743rd Tank Battalion
Company A of the 743rd Tank Battalion, commanded by Captain Vodra Phillips, consisted of 16 M4 Sherman tanks and 8 tankdozers (2 tanks and 1 tankdozer per LCT(A)) and was planned to land on Easy Green, Dog Red, Dog White and Dog Green sectors of Omaha Beach at H-5 Hour (6:25 a.m.).
Companies B and C, commanded by Captains Charles Ehmka and Ned Eldar, consisted of 16 DD tanks each and were planned to land on Dog Green and Dog White sectors of Omaha Beach at H-10 Hour (6:20 a.m.).
|LCT(A)-2227||3||Landed on beach.|
|LCT(A)-2273||3||Landed on beach.|
|LCT(A)-2050||3||Landed on beach.|
|LCT(A)-2124||3||Landed on beach.|
|LCT(A)-2307||3||Landed on beach.|
|LCT(A)-2075||3||Landed on beach.|
|LCT-535||4||Landed on beach.|
|LCT-586||4||Landed on beach.|
|LCT-587||4||Landed on beach.|
|LCT-589||4||Landed on beach.|
|LCT-588||4||Landed on beach.|
|LCT-590||4||Landed on beach.|
|LCT-591||4||Landed on beach.|
|LCT-713||4||Landed on beach.|
The DD Tanks were originally meant to be launched from their LCTs approximately 6,000 yards from the shore, but the rough waters off of Omaha Beach convinced Captain Ned Eldar to take the 743rd's tanks directly onto the beach. The eight LCT's landed on the beach at approximately 6:40 a.m., about 15 minutes later than planned. One LCT of Company B was sunk by an artillery shell just as it was landing.
Although the 743rd had had more success in landing its tanks on the beach than the 741st Tank Battalion, the tanks did not have proper infantry support and had difficulty locating targets due to the positions of the German defenses. The tanks were also easy targets for German artillery fire, and as the tide rapidly rose they quickly lost room to maneuver.
A promotional shot from Saving Private Ryan does show one tank on the beach, but this does not appear in the movie during the opening battle. At one point Miller makes reference to "dozers," which could either have been actual bulldozers or converted Sherman tanks known as tankdozers.
Fact vs. Fiction
The 743rd Tank Battalion is not mentioned by name in the movie, but there are references to DD tanks that would have been from this unit. Captain Miller erroneously comments that "all of the armor is foundering in the channel." His comments would have been appropriate if he had been referring to the 741st Tank Battalion, but not the 743rd. At this early stage in the battle Miller would certainly not have known what was going on on the other side of Omaha Beach.