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Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

Can u tell me in simple words about mulberries used in Normandy landing?

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    A Mulberry harbour was a type of temporary harbour developed in World War II to offload cargo on the beaches during the Allied invasion of Normandy.

    The Mulberry harbours were two prefabricated or artificial military harbours, which were taken across the English Channel from Britain with the invading army and assembled off the coast of Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion of France.

    The Dieppe Raid of 1942 had shown that the Allies could not rely on being able to penetrate the Atlantic Wall to capture a port on the north French coast, thus the Mulberries were created to provide the port facilities necessary to offload the thousands of men and vehicles, and tons of supplies necessary to sustain Operation Overlord and the Battle of Normandy. The harbours were made up of all the elements one would expect of any harbour: breakwater, piers, roadways etc.

    The actual proposer of the idea of the Mulberry Harbour is disputed, but among those who are known to have proposed something along these lines is Hugh Iorys Hughes, a Welsh civil engineer who submitted initial plans on the idea to the War Office, Professor J. D. Bernal, and Vice-Admiral John Hughes-Hallett.

    At a meeting following the Dieppe Raid, Hughes-Hallett declared that if a port could not be captured, then one should be taken across the Channel. This was met with derision at the time, but in a subsequent meeting with Churchill, the Prime Minister declared he had surmised a similar scenario using some Danish Islands and sinking old ships for a bridgehead for an invasion in World War I. The concept of Mulberry Harbours began to take shape when Hughes-Hallett moved to be Naval Chief of Staff to the Overlord planners.

    A trial of the three eventual competing designs was set up, with tests of deployment including floating the elements, in Solway Firth, Scotland. The designs were by Hugh Iorys Hughes who developed his 'Hippo' piers and 'Crocodile' bridge units on the Conwy Morfa, using 1000 men to build the trial version; the Hamilton 'Swiss Roll' which consisted of a floating roadway; and a system of flexible bridging units supported on floating pontoons designed by Allan H Beckett. The tests revealed various issues (the 'Swiss Roll' would only take a maximum of a 7 ton truck in the Atlantic swell). However the final choice of design was determined by a storm during which the 'Swiss Roll' was washed away and the 'Hippos' were undermined; Beckett's floating roadway (subsequently codenamed Whale) survived undamaged. Beckett's design was adopted and manufactured under the management of J. D. Bernal and Brigadier Bruce White, under the orders of Sir Winston Churchill.

    The proposed harbours called for many huge caissons of various sorts to build breakwaters and piers and connecting structures to provide the roadways. The caissons were built at a number of locations, mainly existing ship building facilities or large beaches like Conwy Morfa around the British coast. The works were let out to commercial construction firms including Robert McAlpine, Peter Lind & Company & Balfour Beatty who all still operate today. On completion they were towed across the English Channel to the Normandy coast at only 5 mph (8 km/h). The Mulberry Harbours cost more money to build than the Eurostar Channel Tunnel.

    By June 9, just 3 days after D-Day, two harbours codenamed Mulberry 'A' and 'B' were constructed at Omaha Beach and Arromanches, respectively. However, a large storm on June 19 destroyed the American harbour at Omaha, leaving only the British harbour which came to be known as Port Winston at Arromanches. While the harbour at Omaha was destroyed sooner than expected (due to it not being securely anchored to the sea bed), Port Winston saw heavy use for 8 months—despite being designed to last only 3 months. In the 100 days after D-Day, it was used to land over 2.5 million men, 500,000 vehicles, and 4 million tonnes of supplies providing much needed reinforcements in France.

    A complete Mulberry harbour was constructed out of 600,000 tons of concrete between 33 jetties, and had 10 miles (15 km) of floating roadways to land men and vehicles on the beach. Port Winston is commonly upheld as one of the best examples of military engineering. Its remains are still visible today from the beaches at Arromanches, and a section of it remains embedded in the sand in the Thames Estuary, accessible at low tide, about 100 m off the coast of the military base at Shoeburyness.

    Source(s): Mulberry harbour. (2006, December 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
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  • 1 decade ago

    Probably not in simple words, because the mulberries were an ingenius solution to a vexing problem - how to land in such an inhospitable location.

    They were prefabricated harbors that enabled the invading force at Normandy to move heavy machinery inland without the need of first taking a major port.

    Hope this helps...

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  • 1 decade ago

    Two artificial harbours made of multiple pre-fabricated components floated across the Channel to provide supply landing points for the Normandy beachhead prior to the capture and restoration of a major port.

    See also Pluto, the operation to lay oil pipelines across the channel.

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  • 4 years ago


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