As part of the planning for the D-Day landings the vital first step to enabling both the bombardment and troop deployment vessels to safely carry out their objectives was to clear mines from their approach channels. This job fell to the minesweepers, which formed flotillas of nine vessels of varying classes. The area cleared by the minesweepers was known as the ‘spout’. The eastern and western Task Forces were assigned three and two battleships respectively, which were situated in deeper waters and given the task of firing on the heaviest gunnery positions. Smaller destroyers located closer to the shore would provide artillery support to the areas where beachheads would be established. In the event, many of ships had to fire without spotter guidance against the heaviest fortifications, nestled at the sides of the bay. After the invasion there were complaints that Omaha beach in particular did not receive enough naval artillery support.
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