Naval Gunfire Support In Operation Neptune: A Reexamination

Barbara Brooks Tomblin

in The United States and the Second World War

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780823231201
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240791 | DOI:

Series: World War II: The Global, Human, and Ethical Dimension

Naval Gunfire Support In             Operation Neptune: A Reexamination

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This chapter delivers a captivating narrative that takes readers from the choppy and cold waters of the French coast to the shores of North Africa, to Sicily, and to the deadly beaches of Salerno, and then back again to Normandy on June 6, 1944. It demonstrates that the U.S. Navy's successes on June 6 were largely the result of putting into practice the lessons learned from previous amphibious assaults launched in the Mediterranean during 1942 and 1943. In part, because none of the major Mediterranean landings included pre-invasion bombardments of the landing zones, Allied planners recognized the need to wear down German defenses at Normandy with a pre-landing shelling, even at the sacrifice of surprise. The landings in North Africa and Italy not only highlighted the need for close-in fire support for the troops assaulting the beaches, but also revealed the effectiveness of air spot gunfire support and the need for more effective minesweeping operations. Amphibious operations prior to June 6, 1944, also uncovered the need for better defenses against German U-boat, E-boat, and air attacks. Even by the time of the Normandy landings, war planners failed to recognize, despite a wealth of information, the inherent limitations that Allied warships and landing craft would have in silencing enemy shore batteries. This oversight contributed much to the bloodshed on June 6.

Keywords: U.S. Navy; World War II; Normandy; war planning; Allies; North Africa

Chapter.  28481 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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