The Mulberry Harbour at Arromanches cont.3
The piers were linked to the beach by a floating
roadway and over ten miles of these roads completed the harbour.
Each section of roadway was 160 yards long.
The plan called for each element to be anchored to the sea bed by a specially
The British took longer to construct their harbour than the Americans who took
many shortcuts in the construction.
The Americans believed that one anchor to six elements was sufficient.
Both harbours were nearly completed by June 17th when the great storm broke and
lasted for four days.
Even during the storm, supplies had continued to be unloaded, but nearly 800
craft were washed ashore.
The American harbour suffered the most damage as it was in a more exposed
position, but the assembly methods may have contributed.
The Americans abandoned the inner harbour and some elements were towed to
Arromanches to be used on the British harbour.
Smaller ships were able to unload directly onto the "Whales" and there was even
an area where landing craft could lower their bow door and unload directly onto
This was a forerunner of the "Roll On Roll Off" ferry system still used
throughout the world.
The British Mulberry continued to be used until November 19th 1944, a month
longer than planned.
The only structures visible today are the Caissons, and some of them have
disappeared due to the effect of being subjected to two tides a day for nearly
Some of the gaps are not due to erosion. After the liberation of the port of
Antwerp in Holland early in 1945, some of the dykes around Walcheren Island had
been damaged following bombing raids by the Allies.
Several of the Caissons were floated and towed to repair the breakwaters, and
are still there today.