Post War

A number of Mulberry Phoenix caissons still exist today, the one off Shoeburyness an example of a Phoenix that broke away from its anchor during repositioning after construction. Several Beetles remain on the shore near Garlieston and Marchwood and another Phoenix pair, in Portland harbour. Two Phoenix were unable to be re-floated and are a dive attraction off Selsey Bill. The Crocodile at Garlieston could be clearly seen until 2006 when a storm destroyed it. A number of Whale roadways were used as bridges in Northern France, some still in use.

[tabs] [tab title=”Beetle Marchwood 1″]

Mulberry Beatles used as coastal storm defence at Hythe and Marchwood 01[/tab] [tab title=”Beetle Marchwood 2″]

Mulberry Beatles used as coastal storm defence at Hythe and Marchwood 02[/tab] [tab title=”Beetle Garlieston”]

wigtown bay garlietson[/tab] [tab title=”Whale Bridge 1″]

Mulberry Harbour Whale used as a bridge 05[/tab] [tab title=”Whale Bridge 2″]

Mulberry Harbour Whale used as a bridge 01[/tab] [tab title=”Phoenix Portland Harbour”]

Mulberry Phoenix Caisson Portland Today 03[/tab] [/tabs]

As part of the D-Day 70 commemoration activities the UK Hydrographic Office conducted a very detailed survey of the remains of the Phoenix caissons and blockships at Arromanches, Mulberry B.

[tabs] [tab title=”Survey 1″]

Mulberry Phoenix Caisson Arromanche Today 06[/tab] [tab title=”Survey 2″]

Mulberry Phoenix Caisson Arromanche Today 05[/tab] [tab title=”Survey 3″]

Mulberry Phoenix Caisson Arromanche Today 04[/tab] [tab title=”Survey 4″]

Mulberry Phoenix Caisson Arromanche Today 03[/tab] [tab title=”Arromanche 1″]

Mulberry Phoenix Caisson Arromanche Today 02[/tab] [tab title=”Arromanche 2″]

Mulberry Phoenix Caisson Arromanche Today 01[/tab] [/tabs]

In 1953, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands suffered at the hands of a severe flood (Watersnoodramp) caused by a heavy storm and high tides. Wikipedia has good background but to summarise, the devastation was massive. The UK death toll exceeded 300 but in the Netherlands, it was over 1,800.

The war had seen many of the dikes used for military fortifications and maintenance activity had slowed down or ceased completely. During the post war rebuilding phase many of the repairs were of the expedient type and it was later noted that some of these areas were the first to give way to the combined effect of storm and tide.

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After the immediate rescue and recovery activities had completed there were many gaps in the sea defences to close. Most of these were completed in a relatively short period but some of the larger and more complex gaps would need a great deal of heavy duty construction. Compounding the reconstruction was the twice daily tide and amount of damage.

[tabs] [tab title=”Netherlands Flood 1″]

Mulberry Harbour Phoenix Caisson used for Dutch Flood Defences 07[/tab] [tab title=”Netherlands Flood 2″]

Mulberry Harbour Phoenix Caisson used for Dutch Flood Defences 06[/tab] [tab title=”Netherlands Flood 3″]

Zuid Beveland. Sluiting Veerhaven Kruiningen met Phoenix caisson, type AX[/tab] [tab title=”Netherlands Flood 4″]

Mulberry Harbour Phoenix Caisson used for Dutch Flood Defences 04[/tab] [tab title=”Netherlands Flood 5″]

Mulberry Harbour Phoenix Caisson used for Dutch Flood Defences 01[/tab] [/tabs]

The Allies had previously used surplus D Day Phoenix Mulberry Harbour caissons for a similar task in 1945 and 1946 on the island of Walcheren so the same technique was proposed. After extensive scale modelling eight Phoenix caissons were floated over from the UK although some were lost in heavy seas during the journey. Over a period of several months they were used to close the gaps in destroyed sea defences in a number of locations.

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One of the more fascinating aspects of this little known story is that they are still there. The actual sea defences no longer rely on the caissons but the Dutch decided to turn them into a museum, a museum that commemorates the floods and those involved. On 6 November 2003, 50 years after the closing of the last breach at Ouwerkerk, the four caissons and the surrounding area were awarded National Monument status by the Minister of the Interior, Johan Remkes; and from that day were known as the National Monument Watersnood 1953 .

[tabs] [tab title=”Watersnood 1″]

NL-Ouwerkerk Schouwen-Duiveland luchtfoto caissons foto: Joop van Houdt[/tab] [tab title=”Watersnood 2″]

Watersnood-1[/tab] [tab title=”Waternsood 3″]

Watersnood-3[/tab] [/tabs]

Since 2001 a museum has been sited in one of the caissons, click here to view the museums website.

Perhaps the most interesting post war story is that of the pier head design. It was based on a dredging platform design and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Berghavn dredger was built in 1980 by the very same Lobnitz company that designed the Mulberry Pier heads and after a refurbishment in 1980 is still in service with the Norwegian company, Secora

Does it look familiar!



Table of Contents


Designing and Building the Mulberry Harbour

D Day Plus


The Rhino Pontoon and DUKW


Post War

Summary and Final Thoughts

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Reynir Samuelsson
Reynir Samuelsson
December 23, 2020 11:06 pm

One phoenix caisson was towed to Akranes Iceland and is still in use as an addition to a pier in Akranes harbour. Wooden catwalks were added to the sides otherwise they were unmodified and were a welcome playground to us lads. Interestingly Akranes cement factory also received two LCT’s which were used for cement transport to Reykjavík 10 miles across Faxa bay.

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