THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN
DECLASSIFIED PER DOD DIR 5200.9
of 27 Sep 1958
USS LCI(L) 85
24 JUNE 1944
ACTION REPORT FOR OPERATION ____________.
SUNK 10 MILES OFF THE COAST OF FRANCE AS A RESULT OF EXPLOSION OF TELLER MINE AND SHELLFIRE SUFFERED WHILE LANDING TROOPS ON OMAHA BEACH, BAIE DE LA SEINE, FRANCE ON 6 JUNE 1944.
ELEVENTH AMPHIBIOUS FORCE
SECOND ENDORSEMENT to
CO US LCI(L)-85 ltr.
dated 24 June 1944
Assault Force "O"
To: Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet
Subject: LCI(L)-85 Action Report for Assault on VIERVILLE-COLLEVILLE Sector, Coast of Normandy.
2. The Assault Force Commander notes with satisfaction the aggressive action of the Commanding Officer of the LCI(L)-85 and exemplary conduct of the ship's company while beaching this craft under heavy fire and suffering damage by mines.
3. Subsequent action in attempting to save the vessel was outstanding, the ship's company continuing their efforts under fire and until the time the vessel capsized.
J.L. HALL, Jr.
CO US LCI(L)-85
ComLCI(L) Flot 10
LCI(L) FLOTILLA TEN
3 August, 1944.
Group Commander 124.3
To: Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet
Via: Chain of Command
Subject: LCI(L) 85 action report for operation____________.
M.H. IMLAY [CAPTAIN, USCG]
24 June 1944
Commanding Officer, LCI (L) 85
To: Commander, Task Force 124
Via: (1) Commander, LCI (L) Flotilla Ten
(2) Commander, Task Group 124.3
Subject: Action Report for Operation Neptune
1. This is a report of the action of the USS LCI (L) 85 during Operation Neptune.
2. The USS LCI(L)L 85 sank on 6 June 1944 at approximately 1430 about 10 miles off the coast of France as a result of a teller mine exploding under the bow and shellfire suffered while landing troops on the beach assaulted by Assault Force "0". All ship's personnel were saved.
3. LCI (L) 85 arrived at the transport area with the other ships attached to Assault Force "0" and circled in the LCI collecting area until times to make the run into the beach. The ship was scheduled to hit Omaha Beach, sector Easy Red, at K plus 120 which made it at 0830 on 6 June 1944. At 0820 we arrived at the line of departure. The primary control vessel for Easy Red beach called to us by loud hailer and told us to go into the beach at this point. As a result of the strong tide running along the beach, the control vessel had drifted until it was almost past Easy Red beach. We actually landed in the left flank of Easy Red or the right flank of Fox Green rather than the right flank of Easy Red as scheduled.
4. We grounded at 0830 and put out both ramps. The water was too deep for the troops to wade ashore so we retracted both ramps and began to back off the beach. As the anchor was secured, something hit the aft winch causing her to stop running. There were no LCVP's in sight to help unload so we went about a hundred yards to the right and made another beaching.
5. This beaching was made without the anchor as the winch would not start. As the ship grounded a teller mine exploded under the bow splitting the void tank. The port ramp went down and the troops began going ashore. Shells and machine gun fire began to hit us. About fifty troops got down the port ramp before a shell hit it and blew it off the sponsons and over the side. As the starboard ramp had not gone down and the wounded men were jamming the deck, we backed off the beach again.
6. A check revealed that we had approximately 15 dead and 30 wounded men all in the forward part of the ship. We had been hit approximately 25 times by shells. Fire was starting in troop compartments 1, 2, and 3. Water was coming in slowly from shell holes below the water line and the hole made by the mine. No hits had been suffered from the engine room aft.
7. We backed off the beach and stood off about 200 yards. The damage control party began fighting the fire and within 30 minutes had them out. In compartments 1 and 2 the fire had been bunks, blankets, etc. burning. In compartment 3 oil from a punctured fuel tank was also burning.
8. As we were carrying several Army and Navy doctors and our pharmacists' mates, the wounded received immediate care.
9. All but about 30 of the troops that were able to go ashore were sent in by LCVP. We could not get enough to complete unloading, so we proceeded to the USS SAMUEL CHASE to unload the casualties. We went along the CHASE about 1200. We had a bad list from the water in the compartments forward.
10. The damage control party was making an attempt to pump out the water with three Pacific Pumpers but it was not too successful. The strainers on the pumpers would clog up after five minutes running and would have to be cleaned.
11. By 1330 , all the wounded and dead were transferred to the CHASE. We backed away from her and were taken in tow by the AT 98. We had such a bad list that the tugboat captain and I decided to try to pump the water rather than make the beach.
12. The attempt was unsuccessful and the LCI (L) 85 capsized about 1430.
The crew scrambled on board the tug before she went over. She turned slowly on her side and then bottom up immediately. A demolition charge was put in her stern and she then went down completely.
13. Casualties to the crew were four men wounded. These men were placed on the CHASE for treatment.
14. Confidential publications and confidential material on board was on the bridge in a weighted sack and went down with the ship in 14 fathoms of water.
Lt. (jg) Coit Hendley USCGR