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William Laubachon 13 November 2014
Transcript of DDay Project
Elliot Brooks -Alex Gladowski
William Laubach - Andy Renick - Gregory Turk
How do we get back in?
Mulberry A & B - The Plan
“If we cannot capture a port, we must take one with us”-Admiral Mountbatten
The Invasion of Normandy
How it Gave Rise to the Greatest Civil Engineering Accomplishment of all Time
The attendees agreed upon:
1. Mulberry A - US Port
2. Mulberry B - British Port
Each was to be built to the size of the port of Dover
Quebec Conference Revisited
December 1943 to June 1944 - 6 Months!
Rumors of the Plan's Origins
How did we end up needing DDay?
1920's - Fascism in Italy on
1930's - Japanese invasions
1933 - Hitler takes over
1939 - Germany invades Poland in
- Britain and France declare
1940 - Invasion of Denmark and
Split into two forces
-92 of which push into Belgium
The Artificial Ports that Made D-Day Possible:
Part 1 - The Buildup to the Invasion of Normandy
Part 2 - Planning of D-Day and the Ports
Part 3 - Construction of the Ports
Part 4 - The Storm
Part 5 - Opposition to the Plan
Part 6 - Mulberry Today
push France and
the BEF back to
Evacuation of Dunkirk -
The last remaining Ally-occupied coastal city - Dunkirk.
By June of 1940, the German Forces, led by powerful Panzer tanks divisions, pushed the British and French forces back to the Northern Coast of France.
861 Vessels volunteered:
Merchant Ships, Fishing Vessels, Battleships, any ship available.
200,000 British Expeditionary Force Soldiers
140,000 French Soldiers
A bit of luck allowed this miracle!
Where did this leave the Allied Forces?
Germany had taken control over all the major ports in mainland Europe.
The decision was made to
land in Normandy and perform
the greatest feat of civil
engineering ever attempted.
We all know the story of D-Day, but our
focus is on the planning and execution
of the artificial ports, Mulberry A and B.
WW1 - 1917: Winston Churchill has an idea to use mobile ports to capture islands off the coast of Germany, Borkum, and Sylt
"Well, I suppose we'll have to take our harbors with us."
- Hugh lorys Hughes, a Welsh civil engineer
Rumors aside, it doesn't matter who made up the plan.
This plan needed leaders of many distinctly different nations to put their egos and individual needs aside and focus on the task at hand; Retaking Europe from the grip of the Axis forces.
Details were articulated and
proposed at the First Quebec
Conference in 1943, a full two
years after the miracle at
The decision to go forward with the Invasion at
Normandy was agreed upon by Churchill, Roosevelt, and King.
Hughes was chosen to head the project with instructions to prepare plans for 'prototypes of landing piers to be towed across the Channel and sunk into place'.
Hughes devised two types of device, codenamed 'Hippos' (concrete caissons that could be anchored in as pierheads) and 'Crocs' (steel roadways linking them together).
Prototypes were constructed in North Wales
The project was very secret, thousands of men working on the project were unaware of it's true purpose, to ensure the Germans had NO idea the Allies planned to build temporary ports.
The harbor was originally planned to operate for 90 days, but lasted over 6 months!
June 19th, 1944
Ghost Army - Deception and Tricks
Temporary vs Long-Lasting Construction
One of the biggest risks of using Normandy as the invasion point - the deep water and notorious storms.
On June 19th, a vicious three-day storm begun.
Waves swelled over 20 feet high.
Mulberry A, the US port, was designed for waves, but not of this size. It was broken apart, ships were sunk, and the US port was considered completely destroyed.
Mulberry B, the British port, was damaged, but materials from port A was scavenged to reinforce it.
Meanwhile, Americans had to resort to normal unloading methods.
Effects of the Storm
Mulberry A was considered a complete loss.
Existing Supplies and Components were transported to Mulberry B.
The continued rough waters caused significant delays in transporting additional supplies.
This issue led to the development of the "Jack-up" pier. Although they were not immediately available for use in the Mulberry ports, it is considered an important advancement.
Developed by Leon DeLong, an engineer working on Omaha Beach.
The design allowed the pier to elevate when there was an oncoming storm.
Oil Drilling Rigs use this technology to this day.
Daily Express Coverage of the Storm
Opposition to the D-Day/Temporary Port Plan
- "I think it is the biggest waste of manpower and equipment that I have ever seen. I can unload a thousand LSTs at a time over the open beaches. Why give me something that anybody who's ever seen the sea act upon 150-ton concrete blocks at Casablance knows the first storm will destroy? What's the use of building them just to have them destroyed and litter up the beaches?"
-Admiral John Leslie Hall, US Navy
- It is thought that much of the opposition within the British forces wasn't vocalized due to the fact that the orders for the harbor's construction came from the top.
Attempted Enemy Use of Temporary Harbors
- Germany attempted a similar idea but used smaller crafts that had nowhere near the capacity of Mulberry.
Germany's attempted Mulberry Harbor
Port of Dover
16 million travelers
2.1 million lorries (trucks)
2.8 million cars/motorcycles
The Quebec Conference planned to build two of these in a very short time!
Over 55,000 workers and 600+ companies
210,000 Tons of Steel
1,000,000 Tons of Concrete
Tens of millions of rivets (Remember Rosie the Riveter?)
Currently the largest
building in the world.
45,000 Tons of Steel
440,000 Tons of
6 Years construction
Built to be temporary
210,000 Tons of Steel
1,000,000 Tons of Concrete
6 Months construction time.
Integral Components of the Temporary Harbors
A watertight retaining structure used to work underwater without getting wet.
Works by manually "pumping" out water
Used to construct dams,
bridge piers, and even
The "Phoenix" Caisson
The Winning Design
- 213 were built
- Stretched 11 Miles
- Older Ships were sunk to create
- Many of the sunk ships were
run-down WWI vessels, and still
rest on the ocean floor where
they were sank.
A floating breakwater used to supplement the
Gooseberry's in creating calm waters for the Allies
to unload within.
Over 200 feet long, made of steel, and over 8000 pounds in the water.
Chained together in long
strings to block surface
The Finished Roadways
The axis and allies knew we
needed a major port for any
invasion to succeed.
How effective were the ports?
Mulberry B after the storm -> The busiest port in the world for 6 months
-4.5 Million tons of supplies unloaded
-2.5 Million men unloaded
- Just under 14,000 Men a day, the size of Medline's global force
A Brief Timeline after WW1
Germany officially withdraws from WWI.
Forced to disband armed forces and abandon land gains.
Washington Conference on arms reductions declares WW1 success.
Reduces size of US, British, Japanese, French, and Italian fleets.
US withdraws troops from the still occupied regions of Germany.
Japan begins attacks on China.
China declares war.
Adolf Hitler named Chancellor of the German Reich.
Germany and Japan leave the
League of Nations.
Germany invades Austria.
Austria is annexed oe day Later.
At the Munich Conference, Hitler assures the world this was his last territorial demand.
3 months later, Synagogues
in Germany are ravaged and
many Jews are killed.
Germany invades Poland.
World War 2 officially begins.
What was done with the remains?
Once abandoned, many of the harbors bridges were used to repair bridges damaged throughout France.
Some of the Phoenix’s were transported to plug gaps in levees in Holland.
Much of the steel was salvaged in the 1950s and 60s.
The last movement of a Phoenix unit took place in 1953
Built on the site of the harbours.
Remains are visible just
a few hundred meters
from the museum.
300,000 Visitors in 2013
Over 10 Miles of roadways within each Harbour
It's hard to visualize the size of the harbours, the roadways would seemingly stretch beyond the horizon.
The largest Allied ships could now unload faster, in a tenth of the time of a beach unload.