Task Force 122
After Action Reports
Western Task Force
INVASION OF NORTHERN FRANCE
WESTERN TASK FORCE
From: Naval Commander Western Task Force (Commander Task Force 122)
It can be said without fear of contradiction that minesweeping was the keystone of the arch in this operation. All of the waters were suitable for mining, and minesweeping plans of unprecedented complexity were required. The performance of minesweepers can only be described as magnificent. The passage of the Western Task Force to the assault area, and of the assault waves and supporting ships up to the beaches, without loss from mines, is the best testimonial to the effectiveness of their work. An equally high standard was maintained in the unremitting daily labor of sweeping the assault area during the build-up phase. It was not until the appearance of an entirely new type of mine that serious anxiety was felt as to waters pronounced “clear” by minesweeping officers. Losses from mines were very small.
In the training stages the YMS’s were greatly handicapped for lack of organization into permanent squadrons. In minesweeping it is absolutely essential that ships train and remain together as a unit. Effective sweeping results can never be attained unless this is done. At present all YMS’s operate independently and are not organized into squadrons until an operation makes it necessary. It is recommended, therefore, that YMS’s be organized into squadrons of tan ships. Of the ten, two should be fitted and trained only for dan laying. Sweeping for an amphibious landing is not effective unless the dan laying is carried out to perfection. Two other ships should act as spares and the remaining six, and no more for Oropesa sweeping, carry out the sweep. In addition, it is recommended that each squadron have a squadron Commander of Lieutenant Commander rank. As space on a YMS does not permit an additional officer it would be necessary for the squadron commander to command his own ship. This is done very successfully in the British Navy with both Fleet and Motor Minesweeping Flotillas.
The laying of permanent ocean buoys to replace dan buoys did not occur soon enough to be of any use to follow up convoys. It is recommended that sufficient buoys layers be available to lay permanent buoys on D-Day as dan buoys drift and become useless as channel markers than twelve hours.