USS Corry (DD-463) leads the Normandy Invasion


June 6, 1944

More than 5,000 Allied vessels, including some 700 warships, crossed the English Channel for the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe. The destroyer USS Corry (DD-463) led this massive Allied assault force from southern England to Normandy, France.   

Destroyer USS Corry (DD-463)

D-Day Operation Order Indicating Lead Convoy:

Convoys bound for Utah Beach (Force "U") made up the right flank of the invasion armada. Convoy U-2B was out farthest ahead of all other convoys crossing the English Channel. Destroyer USS Fitch (DD-462) was close by the Corry, as noted below in the operation order. See further below for renowned author Cornelius Ryan's details on the Corry being the lead destroyer of the invasion. 

2G11Phib/A16-3(3)  Operation Order 4-44

2G11Phib/A16-3(3)  Operation Order 4-44  Annex Able

Above records source: U.S. National Archives - Declassified.

Below is author Cornelius Ryan's signed copy of his classic D-Day book, The Longest Day, along with chapter segments on the Corry.  

In 1966, USS Corry Chief Radio Technician McKernon met The Longest Day author Cornelius Ryan, who signed his copy of the classic D-Day book, as seen below.

Cornelius Ryan (left)
with Francis McKernon
WNHC TV station
New Haven, Connecticut  1966

USS Corry Chief Radio Technician
Francis "Mac" McKernon,
in charge of all radar, sonar,
and radio operations and repair.






  Below: Signed copy of
  The Longest Day
  by Cornelius Ryan

For Frank McKernon
  who was there on
  the "Corry" — the
  destroyer that led
  the invasion —
  my best wishes
  Cornelius Ryan



From the first-hand account of USS Corry Officer, Ensign Robert Beeman: 

"We now learned that we would be heading for a stretch of the French coast at the western end of the Bay of the Seine, a segment of the Cotentin Peninsula that had now been code-named Utah. We would sail from Plymouth two days before D-Day,... - the second part of the lead convoy in the invasion fleet."

[The first part of the convoy would be the mine sweepers and their support vessels.] 

From the first-hand account of USS Corry Chief Petty Officer Francis "Mac" McKernon: 

"We were told that the Corry was given the honor of leading the invasion because our gunners had hit every one of their targets and achieved the highest score when shooting at mock villages during the pre-invasion exercises in northern Britain.

Following are excerpts from Cornelius Ryan's classic D-Day book, The Longest Day:

(Chapter 7) Lieutenant commander George D. Hoffman, thirty-three-year-old skipper of the destroyer U.S.S. Corry, looked through his binoculars at the long column of ships plowing steadily across the English Channel behind him.... The young commanderhe had "fleeted up" on the Corry from a lieutenant to skipper in less than three yearswas immensely proud to be leading this magnificent convoy.... 

Postponement of original June 5, 1944 D-Day:

...the whole convoy had been ordered back to England—no reason given.... [Hoffman's] job and that of the other destroyers now was to wheel this monstrous convoy around, and quickly. Because he was in the lead his immediate concern was the flotilla of mine sweepers several miles ahead. He could not contact them by radio because a strict radio silence had been imposed. "All engines ahead full speed," Hoffman ordered. "Close up on the mine sweepers. Signalman on the light."

After the foul weather postponement,
the attack is on for June 6, 1944.
Below is Ryan's description of the vast invasion armada

(Chapter 13) For now back in the Channel, plowing through the choppy gray waters, a phalanx of ships bore down on Hitler’s Europe — the might and fury of the free world unleashed at last. They came, rank after relentless rank, ten lanes wide, twenty miles across, five thousand ships of every description. There were fast new attack transports, slow rust-scarred freighters, small ocean liners, Channel steamers, hospital ships, weather-beaten tankers, coasters and swarms of fussing tugs. There were endless columns of shallow-draft landing ships — great wallowing vessels, some of them almost 350 feet long. Many of these and the other heavier transports carried smaller landing craft for the actual beach assault — more than 1,500 of them. Ahead of the convoys were processions of mine sweepers, Coast Guard cutters, buoy-layers and motor launches. Barrage balloons flew above the ships. Squadrons of fighter planes weaved below the clouds. And surrounding this fantastic cavalcade of ships packed with men, guns, tanks, motor vehicles and supplies, and excluding small naval vessels, was a formidable array of 702 warships.

Destroyer USS Corry (DD-463)

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