The amphibious landings on the various beaches were staggered in time in order to take into account tidal variations. H-hour for the assault on Utah Beach was set for 6:30 a.m., an hour earlier than the scheduled landings on the British beaches. After receiving fire from German shore batteries for some minutes, however, at 5:36 Rear Admiral Morton L. Deyo, USN, the commander of the bombardment group off Utah, ordered his ships to return fire. The American battleship Nevada, a survivor of Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the two American heavy cruisers Tuscaloosa and Quincy and several British warships began firing their pre-landing bombardment.
Throughout the day the big warships and the smaller destroyers fired on targets of opportunity and supplied on-call fire for the troops of the United States 4thInfantry Division. At one point during the initial fighting on June 6, Nevada’s 14-inch guns destroyed a concentration of German tanks and artillery that was hindering the advance by paratroops of the 82ndAirborne Division.
Bombarding Force A, supporting Utah Beach, consisted of:
HMS Black Prince(Cruiser)
HNMS Soemba(Dutch) (Gunboat)