Watch Again

Combat Ships:

These Minesweeping Boats Paved the Way for D-Day

Watch More
back to video


These Minesweeping Boats Paved the Way for D-Day

Short | 02:06

Harbor Defense Motor Launches, or HDMLs, were tiny wooden boats built to protect British ports against German submarines. Their job was to clear a path through a minefield that stretched across the English Channel.

More About This episode

In 1944, the fate of Europe depended on an Allied plan to land over 150,000 troops in just 24 hours on the beaches of Normandy. They would arrive on a remarkable armada of vessels, some experimental, some simply dangerous. Join us as we examine the D-Day invasion from the sea, tracing the critical naval operation that transported the troops to shore. We explore the technology behind the diverse and ingenious ships that bravely crossed the English Channel and present firsthand accounts from those who were part of the historic invasion.

Ways to Watch

Buy this show from any of these distributors

Have Smithsonian Channel through your TV provider?

Watch this episode online now.

Return to Video Page