PDA

View Full Version : Mulberry Harbours


tim lewin
30-03-2008, 09:03
In the nursing home where I visit my old mother-in-law is a chap, ex-RN, writing about his experiences towing mulberrys to France and assembling the harbours; is there anyone ojut there with fresh info you think I might usefully pass on to him?
tim

herakles
30-03-2008, 09:07
I have no new information but I do reflect that they must have been well built seeing as their remains are still in place.

hucks216
30-03-2008, 10:15
There is also one still sitting in Portland harbour.

navalis
30-03-2008, 10:56
This site has some good info on the Mulberrys, including some recommended books -

http://www.combinedops.com/Mulberry%20Harbours.htm


and this is a contemporary report -

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/ETO/Overlord/MulberryB/

John Brown
30-03-2008, 22:49
Some photos I took whilst in Normandy for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day 0n 6th June 1994. All show the remains of the British Mulberry at Arromanches in the background.

In the third photo, the structure partially obscuring the left Landing Craft is also part of the Mulberry.

In the second photo, the DUKW has broken down and was eventually towed out by another one.

regards...John

herakles
30-03-2008, 23:50
These photos have brought back memories to me of that occasion! I remember that DUKW well!

That second link posted by novalis certainly underscores the huge importance of the British Mulberry.

astraltrader
31-03-2008, 15:22
Most interesting subject. I loved this little bit from the first link provided by Navalis:

"To overcome the doubters in his own ranks Mountbatten called them to a meeting in one of the bathrooms of the Queen Mary. They were en route to an important meeting with the Americans in Quebec where the matter of artificial harbours would be decided. As they entered the bathroom they saw a partially filled bath, 40 or so ships made out of newspaper and a Mae West lifebelt.
Half the 'fleet' was placed in the bath and the most Junior officer present in the crowded bathroom, Lt Commander Grant, RN, was asked to make waves with the back of a brush. In no time the vessels sank. The demonstration was repeated this time with the 'fleet' floating inside the Mae West. To the immortal command "More waves please Lieutenant Grant" the heavily braided onlookers saw that all the vessels survived."

A priceless bit of WW2 history!

jbryce1437
08-09-2011, 19:12
Came across this site with some interesting information and photos
http://www.findonvillage.com/0356_the_mysterious_mulberries.htm

Jim

Ednamay
09-09-2011, 10:37
Am having a senior moment, have recently seen something (?on another forum?) about a group doing archaeological research on the various remains of Mulberry, starting in France. There is, of course, a large chunk of Mulberry Harbour sitting in Langstone Harbour, near the Eastney / Hayling Island Ferry. Is there not another chunk at Calshot?

Any comments?

Edna

eskimosailor
09-09-2011, 15:03
There is also one still sitting in Portland harbour.

My memory said there were two at Portland, not far from the Sally-Ann hostel, but my memory seems to have a mind of it's own these days.:D
They built a number of these things at Stokes Bay, just outside Gosport, on the seafront. Apparently they had great difficulties launching them due to the lack of slope of the beach. There is a memorial there to the building of them, alongside the remains of the concrete slabs on which they were constructed.
I have seen a picture of construction in progress, and if I can get permission from the owner I will post it here.
Steve

bob shayler
10-09-2011, 07:58
The Monument at Arromanches commemorating this magnificent feat of engineering,
Regards,
Bob

Portland42
12-09-2011, 10:58
I attach a picture of the two at Portland. They were positioned as windbreaks for Q-Pier. Very effective too. They are scheduled monuments.

eskimosailor
12-09-2011, 14:01
I attach a picture of the two at Portland. They were positioned as windbreaks for Q-Pier. Very effective too. They are scheduled monuments.

That's a relief, my memory isn't as bad as I thought (Post 10), and they must be just to the right of the Sally Ann as you look out to sea. This was opposite the Royal Breakwater Hotel, where I lived very happily for two years.
Steve

bert-261
13-01-2012, 16:02
Hope I'm not too late to contribute, here are three photos of Mulberry's under construction at Lepe, near Southampton. bert-261

limeybiker
13-01-2012, 16:46
Hope I'm not too late to contribute, here are three photos of Mulberry's under construction at Lepe, near Southampton. bert-261
Great historical photos Bert, any chance of rescanning them at a greater resolution.?

Portland42
13-01-2012, 18:09
Fantastic! I too would like to see them in higher resolution, to study the detail. Thanks for showing these.

Prom
13-01-2012, 20:15
Me three. In that 2nd photo is that rope, cable or something else? I realise that although I have long been impressed by the feat of building and placing them, I have little idea of what their construction consists of.

astraltrader
13-01-2012, 23:28
I recently came across an interesting evaluation over whether or not the Mulberries were proven to be a success.

It also deals with Gooseberries which were the other form of temporary harbour used during Operation Overlord.

http://hksw.org/despatches_107_1_a.htm

.

bert-261
14-01-2012, 10:00
Hi again Limeybiker, pleased you like the photos and the best I can do,as I downloaded them is to point you towards the relevant sites. Log on to
www3.hants.gov.uk
Then type in Lepe for your search.
Hope this is of help, regards bert-261

Great historical photos Bert, any chance of rescanning them at a greater resolution.?

bert-261
14-01-2012, 10:06
With regard to the second picture, it is showing part of the P.L.U.T.O. (Pipeline Under The Ocean) operation, that pumped fuel via a pipeline to mainland Europe.

Me three. In that 2nd photo is that rope, cable or something else? I realise that although I have long been impressed by the feat of building and placing them, I have little idea of what their construction consists of.

limeybiker
14-01-2012, 12:28
When I worked at the BBC, we had a yacht, belonging to the BBC Club, based on the Hamble, we went into a sail loft that was actually inside an old Mulberry Harbour, wish I could remember where it was.

Tom Edwards
14-01-2012, 19:23
These magnificent structures almost defies belief that they could be built on shore then towed and placed many miles away.
Does anyone have any pix of how they were moved from shore to sea?

Tom

harry.gibbon
06-03-2013, 14:46
Crucial D-Day harbour revealed in stunning 3D thanks to hi-tech survey

06/03/2013
Stunning 3D images have been produced of the artificial harbour built to support the invasion of Normandy 70 years ago. The UK Hydrographic Office - which provides Royal Navy warships with charts to conduct their daily global missions - has carried out the most detailed survey yet of the 'Mulberry harbour' at Arromanches


This is part of the greatest temporary harbour ever built - Mulberry B, the vital man-made haven created off Arromanches in France to support the Normandy landings in June 1944.

The remains of the artificial harbour were scanned on behalf of the UK Hydrographic Office - the people who provide the Royal Navy (and many of the world's seafarers) with charts.

To test new methods and train some staff, the UKHO teamed up with commercial survey firm Netsurvey to conduct the first detailed survey of the Mulberry for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Back in WW2 the harbour was used for nearly ten months by the Allied forces as they pushed into France, liberating it from the Nazi yoke, and then into the heart of Hitler's Germany.

Mulberry B - also known as Port Winston - was one of two such artificial harbours built; the first, to the west off Omaha Beach, was wrecked by a Channel storm at the end of June.

B survived - and thanks to it 500,000 vehicles, four million tonnes of supplies and more than two and quarter million men were put ashore.

The harbours were constructed in the UK and then assembled off the French coast, with work beginning just three days after D-Day.

Some of Mulberry B can be seen on the beach at Arromanches, and rising out of the Channel - but much more is beneath the waterline.

And whilst the last survey of the huge structure by French hydrographers back in 1993-94 ensures the waters off Arromanches are safe for navigational purposes, the work carried out by the UKHO is intended to help archaeologists.

The resulting 3D map of most of the harbour - the eastern end is in shallow water and festooned with floats for crab pots, making it too difficult to reach - will allow experts to assess the rate of deterioration of what is left of Mulberry.

The surveyors spent two weeks aboard the small boat Xplorer, fitted with a scanning laser and multibeam sonar to precisely record the above and below-water remains of Mulberry B, while the craft towed a magnetometer to see if there was any debris buried.

The UKHO team are delighted with the results - its surveyors gained the experience they required and most of Mulberry B was very accurately recorded.

"It's one of the most impressive and important examples of military engineering ever - and a triumph of British ingenuity and engineering skill," said Chris Howlett's, head of the hydrographic office's seabed data centre.

"The images show the underwater remains, lying at a depth of about five metres - and previously hidden from all but divers."

The Royal Navy is commemorating the defeat of the submarine and the 70th anniversary of victory in the Battle of the Atlantic this spring. Visit Battle of the Atlantic 70th Anniversary for the latest news, details of events, history of the conflict and first-hand accounts from the men who were there.

If you want to explore the remains of the harbour, you can order a DVD containing the survey data and other images from the UKHO.

The hydrographic office is making this DVD available for free - but requires a donation to be made to its chosen charity for 2013, Freewheelers, a group which provides a free out-of-hours motorcycle courier service to hospitals in the South West of England.

To obtain the DVD send a stamped addressed envelope (make sure it is large enough to hold a DVD) and a cheque for at least £5 made payable to 'UKHO Charity' to:

Michelle Blagdon
UKHO
Admiralty Way
Taunton
TA1 2DN

UK Hydrographic Office

The captions associated with the attachments, read as follows:-

1st; Looking north-east along the western breakwater. The caissons clear of water are shown in yellow/red. In the distance (top right) is the start of the eastern breakwater with the main harbour entrance between them. [Copyright UKHO]

2nd; Looking down on a set of caissons located in the western breakwater. It shows multibeam data coloured by depth with blue being deepest and red/orange being the shallowest. The light grey denotes data collected by the scanning laser over caissons that remain above the water surface. Water depths are about 7m beside the caissons [Copyright UKHO]

3rd; The completed Mulberry B harbour at Arromanches in operation in June 1944. [Copyright Imperial War Museum]


Source Royal Navy fb site
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Little h

Ednamay
07-03-2013, 10:18
Thanks, Little h - the only bit of Mulberry I have ever seen is the chunk sitting in Langstone Harbour. Can't see me making the tour, unfortunately!

Edna

jainso31
07-03-2013, 13:02
I have been to the D Day celebrations at least six times in the last two decades including 1994 and 2004.My wife is the photographer and she took some shots on top of the steep hill behind the museum, out of the town toward La Fontaine St Come.The remains of the Mulberry Harbour can be seen fairly plainly

jainso31




129362 click to enlarge

D01Caprice
24-03-2013, 14:02
I read somewhere many moons ago that Mulberry A was allocated to the US forces to be used at Omaha beach. They were told to use 8 anchors but went their own way and used only 4. That was why it was wrecked in a storm. They also turned down swimming tanks ( a limited success admittedly) which cost them dearly.

It seems that the US Armed Forces made a habit of ignoring good advice from people who had been fighting a war for some time hence the debacle that led to the Battle of the Kasserine Pass.

Scatari
25-03-2013, 15:47
I read somewhere many moons ago that Mulberry A was allocated to the US forces to be used at Omaha beach. They were told to use 8 anchors but went their own way and used only 4. That was why it was wrecked in a storm. They also turned down swimming tanks ( a limited success admittedly) which cost them dearly.

It seems that the US Armed Forces made a habit of ignoring good advice from people who had been fighting a war for some time hence the debacle that led to the Battle of the Kasserine Pass.

And the whole debacle surrounding the USN's failure to adopt the convoy system off the eastern seaboard in early 1942.

D01Caprice
26-03-2013, 14:49
And the whole debacle surrounding the USN's failure to adopt the convoy system off the eastern seaboard in early 1942.

Blame Admiral King for that. I read that it was a toss up whether he or Montgomery were the most unpleasant and uncooperative of the Allied military leaders. I don't think Patton would gather too many brownie points for being a team player either.

According to his daughter King wasn't moody and irascible at all. He was angry ALL the time.

Scatari
26-03-2013, 15:59
Blame Admiral King for that. I read that it was a toss up whether he or Montgomery were the most unpleasant and uncooperative of the Allied military leaders. I don't think Patton would gather too many brownie points for being a team player either.

According to his daughter King wasn't moody and irascible at all. He was angry ALL the time.

Absolutely Caprice.

It's sad to think how many merchant sailors lost their lives because of one man's dislike of all things British.

Apologies for dragging this thread away from its original topic! Will accept like a man any punishment deemed appropriate by our esteemed Moderators!

Tug
30-03-2013, 14:04
Lots of info about the towing of the mulberry harbours here

www.thamestugs.co.uk

eskimosailor
30-03-2013, 15:41
Lots of info about the towing of the mulberry harbours here

www.thamestugs.co.uk

Sorry Tug, that link doesn't seem to work:confused:
Steve

Don Boyer
30-03-2013, 17:00
It's become almost automatic these days to point fingers at Admiral King as the always-angry egomaniac responsible for "naval errors of judgement" such as the debacle of the east coast U-boat war and other things (but not the Mubury mess).

I suggest a reading of his bio by Buell and even more importantly, Walter Borneman's newer book "The Admirals" for a far more unbiased look at the man who was incredibly intelligent, very tough minded, quite capable of being angy and yet capable of getting along with men like Marshall, Roosevelt and the British Chiefs of Staff. Not only getting along but crafting winning strategies for warfare on two oceans. Egomaniacs like Montgomery and MacAruthur were totally incapable of his level of wartime management.

The US had a steep learning curve to get over once in the war, and did fail to listen to some good advice from their partners in warfare which cost lives and ships. They also didn't listen to a lot of bad advice as well.

Pelican
11-12-2016, 22:26
THEN AND LATELY

From a private site:

"During the early days of the Allied invasion of Europe, the sea would prove to be as formidable an enemy as the Germans. A storm, the worst in 80 years, came close to wiping out the Mulberrys, the two portable harbors built at Normandy to support the invasion.

One of the challenges of invading Europe over the Normandy beaches in World War II was that there were no convenient harbors to unload men and supplies. British engineers came up with the idea of fabricating modular docks to create temporary harbors. They were called Mulberry harbors, a name chosen at random.

Two Mulberrys were built in secret in British ports prior to the Normandy invasion in 1944. On June 6th, D-Day, 400 component parts, weighing approximately 1.5 million tons, were towed across the Channel to France to create the two Mulberry harbors. Mulberry A was assembled off Omaha Beach, while Mulberry B was installed off Gold Beach near the French village of Arromanches.

From C N Trueman “The Mulberry Harbour”: “Each of the two artificial harbours was made up of about 6 miles of flexible steel roadways that floated on steel or concrete pontoons. The roadways were codenamed “Whales” and the pontoons “Beetles”. The ‘Whales’ ended at giant pier heads that had ‘legs’ that rested on the seabed. The whole structure was protected from the force of the sea by scuttled ships, sunken caissons and a line of floating breakwaters. The material requirements for any part of either Mulberry A or B were huge – 144,000 tons of concrete, 85,000 tons of ballast and 105,000 tons of steel.”

While the Allied forces were battling the Germans ashore, the Mulberry harbors faced a battle of a different sort — with the sea itself. Shortly after Mulberry A was finished but before Mulberry B was fully functional, disaster struck. The worst storm in 80 years battered the Normandy coast. The high winds and waves blew for days. By June 22nd, Mulberry A, off Omaha Beach was destroyed, while Mulberry B, off Arromanches, was damaged, but held on.

Parts from Mulberry A were salvaged to help repair Mulberry B and cargo operation commenced. Initially, the Mulberry harbors were intended to operate for three months. Mulberry “B” which came to be known as Port Winston, operated for 8 months before the capture of Antwerp gave the Allied forces a deep water port of sufficient size as to make the portable harbor unnecessary.

With Mulberry A a total loss, American forces on Omaha Beach used LSTs (Landing Ship,Tanks) to discharge directly onto the beach.

Depending on one’s perspective, the Mulberry harbors were either a masterwork of engineering or a waste of time and material. One critic was the US Navy’s Admiral John Leslie Hall who wrote:

“I think it’s the biggest waste of manpower and equipment that I have ever seen. I can unload a thousand LSTs at a time over the open beaches. Why give me something that anybody who’s ever seen the sea act upon 150-ton concrete blocks at Casablanca knows the first storm will destroy? What’s the use of building them just to have them destroyed and litter up the beaches.”

Who was right? It is a close call. Mulberry B could handle around 7,000 – 9,000 tons of vehicles and supplies per day. The American LSTs could deliver a comparable capacity and often exceeded the British discharge rate. Overall both approaches worked. In its period of operation, two and a half million men, a half million vehicles, and four million tons of supplies landed in Normandy through Mulberry B, Port Winston, at Arromanches."

https://vimeo.com/47710182

"Here is a lovely drone video by François Monier of what is left of Mulberry B just offshore near the French village of Arromanches.

One of the reasons that the Germans were skeptical of an Allied invasion of Normandy was the lack of a nearby harbor through which to unload men and supplies. The Allies addressed the problem by building Mulberry harbors, two massive portable harbors which were fabricated in Britain in modules, towed across the Channel and then reassembled off the coast of Normandy shortly after D-Day, in 1944. Mulberry A was assembled off Omaha Beach, while Mulberry B was installed off Gold Beach near the French village of Arromanches. During the eight months that it operated, the Mulberry off Arromanches was used to disembark two and a half million men, a half million vehicles, and four million tons of supplies."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_pDoKkRfS8&feature=youtu.be

Ednamay
14-12-2016, 11:09
There is also one still sitting in Portland harbour.

It may be a problem with my memory, but I seem to remember seeing something called "mulberry harbour remains" in Langstone Harbour, near the Portsmouth/Hayling Island ferry point - perhaps our Cowplain - Waterlooville supporters might check ???

Edna

phill rose
14-12-2016, 14:01
You are quite correct Edna there was a broken bit of a Mulberry in Langstone Harbour on the Hayling side for many years, well I was told that is what it was.

And from this it might still be there.

And were you aware that nearby, on what I believe is now the golf course there was one of the decoy sights where they would light fires during the war to attract bombers away from Portsmouth, hopefully!

Ednamay
16-12-2016, 15:23
You are quite correct Edna there was a broken bit of a Mulberry in Langstone Harbour on the Hayling side for many years, well I was told that is what it was.

And from this it might still be there.

And were you aware that nearby, on what I believe is now the golf course there was one of the decoy sights where they would light fires during the war to attract bombers away from Portsmouth, hopefully!

Yes, we were told that there were decoy points around the east coast of Portsea Island, and on Portsdown Hill - but somehow they German planes still managed to drop bombs on the city itself!

Edna

tjstoneman
16-12-2016, 16:18
Going seriously off topic, details of the two (overlapping) decoy sites can be found at http://www.portsdown-tunnels.org.uk/surface_sites/qsite_p1.html

Ednamay
17-12-2016, 10:48
Going seriously off topic, details of the two (overlapping) decoy sites can be found at http://www.portsdown-tunnels.org.uk/surface_sites/qsite_p1.html

Thank you, this was new to me, although I had previously seen the Portsdown Tunnels blog.

It was particularly interesting because I lived at Binness Way, Farlington, from 1969 till 1975, and occasionally we met 'old timers' who passed on some of this information, which seemed to be apocryphal - obviously it wasn't!

Thanks once again.

Edna