Normandy Naval Chronology

APRIL 1944

1 Visitors’ ban imposed within 10 miles of UK south coast
17 Ban of foreign diplomatic and courier movements to and from the UK
26 Admiral Ramsay (Allied Naval Commander Expeditionary Force) moved HQ to Southwick Park
German torpedo-boat (light destroyer) T.29 sunk by HMCS HAIDA off Ile de Batz
26 Torpedo-boat T.27 driven ashore by HMCS HAIDA off Pontusval
HMCS ATHABASKAN sunk by torpedo (with heavy loss of life)
26-28 Exercise “Tiger” – Force ‘U’ full-scale exercise in Lyme Bay
28 US LSTs 507 and 531 sunk and LST 289 damaged by E-boats (with very heavy loss of life)

MAY 1944

2-6 Exercise “Fabius” – Force ‘O’ and ETF Forces dress rehearsals in Lyme Bay and Isle of Wight areas
8 Admiral Ramsay decided on 5 or 6 June for ‘D’-Day
12 Naval Assault plan “frozen”
21 HM King George VI visited Southwick and Portsmouth
22 Practice mobilisation of 80 press war correspondents
24 Torpedo-boat GREIF damaged by No 415 Sqdn RAAF and sank after collision with sister-ship FALKE off R. Orne; KONDOR simultaneously severely damaged by mine
25 2330: operation orders opened by holders
28 5 June nominated as ‘D’-Day – all naval personnel “sealed” within their ships

JUNE 1944

1 Admiral Ramsay assumed general control of English Channel operations
2 Bombarding Force ‘D’ Eastern Task Force (ETF) left Scapa Flow (2 battleships, 1 monitor, 5 cruisers, 8 Fleet
Midget submarines X.20 (‘Juno’ Sector) and X.23 (‘Sword’ Sector) left Portsmouth in tow
3 Departures: Bombarding Forces ‘E’ & ‘K’ (ETF) from the Clyde – (1 battleship, 7 cruisers, 12 Fleet destroyers)
– Bombarding Forces ‘A’ & ‘C’ Western Task Force (WTF) from Belfast (3 battleships, 1 RN monitor; 9 cruisers (4 RN), 17 destroyers)
– Force ‘U’ assault convoys from Start peninsula
4 0515: “Neptune” postponed by 24 hours due to weather
2300: US lCT (Force ‘U’) capsized off Portland without-loss of life
5 0400: Gen Eisenhower took ‘’final and irrevocable decision” to land on 6 June
0900: First ETF assault groups left Portsmouth, Shoreham, etc
1800: Minesweeper USS OSPREY mined NW of Cap d’Antifer
1957: 14th Minesweeping Flotilla in sight of the French coast.

JUNE 6 D-DAY 0440: Destroyer HNorMS SVENNER sunk by German torpedo-boats (light destroyers) west of Le Havre
– north of ‘Sword’ Beach 0630: ‘H’-Hour in WTF area (Utah & Omaha) (H-hour the hour of actual landing)
0633: Destroyer USS CORRY mined off ‘Utah’ Beach
0645: Escort destroyer HMS WRESTLER damaged beyond repair by mine west of Le Havre – off
‘Sword’ Beach
0725: ‘H’-Hour in ‘Gold’ and ‘Sword’ sectors
0745-55: ‘H’-Hour on ‘Juno 1 and ‘Juno 2’ beaches
1620: Transport SS SAMBUT(Follow-up Force ‘L’) sunk in Dover Straits by German long-range artillery
1700: Convoy ETP.1 (9 large personnel ships) passed westbound undamaged through Dover Straits – first large ships to make the transit for four years

7 0700: US freighter SUSAN B ANTHONY sunk by mine off ‘Juno’ Beach
US LST 715 sunk by E-boat
0940: Minesweeper USS TIDE mined and sunk off ‘Utah’ Beach
1230: Scuttling of 54 merchant ships to form 5 protected anchorages (‘Gooseberries’)

7/8 2 RNLCTs sunk by E-boats in mid-Channel

8 0152: Destroyer USS MEREDITH mined off ‘Utah’ Beach (sank on 9th after near-miss during air attack)
0445: Assault HQ Ship (frigate) HMS LAWFORD sunk by air attack off ‘Juno’ Beach
0803: Destroyer USS GLENNON mined off ‘Utah’ Beach.

0920: Destroyer-escort RICH mined off ‘Utah’ Beach while assisting GLENNON
Netlayer HMS MINSTER mined off ‘Utah’ Beach
Coastal tanker CHANT 6 sunk by air attack in ETF Area
Port-en-Bessin (captured by 47 RM Cdo on D+1) in use by coasters and barges
Mulberry Harbours – first ‘Bombardon’ units laid (completed D+8)

8/9 US LSTs 314 and 376 sunk by E-boats in mid-Channel
9 0210: German destroyer ZH.1 sunk by destroyer HMS ASHANTI off Ile de Batz;
German destroyer Z.32 driven ashore on Ile de Batz by HMCS HAIDA
Mulberry Harbours – first ‘Phoenix’ units laid
9/10 Ammunition coasters BRACKENFIELD and DUNGRANGE sunk by E-boats in mid-Channel
10 US freighter CHARLES MORGAN sunk by air attack in WTF area
‘Gooseberry’ anchorages completed
11 0315: Frigate HMS HALSTEAD damaged beyond repair by E-boats in ETF area
MTB 448 and one E-boat sunk in action in WTF area
Coaster ASHANTI and 4 tugs sunk by E-boats in mid-Channel
US 5th and British 30th Corps made contact

12 Winston Churchill and CIGS visited British assault area in HMS KELVIN
13 Escort destroyer HMS BOADICEA sunk by air torpedo south of Portland
14 0200: German minesweepers M.83 and M.343 sunk by destroyers HMS ASHANTI and Polish PIORUN off Channel Islands

15 0045: German Torpedo-boats FALKE, JAGUAR and MÖWE sunk and KONDOR damaged at Le Havre by RAF air raid (besides 11 E-boats, 20 miscellaneous patrol craft and 19 tugs)

1145: Frigate HMS MOURNE sunk by U.767 off Lizard
1910: Frigate HMS BLACKWOOD sunk by U.764 off Portland
Operation ‘Pluto’ commenced laying the first pipeline, to Port-en-Bessin
Germans regained control of the east bank of the mouth of the Orne and shelling of ‘Sword’ Beach intensified – 2 HM Ships and 5 LSTs damaged on this day; unloading of personnel troops removed to ‘Juno’ Beach

16 HM the King visited the British assault area in HMS ARETHUSA
Trinity House Vessel ALERT mined and sunk in ‘Gold’ area .
17 Ban of foreign diplomatic movements in UK lifted (see 17 April)
18 0200: German minesweeper M.133 damaged beyond repair by RN MTBs 727 and 748, off Jersey
U.767 sunk by destroyers FAME, INCONSTANT and HAVELOCK Coaster ALBERT C FIELD sunk by air attack south of St Albans Head 19/23 Northerly Gale in Assault Areas – 13 merchant and auxiliary vessels and over 800 (eight hundred)  minor craft driven aground; WTF sector ‘Mulberry’ Harbour situated off Omaha beach at St Laurent badly damaged and rendered unusable All convoy movements halted (resumed pm 21st)
20 French Frigate LA SURPRISE severely damaged by mine off “Omaha” Beach
21 1045: Escort destroyer HMS FURY mined off ‘Sword’ Beach and beached
23 Coaster DUNVEGAN HEAD hit by artillery and destroyed by fire off ‘Sword’ Beach
2300: AA Cruiser HMS SCYLLA (Flag RAdm Vian NCETF) damaged beyond repair by mine off ‘Sword’ Beach
Norwegian Escort destroyer GLAISDALE severely damaged by mine off ‘Gold’ Beach
Minesweeper HMS PERSIAN severely damaged by mine off ‘Gold’ Beach
24 0735: Destroyer HMS SWIFT mined off ‘Sword’ Beach
Freighters FORT NORFOLK and DERRYCUNIHY mined and sunk in ETF area
Cruiser HMS ARETHUSA severely damaged by air attack
U.971 sunk by HMCS HAlDA, HMS ESKIMO and No 311(Czech) Sqdn
25 Bombardment of Cherbourg by WTF (TF 129), including cruisers HMS GLASGOW and ENTERPRISE, with clearance sweeping by 8 Fleet minesweepers and 4 dan-layers of RN 9th M/S Flotilla
1415: Frigate HMS GOODSON damaged beyond repair by U.984 in mid-Channel
U.1191 sunk by HMS AFFLECK and BALFOUR
U.269 sunk by HMS BICKERTON
Flag Officer, British Assault Area, moved his HO ashore to Maison Clos Charlotte, Courseulles
Continued enemy shelling of ‘Sword’ Beach forced abandonment of unloading by all but minor craft
Operation ‘Pluto’: first line completed

26 Cherbourg captured by US 7th Corps
27 1515: Corvette HMS PINK damaged beyond repair by U-boat off Barfleur
28 US freighter CHARLES W ELLIOT mined and sunk off ‘Juno’ Beach
29 1335: Convoy EMC.17 attacked by U.984: US freighters JAMES A FARRELL, JAMES A TREUTLIN and HG BLASDEL damaged beyond repair
1600: Convoy FMT.22 attacked by U.988: freighter EMPIRE PORTIA sunk
30 FO British Assault Area assumed responsibility for defence and unloading at the eastern beaches

JULY 1944

1 ‘Sword’ Beach closed for all unloading due to enemy artillery fire
2 Merchant LSI (Large) EMPIRE BROADSWORD mined and sunk in WTF area
3 OFFICIAL END OF OPERATION NEPTUNE on withdrawal of Rear Admiral A G Kirk,
Commander WTF – Naval ‘’C2’’ assumed by shore HQs in British and American sectors

5 Millionth man landed in France
Minesweeper HMS FRIENDSHIP severely damaged by mine off ‘Gold’ Beach
U.390 sunk by HMS WANDERER and TAVY
6 Minesweepers HMS MAGIC and CATO sunk by midget submarines off ‘Sword’ Beach
7 Fighter direction tender (converted LST) FDT .216 sunk by air attack in Seine Bay
8  0428:Polish cruiser ORP DRAGON beached after midget submarine attack off ‘Sword’ Beach (added to Arromanches ‘Mulberry’)

0500: Minesweeper HMS PYLADES sunk by midget submarine off ‘Sword’ Beach
Battleship HMS RODNEY and monitor HMS ROBERTS engaged targets in and around Caen
RAF Bomber Command raid on Caen
600 minor craft damaged in storm (19-23 Jun) re-floated at the spring tide
18 U.672 sunk by HMS BALFOUR
20 Escort destroyer HMS ISIS lost by enemy action (unconfirmed cause) off ‘Sword’ Beach
pm: Frigates HMS ST JOHN and MATANE damaged by guided missiles off Ushant
21 Minesweeper HMS CHAMOIS damaged beyond repair by mine in the Eastern Task Force (ETF) area
U.212 sunk by HMS CURZON and EKINS
24 Assault HQ ship (escort destroyer) HMS GOATHLAND damaged beyond repair by mine in ETF area
25 Admiralty resumed operational control of the English Channel, through normal chain of Commands
26 U.214 sunk by HMS COOKE
30/31 Convoy FTM.53 attacked by E-boats off Beachy Head: freighter SAMWAKE sunk, 4 others damaged
31 U.333 sunk by HMS STARLING and LOCH KILLIN


2/3 German Navy “Small Battle Units” launched 58 midget submarines and 22 explosive motorboats to attack the ETF anchorages; only 17 midget submarines returned.

0300: Escort destroyer HMS QUORN and Trawler HMS GAIRSAY sunk by midget submarines, LCT sunk by explosive motorboat 4 pm: German minesweepers M.271, M.325 and M.422 sunk by RAF strike on Pauillac (Gironde)
6 0040: German minesweepers M.263 and M.486, with four ships in convoy, sunk south of St Nazaire by AA cruiser HMS BELLONA and destroyers HMS ASHANTI and TARTAR and HMCS HAIDA and IROQUOIS
pm: German escort SG.3 (ex- SANS PAREIL), damaged in above action, destroyed by RAF air attack at Sables d’Olonne U.736 sunk by HMS LOCH KILLIN
8 pm: German minesweepers M.366, M.367, M.428 and M.438 sunk by RAF strike off Noirmoutiers
10 Minesweeper HMS VESTAL severely damaged by mine off ‘Gold’ Beach
11 1955: German minesweeper M.27 mined off Pauillac
U.385 sunk by HMS STARLING and No 461 Sqdn RAAF
12 German minesweeper M.370 sunk by RAF strike of Royan
14 German minesweeper M.444 sunk in Brest Roads (probably mined)
U.618 sunk by HMS DUCKWORTH, ESSINGTON and No 53 Sqdn RAF
15 0300: German minesweeper M.385 beached off Sables d’Olonne – damaged by cruiser HMS MAURITIUS, destroyers HMS URSA and HMCS IROQUOIS
U.741 sunk by HMS ORCHIS
19 Falaise Gap closed at Chambois – German Army evacuation of Normandy begun
21 0830: Corvette HMS ORCHIS mined off Courseulles – beached as total loss
1140: Corvette HMCS ALBERNI sunk by U-boat in mid-Channel
pm: German destroyer Z.23 sunk by RAF strike at La Pallice
German minesweeper M.292 sunk by RAF strike off Le Verdon
22 1605: Minesweeper HMS LOYALTY sunk by U-boat in mid-Channel
24 pm: German destroyer Z.24 and torpedo-boat T.24 sunk by RAF strike off Le Verdon (Gironde)
U.445 sunk by HMS LOUIS
25 Minesweeper HMS GLEANER severely damaged by mine off ‘Sword’ Beach
27 1345: Minesweepers HMS BRITOMART and HUSSAR sunk and SALAMANDER damaged beyond repair by RAF strike in Seine Bay 31 U.247 sunk by HMCS SWANSEA and ST JOHN


12 Surrender of Le Havre – end of Normandy campaign.