Posted on: June 5, 2019 1:53 pm

CAT D7 World War 2 Armored DozerExactly 75 years ago today Allied forces comprised of American, British and Canadian troops successfully completed one of the largest amphibious invasion operations in the history of warfare, the Operation known as Neptune, was part of Operation Overlord, more commonly known as D-Day. Did you know Dozers, such as the CAT® D7 played a huge part in demolishing German defenses during the landings?

“Our heavy stuff is now rolling ashore and we not only have a solid grip on the beachhead but are thrusting deep inland.The beach is jammed with troops and bulldozers for many miles, and now it has been quiet for 15 minutes, which apparently means the German big guns are knocked out.”
AP Reporter Roger Greene From The Normandy Beaches

Armored Dozers, which was a standard CAT® D7 with armor plating over the engine and cab, and tank Dozers were used both during the invasion at Normandy as well as after the fighting on the beaches had ceased and greatly helped Allied soldiers push inland as they sought to liberate Europe. These machines were used to clear beach obstacles and roads as well as fill bomb craters and remove disabled landing craft. The Allies also used the machines to plow up mine fields, breach hedgerows bordering battlefields, bury captured bunkers and as a way to clear a path while firing on the enemy.

In describing the usefulness of the Dozers during the landings on Omaha and Utah beach, a chapter from The Corps of Engineers: The War Against Germany, says:

“The remaining one provided the engineers an alternative to blowing up the obstacles, an increasingly hazardous undertaking as more troops and vehicles crowded onto the beaches. Instead of using demolitions, which sent shards of metal from the obstacles careening around the area, the teams set about removing the mines from stakes, ramps, hedgehogs, and Belgian gates, and let the tank dozers, joined later in the day by several armored bulldozers, shove the obstacles out of the way as long as the tide permitted. Pushed ashore after 0800 by the inrushing water, the gapping teams helped move wounded men off the tidal flat and consolidated equipment and the supply of explosives to await the next ebb.”

After the invasion, more dozers were brought in to clear a path for the Allies off the beaches. The book tells another story of dozer operator heroics where soldiers attempting to move tanks inland had blown through a German minefield to create a road. But the tanks were still struggling to get traction on the road which was near an antitank ditch. In order to fill that tank ditch and create a traversable path for the tanks, Pvt. Vinton Dove, a bulldozer operator of Company C of the 37th Engineer Battalion and Pvt. William J. Shoemaker took turns operating a Dozer until the task was done in the face of severe enemy fire. For their actions, Dove and Shoemaker were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

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