D-Day Landings Rehearsals – Exercise Tiger
Tragedy on Slapton Sands
70 yrs ago, in the last week of April 1944, the Allies staged a “Dress Rehearsal” for the planned landings on UTAH beach in June 1944.
The exercise took place on the night of 28th-29th April and the convoy carrying U.S, Troops for the invasion set sail into the English Channel and the headed towards Slapton Sands on the south coast of Devon. The convoy was intercepted by German fast torpedo boats (S-Boats, or E-Boats as the Allies called them) and two of the transport ships were sunk, one was badly damaged but survived. A total of 967 American servicemen died. The Allies learned much about the appalling state of their communications between convoys and their escorts, lessons which were applied successfully during the actual landings. There were only 197 casualties on UTAH Beach on D-Day. The disaster at Slapton Sands was hushed-up for more than 30 years before the events of that night became public knowledge. Ken Small, a local historian, called the casualties ‘The Forgotten Dead’…We shall not forget them.