Virtual D-Day Created Seventy Years On

By George Backwell
Monday, May 19, 2014
Virtual D-Day displays: Photo credit Dassault Systèmes

Advanced 3D design and simulation software was used to recreate the technological and engineering innovations of WWII as a part of the seventieth anniversary of D-Day and the Invasion of Normandy, apprise project leaders, France’s Dassault Systèmes. Virtually reconstructing the Mulberry Harbor, the LCVP landing craft and the Waco glider brings to life one of the most exciting episodes of 20th-century history for the broadest possible audience.

Dassault highlight some of the engineering innovations special to that day as follows:

  • The Landing Craft, Vehicle & Personnel (LCVP) was designed by American businessman Andrew Jackson Higgins and carried a platoon-sized CK complement of men and weapons to the beaches of Normandy.
  • The Waco CG-4A gliders were relatively small, lightweight and maneuverable planes. Most importantly, they were silent and could land troops in enemy territory during the early hours of the June 6 invasion. The glider could carry up to 13 men or a vehicle.
  • The Mulberry Harbor was one of the most extraordinary technological feats of WWII. Developed in part by Major Allan Beckett of the Royal Engineers, it was an artificial harbor built in England, transported across the English Channel and assembled off the coast at Arromanches to unload the vast quantities of supplies and men that were needed for battle. The Mulberry Harbor was the first temporary deep water facility of its kind ever devised.

Today, nearly seventy years after D-Day, only pieces of the Harbor remain. To recreate the Harbor, the Dassault Systèmes team compiled what remained of the original plans from the Royal Engineers Museum in London, the construction and maintenance manuals, the aerial photographs taken at the time and additional information provided by Tim Beckett, the son of Mulberry Harbor designer Allan Beckett, himself a marine engineer.

Dassault clains that the 3D model is an accurate, scientific reconstruction of the Harbor that will allow many to see and experience a site that was destroyed after WWII.

To view the results of the project: http://www.3ds.com/dday/

Maritime Reporter November 2014 Digital Edition
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