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Post Slapton Sands Disaster, 1944
Created by John Eipper on 05/02/19 5:02 AM

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Slapton Sands Disaster, 1944 (David Pike, France, 05/02/19 5:02 am)

But yes, we did discuss the Exercise Tiger tragedy on WAIS a decade or so ago. When I lived in Torquay in the 1940s I visited Slapton Sands, to find only a wooden marker commemorating a fatal accident! There's a lot more to this than what you read on Wikipedia. It was a true disaster.

JE comments:  I found this undated and unarchived WAIS item from our old days of yellow postings ("yellow" in the literal, not figurative sense).  It appears to be from the late 1990s:


How is it we didn't visit Slapton Sands and its monument when WAIS met in Torquay in 2011?  The beach is only ten miles or so down the road.  The veil of secrecy over Exercise Tiger still holds.

David, do you know if anyone was punished for the fiasco?  The Germans did their part, but the biggest blunder was a lack of communication.  Several boatloads of trainees got the timing wrong and stormed the beaches under a deluge of "friendly" artillery fire.

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  • Slapton Sands Disaster; Admiral Don P. Moon (John Heelan, UK 05/02/19 10:38 AM)
    Regarding the Slapton Sands fiasco, did not the Officer Commanding delay H Hour? According to Wiki and the subsequent book by Ken Small, the American commander of the exercise, Rear Admiral Don P. Moon, decided to delay H-hour for 60 minutes, until 08:30.  Some of the landing craft did not receive word of the change. (Sadly, Moon later committed suicide.)

    Landing on Utah beach at their original scheduled time, the second wave came under fire, suffering an unknown number of casualties. Rumours circulated along the fleet that as many as 450 men were killed. Further, I seem to remember that the intelligence about Slapton Sands beach was also faulty, resulting in some of the LSTs beaching on sandbanks just offshore. The heavy armour crews drowned as their vehicles slipped down into the deep channels landside of the sandbanks that had scoured out those channels. A total tragedy!

    There have been several books and films about this disaster. Those of us who live by the sea are aware the dangers of sandbanks causing deep channels with currents that each year carry the unwary (especially kids in inflatables) out to sea and a watery grave.

    JE comments:  Admiral Moon's official cause of death was suicide due to "battle fatigue."  Given that he shot himself just months after Slapton Sands, remorse may well have been the real reason.

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