J.C.S. Files

Memorandum by the British Chiefs of Staff1

most secret
C.C.S. 314

Allocation of Landing Craft

(Operation Overlord—Vehicle Lift)

We have been examining the landing craft position for operation Overlord . It appears probable that there will be a shortage of vehicle lift of 870 vehicles, or 13 per cent of the total lift, compared with the calculations made at Trident .2 This shortage is made up as follows:
  • LCT (3 or 4)—57
  • LCT (5)—15
The reasons for this shortage are as follows:
164 LCG (M) which it was hoped to build in the United Kingdom, will not be ready in time. In order to compensate to some extent for this and in order to provide supporting fire for the U.S. assaults, it has been necessary to convert 43 LCT (3 and 4) to LCT(R) or LCG(L).
In the Trident calculations it was assumed that the 44 LCT (4 and 5) employed in close mobile net protection duties with the Fleet at Scapa Flow, would all be available for Overlord . Recent developments in anti-ship weapons make it impossible to dispense with this type of protection. Every effort is being made to substitute other types of craft and 15 LCT’s have been released. The Admiralty are going to try and release more, but at present they must retain 14 LCT (4) and 15 LCT (5).
Under the Trident decisions, 18 LCT’s were to be brought back from the Mediterranean for Overlord . It will be necessary for these to sail before bad weather starts in the Bay of Biscay. Admiral Cunningham has been asked whether these craft are taking part in Avalanche and when they can be released. The importance of ensuring their passage home has been emphasized. Owing to the casualties in Husky having been less than expected, we may get more back from this source, which would help us reduce the deficit. But we cannot count on this yet.
We have studied various methods by which the shortage in lift for Overlord could be wiped out. It seems that the only practicable method would be to arrange by some means an increase in the number [Page 1028] of LCT(6) available for Overlord from American sources. The British Chiefs of Staff ask that the possibility of this should be explored.
  1. For the action taken on this paper at the 112th Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, August 19, 1943, see ante, p. 892.
  2. See Coakley and Leighton, p. 72.