26212

Rapport du Commandant du LCI 91

10 June, 1944

From:             Commanding Officer, USS LCI (L) 91
To:                  Commander, Task Group 124.4
Via:                 Deputy Commander, Task 124.4
Information:     Commander, Group 29, LCI (L) Flotilla 10
                           Commander LCI (L) Flotilla 10

Subject: Operation Neptune, Participation in by USS LCI (L) 91

1. This vessel departed from Weymouth, England, in company with Convoy Group One (0-1) at 1715 on 5 June, 1944. In addition to the regular crew, a total of two hundred and one (201) men from Headquarters 116th Infantry, 147th Engineers Battalion, 121st Engineers Battalion, and 7th Beach Battalion were aboard.

2. Approach to the Omaha Assault Area was made according to plan without eventful action. Departure was made from the Trans- port Area as scheduled and contact made with the Primary Control Vessel.

3. Upon approach to Dog White Beach it became evident that proposed markers for a cleared channel through the underwater obstructions had not been placed. A small break in the Element "C" was blocked by what appeared to be a sunken DUWK.

4. A beaching was made between units of Element "C" at the scheduled time, H-70, 0740 on 6 June, 1944, approximately 225 yards from the back of he beach and 75 yards from the water line. A man rope was led to the beach through a maze of stakes each topped by a teller mine. Troops disembarked reluctantly over both ramps in the face of heavy enemy machine gun and rifle fire.

5. The rapidly rising tide and slow departure of troops made it necessary to move the ship forward to keep grounded. About twenty minutes after grounding it was impossible to move farther in because of the mined stakes. The ship was swinging with the tide toward the stakes on the port bow so the ship was retracted. While doing so a taller mine was exploded at the port bow injuring a few soldiers but not causing fatal damage to the ship.

6. About sixty troops were still on board so a signal was hoisted requesting assistance from small boats. No such aid was forthcoming so a second beaching was made about 100 yards West of the original one in an effort to get in beyond the obstructions.

7. A portion of the remaining troops had disembarked over the port ramp when what appeared to be an "88" struck the center of the well deck and exploded in the fuel tanks below. A blast of flame immediately followed and within seconds the entire well deck was a mass of flames. Water pressure was inadequate to fight the flames. Small caliber enemy fire continued near the beach and intermittent "88" fire near the ship.

8. Because the fire could not be gotten under control to enable the ship to retract the order was given to abandon ship. Personnel disembarked over the side and proceeded in to the beach. Right to ten men, mainly ship's crew, were disembarked seaward in an LCS. Two wounded soldiers were removed to the beach by raft. No living personnel were left aboard the ship.

9. No accurate account of survivors is yet available. As far as can be determined, Numbers 1 and 2 Troop Compartments had been evacuated and most of the personnel had left the exact location of the hit. 

10. Orders for the operation were thrown in the fire. Secret and confidential communication publications were removed sea-ward by the Chief Radio Man. All other ship's records were consumed by the fire.

11. One of the soldiers whose name unfortunately is not available was exceedingly helpful in disembarking personnel and checking the ship for survivors. All compartments, except Numbers 1 and 2 which were ablaze were checked to be sure everyone had been evacuated.

12. The hydrographic data regarding this beach, furnished before the operation, was remarkably accurate. The gradients were as reported and the ship grounded at the position predicted by the graphs. The underwater obstructions were a hindrance but the mines and enemy fire were their most effective defense.

Arend Vyn, Jr. 
Lt. (jg), USCGR
Commanding

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