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Friday, July 3, 2015

The LST 325

World War II Vets Saluting the ShrinersFest Crowd
from the deck of the LST-325 in Evansville, Indiana
June 27, 2015
In February of 1942, Evansville, Indiana was picked by the Navy's Bureau of Ships to become one of four inland or "cornfield" shipyards, with the largest being in Evansville. LST's (Landing Ship Tank's) were designed to have a large ballast system that could be filled with sea water to give the ship a deep draft for seafaring, or emptied so that the ship could sail very close to beaches to unload its cargo. Although the 325 was not one of the LST's produced in Evansville, that is the port she has called home since 2003 ... and will hopefully continue to call her home as long as she can float. Click here to read about her history and visitor information.

LST's were an integral part of the D-Day invasions in France. Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Britain, recalled his frustration at gathering everything needed to pull off the Normandy invasion, including waiting for enough LST's to be produced. He said, "The destinies of two great empires seemed to be tied up in some (*expletive removed*) thing called LST's."

Although slow and unwieldy, LST's were tough enough to absorb a tremendous amount of damage. Despite being a valuable target because they carried large amounts of cargo, only twenty-six were lost in action. Of those twenty-six, only thirteen were actually sunk by enemy fire.

The ships proved to be quite versatile, too. Some were converted to become repair ships, and some others into floating barracks. Thirty-eight LSTs were converted into hospital ships. In June 1944, during the first couple of days of the assault on the beaches of Normandy, converted LST hospital ships treated and transported 41,035 wounded soldiers.

Below are photographs of LST's, many of them LST-325.

USS Boise firing on armor forces near Gela, Sicily, Italy
as LST-325, full of US Army trucks, approach the landing beaches.
July 11,1943
Photo 1 of 4
LST-134 and LST-325 beached at Normandy, France
as jeeps driving along the invasion beach
carry casualties to the waiting vessels.
June 12, 1944
Photo 2 of 4
June 12, 1944
Photo 3 of 4
June 12, 1944
Photo 4 of 4
June 12, 1944
LST-72 and LST-325 unloading directly onto trucks
after being left 'high and dry' by the tide at Morlaix, France.
September 5, 1944
Photo 1 of 2
LSTs unloading at low tide in the Easy sector
of Omaha Beach, Normandy
June 28, 1944
Photo 2 of 4
June 28, 1944
M4 Sherman tanks being unloaded from
USCG-manned LST-67 and LST-66, Noemfoor, New Guinea

Note leading tank with bulldozer blade
July 1944
Columns of troop-packed American LCI landing craft
in the wake of a USCG-manned LST
en route to Cape Sansapor, New Guinea
Mid 1944
LST-325 (left) and USS LST-388
unloading while stranded at low tide
during the invasion of Normandy
June 1944
LST-66 landing troops
during the invasion of Cape Gloucester, New Britain
Dec. 1943

More photographs of LST's can be found at the World War II Database website.

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