Stormy Weather - Effects of Storm on Normandy Beaches

Stormy Weather - Effects of Storm on Normandy Beaches (Illustration) Famous Historical Events Geography World War II Visual Arts

The Allies built artificial harbors, called “mulberries,” to support the D-Day invasion and landing. 

Military planners were very worried that Germany would maintain control of nearby French ports, thereby preventing the Allies from efficiently offloading millions of tons of supplies.  Dragging those war materials over Normandy’s beaches was not an effective method of supporting the troops.

The mulberry was invented in England.  It solved the problem of transporting goods in the event that Germany maintained control of French harbors near the landing zones in Normandy. 

What was a mulberry?  How (and where) was it made?  We learn more from the Naval History & Heritage Command:

The "Mulberry" artificial harbor was invented in England and its units were built in Scotland and England. The "Mulberry" was designed to provide a harbor on a coast which had no such natural features. This was critical to the continued arrival and unloading of military supplies and reinforcements from England following the establishment of the D-Day beachhead.

Mulberry ‘B’ was the British harbor, while Mulberry ‘A’ served the American landing beaches.

British Royal Engineers and U.S. Navy Seabees had the tough assignment of assembling the breakwater and piers on the Normandy side of the British Channel. The whole project was considered to be one of the boldest flights of imagination in history.

The men successfully installed the mulberries, thereby allowing the Allies to offload their supplies.  German forces and weapons were unable to destroy those artificial harbors during the D-Day battles.

However ... when the great storm of 19-20 June descended on the English Channel - and the beaches of Normandy - the mulberries became part of the gale wreckage. 

This watercolor, by Dwight C. Shepler, shows what happened to the American mulberry.  The Naval History & Heritage Command provides the background for this painting:

Below the bluff of the Omaha beachhead, the twisted relic of the fabulous artificial harbor of Mulberry filled the sea. The row of concrete caissons paralleling the shore finally disintegrated on the third day of the great storm of June 19-22, 1944, letting the seas through to break up the floating piers.

Click on the image for a better view.


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 16, 2014

Updated Last Revision: Nov 04, 2016

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy history.navy.mil website.


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"Stormy Weather - Effects of Storm on Normandy Beaches" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 16, 2014. Oct 20, 2019.
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