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D-Day June 6, 1944 Plus Four


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"Forgotten now, little honored then

Still, these crews never wonder

if they were truly men."

 

In the history of the invasion of Normandy little has been written on the "Match Box" fleet of the U.S.Coast Guard on June 6,1944.

 

During the planning of the assault on the coast of France, President Roosevelt asked his commanders if there were any provisions to rescue crews of the Allied Transport ships. No one had given any thought to this phase of the operation and the President reasoned the Coast Guard could provide such a rescue service. Just three weeks prior to Operation Overlord sixty three "sub buster" cutters were loaded aboard Liberty ships, LST's and freighters bound for England. Here the 83' patrol boats were stripped of all there ASW gear and equipped with scramble nets, extra life rafts and increased sick bay spaces. The boat's crews were given intensive first aid training and the boat skipper's received indoctrination in the complicated operation of the invasion itself. Designated "Rescue Flotilla One" the patrol craft were assigned to stay near the transports for the greatest disasters were expected there. But it was barely light before it became evident the Germans on shore were knocking out scores of small craft, LCTs and LCIs as they went into the beach. It was there that the initial rescue roles were played. As the assault waves hit the beaches there were frantic calls from 5 cutters assigned to stand by the beach landing craft. From this point onward the Coast Guard Rescue Flotilla more than justified itself. It's biggest job was, of course, on D-Day. During the invasion it made 1,438 rescues from the English Channel. But three months later these small cutters were still picking up survivors out of the cold, stormy waters bringing the total number of survivors to over 2,000.

 

The rescue exploits of these 83' were so numerous many of them were never recorded but one is an example of the rescue carried out that day. CG-35 was under fire from shore when it went to the aid of a British LCT. The LCT was carrying a large amount of gasoline when it struck a mine. The surrounding water became a blazing inferno of gasoline and oil but despite this the cutter's Captain sped his craft into a very exciting, but hot, rescue. All five British sailors were taken off the damaged craft prior to the LCT exploding.

 

A letter written on Admiralty stationary arrived for Lieutenant Clark, the cutters CO. It stated: "I am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to inform you that they have learned, with great pleasure that, on the advice of the First Lord, the King has been graciously pleased to award you the Distinguished Cross for gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter No. 35 in the initial landings of Allied Forces on the coast of Normandy on 6th June 1944".

 

The incident which prompted the Admiralty to make this award was unknown to the Flotilla Commander or to Clark's fellow officers until near the end of the War. Lt. Clark's bridge log entry merely recorded; "Survivor's rescued, five. Causalities, None. Comments, None."

 

The diorama depicts an 83 footer being repaired back in Britain after being hit by shore fire. The 1:72 boat is scratch built and utilizes a a lot of stuff from the scrap box. The duce and a half is a Hasagawa kit, the yard office and dock crane is a HO scale. The winch shed is a kitbash and the bus is a Corgi diecast. It took me about 2 months to build and was a lot of fun to build

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Great diorama! Extremely well made and of a little known subject. Thanks for bringing to light the heroism and contribution of our Coast Guard on D-Day. This is a busy diorama that really works, Again I love the tabel its on, for it resembles water. Great work Superchief.

 

Semper Fi.

 

Manny

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Right on!

Looking for the following:

452nd and 447th Bomb Group items

Anything 12th Armored- especially uniforms

155th Assault Helicopter Company, Camp Coryell, or Ban Me Thuot Vietnam items[/center]


WWII US Navy Uniforms from the Battle Off Samar: USS Johnston DD-557, USS Hoel DD-553, USS Samuel B. Roberts DE-413, USS Heermann DD-532, USS Dennis DE-405, USS John C. Butler DE-339, USS Raymond DE-341, USS Fanshaw Bay St. Lo, White Plains, Kalinin Bay, Kitkun Bay and Gambier Bay...


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Very imaginative and original work!

 

RC

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great work !!! Thanks for your sharing !!!

Tom

In memory of 798 Marine Raiders who were killed in action in World War II.

In memory of four U.S. Army Servicemans from 328th regiment , 26th infantry division.

THOMAS BOWMAN KIA 10/30 1944

WILLIAM Bereza KIA 12/24 1944

CHESTER MUNDELIUS KIA 3/14 1945

ALAN Milne KIA 4/8 1945

 

And when he gets to Heaven, Saint Peter he will tell: "Another Marine reporting, sir — I've served my time in Hell!"

 

 

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I keep looking at this ....just super cool.

In Memoriam:
Lieutenant J.Kostelec 1-3 First Special Service Force MIA/PD 4 March 1944 Italy
I HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY AND IT IS DAYLIGHT
Forget about the tips..We'll get hell to pay (AC/DC)
"If you cant get out and run with the big dogs then sit on the porch and bark at the cars going by.."

Have you Hugged a Clown Today?

You Cant Get A Sun Tan On The Moon..





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Ditto on what the others have said!

Looking for: Fourth/ Seventh Rhode Island Infantry items


Purple Heart : Robert L. Freitag KIA ETO 2/11/45


Any US/German items with the last name "Freitag"


also, war-related posters



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Very nice! Impressive indeed!

 

JD

AAF Collector...........
**Always Buying WW2 Aviation Related Items: Especially Operation Tidal Wave items (1st Ploesti Raid) ..... WW2 Fighter Ace Related Items.....Higher End A-2 Flight Jacket Groups....AAF Related Valor Medal Groups**

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