One of two artificial harbors created by the Allied forces in June 1944 to land material and troops immediately following the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France.

Logistically, the invasion of France was incredibly difficult for the Allied forces. Not only was the crossing point relatively wide, the Nazi occupiers had had four years to provide a "sea wall" of defenses, including barbed wire, tank obstacles, trenches, mines, and heavily armed pill boxes. Most heavily protected of all were the deep harbors. The Nazis understood that for a successful invasion of France to occur, the Allies would need harbors to move heavy equipment, fuel, material and men. Albert Speer's men had ensured that choice Normandy harbors (e.g., Cherbourg and Le Havre) were heavily fortified, as part of The Atlantic Wall.

The Allied solution to this problem was a bit of brilliant logistics called a "Mulberry Harbor". They created a harbor where none existed. Hundreds of huge floating concrete caisson (known as "phoenix") were fabricated in Great Britain and towed across the English Channel. Seventeen old ships were scuttled to provide the initial breakwall, and following that, a total of 115 phoenix elements were placed. The docks and ramps were designed to float--they raised and lowered with the tide, so they could operate 24 hours a day.

The English Mulberry harbor (aka "Port Winston", aka Mulberry B) was built at Arromanches, on Gold Beach. An American harbor (aka Mulberry A) was built near Omaha Beach but was destroyed by a storm. The harbor at Arromanches was also damaged, but was repaired. Over ten months, Port Winston was the landing point for 2.5 million men, 500000 vehicles, and 4 million tons of supplies for the liberation of France and Europe.

After 50 years of ocean storms, much of the material is now destroyed or scavenged. However, twenty of the phoenix blocks remain to this day.

Sources:
Musée du Débarquement, Arromanches, France
Encyclopedia Britannica

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