Location

Arlington, Virginia

Session Start Date

8-11-2008

Session End Date

8-16-2008

Abstract

This paper presents an historical account of covert soil sampling operations conducted by the British Royal Navy’s No. 1 Combined Operations Pilotage and Beach Reconnaissance Party on December 31, 1943, near Luc-sur-Mer, France at the beach later given the codename “Sword.” With the tactical goal of determining whether the beach sand would support heavy invasion craft such as tanks, trucks, and bulldozers, this commando-style mission provided the field data by which the Supreme Allied Command established the site for the main landing beaches where the initial assault phase of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, took place on June 6, 1944. Incorporated into a site characterization lecture, this case study illustrates soil exploration methodology and introduces students to the nature, practice and significance of geotechnical engineering as a profession that can directly influence world events and even the course of modern history.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Appears In

International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering

Meeting Name

Sixth Conference

Publisher

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

8-11-2008

Document Version

Final Version

Rights

© 2008 Missouri University of Science and Technology, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

File Type

text

Language

English

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Soil Sampling at Sword Beach – Luc-Sur-Mer, France, 1943: How Geotechnical Engineering Influenced the D-Day Invasion and Directed the Course of Modern History

Arlington, Virginia

This paper presents an historical account of covert soil sampling operations conducted by the British Royal Navy’s No. 1 Combined Operations Pilotage and Beach Reconnaissance Party on December 31, 1943, near Luc-sur-Mer, France at the beach later given the codename “Sword.” With the tactical goal of determining whether the beach sand would support heavy invasion craft such as tanks, trucks, and bulldozers, this commando-style mission provided the field data by which the Supreme Allied Command established the site for the main landing beaches where the initial assault phase of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, took place on June 6, 1944. Incorporated into a site characterization lecture, this case study illustrates soil exploration methodology and introduces students to the nature, practice and significance of geotechnical engineering as a profession that can directly influence world events and even the course of modern history.