Ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 15 Oct 44, OPD Exec Office File 9, Bk 23.

48. Cbl W-51862, Marshall to Eisenhower, 25 Oct 44, Eyes Only Cbls, Smith Papers.

49. Cbl S-64077, Eisenhower to Marshall, 26 Oct 44, OPD Cbl Files.

50. Ibid.

51. COMZ G-4 History, I, 66.

52. Ltr, Lee to Eisenhower, 14 Sep 44.

53. Ltr, SHAEF to Lee, 19 Sep 44.

54. Memorandum of Agreement on the Operation of the Port and the Clearance Therefrom for the Maintenance of British and U.S. Armies, signed by Jacobs and Graham, 18 Oct 44, in History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 1-5.

55. Gratiot, Ports--Development of Antwerp.

56. Final Report of the Port Executive Committee, 26 Nov 44, in History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 7-8.

57. Cbl EX-65464, Lee to Gross, 20 Nov 44, in History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 6.

58. History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, II.

59. Ibid., V, 13th Port, I, and V, 5th Port, 6; VI, 13th Port, 77.

60. See Table 4, p. 124, below.

61. Summary of Events and Decisions 20 Sep to 30 Sep 44, in COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications Diary/Jnl, ETO Adm 145C; Gratiot, Ports--Development of Antwerp.

62. Memo, Potter for Stratton, 18 Nov 44, COMZ G-4 Plant and Communications Diary/Jnl.

63. Ltr, Lt Col R. W. Reisner, SHAEF G-4 Mov and Tn Br, to G-4, sub: Rpt of Trip to Antwerp, 20 Dec 44, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . . , V.

64. Channel Base Section History, I, 225; History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 13.

65. Gratiot, Ports--Development of Antwerp.

66. Channel Base Section History, I, 225; History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 13-14.

67. Channel Base Section History, I, 42-43, 239.

68. Cbl E-88536, ETO to Channel Base Sec, 20 Jan 45; Cbl CBSG-4-1900, Channel Base Sec to TC ETO, 21 Jan 45; Cbl E-89714, G-4 ETO to Channel Base Sec, 23 Jan 45; Cbl 2078, Channel Base Sec to G-4 ETO, 25 Jan 45, Hq ETO Cbls, ETO Adm 405.

69. Memo, Deep-Draught Ports on Continent, 26 Jan 45 (no signature) SHAEF G-4 825.1 Piers . . . , I.

70. COMZ Comd and Stf Conf, 24 Nov 44, SHAEF G-4 337 Command and Staff Confs, I.

71. Cbl S-65373, SHAEF to Major Commands, 4 Nov 44; Cbl Ex-61214, Lee to SHAEF, 7 Nov 44; Cble 060910A, ANCXF to SHAEF, 6 Nov 44; Cbl QM-1756, 21 A Gp to SHAEF, 8 Nov 44, SHAEF AG 323.3-3 (Ports) Port Capacities.

72. Ltr, Crawford to Smith, sub: Acceptance of Ammo Ships to Antwerp, 10 Nov 44, and Cable to Major Commands, SHAEF SGS 800 Antwerp.

73. Cbl 301504A, NOIC Antwerp to ANCXF, 30 Nov 44, and Cbl S-69457, SHAEF to COMZ et al., 4 Dec 44, SHAEF SGS 800 Antwerp.

74. Cbl QM-2261, 21 A Gp to SHAEF G-4, 4 Dec 44, and Cbl S-69623, SHAEF to 21 A Gp, 5 Dec 44, SHAEF SGS 800 Antwerp.

75. Cbl 131642A, NOIC Antwerp to 21 A Gp, 13 Jan 45, and Cbl MGA-5, 21 A Gp to SHAEF, 15 Jan 45, ETO Cbls, ETO Adm 404 and SHAEF SGS 393.3 Ports--Allocation and Development; Cbl S-75911, SHAEF to G-4 ETO, 21 Jan 45, ETO Cbls, ETO Adm 405.

76. Cbl S-86010, SHAEF to TC ETO, 24 Apr 45, ETO Cbls, ETO Adm 415.

77. History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 15; VI, 13th Port, 73-74.

78. [Royce L. Thompson] Military Impact of the German V-Weapons, 1943-1945, 31 Jul 53, pp. 9-12, 51-53, MS, OCMH.

79. Cbl 131642A, NOIC Antwerp to 21 A Gp, 13 Jan 45, EUCOM 471/1 Ammunition Policy; Ltr, R. S. MacTier, Chief Representative British Ministry of War Transport to Gale, 17 Jan 45, SHAEF SGS 323.3 Ports--Allocation and Development; Cbl, War Shipping Adm Antwerp to WSA, 17 Jan 45, ETO Cbls, ETO Adm 405; Cbl 171916, NOIC to SHAEF et al., 17 Jan 45, SHAEF Cable Log IN, Smith Papers.

80. History of TC ETO, V, 13th Port, 10-11; VI, 13th Port, 80-81.

81. See Pogue, The Supreme Command, pp. 108-17, 218-27, and Gordon A. Harrison, Cross-Channel Attack, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1951), pp. 164-73, for the detailed story of the ANVIL-DRAGOON controversy, and the following documents in particular: Cbl IZ-4741, JSM to SHAEF, 26 Jun 44, Cbl OZ-4191, Br COS to Wilson, 5 Aug 44, Cbl WX-76552, U.S. CofS to Br COS, 6 Aug 44, and Cbl FX-79418, Wilson to Br COS, 6 Aug 44, all in Cbl Log (in) SHAEF-Smith Papers; Cbl FWD-12704, SAC to CCS, 8 Aug 44, in Cbl Log (out) SHAEF, Smith Papers, and Memo, Smith for Hist Sec ETO, 22 Feb 45, in Smith Papers.

82. In part because of the lateness of the season. DRAGOON was launched a full ten weeks later than OVERLORD.

83. Hamilton and Smith, Southern France and Alsace, Ch. II, pp. 20-27; ANVIL Appreciation and Outline Plans, Sec. I and Annex A, 22 Dec 43, AFHQ RG 727, Drawer 1104, G-3 OPs P-122.

84. Preliminary Rpt, Strategic Engineering Study 84, Port and Terminal Facilities, Vol. III of Mediterranean France, prep by Bd of Engrs for Rivers and Harbors, Intel br OCOE, WD, Oct 43, pp. 107-83, 249-87; CONAD History, 35 (HD); Report of Operations, Seventh U.S. Army, I, 327 (HD).

85. Seventh Army Engineer Staff Section Reports, 1 January-30 September 1944, p. 10.

86. Hamilton and Smith, Southern France and Alsace, Ch. V, pp. 37-38.

87. Seventh Army AAR, Annex 287. TC Sec--Beach Opns Summary, 15 Aug-19 Sep 44, Opns Rpts, L-1139 (141).

88. Seventh Army Report of Operations, I, 151, 167; Hamilton and Smith, Southern France and Alsace, Chs. XIII and XV.

89. Seventh Army Report of Operations, I, 328-29; CONAD History, pp. 41-42.

90. Seventh Army Engineer Staff Section Reports, 1 Jan-30 Sep 44, p. 10 (Opn Rpts); History of TC ETO, V, Ch. VII (SOLOC), 3; CONAD History, pp. 40-41; Seventh Army Rpt of Opns, I, 330-31; Delta Base Section History, III, App. I, 6th Port Headquarters History, 13; Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, I, 276-77.

91. Delta Base Section History, Vol. III, App. I, 6th Port Headquarters History, 304; Cbl B-16776, Devers to Eisenhower, 28 Sep. 44, SHAEF Cable Log (in) 1944-45, Smith Papers.

92. Delta Base Section History, 6th Port History, Nov 44-Mar 45, Exhibit B-8. The above is a minimum figure. There is wide disagreement in the discharge statistics for the southern France ports, another tabulation in the 6th Port History (Exhibits F, F-2, and F-5) giving the total of 505,584 tons for October (of which 404,365 tons are attributed to Marseille), and the History of TC ETO (Chart 8A of Monthly Progress Reports, App. 7, in Pt. III of Vol. VII) giving the total of 524,894 tons, with no breakdown as to individual port performance.

93. 6th Port Headquarters History, Jul-Oct 44, App. I of Vol. III, Delta Base Section History, 19.

94. Ibid., Nov 44-Mar 45, Exhibit I.

95. Ibid., Jul-Oct 44, 14; History of TC ETO, V, Ch. VII (SOLOC), 9-10; Memo, Gilland, Deputy CG COMZ NATO to Adcock, G-4 6th A Gp, 15 Oct 44, ETO, Memos for Larkin.

96. 6th Port History, Nov 44-Mar 45, 12-13.

97. Ibid., Exhibit B, B-8, and D. Transportation Corps figures are higher, totaling 15,600 tons per day for this period. History of TC ETO, App. 7, in Pt. III of Vol. VII.

98. 6th Port History, Nov 44-Mar 45, Exhibit A.

99. Ltr, Gale to PAOs Committee, sub: OVERLORD Shipping Requirements, 17 Mar 44, and Cbl W-36141, CCS to SHAEF, 13 May 44, SHAEF AG 400.22-1 Shipments and Tonnage Allocations 1944.

100. Cbl 7367, U.S. Mil Attache, London, to U.S. Secy of State, 8 Sep 44, OPD Cbl Files.

101. See Logistical Support I, Ch. X, Sec. 9.

102. Cbl, U.S. Mil Attache to Secy of State, 8 Sep 44; Mil Shipments Priority Mtg, 24 Nov 44, SHAEF AG 337-18.

103. Mil Shipments Priority Mtgs, 5 Aug, 3, 10, and 24 Nov, and 9 Dec 44.

104. Ibid., Mtgs of 2, 9, and 30 Dec 44.

105. A Baltic-type coaster is a vessel of about 1,800 gross tons designed to operate on short sea routes, modeled on coasters in use in northern European coastal traffic.

106. Cbl FWD-17429, SHAEF to CCS, 28 Feb 45, and Cbl W-54347, CCS to SHAEF, 17 Mar 45, SHAEF AG 400.22-1 No. 1, 1945 Allocation of Tonnages--Policy.

107. Tel Conf between Ross, Eyster, et al., and Wylie et al., 16 Jul 44, SHAEF G-4 Troops Flow 121/1 GDP-1, 69.

108. Cbl EX-40282, Lee to Gross, 29 Jul 44, SHAEF AG 400-22-1 Shipments and Tonnage Allocations: Mil Shipments Priority Mtg, 29 Jul 44, SHAEF AG 335-18.

109. Cbls W-76034, AGWAR to ETO, 5 Aug 44, W-81787, Gross to Somervell, 16 Aug 44, and W-81853, Lutes to Lee, 17 Aug 44, SHAEF AG 400.22-1 Shipments and Tonnage Allocations.

110. Cbl EX-42044, Lee to Somervell, 8 Aug 44, SHAEF AG 400.22-1.

111. Shipping Note for CAO, G-4 Mov and Tn, 19 Aug 44, SHAEF G-4 Mov and Tn War Diary/Jnl 3014/22 Mov, Folders 13-22; Min, Continental Mov and Shipping Committee, Mtg of 16 Aug 44, ETO 001 Meetings.

112. Ltr, COMZ to Normandy Base Sec, sub: Discharge of Liberty Ships, 20 Aug 44, EUCOM 560 AT, Transports, Vessels, and Boats in General II; TWX, ANCXF to SHAEF, 31 Aug 44, SHAEF AG 400.22-1; Mil Shipments Priority Mtg, 26 Aug 44, SHAEF AG 337-18; Shipping Note for CAO, 19 Aug 44; Memo, Stratton for CofT, sub: Discharge of Ocean-Going Vessels on Continent, 6 Sep 44, EUCOM 400.22 Shipments General.

113. COMZ G-4 History, I, 81.

114. Ltr, Philip D. Reed, Mission for Economic Affairs, to Lee, 21 Sep 44, ETO 381/560 Shipping (OVERLORD).

115. Some of Antwerp's capacity actually went unused at precisely that time, though not for lack of shipping.

116. Cbl EX-53219, Lee to Somervell, 8 Oct 44, OPD Cbl Files; Ltr, Lee to Reed, 26 Sep 44, ETO 381/560 Shipping (OVERLORD); COMZ G-4 History, I, 81.

117. Cbl, Lee to Somervell, 8 Oct 44.

118. Cbl WARX-43793, CofT WD to ETO, 9 Oct 44, OPD Cbl Files.

119. Mil Shipments Priority Mtgs, 7, 13, and 21 Oct 44, SHAEF AG 337-18; COMZ G-4 History, I, 86.

120. COMZ G-4 History, I, 88.

121. Cbl E-57846, Lee to Somervell, 26 Oct 44, OPD Cbl Files.

122. Ltr, Somervell to Lee, 18 Nov 44, Hq ASF, European Theater--last half 1944.

123. Cbls WAR-53834 Somervell to Lee, 28 Oct 44, and WARX-56447, 2 Nov 44; Cbl 49595, Marshall to Eisenhower, 20 Oct 44, OPD Cbl Files; Memo, Gross for OPD, sub: Cargo Shipping for the ETO, 11 Nov 44, OPD 400 ETO No. 113, 15 Nov 44 Cargo Shipping for ETO.

124. Memo, Marshall for JCS, sub: Remedies for Existing and Prospective Shortages in Cargo Shipping, 17 Nov 44, with Incl, Study by Gen Somervell, same sub, OPD 560 Section VI, Cases 207-25.

125. Cbls WX-74985, JCS to Theater Commanders, 9 Dec 44, and WX-20236, CCS to SHAEF, 13 Jan 45, SHAEF SGS 540 Shipping Problems; D. S. Ballentine, U.S. Naval Logistics in the Second World War (Princeton, 1947), pp. 239-43.

126. Cbl S-76892, SHAEF to CCS, 28 Jan 45, SHAEF AG 400.22-1 No. 1 1945 Allocations of Tonnages--Policy.

127. COMZ G-4 History, I, 95.

128. Cbl E-75769, ETO to AGWAR, 18 Dec 44, ETO In and Out Cbls, ETO Adm 397; COMZ G-4 History, I, 105.

129. COMZ G-4 History, I, 89-93.

130. Cbl EX-77774, ETO to AGWAR, 23 Dec 44, ETO In and Out Cbls, Adm 397.

131. The theater had discharged 115 in November and 130 in December. Memo, Gross for Somervell, sub: ETO Shipping Situation, 4 Jan 45, Hq ASF Shipping 1945--Somervell file; TWX E-85355, COMZ to SHAEF, 12 Jan 45, SHAEF AG 400.22-1 Allocation of Tonnages--Policy, I, 1945.

132. Cbl EX-74290, G-4 ETO to AGWAR, 3 Feb 45, ETO Cbls, Adm 400.

133. Cbl WARX-30713, AGWAR to ETO, 2 Feb 45, Adm 407.

134. Cbl EX-97331, ETO to AGWAR, 11 Feb 45, Adm 400.

135. Cbl WARX-37577, AGWAR to ETO, 15 Feb 45, Adm 408; Cbl E-10453, ETO to AGWAR, 19 Feb 45, Adm 400.

Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation