Landing Craft Support

The Landing Craft, Support (Large) were two distinct classes of amphibious warfare vessels were used by the United States Navy in Pacific and the Royal Navy in World War II. The USN versions which were later reclassified Landing Ship Support, Large also performed radar picket duty and fire fighting.

USS LCS(L) 102
Ex-LCS(L)-102 (HTMS Nakha)
Class overview
Builders: George Lawley & Son, Commercial Iron Works and Albina Engine Works
Preceded by: LCI(G)
In commission: 1944
Completed: 130
Active: 0
Retired: 130
Preserved: 1
General characteristics
Displacement: 250 long tons (250 t)
Length: 158 ft 6 in (48.31 m)
Beam: 23 ft 3 in (7.09 m)
Draft: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) (aft, loaded)
Propulsion:
  • 8 × Gray Marine diesel engines
  • 1,600 hp (1,200 kW), twin screws
Speed: 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h)
Range: 5,500 nmi (10,200 km)
Complement: 3–6 officers, 55–68 men
Armament:
  • 1 × 3"/50 caliber gun
  • 1 × twin 40 mm or single 40 mm bow gun;
  • 2 × twin 40 mm deck guns (one forward, one aft)
  • 4 × 20 mm cannons;
  • 4 × .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns
  • 10 × Mk7 rocket launchers
Armor: 10-lb. STS splinter shields

US Navy Vessels

The original designation for the ships was LCS(L)(3), which stood for "Landing Craft Support (Large) Mark 3". In 1949 the class was reclassified to "Landing Ship Support, Large" (LSSL). The United States Navy had to have the designation LCS(L) because there was also a smaller class named LCL, that were built mainly for rescue and smoke laying during amphibious operation.[1]

Design and manufacture

Commercial Iron Works progress photo - LCSL-26
Builders progress photo of LCS(L)(3)-26, Commercial Iron Works, Portland Oregon, 21 July 1944.

A total of 130 were made. Three different ship building yards did the construction: George Lawley & Son (Neponset, Massachusetts); Commercial Iron Works (Portland, Oregon); and Albina Engine Works (Portland, Oregon).

The hull was the same as the Landing Craft Infantry ships. They were 158 ft 6 in (48.31 m) long, displaced 250 long tons (250 t), 23 ft 3 in (7.09 m) wide and drew 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) when fully loaded. The flat bottom and skegs between and on either side of the twin screws allowed the ships to safely beach. The anchor is at the stern of the ship so it can be used to help pull the ship off the beach if necessary.

The twin variable pitch screws were each driven by a bank of four Grey Marine (later General Motors) diesel engines, with a total power for all eight engines of 1,600 horsepower (1,200 kW). These engines gave a maximum speed of 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h), but normally the ships sailed at 12 knots (22 km/h). The ships had a range of 5,500 nautical miles (10,200 km).

Armour for the gun mounts, pilot house and conning tower was provided by 10-lb. STS splinter shields.

LCS(L) vessels could be produced in as little as 10 days, and final fitting out would take a further few weeks.

The ships had a smoke generator which was used to obscure landing craft approaching the beach.

The ships also made very good fire fighting ships. A fire fighting manifold was fitted in front of the bow gun and two monitors with pumps fitted just forward of the aft gun.

Armament

The LCS(L)(3) ships provided more firepower per ton than any ship ever built for the U.S. Navy. Three guns and 10 rocket launchers were the main armaments. The bow gun was a 3"/50 caliber gun, a single 40 mm gun or a twin 40 mm gun. The forward and aft deck guns were twin 40 mm gun. The 10 mark 7 rocket launchers were situated behind the bow gun and forward deck house. Four 20 mm cannons were also mounted and other arms stowed inside. The rifle locker held 4 M1 carbines, 4 Thompson sub machine guns, and 1911A1 45cal semi auto pistols.

Operations

LCS(L)s awaiting transfer
A group of LSSLs awaiting transfer to the ROK Navy in 1952

The Battle of Tarawa showed a gap in Navy resources for close in support of landing troops. The time interval between the end of shelling from the large ships and the arrival of the landing craft on the beach allowed the defenders to regroup. The Landing Craft Support was designed to fill this void.

The first Landing Craft Support ships arrived in the Pacific Theater in time for the landings at Iwo Jima.

After providing close in support during the landings at Okinawa, many Landing Craft Support ships were placed on the radar picket stations as anti-aircraft platforms. When not on a picket stations, the ship would create smoke to hide the fleet at anchor and perform "skunk patrol" screening for suicide boats.

In the Borneo Campaign, Landing Craft Support was used in landings in Tarakan and Balikpapan.

During World War II, five LCS(L)(3)s were sunk in combat (see below) and 21 were damaged. Three of these small warships received Presidential Unit Citations, while six were awarded Navy Unit citations. Importantly, LT Richard M. McCool, skipper of the USS LCS(L)(3) 122, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

USS LCS(L)(3)-7 sunk by Suicide boat off Mariveles, Corregidor Channel, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 16 February 1945.

USS LCS(L)(3)-15 sunk by kamikaze aircraft off Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 22 April 1945.

USS LCS(L)(3)-26 sunk by Suicide boat off Mariveles, Corregidor Channel, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 16 February 1945.

USS LCS(L)(3)-33 sunk by shore batteries off Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 19 February 1945.

USS LCS(L)(3)-49 sunk by suicide boat off Mariveles, Corregidor Channel, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 16 February 1945.

Post war

At the end of the war, surviving ships returned to the United States. Some were restored to action for the Korean War. Many were transferred to Japan, France (and on to South Vietnam), Cambodia, Thailand, Greece, and other nations.

Only two ships are known to still exist. One has been highly modified as a fishing boat. The second was in Thailand and was kept in very similar configuration to its original (HTMS Nakha, formerly USS LCS(L)-102). The National Association of USS LCS(L) 1–130 was successful in having the HTMS Nakha transferred to the association for public display in the United States. She was officially released from the Royal Thai Navy on November 10, 2007 after being returned to the USA in September of that year. As of May 2017 the USS LCS(L)-102 is under restoration and upkeep. It is open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays or by special arrangements, and tours at the former Naval Ship yard, Mare Island, in Vallejo, California.[2]

British LCS vessels

The British designed, built and operated ten Fairmile Type H LCS vessels. Three of these were sunk in action.[3]

References

  1. ^ "Rocket Boats Lay Smoke Screen For Landings. Popular Mechanics, February 1945, p. 28.
  2. ^ "Last WW II Landing Craft Support Ship Still Afloat in Vallejo, Calif". Contra Costa Times. Sep 11, 2013.
  3. ^ Lambert, John and Ross, Al . Allied Coastal Forces of World War Two, Volume I : Fairmile designs and US Submarine Chasers. 1990. ISBN 978-0-85177-519-7.

External links

See also

1 Assault Group Royal Marines

1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM) provides the Royal Marines expertise and training in small boat operations, both amphibious and riverine. In addition, it trains and parents the Assault Squadrons of the Royal Marines (ASRM) and their landing craft detachments. It is based at RM Tamar in HMNB Devonport, Plymouth.

Amenities ship

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Amphibious warfare ship

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Specialized shipping can be divided into two types, most crudely described as ships and craft. In general, the ships carry the troops from the port of embarkation to the drop point for the assault and the craft carry the troops from the ship to the shore. Amphibious assaults taking place over short distances can also involve the shore-to-shore technique, where landing craft go directly from the port of embarkation to the assault point. Some tank landing ships may also be able to land troops and equipment directly onto shore after travelling long distances, such as the Ivan Rogov-class landing ship.

Coastal minesweeper

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Minesweeping, in conjunction with fleet activities, was usually relegated to the diesel-driven steel-hulled AM-type minesweepers, later to be replaced by the wood-hulled MSO-type minesweeper with aluminum engines.

Coastal submarine

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Fairmile H landing craft

The Fairmile H Landing Craft were British landing craft of the Second World War. Initially designed for commando type raids from a base in Britain as a way of probing enemy defenses and tying down additional troops, some were converted into fire support vessels.

Two variants were developed:

The Fairmile H LCI (S)This was the Landing Craft Infantry (Small) "LCI(S)" boat.

The Fairmile H LCS (L)This was a Landing Craft Support (LCS) boat fitted with extra weapons to give fire support to landing craft particularly in being able to provide some anti-tank capability. This was achieved by the simple expediency of mounting a tank turret complete with its gun on the forward deck.

The usual Fairmile construction techniques were used with all items prefabricated and supplied in kit form to boatyards for assembly and fitting out.

General stores issue ship

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Because of the need to run up onto a suitable beach, World War II landing craft were flat-bottomed, and many designs had a flat front, often with a lowerable ramp, rather than a normal bow. This made them difficult to control and very uncomfortable in rough seas. The control point (too rudimentary to call a bridge on LCA and similar craft) was normally at the extreme rear of the vessel, as were the engines. In all cases, they were known by an abbreviation derived from the official name rather than by the full title.

Light aircraft carrier

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List of United States Navy amphibious warfare ships

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Mine countermeasures vessel

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Minehunter

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National Register of Historic Places listings in Solano County, California

This is a list of the National Register of Historic Places listings in Solano County, California.

This is intended to be a complete list of the properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places in Solano County, California, United States. Latitude and longitude coordinates are provided for many National Register properties and districts; these locations may be seen together in an online map.There are 30 properties and districts listed on the National Register in the county, including 1 National Historic Landmark.

This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted August 9, 2019.

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Submarine tender

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USS LCS(L)(3)-102

USS LCS(L)(3)-102 is an LCS(L)(3)-1 Class Landing Craft Support ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. The vessel was completed near the end of the war and saw brief service during the Battle of Okinawa. After the war, LCS(L)(3)-102 served in China before being decommissioned in 1946 and then transferred to Japan in mid-1953. Serving under the name JDS Himawari, the vessel remained in Japan until mid-1966 when she was transferred to Thailand, becoming the HTMS Nakha. In 2007, after being retired, the ship was returned to the United States to become a museum ship.

Now the sole remaining vessel of her class, she remains docked at the site of the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard, in Vallejo, CA.

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