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D-Day beachhead direct support gunner, Amphibious Forces grouping


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Hey everyone, sorry this isn’t Turkey related but I wanted to share as I had a couple of questions for the folks here on the forum.

 

I picked this uniform grouping up off of facebook recently, it came from the estate of a big collector down in the Lynchburg, VA area. Apparently he focused on DDay items which is what I inevitably ended up finding tied into the story of this sailor.

 

Born in 1923, Albert F Schieber enlisted on July 23rd, 1943 into the United States Navy. Not too long after basic he was sent to a special school for Amphibious craft personnel where he would train in just about everything from small-craft mechanics to shore fire-support. On November 23rd of the same year he was sent to England where he joined the LCG(L) Gunfire Support Craft Group of the 11th Amphibious Force.

 

The 11th Amphibious force is the name synonymous with the group of ships meant to directly support the invasions of American beachheads for Operation Overlord. Still an S1c, Schieber was placed onto the crew of a unique vessel built custom in English docks for the invasion, the LCG(L).

 

With a crew of somewhere around 30-40 enlisted men and 2 officers, the LCG(L) was a ship based on the LCT platform. With a false deck built over the hold, two 4.7” Naval guns or two 20mm Cannons would be welded onto the center of the craft with the intention of acting as close-range fire support for the wading infantrymen. By June 6th nine of these vessels had been completed and complimented with specialized crews, among these was Schieber, who I believe was likely part of a gun crew.

 

While I have not been able to find the exact LCG(L) that Schieber served on, from what I can tell each of the boats got their fair share of the action. Attached to the LCTs of the first wave on both beaches, the LCG(L)s moved into a few hundred yards of the beaches and worked under the direction of the soldiers of the 29th, 1st, and 4th infantry. Meant to provide direct fire support, the LCGs would wait for target recommendations and commands from the landing forces after which they would proceed to pour continuous fire until the target had been reduced to an inoperable state. From the records I found, a list of targets included German machine gun nests, machine gun bunkers, AT gun positions, 88mm encasements, and more. The ships were not meant to act independently and relied on the support of other amphibious controllers and the men on the beach. Once the beachheads had been cleared it appears as though the ships played a defensive role, firing anti-aircraft weapons at German warplanes which sought to get close to the landing sites in the days following the initial invasion.

 

This seems to be most of the action which Schieber saw during the war. He continued working with the group until his transfer to the USS Neville on November 1st where he began training as an APA crewman. He would never see direct action onboard the Neville, however, as the invasion of Japan never came. He would later join the USS Bexar and participate in Operation Crossroads, the mass atomic testing of Naval ships in the Bikini Atoll in 1946. Schieber would serve until 1949 and retire as an EM3c, his rank upon joining the Bexar.

 

I was pretty happy to get this grouping as it goes along with my focus on the amphibious forces of the Navy, the branch of my great-uncle. The set includes his private purchase Dress blues, two work whites with one set of pants, and a very small compass. The blues are pretty solid PX version from Allied Military Stores in Chicago. It features some cool gold embroidery inside including a gold V for Victory over his heart and the ribbons are wolf brown. The whites seem to include his wartime and postwar set. The S1c jumper is likely a piece he wore from Normandy to the Neville and the other, with a four-year stripe is likely postwar. Interestingly in the pocket of the blues was a very very small compass with a ring attached. I imagine this was on his dog tags or something to have with him in the case of a ship going down.

 

If anyone has any idea where I can figure out the exact LCG(L) that Schieber was on it would be much appreciated. The only related muster roll was for the entire group of 9 vessels and did not distinguish the individual ships they served on. Thanks!

 

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Some photos of the LCG(L)s

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GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard              ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR                      ACW               Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR                  ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID       WWI                WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co.           WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID    WWII              WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70                     WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div         Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div     Vietnam

 

Contact me with items from the 36th Infantry Division or any IDd uniforms of European Theater Infantry Divisions

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  • 2 weeks later...

Motor Machinist Mate. His job would have been to maintain all the mechanical parts of the boat(s). As crew, he would have manned a gun if required.

 

??

 

The rating on the blue jumper is Electrician's Mate 3rd Class - as stated previously

 

 

Larry

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