Section I -- PLANNING, PREPARATION AND TRAINING PERIOD
Material and Logistics
- Commencing 21 February, 1943, after a detailed survey of available sites, Amphibious Training and Repair Bases were established as follows: Port Lyautey, French Morocco; Nemours, Beni-Saf, Arzew, Mostaganem, Tenes and Cherchell, Algeria. Beni-Saf was designated as the main repair base for PCs, SCs, and YMSs. The Base at Port Lyautey was abandoned as soon as facilities inside the Mediterranean were sufficiently equipped to handle the additional craft. Repair facilities at the Naval Operating Base, Oran, Algeria, augmented by the facilities of the U.S. S. Delta in March, were utilized to the fullest extent.
- Large quantities of spare parts and equipment consigned to this theater were loaded in merchant ships and in both United States and British LSTs whose destinations were not in conformance with that of the cargo. The result was serious delay and enormous trans-shipment to effect proper delivery. LCT(5)s were largely used in transferring material. While this was most satisfactory and expeditious, it did result in loss of time and training and increased the maintenance problem of LCT(5)s considerably.
- During the latter part of April, LCT(5)s were again diverted from training to provide valuable assistance to the U.S. Army in landing operations in the Tunisian campaign.
- Early in May, the advance party of Commander Landing Craft and Bases, Northwest African Waters, entered Tunisia and established Advanced Amphibious Training Bases at Bizerta and La Goulette. LSTs, LCI(L)s and LCT(5)s were used to transfer personnel and material from Algerian Bases to the new Tunisian Bases. These craft were based from then on at Bizerta and La Goulette. The U.S. S. Achelous (ARL1) arrived at Bizerta on 4 June and the U.S. S. Delta on 24 June. One Advanced Base Mobile Repair Unit was retained at Arzew and the other which arrived immediately prior to the operation was based at Bizerta, PT Base No. 12 was also located at Bizerta.
- The U.S. S. Vulcan was based at Algiers, Algeria, from 2 July primarily as repair ship for cruisers and destroyers temporarily assigned to the EIGHTH Fleet.
- Thirteen (13) 250 ton and six (6) 350 ton pontoon dry-docks were" received and were allotted to the United States and British forces as operational requirements of landing craft and small ships required. All of these, however, were not assembled prior to the operation due to late arrival in the theater. The 250 ton dry-docks were used for LCT(5)s and PTs. The 350 ton dry-docks were used for LCI(L)s and SCs, although not entirely satisfactory for the former due to the discrepancy in length. One (1) 100 ton pontoon dry-dock was assembled at PT Base No. 12 at Bizerta for PTs and ARBs.
- Detailed plans for the establishment of Advanced Bases in Sicily and studies of harbors and existing petroleum installations were made to determine the requirements for specialized equipment to supplement the standard functional components of Lions and Cubs which had been set up.
- Constant and harmonious planning was carried out with representative of the British Navy and the U.S. Army on the innumerable and detailed logistic problems which arose.
- The following brief outline of fueling arrangements is indicative of the magnitude of the operation:
- Seven (7) fleet tankers (AO) (78,000 tons of fuel oil) were required to fuel the larger ships of the Western Naval Task Force upon their arrival in the Mediterranean.
- Small diesel powered ships and all landing craft were normally fueled at Bizerta and La Goulette.
- It was estimated that 212,000 tons of fuel oil and 60,000 tons of diesel oil might be required for the period D-day to D plus 21. Actually on D-day, shore stocks alone approximated these figures and in addition, large and small tankers were strategically placed to provide expeditious alongside fueling at ports near the theater of operations. An additional large reserve was maintained at Casablanca, French Morocco.
- Fresh, refrigerated and dry provisions were obtained from the U.S. Army in accordance with existing instructions. It was necessary, however, to augment these by provisions loaded in the U.S.S. Tarazed which arrived late in June.
- Clothing and small stores, particularly items required for survivors, were stocked at Oran, Bizerta and La Goulette. In addition each APA, XAP and AKA had been directed to provide additional stocks of these items prior to departure from the United States.
- It is of interest to note that a total of 601 ships and landing craft and 1124 ship-borne landing craft were assigned to the Western Naval Task Force. These figures include 32 Liberty Ships and 96 LCM(3)s carried by them which arrived off the Southern beaches between D plus 1 and D plus 8.
Section II -- REPAIR FACILITIES, DRY-DOCKS and PETROLEUM INSTALLATIONS IN SICILY
- Bolted tanks, hose and pertinent equipment were loaded in the assault and first follow-up LST convoys to provide emergency diesel oil storage on the beach at Gela. This was required to fuel landing craft remaining in that area to unload merchant ship convoys. Additional tanks were erected at Licata. The fuel installation at Porto Empodocle was found almost intact, was expeditiously repaired and placed in operation.
- At Palermo, the large Italian Navy underground fuel oil installation comprising 12 tanks for a total storage of over 925,000 barrels was intact except for demolition of piping and valves at manifolds and bomb damage to piping between pump house and the port area. Many unexploded demolition charges were removed and repairs effected in a most commendable manner. Approximately 100,000 tons of fuel oil are now in shore storage at Palermo and the extension of the pipe line along the outer breakwater has been completed.
- Sicilian port facilities - The use of the ports of Licata, Porto Empodocle and Marsala was limited to short periods for the temporary maintenance of the Seventh Army. Trapani was too badly damaged to be of any assistance during the early stages of the invasion and was not required after the capture of Palermo.
- The repair facilities at Palermo were badly damaged by enemy and allied bombing. Many machine tools had been removed and there was evidence of further intended removal of large quantities of ship construction, repair and maintenance supplies and equipment, the remaining stocks of which were large. The 1000 ton floating dry-dock (229' 6" x 47' 10" x 18') was found to be in good operating condition. The graving dock, approximately 538 feet long, 78 feet wide, was damaged, both caissons were damaged and sunk inside the dock as was an Italian destroyer. One caisson has since been repaired, the dock is now being pumped out and the estimated date of readiness for operation is 15 November, 1943. One 250 ton pontoon dry-dock was towed from Bizerta to Licata and subsequently to Palermo. A portion of the facilities of PT Base No. 12 was also transferred to Palermo to assist in the maintenance of PTs operating in that area.
Section III -- EXPERIMENTAL and DEVELOPMENT WORK UNDERTAKEN TO OVERCOME PROBLEMS and CONDITIONS ARISING DURING THE PLANNING PERIOD
- The Commander Western Naval Task Force, individual Task Force Commanders, and the Commanders of Regimental Combat Teams embarked in LCI(L)s, each required a "Headquarters" Ship. The U.S.S. Ancon (AGC4) assigned to Task Force 85, was the only ship so fitted. It was necessary therefore, to alter and partially equip within the short period of time remaining and insofar as equipment was available, the following ships and craft for this duty: U.S.S. Monrovia (APA31), U.S.S. Samuel Chase (APA26), U.S.S. Biscayne (AVP11) and eight (8) LCI(L)s. The major portion of this work was accomplished by the U.S.S. Delta (AR9).
- In addition to the anticipated amount of voyage repairs required by such a large number of small ships and craft after the Atlantic crossing, it was necessary to effect several alterations to landing ships and craft to enable them to carry out their assigned duties. Of these the following are of particular interest:
- Installed new Arma Type Gyro Compasses in LCI(L)s.
- Installed new Magnesyn Compasses in LCI(L)s, LCT(5)s and ship-borne landing craft.
- Installed cross-connection line between Fire and Bilge Pump and Fresh Water tanks in twenty (20) LSTs to permit these pumps being used for discharge of potable water to shore tankage through 21/2 " fire hose. In cases where LSTs were unloading over pontoon causeways, the length of fire hose was as much as 750 feet.
- Installed necessary fittings and provided gear on ten (10) LSTs to side-carry pontoon causeways (1-175 foot section on each side).
- Enlarged hole on under side of LST ramps to permit LSTs to pivot on King post welded to pontoon causeways.
- Installed portable bunks in after end of tank deck of LSTs fitted with six (6) davits. These additional bunks were required for berthing additional assault troops embarked in Six (6) Davit LSTs and were subsequently of value in the evacuation of casualties. Late arrival of material prevented altering all Six (6) Davit LSTs.
- Altered bulwarks on each side of LCT(5)s providing portable section to permit side-loading and unloading of these craft.
- LST 355 was fitted with a special ramp to properly load and place GCI equipment on the forecastle.
- LST 386 was fitted with a special "flight deck" for U.S. Army "Cub" observation planes. Two (2) planes were carried on the runway and two (2) on the main deck. After the first two were flown off, the remaining two were placed on the runway and flown off. The installation of the runway prevented the use of the 40 mm. gun forward. Two (2) 20 mm. guns with portable mounts were provided by the Army to offset the loss of the 40 mm. gun. It is of interest to note that LST 386 also carried a cargo of mules on the main deck under the runway.
Section IV -- LOSSES, DAMAGE INCURRED, RELIABILITY OF SHIPS and CRAFT, and REC-OMMENDED ALTERATIONS.
U.S.S. Maddox (DD622)
U.S.S. Sentinel (AM113)
U.S.S. SC 694 and 696
Subsequent to the assault were bombed and sunk in the harbor of Palermo
U.S.S. LST 158
U.S.S. LST 313
U.S.S. LST 318
Bombed during Leap-frog landing East of Palermo subsequent to assault
U.S.S. LCI(L) 1
Damaged by shell fire in assault. Subsequently bombed and sunk during air raid in Bizerta.
U.S.S. LCT (5) 154
Damaged. Subsequently lost while under tow enroute Bizerta.
U.S.S. LCT(5) 311
Damaged. Subsequently lost while under tow enroute Bizerta.
S. S. Robert Rowan
Ship Cause Remarks
U.S.S. Brooklyn (CL40)
Fighting efficiency not impaired Subsequently repaired in U.S.
U.S.S. Swanson (DD443)
Temporary repairs completed Malta 20 July. Returned to U.S. under own power.
U.S.S. Roe (DD418)
Temporary repairs completed Oran 24 July. Returned to U.S. under own power.
U.S.S. Shubrick (DD639)
Off Palermo while on patrol subsequent to the assault on Sicily. Temporary repairs made at Malta. Returned to U.S. under own power.
Ship Cause Remarks
U.S.S. Mayrant (DD402)
Off Palermo while on patrol subsequent to assault on Sicily. Temporary repairs to be completed Malta about 15 November. Will return to U.S. under own power.
U.S.S. Staff (AM114)
Temporary repairs made at Licata and Oran. Now being towed to U.S.
U.S.S. Skill (AM115)
Near Bomb miss
U.S.S. Strive (AM117)
Near Bomb miss
U.S.S. Barnett (APA5)
Temporary repairs made by U.S.S. Vulcan.
U.S.S. Orizaba (AP24)
Temporary repairs made by U.S.S. Vulcan.
U.S.S. Dickman (APA13)
Near Bomb miss
Fighting efficiency not impaired
U.S.S. Betelgeuse (AKA11)
Engine derangement. No. 2 main cross-head bearing burnt out. Temporary repairs made by U.S.S. Vulcan. Returned to U.S. under own power for engine overhaul.
U.S.S. PC 562
Temporary repairs made at Licata. Towed to Oran. Now awaiting materials.
U.S.S. PC 621
Repaired at Oran
U.S.S. SC 1030
Towed to Oran. Now awaiting materials.
U.S.S. LST 3
Off San Stefano during Leap-frog landing subsequent to assault. Towed to Bizerta. To be repaired when dry-docking priorities permit.
U.S.S. LST 312
Near Bomb miss
U.S.S. LST 326
To be dry-docked at Bizerta when priorities permit.
U.S.S. LST 345
U.S.S. LCT(5) 185
Broke in half enroute Bizerta
New midship section to be installed at La Goulette
In addition the following Landing Ships and Craft received minor damage resulting from shell fire and/or beaching.
LCI(L) No. 5
LCT(5) No. 18
- In addition to the above, the following table summarizes losses of ship-borne landing craft:
Salvaged but Beyond
Repair in Theatre
Note: Possibility some duplication exists in number of LCVPs reported sunk stranded, not salvageable.
- The material performance and particularly the reliability of engineering plants of ships and craft was excellent. Except for minor derangements the only serious casualty was the breakdown of the U.S.S. Betelgeuse (AKA11). The cause was failure of the cross-head bearing on No. 2 cylinder. Previous failures had occurred and were due to misalignment of main engine as a result of near bomb miss and grounding in the Pacific. Temporary repairs were made and the Betelgeuse returned to the United States under her own power for major overhaul.
- Remarks. The only serious material failures were ramp chain and boats davits. Corrective action has been taken by the Chief of the Bureau of Ships to increase the safety factor of the Welin Davits.
- Strengthen ramp chains and fittings as necessary.
- Install 10,000 gallon per day distilling plant.
- Install five (5) ton boom with winch on main deck to serve after hatch.
- Install cross-connection between Fire and Bilge pumps and Fresh Water tanks to discharge potable water to shore tankage.
- Install discharge piping from Fire and Bilge pumps to bow with 21/2î hose connection to permit discharge of potable water to shore tankage.
- Install fittings as required to fly barrage balloons..
- Provide stowage for barrage balloons, helium gas cylinders and accessories.
- Install 150 portable bunks in after end of tank deck on all six (6) Davits LSTs.
- Install fittings and provide gear on LSTs designated to side-carry pontoon causeways. A detailed report on this subject is being prepared by Commander Landing Craft and Bases, Northwest African Waters, and will be forwarded under separate cover.
- Increase diameter of one forward inboard hole on bottom of ramp from 6" to 12" to provide socket for King pin on causeway. The ramp can be then lowered over King pin forming a pivot connection.
- Remarks. The weight of ramps and present method of handling is not satisfactory. Ramps are too heavy and cumbersome to man-handle. Ramps were lost due to difficulty in retracting, ramp brakes did not hold and in heavy seas ramps were thrown back off the rollers.
- Lighten and lengthen ramps and provide suitable power retraction.
- The width of the improved ramp should be determined, subject to the inherent limitations involved, by joint agreement with U.S. Army and Marine Corps as to types and DIMEnsions of equipment to be unloaded by assault troops embarked in LCI(L)s.
- Detailed comments and recommendations covering changes in design of LCI-(L)s have been submitted previously by despatch.
- Remarks. The duties assigned these craft have been far more extensive than were contemplated for this type. In spite of numerous engineering derangements and considering the lack of experienced personnel, their performance has been remarkable. The loss of ramps has been serious and several of these craft have developed structural weakness which has required installation of additional strength members.
- Strengthen ramp chains and fittings as necessary.
- Strengthen hull to prevent working and buckling in heavy seas. In cases where these craft are shipped in sections, strength members should be so designed that they may be readily installed after assembly.
- Construct bulwarks with portable section amidships on each side to permit side loading and unloading. It is noted that this has been approved for LCT(6) Class.
- Remarks. Almost without exception this type, both hull and machinery, has stood up exceedingly well.
- Recommendations: None.
- Compared to previous types, the standardization accomplished in the production of LCVPs is most satisfactory.
- When loaded this type is slightly down by the bow which is objectionable.
- Damages to rudders and steering gear were the main sources of trouble. In retracting, the rudder tends to "take charge" and does not remain amidships. On hitting obstructions, the rudder is bent and the rudder stock twisted. Craft so damaged must be hoisted in and require from 3 to 4 hours to effect repairs.
- Brass lifting pads carried away in four (4) different instances.
- Cleats are too small and are not properly secured to hull.
- In relatively smooth water additional LCVPs can be carried at the rail of APAs, XAPs and AKAs supported by ship's booms, thus increasing the number of assault troops taking part in the assault waves. The standard sling with a ring for craft lowered by booms proved more satisfactory than the special Christ-Craft sling with curved bar. When suspended, LCVPs are bow heavy, and the bar sling tends to slip on the hook.
- Reduce or eliminate down-by-the-bow trim.
- Improve design of rudder and skeg to reduce time required to remove and repair.
- Substitute cast steel for brass in the manufacture of lifting pads and fittings.
- Increase size of cleats on Chris-Craft and provide reinforcement in way of cleats on all LCVPs.
- Provide standard ring-type slings for all boats and discard the Chris-Craft curved bar-type sling.
- Remarks. Support craft have been and are the subject of considerable correspondence prior and subsequent to this operation. From a material viewpoint, those taking part in the invasion of Sicily stood up well and the principal objection raised was due to their being powered by gasoline engines.
- Recommendations pertinent to this type are being prepared and will be forwarded under separate cover, particularly in view of receipt of letter on this subject from the Vice Chief of Naval Operations under date of 1 October, 1943, serial 0449423.
Section V -- SALVAGE and FIREFIGHTING
- Four (4) ATs, one (1) ARS, two (2) medium size YTs and several 65 ton YTs were assigned to Task Force Commanders for salvage and fire fighting.
- Except for the U.S.S. Betelgeuse (AKA11) which was towed from Licata to Algiers by one AT, all tugs and salvage ships were available at all times in the assault areas. However, due to beach gradients, none of these was able to close burning and damaged ships and craft on the beaches. Under such conditions the importance of light draft tugs and salvage vessels fitted with proper fire fighting equipment cannot be overemphasized.
- In joint operations such as this, adaptors should be provided to permit interchange of hose, nozzles and other similar items of fire fighting equipment. This procedure is now common
practice on fueling tankers and at shore fueling stations in the Mediterranean insofar as fueling rear is concerned.
- LCI(L)s served admirably as tugs to salvage craft of their own type and smaller. Immediately after an assault, I recommended that LCI(L)s in such number as the operation warrants be assigned for salvage work. Craft to be so designated should be equipped with necessary towing and salvage gear.
- One (1) LCM(3) of each APA, XAP and AKA was designated as a salvage boat. However, these were not properly equipped and, while much valuable work was accomplished, improvement is required in outfitting and in assignment of experienced personnel. Salvage of many shipborne landing craft was delayed or made impossible due to rapid filling of craft with water and land. Each LCM(3) should be equipped with a portable diesel powered pump to free craft of water and sand immediately. A bulldozer is also requisite and should be fitted with a pump.
- Reports indicated that in spite of frequent dissemination of information relative to proper dispersion and stowage of fire fighting equipment, and proper loading of inflammable and hazardous materials, irregularities occur. I recommend that a graduate of one of the fire fighting schools be attached to each APA, AKA, XAP, and to the staff of each landing ship and craft Flotilla Commander, and that his sole duty be that of fire prevention and proper loading of ships and craft and under his cognizance to insure compliance with current directions.
- The loading of merchant ships scheduled to arrive in assault or follow-up convoys is a matter of Army responsibility. However, the safety of these ships enroute and while unloading off assault beaches is the responsibility of the Naval Commander. The practice of loading ammunition and gasoline in the same hold is not necessary and presents obvious danger. Steps are being taken to prevent such practice in the Mediterranean. Further action has been initiated to assign coasters or other small ships as packaged gasoline carriers, thus minimizing the danger to large merchant ships.
Section VI -- UNLOADING of SHIPS and CRAFT
- Due to beach gradients and bars, LSTs with few exceptions, were unable to unload directly on to beaches. Ten (10) LSTs were fitted to side-carry pontoon causeways (1 - 175 foot section on each side). In addition, six (6) pontoon causeways were towed to the assault beaches by ATs which then stood by for salvage. In spite of the rough weather encountered, all pontoons carried by LSTs arrived in good condition and without incident. This method is far superior to the towing method and tugs are thus released for towing or salvage operations.
- The bulwark on each side of each LCT(5) was cut out providing a portable section. This permitted side loading of LCT(5)s from LSTs and also expedited the unloading of LCT(5)s, either into DUKWs or by hand passing to trucks on the beach.
- Each LST carrying pontoon causeways was provided with one (1) DUKW. This is essential and will be recommended by despatch as an addition to the allowance list of LSTs designated and fitted as pontoon causeway carriers. The "crew" of the DUKW must be Navy personnel. "Seamen, not truck drivers" are required for this work.
- The majority of DUKWs were loaded in LSTs and LCT(5)s. After making one trip from the ships to the dumps ashore, DUKWs were retained by the Army and in general did not carry out their function during the unloading of assault shipping.
- Neither the DUKW nor the LCVP is of great value in unloading ships when LCI(L)s, LCT(5)s, and LCM(3)s are available in sufficient numbers. Where these types are not available in sufficient numbers, DUKWs must not be diverted from their prescribed duties.
- Thirty-two (32) Merchant (Liberty) Ships in the follow-up convoys carried LCM(3)s (complete with spare parts, diesel fuel oil and lubricating oil) manned by Navy personnel. In addition one (1) Officer-in-Charge and one (1) MoMM was assigned to each ship. Upon completion of unloading the ship to which assigned, personnel with their craft reported to the Beach Master for further temporary duty to assist in the unloading of subsequent convoys.
Table of Contents ** Previous Section (4) Next Section (6)