Seaman 3rd Class George A.
Wehrle witnessed the aerial support and invasion of Normandy from
aboard the heavy cruiser USS Tuscaloosa. His diary
recounted the artillery support provided by the ship for ground
troops landing June 6, 1944 during D-Day.
June 6, 1944
Several planes have passed over us, C-47's Which too - Paratroop's
in. As far as you can see there are L.S.Ts. & L.C. Vs. Two
Planes were shot down, Unidentified. Lot of A.A. fire ahead.
Everything has been quiet for past two hours Searchlights on Beach
at 045. Bombs were dropped on Beach & fires have started.
Shifted the Watch. T-II has the watch. Considerable A.A. on Beach
& a large explosion hit where the ack ack was. Our Planes must
have hit jack pot. Anchoring. A plane crashed in the water.
Anchored @ 0238 Terrific explosion on Beach lit up the sky. T-III
has watch - all Turrets on alert. Two contacts astern of P. T.
boats making 30 knots. T-III is ready to fire. Burst of Parachute
flares dropped by Army Air Force over Enemy. The U. S. Army is
knocking "hell" out of the Enemy. Huge fires have been started
& we can hear the bombs bursting on the targets. The landing
Craft are passing us & heading for the Beach. Another wave of
Planes just hit the Beach. Target is illuminated again. Bombs will
be dropped shortly. There is plenty of smoke & targets are very
hard to see. We are getting underway. Heading in Bombardment set
up. Target (one able) Large Groups of Transport Planes constantly
heading toward the beach to drop Paratroops. They are doing a
wonderful job so far. The British Army Captain on Board says that
He is glad that he is with us instead of being on the beach with
the army. A tremendous fire ahead of us as We head for our
Anchorage. Lighting up the whole Area & sky. Bombardment will
start @ 0550 Anchored in position for bombardment. Turrets are
shifted to Automatic & train. Another Plane is shot down.
Underway again, moving closer to the beach. The Enemy is firing at
us. Splashes from shells are on our stern & stbd. side. very
close Quincy has started firing Contacted our spotting Plane. Enemy
Fighters are overhead. Dogfight overhead. Quincy just fired again
on the beach. Another splash on our Stern. Four more minutes before
we open up. Two Subs are sighted by Lookouts. Destroyers are
closing rapidly. "Navada" opened fire. T one Stand-by load one Gun.
Fire one Gun. Commence Firing. 0552 - Opened Fire on Beach - one
Single Salvo every two minutes. Five Inch also firing. Smoke screen
being laid by Planes Check fire for Main Battery. Target #9 next.
"Black Prince" just asked for help on target #9.