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View Full Version : Line of retreat from the Normandy Beaches.



mrseagull
09-30-2006, 09:18 AM
There is a story that the British and Canadian forces that landed on the Normandy beaches in June 1944 took with them a considerable number of inflatable or folding boats, together with a similar number of British Seagull outboard motors. The idea was that if the landings went pear shaped, then these rather flimsy craft would afford a sporting chance of retreat back to the ships offshore.

This story has been doing the rounds for years, and was promoted by the company concerned - British Seagull - in their advertising after the war.

I am researching the history of the company, and I have found no evidence whatsoever that the tale has any basis in fact.

But I'd like to believe it! There are a number of references on the web, all of which I have found.

Do any of you guys have any knowledge of this episode? Photos? Documents?

I'd love to hear from you...

Firefly
09-30-2006, 10:15 AM
Welcome matey and no, I have never heard of this either, I would be interested in your research though.

Digger
09-30-2006, 06:51 PM
Welcome mrseagull.

I've been able to do a bit of checking on the subject, but the history of the Seagull Company is complex.

The basic info I have found, which you might already know is that the Bristol Motor Boat Company built large numbers of light assault craft for the British military. These craft were powered by the famous Seagull 102cc engine.

As for the plan of retreat from the beaches if it went haywire I have not heard of such a plan, but one would assume, there would have to be an exit strategy in such an event.

Regards to all,
Digger.

Digger
09-30-2006, 07:59 PM
G'day,

The risk of failure on D-Day was obviously taken seriously as General Eisenhower prepared a speech in such an event. he takes full responsibility for the failure of the operation. A copy of this press release, written on 5th June 1944 is available on www.archives.org

Also the Imperial War Museum has perhaps the most extensive archives on the D-day planning. You can check them out on www.iwm.org.uk

Hope this helps you.

Regards to all,
Digger.

Nickdfresh
09-30-2006, 09:27 PM
They'd have been withdrawn by the same craft that landed them.

Gen. Sandworm
09-30-2006, 10:38 PM
How can you retreat with such a well written speech. JK of course. I know omaha was almost a retreat. However D.D.Eisenhower's speech before the landings is all inspiring. On another note i dont think we would have accepted anything but victory. Even if normandy didnt work out as planned. Call me wrong. I think we would have fought on. There would have been other beaches and places to bring down the 3rd Reich.

http://www.kansasheritage.org/abilene/graphics/ikesmessage.jpg

Gen. Sandworm
09-30-2006, 10:40 PM
G'day,

The risk of failure on D-Day was obviously taken seriously as General Eisenhower prepared a speech in such an event. he takes full responsibility for the failure of the operation. A copy of this press release, written on 5th June 1944 is available on www.archives.org (http://www.archives.org)



Link doesnt seem to be working. Could you post the words.........ive heard before just forgotten or recheck the link. Thanks.

Mk VII
10-01-2006, 07:48 AM
“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.
http://www.eisenhowermemorial.org/commissioners/index.htm

Digger
10-01-2006, 09:47 AM
Many thanks MKVII, I was offline for much of the day.

It is an interesting scenario, but considering the best plans can go wrong, then one must assume you plan for such an eventuality.

As for General Sandworm's assessment of such a situation, that would be a 'What If' I would not like to contemplate.

Regards to all,
Digger.

Nickdfresh
10-02-2006, 11:15 AM
Ike also had a speech prepared in case the invasion failed, although it was unlikely to have fully collapsed with the Allies complete control of the air over the beaches.

Even at Omaha, I believe is was Bradley that considered withdrawing and landing the rest at either Sword or Juno. It's been a while since I read about this.

Digger
10-02-2006, 05:39 PM
G'day,

This thread could open up a whole batch of 'what if' scenarios. But the problem there is,I could not imagine any retreat from the beaches unless the Allies had lost control of the air. Any German breakthrough to the beaches would have been smashed by air and naval support.

Regards to all,
Digger.

Gen. Sandworm
10-03-2006, 12:05 AM
As for General Sandworm's assessment of such a situation, that would be a 'What If' I would not like to contemplate.


Well I saw a movie (The Fatherland) on this one time in which after the defeat at normandy the allies sued for peace with germany. The germans continue on fighting the russians thru the 60's..........anyhow bla bla bla.

But its my sincere opinion that if they would have failed the allies would have fought on. They had a good foothold in Italy, the germans were stratgically withdrawing from russia and support for Hitler was turning for the worst. Just like the letter says things have changed since 40-41. I dont think you give up just coz you got a bloody nose(well maybe broken in this case).

Anyhow "what if's" can go a 1000 different ways. Just wanted to put my two cents in. No need for a response.