Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pyramid Tents on Omaha Beach

A year ago I wrote a post about the huts built by the supply troops working on the Normandy beaches from June to November 1944. While these simple accommodations were the typical living arrangements, it turns out at least some companies received pyramid tents late in the operation.

These two photos were sent to me by Charles Morris. He served on Omaha Beach in the 284th Port Company, 517th Port Battalion. Sometime around October his company received pyramid tents. They knocked down their scrap wood huts and moved into these 6-man tents. It was good to get out of the cramped covered foxholes, but the GIs were able to use them only until November when they left the beaches for Antwerp.

The 284th Port Company's use of these tents seems to have been unusual. I speak to veterans representing eight different port battalions in Normandy, and no one else slept anywhere but their foxholes and huts. From June to July sleeping above ground would have been impractical. In June German aircraft would strafe and bomb the beach at night. In July the Germans continued nightly reconnaissance flights over the beach. They didn't attack, but the American antiaircraft guns would fire up at them, showering hot metal debris (and falling bullets) on the ground. It was wise to sleep in the safety of a foxhole. By August the German flights ended, but providing more comfortable shelters to the supply troops was low on the list of supply priorities.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment! You can email me too (see at right).