Mulberry Harbour Conundrum, any Experts?

#1
I am currently working on the story of Plastic Armour, and have come across a bit of a problem in regards to the Mulberry harbours, and thus I need an expert.

I have many many documents saying that Plastic armour was used on 'Whales'. In places PPP shelters were used at one end of them, and PA was laid to provide non-skid surface and provide protection below decks to the machinery. Trouble is, according to the entirety of the internet, this is a 'Whale'.


As you can see that bares no resemblance to what the documents describe. Equally the documents in one place talk of only 23 whales fitted with PA. Which is too small a number for whales as used.
There's too many documents talking of Whales to be one person getting his code names mixed up, its far to universal.
The description of the Whales doesn't match.
Was there another part of the mulberry harbour that was named a Whale? Or did it change its code name halfway through development? Has either the entirety of the admiralty and RE gotten it wrong, or has every historian since WWII gotten it wrong?

You can see why I'm in need of some advice or an expert, so any thoughts?
 
#5
There's me thinking the whale units actually included the lozenge shaped pontoons ("floats") which were both steel and concrete (there are quite a few of the latter still on the banks of Southampton Water

I do know a chap in MOD who pulled the entire mulberry file from the Public Records Office (we needed it for part of the 60th Anniversary of D Day)

I am sure you have seen this already

http://www.mulberryharbour.com/wp-c...es-on-Floating-Bridge-Equipment.-Jan-1944.pdf

Other information, including an excellent bollocking note from Churchill, resides in the Mulberry Room in Marchwood Military Port (or whatever it is called this week)

Edited to add Wiki attributes the name "beetle" to the floats, so maybe I am kerfuddled. That said it also fails to mention them in Southampton water so it may be flawed!
 
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#6
There's me thinking the whale units actually included the lozenge shaped pontoons ("floats") which were both steel and concrete (there are quite a few of the latter still on the banks of Southampton Water

I do know a chap in MOD who pulled the entire mulberry file from the Public Records Office (we needed it for part of the 60th Anniversary of D Day)

I am sure you have seen this already

http://www.mulberryharbour.com/wp-c...es-on-Floating-Bridge-Equipment.-Jan-1944.pdf

Other information, including an excellent bollocking note from Churchill, resides in the Mulberry Room in Marchwood Military Port (or whatever it is called this week)
Got me some reading to do... Lets see if that turns up an answer. Thanks.
 
#8
There's me thinking the whale units actually included the lozenge shaped pontoons ("floats") which were both steel and concrete (there are quite a few of the latter still on the banks of Southampton Water

I do know a chap in MOD who pulled the entire mulberry file from the Public Records Office (we needed it for part of the 60th Anniversary of D Day)

I am sure you have seen this already

http://www.mulberryharbour.com/wp-c...es-on-Floating-Bridge-Equipment.-Jan-1944.pdf

Other information, including an excellent bollocking note from Churchill, resides in the Mulberry Room in Marchwood Military Port (or whatever it is called this week)

Edited to add Wiki attributes the name "beetle" to the floats, so maybe I am kerfuddled. That said it also fails to mention them in Southampton water so it may be flawed!
What was the bollocking note about?
 
#9
I am currently working on the story of Plastic Armour, and have come across a bit of a problem in regards to the Mulberry harbours, and thus I need an expert.

I have many many documents saying that Plastic armour was used on 'Whales'. In places PPP shelters were used at one end of them, and PA was laid to provide non-skid surface and provide protection below decks to the machinery. Trouble is, according to the entirety of the internet, this is a 'Whale'.


As you can see that bares no resemblance to what the documents describe. Equally the documents in one place talk of only 23 whales fitted with PA. Which is too small a number for whales as used.
There's too many documents talking of Whales to be one person getting his code names mixed up, its far to universal.
The description of the Whales doesn't match.
Was there another part of the mulberry harbour that was named a Whale? Or did it change its code name halfway through development? Has either the entirety of the admiralty and RE gotten it wrong, or has every historian since WWII gotten it wrong?

You can see why I'm in need of some advice or an expert, so any thoughts?
Gotten, dear gods you do not deserve a sensible answer Sir
 
#10
What was the bollocking note about?
It is a single sheet of paper the exact recipient of which I forget right now, but on it, in Churchills handwriting, are two simple sentences along the lines of:

"I understand you are experiencing difficulty with the (something I cannot remember). I expect you will resolve it soon"
 
#12
I am currently working on the story of Plastic Armour, and have come across a bit of a problem in regards to the Mulberry harbours, and thus I need an expert.

I have many many documents saying that Plastic armour was used on 'Whales'. In places PPP shelters were used at one end of them, and PA was laid to provide non-skid surface and provide protection below decks to the machinery. Trouble is, according to the entirety of the internet, this is a 'Whale'.


As you can see that bares no resemblance to what the documents describe. Equally the documents in one place talk of only 23 whales fitted with PA. Which is too small a number for whales as used.
There's too many documents talking of Whales to be one person getting his code names mixed up, its far to universal.
The description of the Whales doesn't match.
Was there another part of the mulberry harbour that was named a Whale? Or did it change its code name halfway through development? Has either the entirety of the admiralty and RE gotten it wrong, or has every historian since WWII gotten it wrong?

You can see why I'm in need of some advice or an expert, so any thoughts?
It is possible that the word is 'wale' - wale - Wiktionary the definition of wale

It is common in naval architecture
 
#13
If you wait for about 4 more weeks, chances are we'll be building more mulberrys before we invade France, again :)
 
#15
I am currently working on the story of Plastic Armour, and have come across a bit of a problem in regards to the Mulberry harbours, and thus I need an expert.

I have many many documents saying that Plastic armour was used on 'Whales'. In places PPP shelters were used at one end of them, and PA was laid to provide non-skid surface and provide protection below decks to the machinery. Trouble is, according to the entirety of the internet, this is a 'Whale'.


As you can see that bares no resemblance to what the documents describe. Equally the documents in one place talk of only 23 whales fitted with PA. Which is too small a number for whales as used.
There's too many documents talking of Whales to be one person getting his code names mixed up, its far to universal.
The description of the Whales doesn't match.
Was there another part of the mulberry harbour that was named a Whale? Or did it change its code name halfway through development? Has either the entirety of the admiralty and RE gotten it wrong, or has every historian since WWII gotten it wrong?

You can see why I'm in need of some advice or an expert, so any thoughts?
Quick answer on WW2 pontoons, dock piers were code named "Whale" . There is an example, the Bordeaux bridge over the Noireau at St Denis de Méré. It's a metal span from the floating Mulberry B at Arromanches; aiui the original bridge was destroyed by the Resistance. "Whales" were code for bridging-piece floating roadways ("whale sections") with their distinctive shape - causeways for moving supplies ashore. They were connected to "Spud" piers, floating barges up to 200 feet long and 60 feet wide. It was all self-contained including generators, paraphernalia and even crew accommodation.

One whale was strong enough to take heavy armour and tanks over 40 tons.
1550430862844.png

One surviving example of a dock pier code-named "Whale" that would have been supported by "Beetles" was brought to Duxford a couple of years ago. Another type is the British (Donald) Bailey bridge designed in 1940 for easy construction with basic tools.

MULBERRY HARBOURS, MULBERRY A, MULBERRY B,
 
#16
I found this link which lists the pier heads as whales..... Mulberry Harbour
There certainly seems to be a lot of misinformation out there concerning the code names, very confusing.
The pier heads were steel with all the kit on so virtually self supporting, so coating them in plastic armour would make sense, you wouldn`t want one damaged.
 
#17
I found this link which lists the pier heads as whales..... Mulberry Harbour
There certainly seems to be a lot of misinformation out there concerning the code names, very confusing.
The pier heads were steel with all the kit on so virtually self supporting, so coating them in plastic armour would make sense, you wouldn`t want one damaged.
Interesting. I learned about the Mulberry system back in the early 1980s when I did my Port Operators course (Marchwood was originally one of the RE sites where "Whale" was assembled.

And that may give us a clue: as I said previously my recollection was that "whale" referred to the whole assembly, not just the roadway.
 
#18
And that may give us a clue: as I said previously my recollection was that "whale" referred to the whole assembly, not just the roadway.
That could fit, because I just turned up this little bit:


Key phrase there is 'Pierhead pontoon'. Which in modern parlance seems to be the 'Spud'. I just wish I could find some close up pictures of the structures and main deck on the spuds to confirm it.
 
#19
From the "Mulberry Harbour by Geoffrey Futter" series in Airfix Magazine.

Vol. 23 No. 6; February 1982; Part 7:

"Mulberry Harbour comprised three main elements; these being breakwaters, pierheads and floating roadways which connected the pierheads to the shore. The breakwaters, which consisted of the 'Bombardon' floating breakwaters situated outside the harbour limits to shelter deep water shipping, the 'Gooseberry' blockship breakwaters and the 'Phoenix' reinforced concrete caisson permanent harbour breakwaters...

...The pierheads, and the floating roadways together with a number of associated devices and equipment, were collectively code-named 'Whale'."
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
Check out this kindle book on Amazon - it's got the story of the development of plastic armour.

The Wheezers & Dodgers: The Inside Story of Clandestine Weapon Development in World War II

It was billed as the only armour plate that will take a drawing pin...

Wordsmith
 

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