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WWII 12th Air Force France Report

WWII 12th Air Force France Report

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Published by: CAP History Library on Oct 30, 2010
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01/31/2013

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Section
3.11
PT
OPERATIONS
Three
squadrons
of
42
PT boats,assigned to
Commander
Boat
Sauadrons,
US
Eighth
Fleet, participated
in
the
assault.
Of
these,
MTBron
15
wasthe
only
squadron
whichhad
previously
taken
part
in
a
major
assault.
MTBron
22
andMTBron
29,
which
arrived
in the
Mediterranean
by
the
second
week
in
June,
had
participated
in
the Elba
Island
operation
and
patrolledfrom
Bastia under
the
British
SOIS
(Senior
Officer
Inshore
Squadron)
against
enemy
coastal
traffic
inthe
Ligurian
Sea.The
activities
of
the
12
ASRC
of
ARBron
1,
also
assigned
to
Commander
Boat
Squadron,
are
discussed
underSection
3.4,
Part
II,
Diversion-
ary
Operations.
On
31
July,
all
PT
forces
were
withdrawn
fromactive
patrols
in
preparationfor
the
assault
on
the
south
coast
of
France.
Commander
Boat
Squadrons
Eighth
Fleet
commanded
the
ScreeningGroup
during
the
operation.
For
the
assault,
D
minus
1/D
day,
the
majority
of
the
42
PTs
wereassignedto other
taskforces
and
task
groupsas
follows:
(a)Sixteen
PT
of
MTBron
15
were
allocated
toCommander
Sitka
Attack
Force.
Eight
PT
dividedinto
threescreens
wereusedto coverthisforce;
3
boatsto
the
southward
of
Toulon
Bay,
3
boats
on
a
line
south-
ward
and
west
of
PorquerollesIsland,
and
2
boatsto
the
southward
of
Grande
Passe.
Seven
PTwereusedascontrolboats
and
inshore
support
for
the
assault
landing
craft.
One
PT
with
4
aircraftrescue
boatsoperatedas
diversion
and
screening
unit
for
the commando
landing
on
Cap
Negre.
A
discussion
of
these
appears
under
"The
Sitka
Assault"(see
Section
3.5).(b)
Twenty
PTwereassignedto
CommanderSpecial
Operations
Group
(CTG
80.4).
The
tasks
assigned
consisted
of
assisting
in
diversion
operationsstaged
on
the
eastern
flank
of
the
Nice
area
and
on
the
western
flank
intheLa
Ciotat
area.
MTBron
22
participated
in
the
former
and
8
PT
of
MTBron
29
in
the
latter.
The
operations
of
theseboats
during
thisperiod
are
reported
under
"Diversionary
Operations"(section
3.4).
(c)One
PT
was
assigned
totake
station
atposition
F
(seediagram
XII)
as
an
Aircraft
Beacon
Ship
from
0200,
15
August
(D-day),
until
last
light.
This
boat
departed
from
Calvi
in
sufficienttimeto
be
on
station
and
successfullycompleted
itstask.
On
D-day,
all
PTs,
with
theexception
of
eight
which
remained
with
the
Diversioh
Group
until
dissolved
on
18
August,
reportedfor
duty
to
CTG
80.5
based
in
theBale
de
Briande
area.
Commander
Task
Group
80.5
was
assigred
thefollowing
tasks:
(1)
Toprovidesufficient
PTs
to
Commander
TaskForce
84
tomaintain
a
Snightly
anti-E-Boat
screen
on
the
western
flank
of
the
assault
area
from
D-day,
untilotherwise
directed;
(2)
To
maintain
a
daily
bloodbank
shuttle
betweenCalviand
Delta
Attack
Force
beaches
composed
of
2
PT,
beginning
on
D
plus
one
and
ex-tending
to
D
plusten,
unless
otherwise
directed;
(3)
To
establish
and
maintain
a
PT
boatpoolin
Alpha
Attack
Area
from
the
morning
of
D-day
for
employment
asdirected
by
Naval
Commander,
Western
Task
Force;
-
204
-
 
(4)
To
maintain
during
darkness
a continuous
patrol
in
the Nice-Cannes
area,
beginning
on
D
minus
one.
PTs
were
made
availableto
CTF
84-fornightly
patrols
in
Rade
d'Hyeres,
between
Cap
Benat
and Ile
de
Levant. The
patrols
weremade
in
divisions
of
two
boats each,the
number
of
divisions ranging from
one
to
three
depending
on
the
circumstances.
These
patrols
never
made
any
contacts
and
were cancelled
on
23
August,
owing
to
the
reduced
threat
of
enemy
surface attack
from
the West.The
PT
Blood Bank Shuttle
commenced
from
Calvi
on
16
August
(D
plus
1),
and
deliveries
were
made
daily at the
beaches
in the
Delta
Attack
Force
Area.
On
23
August,
this service
was
taken over
by
airplanes
which
were
then
able
to
land
on
fields close
to the
assault area.
The
boat
poolwas
established
on
15
August
(D-Day)
and
operatedfrom
Bale
de
Briande until
23
August,
when
it
was
moved
to
St.
Maxime.
Assignment
of
PTs
was made
to
the
flagships
of
the
task forces
and
task
groups
for
smoke
and
close
night
screens,
and,
theywere
also
used
ascourier
boats, until
relieved
on
D
plus
10
day
by
the
Air-Sea
Rescue
Boats
(ASRC).
From
timetotime
PTs
were
as-
signedCommanderSupport
Force,
CTF
86,
for
a
variety
of
duties
in
connection
with
supporting
bombardment
and
accepting
surrender
of
isolated
defense units
for
the
army
movementtothe
west.
Two
outstanding
incidents
are
described,
briefly,
below:
(a)
On
22
August,
PT
556
with
a
truceparty
from
USS
Omaha
entered
the
harbor
of
Porquerolles.
The
party
negotiated
with the Commandant
of
the
German
Garrison
and
accepted
the
surrender
of
the
island.
(b)
On 24
August,
PT
555
with
a
reconnaissanceparty
composed
of
French
and
US
Navy
officersentered
Port
de Bouc
to determine
the
status
of
the
port.
On
their return
trip
from
the
port,
the
PT
was mined
off
the
entrance
to
Golfe
de
Fos.
The
function
of
the
easternscreen
was
performed
on
D
minus
1/D-day
by
PTs
assignedto
the
eastern
diversion
group.
Thereafter,
no
screen
was
main-taineduntil
23
August
due
to
the
presence
of
adequate
destroyer
screens.
MTBron
22
was
ordered
on
D-day to
patrol
eastward
of
Cap
Ampeglio,and
based
at
Bastiasubsequentto
D-day.
Three
PTfrom
MTBron
29
on
17
August,
were
re-
leasedfrom
the
assaultarea
to act
as
radar
leadboats
in
patrols
off
Genoa
with
British
MTB,
operatingunder
SOIS
Bastia.
On
21
August,
MTBron
22
was
ordered
underthe
operationalcontrol
of SOIS
Bastia
tooperate
in
coordination
with
air
and
surface
forces
inthe
north Ligurian
Sea.
On
23
August,nightly
patrols
were
established
closeinshore
on
the
eastern
flank
off
Niceand
Villefranche
between
Cap
Antibes
and
Cap
Ferrat
to guardagainst
small craft
raids
including
attacks
by
explosive
boats
and human
torpedoes,
which
intelligence
sources
indicated
could
be
expected
operatingfrom
ports
be-tween
the
assault
area
andGenoa.
PT
patrols
were organized
in
groups
of
two
boats
each;
two
groupsoperating
on
moonlessnights
and
one
on
moonlitnights.
Prior
to
establishing
the
patrols,
daily
contact
was
madewith
the
DDs
on
the
eastern
flank before
last
light
for
the
purpose
of
exchanging
orders
and
plans
forpossibleattacks
and
testing
voice
communications.Duringthe
period
covered
by
the
report,
contactswere
made
on
the
following
nights,
and
the
results
of
thenights'
engagements
are
given:
-
205
-
 
With
Explosive
Boats
24/25
August
-
3
explosionsheard
,
which
were
believed
to
be
3
boats
destroyed
26/27
August
-
4
boats
destroyed
27/28
August
-
results
unknown
7/8
September
-
4
boats
destroyedpluspossibly
one
additional
9/10September
-
2
boats
destroyed
15/16
September
-
contacts
lost
in
attempt
to
overtake
MAS
control
boat.
WithHuman
Torpedoes
10
September
-
10
possibly
11
human
torpedoes
believed
sunk
On
11
September,
CTF
86
assumed
operationalcontrol
of
allforces
on
the
eastern
flank,
and
two
patrols
of
two
PTweremaintained
nightly
inthe
area.
COMMENT
Because
of
the
nature
of
enemy
craft,
MAS-boats,
explosive
boats
andhuman
torpedoes,
which
PT
patrols
encountered,
no
torpedoeswere
fired
by
PTs
while
screening
in the
assault
area.
All enemy
attacks
were
frustrated
by
use
of
close range
gunfire
of
automatic
weaponsand depth
charges.
Enemy
attacks
by
explosive
boats
andhuman
torpedoeswere
launched
from
ports
and
beaches
to
the
east
of
the
assault area.
Launching
points were
moved
from
the
vicinity
of
Nice
to
San
Remo
as
the
1st
ABTF moved slowly
eastward
alongthe
coast.
The
principal
effort
of
both
types
appears
tohave
been
directed
against
destroyers
and
cruisers
of
the Support
Force
which
were
bombarding
the
coast,
and
againstinshoreelements
of
destroyer
screens
on
the
eastern
flank
of
the
assault area.
The
initial attack
by
the"explosive
boats"
was
detectedcloseinshore.
It
is
believed that
theintention
of
the
enemy
was
to
penetrate
the
screen
and
attack
shipping
at
the
assault
beaches.
To
counteract
this,
the
PT
patrols
wereoperated
off
the
suspected
harbor bases
and
closeaboard
the
intervening capes.
Sub-
sequently,theenemy
movedwell out
to
sea
and
was
thereafter
encountered
from
two
to
five
miles
offshore.
Since,
after
the
initial
attack,it
was
learned
that the
explosive
boatswere
guided
by
a
control
boat,the
emphasis
in
repelling
an
attack
was
shifted to
the
control
boat.
The
first
human
torpedoattack
occurred,
5
September,
against
the
gunfire
supportships operating
off
Menton.
In
order
to
break
up
attacks before
they
reached
the gunfire
supportships,
SOC
planes
patrolled
off
the
suspected
launching
area,
from
0530
to
1100,
and
the
PT
patrol
was
extendedover
a
longer
period
of
time.
The
forward
PT
patrol
operatingfrom
Cap
Martin
to
Bordigheraleftstation
at
day
break;
the
patrol
from
Cap
Ferrat
to
Cap
Martin
continued
until
0900.
The
arrangement
provided
a
strong
defense
against
the human
torpedoattack.
Com-
munications
having
been
established,
the
SOC
planesspotted
the
human
torpedoes
and
the
PTs
destroyed
them
by
gunfire.
This
methodwas
found
very efficientduring
the
attack
on
10
September,
when
10
possibly
11
human
torpedoeswere
sunkthrough
the
coordinated
effort
of
SOC
planes,
destroyers,
and
PTs.
No
PTs
were
sunk
as
a
result
of
enemy
action,
but
three
were
lost
by
mines;
two
in the
Golfe
de
Frejus,
and
oneoff
the
approaches
to
the
Golfe
de
Fos.
Due
to
the
increasedeffort
by
the
enemy
of
anti-boat
minelaying
andthe
use
of
snaglines
as
a
means
for
detonating
them,
theshallow
draft
of
the
PT
is
no
longer
a
safetyfactor
when
operating
in
shallow
waters.
-
206
-

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