The sausages were apparently the brain-child of a Colonel Wyman. The key aspects of his "sausage plan" were as follows:
Men and equipment to be delivered to Normandy reported to sausage-shaped staging areas
from Cornwall to East Sussex beginning the second week in May 1944.
Each of the areas circled contained multitudes of smaller "sausages."
In the Portsmouth area alone, the vast numbers of men arriving and their equipment were marshalled in 18 large camps north of the city. This concentration of sausages, originally expected to hold 16,000 troops, actually held nearly 30,000 by the end of May. North of the other major port in the East, Southampton, many camps sprung up in the New Forest area near Romsey. Other camps were actually established in the city itself, on Southampton Common, for example. The total number of sausages for this area was reportedly over 20.
All units slated for embarkation to Normandy as part of Operation Neptune received orders to report to these camps throughout May and into early June. All communication was frozen when these orders came down; there were no more passes issued. Units all over England broke their regular camp in the dead of night and pulled out.
Once in a sausage, the routine was pretty much the same everywhere. All vehicles were equipped with the water, gasoline, rations, and other supplies that would be necessary upon landing. Vehicles were also water-proofed and equipped with snorkel tubes that extended well over the tops of the vehicles. All motor and drive-train vents were sealed with this water-proofing material as well as the entire electrical ignition systems. The water-proofing was needed in the event that disembarkation would be directly into the water.
The Allies were also concerned that the Germans would meet the opening of the Second Front with a chemical response. Consequently, before embarkation the U.S. Army re-issued every man with a new wool uniform, which had been heavily impregnated with chemicals. This thick anti-gas paste was designed to stop gas penetrating the clothing, but had the side effect of making the clothes foul smelling and unpleasantly greasy and stiff to the touch. Over the top of his wool pants and shirt, the GI wore a similarly treated M41 field jacket. No GI who landed at Normandy in June 1944 will ever forget these stiff, smelly outfits. Each man also was given an inflatable life belt to be worn under the armpits that could be inflated with a CO2 cartridge. If the cartridge failed they could be inflated by mouth through two tubes on the front of the belt. French invasion money was distributed along with a French phrase book. Briefings were held on what to expect on the beaches. Security was tight and mail pickup and delivery was suspended. Some men likened the sausages to giant livestock pens, "the kind they kept cows in before sending them off to the slaughter."
By the end of May the roads around these areas were crammed with long columns of military vehicles of all shapes and sizes. The atmosphere was strange say the British civilians who lived in close proximity to the sausages. The troops' manner had changed; there was no usual banter between the local children and the soldiers. In previous months the military had developed a good rapport with the local people, especially the children, as many of the soldiers were not much older. By May 29/30, there was generally not a soldier or an army vehicle to be seen. Suddenly there were silentempty streets and green empty spaces after they had gone. Everyone could guess why they had departed but where to was the big mystery.
The following description of the sausages comes to us from the 81st Tank Battalion (5th U.S. Armored Division) history:
The maintenance personnel had their hands full checking over every vehicle, painting, greasing, modifying the mortar platoon's guns, welding shields on the front of the drivers and bow gunner's hatches on the tanks, rebuilding the light tank engines, assembling trucks and trailers. The work progessed slowly, and long before it was completed the Battalion was ordered to move to Truro, in Cornwall, for the purpose of setting up and maintaining tent camps for use of the invading troops while they were marshalling for the invasion of France.
|Romsey, Hants||C-14||86th (Hertfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery||Source|
|Saltern Park||L||14th Chemical Maintenance Co.||Source|
|Chasewater||N/A||635th Tank Destroyer Battalion (U.S.)||Source|
|Antony Park, Plymouth||N/A||N/A||Source|
|Saltram Park, Plymouth||N/A||N/A||Source|
|Mount Edgecumbe Park, Plymouth||N/A||N/A||Source|
|Lupton Camp, Dartmouth||N/A||4th Cavalry Reconaissance Troop (U.S.)||Source
Used for Force "U" (Utah Beach)
|Swansea Area||N/A||2nd Engineer Combat Battalion (U.S.)||Source|
|Bournemouth Area||N/A||467th AAA AW Battalion (SP) (U.S.)||Source|
|Truro, Cornwall||N/A||81st Tank Battalion, 5th Armored Division (U.S.)||Source|