I have seen versions of the above image in history textbooks. A quick glance and brief text were enough to know that this was a harbor constructed to support D-Day Invasion on Normandy. An impressive number of ships, lots of activity, and roadways stretching into the harbor seem to tell the story. What I did not know was the detailed plan behind the harbor. Nicknamed Mulberry B is was located in Arromanches, France on Gold Beach with the intention of serving the British and Canadian forces. The harbor was completely devised using old ships scuttled in place, and pre-fabricated pieces flooded on-site as no historical harbor existed in the location. It was planned over a year in advance, constructed in England, barged over behind the invasion forces on June 6, 1944, and almost finished on June 19th when a ferocious storm hit it. Mulberry B survived while the United State’s harbor, Mulberry A, on Omaha Beach was abandoned due to storm damage. All Allied supplies and equipment disembarked upon this floating structure, thoughtfully designed to adapt to 30 feet of tidal flow. Today, a few remnants sit above sea level, enough to give perspective to the magnitude of Operation Overlord. The Allied forces understood that getting personnel on the beach was the first obstacle. The second challenge was hastily placing enough equipment and supplies on-shore to avoid the Axis time to pin the Allied troop against the Channel.
It is worth remembering the power of thinking about the steps beyond the next step. The actions that are required to allow us to thrive once we have reached a critical benchmark. The planning and execution of a temporary harbor made a profound difference to the outcome of World Wat Two.