Chapter XX
Amphibious Force Loading, Embarkation, Debarkation and Unloading

Section 1. General.
Section 2. Transport Loading -- Embarkation.
Section 3. Loading of LSTs.
Section 4. Loading of LSMs.
Section 5. Loading of LCIs.
Section 6. Loading of LSDs.
Section 7. Loading of Landing Craft.
Section 8. Debarkation and Unloading.

Section 1. General

  1. The mission of an amphibious operation is to seize and hold hostile territory which is bordered by water. To accomplish this mission, one of the most important requirements is that the troops be supplied from the transports or other type ships with the necessary equipment and supplies in the order required to meet the tactical situation ashore, and then to be supplied with equipment and supplies to enable them to hold what they have seized. It is a responsibility of the Amphibious Force Commander to deliver these necessities to the beach and a responsibility of the Commander Expeditionary Troops to provide efficient shore party organizations for the purpose of receiving and moving them from the beach to disposal dumps. The Commander Expeditionary Troops must also provide necessary stevedores and working parties on board ships to assist both in the loading and the discharge of cargo. This chapter deals with the methods of loading, embarkation, debarkation and unloading for this Amphibious Force.

  2. Methods of loading are as follows:

    1. "Commercial loading" is that method which utilizes ship space to maximum efficiency. Troops moved by this method are not available for tactical employment until after they have landed and received their combat equipment and supplies.

    2. "Convoy unit loading" is that method in which troops with their equipment and supplies are loaded in transports of the same convoy, but not necessarily together in the same vessel.

    3. "Organization unit loading" is that method in which complete organizations with their equipment and supplies are loaded in the same transport but not so as to permit debarkation of troops and essential combat equipment simultaneously. This method permits diversion enroute by complete shiploads from an intended destination.


    1. "Combat unit loading" is that method in which selected units with their essential combat equipment, transportation, and supplies are loaded in a single transport in such a manner that they can engage in immediate combat upon landing -- or, as has been said, "The troops come out fighting". This type of loading must be planned to meet a specific tactical situation. Combat-loaded ships may have second echelon material stowed in any of the previously described methods in order to conserve space, but this is not recommended except when an extremely long overseas movement is involved.

  1. Satisfactory combat loading resolves itself into careful planning based upon exchange, between ships and the unit to be embarked, of complete and accurate data regarding capacity (by space and weight) and cargo handling facilities in the ship, and cube, weight, and priority of cargo to be loaded.

  2. Definitions.

    1. Landing Force consists of the organizations, Army or Marine, which are to carry out landing operations from the transports of a naval attack force.

    2. Follow-up Force includes all personnel, Army, Navy and marine, who normally arrive in the objective area after the landing force has secured the beaches, consisting of rear echelons of landing force units and those personnel for base defense and construction and operation of facilities. This force may be called a garrison Force in amphibious operations against small islands where the landing force is withdrawn after occupation.

  3. Responsibility for loading landing forces:

    1. The amphibious force commander and his subordinate naval commanders are responsible for loading the landing forces in assault ships in such manner as will best insure the safe delivery of those forces to the hostile beaches in the order and with the rapidity desired by the landing force commanders.

    2. Troop units submit to the Expeditionary Troop Commander, lists of equipment and personnel considered necessary to accomplish their missions. The latter screens these lists to prevent duplication and to eliminate unnecessary equipment and supplies. He also resolves questions of priority for landing. The Amphibious Force Commander procures ships and assigns them to lift troop units as nearly as possible as requested by the Expeditionary Troop Commander and with due regard to the practicability of unloading on the selected beaches.

    3. Loading dates and places will be determined by the Amphibious Force Commander and the Expeditionary Troop Commander. Dockside loading facilities at selected loading points will normally be arranged for by the Troop Commander when loading in ports under Army control and by the Amphibious Force Commander when loading in ports under Navy control. In all cases the latter will provide for the movement of ships to and from their loading berths.


    1. The date for loading the first ship in each Transport Division is designated "E Day" for the division. To insure proper combat loading it is considered that the following schedule must be met by all concerned.

      E minus 10 - Commanding General Expeditionary Troops approves detailed list of personnel, equipment and supplies for each Transport Division.
      E minus 7 - Transport Division Commander makes final allocation of personnel, equipment and supplies among ships of his division.
      E minus 5 - Stowage plan for each ship approved by its commanding officer and submitted for approval to Transport Division Commander.
      E minus 4 - Stowage plans approved and issued as directed.
      E minus 3 - All embarkation plans complete.
      E minus 1 - Cargo to be loaded on E Day properly marked and spotted on dock. Advance details for ships which commence loading on E Day report on board. Final loading conference aboard ship.

  1. General instructions for loading:

    1. No arbitrary limit on the amount of cargo to be carried in APAs and AKAs will be established as a matter of policy. In general, when the objective is close to the base of supply or when the assault phase ashore is not expected to last more than a few days after which assault troops are to be withdrawn, it is considered advantageous to limit the load to provide maximum efficiency of unloading during the time when enemy air or surface attack is expected. When assault troops are to remain on the objective, a longer campaign is contemplated, or when supply bases are at a great distance, the fullest advantage should be taken of the rapid unloading capabilities of the amphibious force ships by loading the maximum amounts which may be combat loaded to properly support the troops in the initial assault. It is never good practice, however, to employ large amounts of dunnage or to stow general cargo in, under, and around vehicles, particularly in the long hatches, and this never should be done. It is obvious that ships are being submitted to needless risk if they are held in the area unloading from one hatch only. Since ships will leave the objective in groups as large as possible, and tactical unity of transport divisions and squadrons should be preserved, it is desirable to load the ships of each division and squadron in such a way that all ships (except the large AKAs when necessary) will complete discharge at approximately the same time.

    2. In loading the following will be observed:

      1. Ships crews will furnish winchmen and hatch tenders.

      2. Ships must be supplied with adequate cargo handling gear to facilitate discharge.

      3. Loading will be under the direction of the Commanding Officer of the ship assisted by the Ship Transport Quartermaster and Troop Transport Quartermaster.


      1. Loading of cargo will be completed if practicable, at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to embarkation time so that troop loading details can be released to their organization commanders for final instructions, etc.

      2. Naval District Commander or C.O. Army Port and Service Command, will furnish necessary dock equipment, technical assistance, dunnage, personnel, tools and material necessary to properly shore and secure cargo, etc., depending on whether ships are loaded under Navy or Army jurisdiction.

    1. Care must be exercised that each ship is loaded in the manner best designed to support the tactical plan of the landing force commander, and to assure most expeditious discharge of troops and cargo. To achieve this end, the priority in which all items of cargo will be needed on the beach must be known.

    2. For rapid discharge, ships should be so loaded that all holds may be worked simultaneously and continuously with a minimum of shifting of cargo handling gear, and at approximately the same rate of discharge. In order to accomplish this, a detailed knowledge of the cargo and the ship is necessary. The number of lifts, their weights and the type of boats required for their movement must be considered in loading each hold. It is essential that the number of officers and enlisted troops, the number and total square footage of vehicles, and the cubage and short ton weight of cargo be known for each vessel. It is generally impossible during the planning stage to predict the course of battle sufficiently well to know precisely what supplies will be needed at any moment. Experience has shown that after troops with their fighting equipment have debarked in proper priority, it is advisable that some of all types of supplies be accessible at all times. To accomplish this, water, ammunition of all types, rations, and petroleum products must be so spread throughout the ship that they are readily available on call. Vehicles will be loaded with motor fuel tanks three quarters full. Within each hatch the best method of stowage to allow for unpredictable demands is to divide cargo for that hold into classes and stow the classes in vertical blocks extending athwartships from the squadron of the hatch to the fore and after bulkheads in such manner as to allow accessibility of each class from the square.

    3. Where cargo nets are used, cargo in the hatch squares should be in nets ready for lifting. If the pallets are used they should be on, or accessible to the hatch squares with slings in place. High priority vehicles should have slings in place and be combat loaded. Loaded vehicles should not be heavier than the capacity of the smallest boat in which they may be loaded. Pallets should never be used for loads into LVTs or other boats which are unable to beach, unless cranes are available for unloading.


    1. Experience has shown that for the early assault shipping, the above limiting conditions cannot readily be met. Therefore, not more than fifty percent of the following types of cargo, destined for unloading immediately subsequent to the main assault, is to be palletized.

      1. Water.
      2. Ammunition of all types.
      3. Rations.
      4. Petroleum.
      5. Medical Supplies.

    2. When possible, the non-palletized small cargo shall be sent ashore first, using amphibious vehicles for its transportation. Palletized cargo will normally be sent ashore only after it has been determined that landing boats can beach in sufficiently shallow water to permit the pallets to be dragged ashore by vehicles which are already ashore, or after hoisting equipment is available on the beach for immediate unloading of boats or amphibious vehicles containing pallets.

    3. Personnel who are to unload ships at the destination must participate in loading in the same capacity as they will later serve during unloading.

  1. Personnel and Cargo Handling.

    1. Ships classed as APAs, AKAs, LSVs, LSTs, and LSMs are combatant vessels and it is necessary that advantage be taken of every opportunity to increase their military efficiency.

    2. The loading and unloading of ships of these classes is to be regarded as a military evolution, and every opportunity is to be taken to develop proficiency in personnel and cargo handling on every occasion afforded.

    3. It is, therefore, directed that all cargo handling gear be operated by ship's personnel whenever cargo is received or discharged. When special situations arise in loading operations other than for combat, which will prevent strict compliance with this directive, they should be adjusted locally between the commanding officer of the ship and the cognizant port authority. It is also directed that, whenever troops are embarked combat loaded, they be drilled in their function of stowing and discharging equipment and supplies. In order to develop the cargo handling teams, men who will be assigned to unloading details


      should likewise stow the cargo which they may later be called upon to handle under combat conditions. "It is, however, definitely a ship's responsibility to secure cargo properly for sea and ship's personnel will do the work, assisted as necessary by troop labor and advice of Navy riggers ashore". As a standard, approximately two officers and twenty men per hold, will be required as cargo handling details. Troops likewise, when embarked, will be trained daily in matters pertaining to prompt debarkation.

    1. In order to provide against casualty or transfer, and to care for operations extending over a considerable period, a minimum of two full sets of winchmen and hatch tenders shall be trained and maintained in every APA, AKA, AP and AK assigned to the Amphibious Forces, U.S. pacific Fleet.

Section 2. Transport Loading -- Embarkation

  1. Embarkation and Tonnage Summary Forms for use in assault loading of individual ships are illustrated in Chapter XIX of this publication and instructions for their preparation are given. However, to fulfill the needs of Attack Force Commanders or higher authorities for general information on cargo and personnel embarked in all APAs, AKAs, LSVs, LSDs, LSTs, and LSMs, a form which summarizes the information found in individual ship's loading plans is required. The Embarkation and Tonnage Summary as illustrated on page XX-7 is suggested to serve this purpose. This, or a similar form will be prepared by Naval Commanders embarking a troop division or larger troop unit.

  2. While Army and Marine Corps equipment and supplies are grouped into five classes, it will be found that for purposes of combat loading, cargo will generally be divided as follows:

    1. Vehicles and heavy lifts including weapons and large pieces of equipment which require certain deck space, head room, and other definite clearances.

    2. General Cargo -- Boxes, bales, barrels, crates, packages, bundles, and pallets which are susceptible of loading in any place available except pallets which should be on, or accessible to the hatch squares in accordance with priorities.

    3. Perishables -- Meat, fruit, and vegetable ration components; medical department biologicals.

    4. High Explosives -- Artillery ammunition, bombs, depth charges, demolition material.

    5. Troop Space Cargo -- Sea or barracks bags, bedding rolls or hammocks, locker trunks, office equipment.

    6. Inflammables -- Drummed gasoline and oils.

    7. Chemical Ammunition -- White Phosphorus, HC, FS, and FM Smoke.

    8. Special -- Pyrotechnics, detonators.


  1. Certain problems arise with regard to facilities for landing cargo and these must be considered in connection with the establishment of priorities, loading and stowage plans. The number of tank lighters available and the estimated time it will take each to make a round trip to the beach will be a determining factor in the stowage given to such articles as tanks or 90mm guns. Holds should not be blocked by these when other items might be otherwise transported in different types of landing craft. Another bottleneck is the beach itself. It may be necessary to land a bull-dozer before attempting to get large vehicles ashore; tractors or other prime movers must be available on the beach to pull heavy artillery from lighters; a tractor-crane of 2-1/2 ton capacity is necessary for the efficient landing of bundles of Marston mats.

  2. It is desirable that material belonging to each embarked unit should be kept together and stowed in a part of the ship convenient to that unit. This consideration, however, has in the past, had adverse influence upon unloading of the force as a whole and must be subordinated to other factors. It should be borne in mind that during the unloading period the ship might be compelled to get underway, hence such essentials as rations, gasoline, and ammunition should be distributed in the ship in such a manner that a proportionate amount of each will be landed from hour to hour. This may require "horizontal" loading of the ship as far as possible. On the other hand, discharge priority may vary somewhat during the course of unloading and this might be provided for by vertical loading of particular compartments of the ship. The following sketch demonstrates this principle:

    Sketch of vertical loading of compartments

  3. The efficient organization of activities at the Port of Embarkation is most essential. Material of every description will arrive from several sources, in large quantities, in a relatively short period of time. This material must be received, segregated, and stored so as to prevent congestion and permit its delivery to designated ships in accordance with their loading plans.

  4. Combat loading is planned with a view to opening all hatches at the same time, working them continuously, and emptying them simultaneously. In order to attain this end, accurate experience tables are necessary. When applying these tables to a specific problem, time taken to shift rig, for example from heavy lift boom to yard-and-stay, must be considered in addition to rate of discharge. The number of lifts taken to open each hold must also be considered.


    Experience has determined that with sufficient boats a figure of 15 tons per hatch per hour is a reasonable overall average. Hourly rates for some type of cargo were:

    90 drums gasoline 17.7 tons
    2 3-ton trucks 8.5 tons
    2 light tanks 25.0 tons
      small arms ammunition 21.5 tons
      90mm ammunition 13.0 tons
      general freight 15.0 tons

    Experience has shown that loading rate is a good unit of measure in computing the rate of discharge.

  1. Stowage plans must provide for proper distribution of weight longitudinally, laterally and vertically. Ballast tanks may be utilized to compensate for unequal distribution of weight.

    1. Contrary to the usual belief, guns, tractors, and trailers have comparatively large stowage factors and consequently can be loaded at high level on the ship, that is, in 'tween deck compartments or on deck. This is not only economical in space but it is desirable from a tactical standpoint, as much of this material will be needed early in the operation.

    2. Ammunition and rations have relatively low stowage factors; the bulk of these supplies, however, must be available to accompany troops ashore, and provision should be made for stowing a certain amount of ammunition and rations 'tween decks, or in other readily accessible space.

    3. During training periods, each APA and AKA will make an accurate time study of unloading rates at the ship and at the beach, with running time to and from the beach eliminated. Based on these studies, the loading of each ship for combat operations will be adjusted so that all holds may be worked simultaneously and continuously and all will be emptied at approximately the same time.

    4. For Safety Regulations, see APA-AKA Type Organization and Regulations, Chapter VI, Section 9, Appendix I to this publication. [Issued under separate cover, and not included in this version. --HyperWar]

  2. Each ship should know its over-all "stowage factor", i.e., total volume of available hold and 'tween deck space divided by tonnage necessary, after all provision, water, fuel, troops and crew, boats, etc., are on board, to bring the ship down to her marks. This factor must be corrected for deck cargo carried, which reduces tonnage without changing volume.

  3. Dunnage is often necessary, between layers of 155mm shell, for example, but in the interest of expeditious unloading it should be held to a minimum. Temporary decking of large holds with dunnage often results in serious delay. When used, however, it should be put ashore with the troops because this is a source of valuable field engineering material.


  1. Part 2, Group S-27, Bureau of Ships Allowance List, as modified by Bureau of Ships General Amendments, and the latest revision of AdCom PhibsPac Cir. ltr. AL-108 specifies the items of Cargo Handling Gear authorized for APAs and AKAs of the Amphibious Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Individual ships will be responsible for procurement and maintenance of this equipment.

  2. "Vehicle" as considered in this discussion of transport loading will be taken as a general term used to include trucks, tractors, trailers, tanks, mounted guns, hand carts, vans, power shovels, and other equipment which because of large dimensions require special consideration in loading and stowage.

    1. Factors that must be considered in the handling and stowage of vehicles are:

      1. Capacity of booms.
      2. Dimensions of hatches.
      3. Depth clear girder of hold or 'tween deck space.
      4. Turning radius of vehicle wheels.
      5. Position of stanchions, hatch coamings, or obstructions.
      6. Relative accessibility of prime movers and towed vehicles.
      7. Established priorities for unloading.

    2. Each vehicle to be embarked will be assigned a debarkation priority number, corresponding to the order in which it is desired that it leave the ship. It is the responsibility of the Troop Transport Quartermaster to communicate this information to the troops in order that vehicles may be properly marked. This may be done with soap or chalk.

    3. Each vehicle will be stocked prior to embarkation with its combat load, gasoline tank 3/4 full, "two 5 gallon expeditionary cans of gasoline each 3/4 full, except 1/4 ton 4x4 trucks which will be provided with one 5 gallon expeditionary can of gasoline 3/4 full", 1 gallon reserve oil and emergency rations for driver and assistant. Ignition keys will remain in vehicles. If the voyage will exceed a period of 5 days, the combat load must be removed or springs blocked up to protect them. Vehicles must be checked carefully for fuel leaks and electrical short circuits. Provision will be made for grounding each vehicle immediately upon being loaded in the ship. Protection against "drowning" upon debarkation from small craft is also essential.[*]

    4. When gasoline-driven vehicles are stowed on weather decks, they should be in a location where fire would do the least damage to the ship. When they are stowed in exhaust-ventilated spaces below, ventilation is kept in continuous operation while they are aboard. Portable continuous generating foam fire extinguishers are kept rigged ready for instant service. Portable CO2 extinguishers, rescue breathing apparatus, fog nozzles, and asbestos clothing for personnel are to be available. When practicable, spaces are kept under constant surveillance by a watch in rubber-soled shoes and using spark-proof electric hand lanterns. Exigencies of the task, however, may warrant and require deviation from the foregoing.


    1. The 1/4 ton, 4x4 "Truck" and lighter wheeled weapons may be stowed with considerable facility and handled with average gear. They may well be spread throughout the ship. Heavier vehicles present different problems.

    2. It is impractical to stow vehicles over or under other material without considerable dunnage and shoring. Stowage in holds often results in considerable lost space unless temporary decks are constructed (though this is relatively simple in holds having shaft alleys). For those reasons, 'tween deck compartments are generally most economical. To prevent shifting at sea, vehicles are invariably wheel-chocked, and secured to stanchions, to ring-bolts or shored. It is the responsibility of the commanding officer of the transport to see that this is done. Ship's crew will assist and supervise this work.

  1. Billeting and messing -- Plans for billeting and messing of troops should be worked out to the satisfaction of the troop commander. The importance to the fighting condition and the living conditions for troops on board ship cannot be exaggerated. The ship transport quartermaster will provide the troop transport quartermaster or billeting officer with ship's plans showing the locations of bunks in compartments and will advise him of Ship's Regulations which affect billeting and messing so that a proper plan may be made for the best comfort of troops and in accordance with debarkation plans. Troops will ordinarily be billeted by debarkation teams with each team having the most convenient route to its debarkation station.

  2. Precaution must be taken against shifting of cargo. If possible, no space is left into which cargo may shift. Dunnage is used to prevent shifting and chafing by filling in broken stowage. Some cargo must be carefully shored. If cargo will settle, some provision must be made to secure it after it has settled.

  3. Each piece of cargo must be marked to enable identification during loading and unloading as well as to insure stowage in accordance with established priorities.

  4. Final loading and stowage plans are prepared after loading has been completed. In these are incorporated all changes found necessary since the drafting of original plans.

  5. During loading the duties of the following are as below:

    1. Transport Commander -- The duties of the commanding officer of the transport during the progress of loading are as follows:

      1. To examine the loading plan and approve any changes which necessarily develop.

      2. To maintain cargo spaces and handling gear in a state of readiness to receive landing force cargo.

      3. To assure that a part of every hold served by a boom is used for the stowage of Landing Force Cargo.

      4. To safeguard cargo from pilferage, damage and sabotage while aboard.


      1. To inform the commanding officer of troops of the sequence in which it is desired that equipment and supplies to be embarked shall arrive at the ship's side.

      2. To supervise the stowage of cargo to avoid overload, guard against unnecessary fire hazard, insure proper trim, prevent list caused by improper weight distribution or future shifting and provide for maximum stability in the event of possible damage.

    1. Troop Commander -- The duties of the commanding officer of troops during the progress of loading are as follows:

      1. To properly regulate the time and order of arrival of cargo at the ship.

      2. To furnish the troop transport quartermaster with the required data and information in order that he can perform his required duties.

      3. To insure that equipment and supplies embarked are essential to the combat mission and in accordance with administrative decisions regarding operations in the particular theater.

      4. To insure that material embarked is properly marked.

      5. To insure that equipment and supplies to be embarked are segregated before arrival at shipside and arranged in the order requested.

      6. To safeguard cargo from damage, pilferage and sabotage before loaded and arrange with the commanding officer of the transport to assist in safeguarding it when aboard.

    2. Ship and Troop Transport Quartermaster -- for the duties of the ship and troop transport quartermasters during loading see Chapter XIX.

    3. Accountability -- Accountability for material embarked remains with the supply officer or quartermaster and will not be shifted to the ship or troop transport quartermaster.

  1. Ships holds and handling facilities are not flexible. Boats and lighters have fixed capacities and speeds. Development of the art of recognizing aids and avoiding pitfalls -- taking advantage of capabilities and minimizing limitations -- in these mediums with which the work takes place will make for intelligent combat loading. Finally, it must be remembered that all other demands are secondary to tactical requirements.

  2. A senior officer of the organization embarked in each transport is designated as the "Commanding Officer of Troops". The embarkation order should provide that the task organization is effective as of date of issue of the order, which enables administrative authority to be centered in this officer during early stages of the planning and preparation for an operation.



Embarkation and Tonnage Summary Form


    1. An advance detail will report to each transport 24 hours before the commencement of loading. It is constituted as follows:

      1. One Troop Transport Quartermaster.
      2. Two Assistant Transport Quartermasters.
      3. One officer and twenty enlisted men -- per troop cargo hatch, including two NCOs per hatch to supervise hold loading detail.
      4. One Billeting Officer.
      5. One NCO from each embarking unit to assist Billeting Officer.
      6. One NCO and two privates from each organization to identify cargo.
      7. Two officers and necessary enlisted men to form ship's Guard.
      8. Troop Mess Officer and cooks, messmen, bakers, and butchers as specified by each ship.

    2. Prior to arrival of troops, the following arrangements are completed:

      1. Detail of cooks, messmen, bakers, butchers.
      2. Establishment of ship's Guard.
      3. Plans for billeting and messing of troops.
      4. Assignment of cleaning details.
      5. Stationing of gun crews enroute.
      6. Posting and instruction of guides to insure orderly embarkation.
      7. Provisions for troops at general drills, for general military training, and for recreation enroute.

Section 3. Loading of Landing Ship Tank (LST)

    1. The type of cargo that may be carried by LSTs varies from 1/4 ton trucks to large tanks with all classes of vehicles included, from small arms ammunition to large caliber ammunition and bombs, from cement to "C" rations, from gasoline in cans to diesel oil in the ballast tanks. The cargo officer must know how to handle and secure this cargo.

    2. These craft are invaluable not only as freight carriers in the initial landing, but also as the means of rapid delivery of bulk cargo to the position captured until adequate port facilities can be established.

    3. Each LST shall have one officer detailed as cargo officer. It is his duty to see that cargo is properly and securely stowed. When a troop transport quartermaster is present, the cargo officer shall work in close collaboration with him. He shall see that the ship is not overloaded. He shall keep the Commanding Officer informed of the situation at all times.


  1. Loading of LSTs.

    1. Equipment and cargo of troops is stowed by them in accordance with a carefully prepared stowage plan previously worked out by the troop transport quartermaster and cargo officer and approved by the Commanding Officer of the ship. Plans will be approved by LST Group Commanders in the same manner as plans are approved for APAs and AKAs by Transport Division Commanders (see Chapter XIX).

    2. Other cargo may be stowed by the providing activity. Ordinarily, for long hauls, the cargo will be stowed and stored by the supplying agency. For short hauls, as in unloading transports or cargo ships in a forward area, cargo will be loosely dumped on deck.

    3. Satisfactory loading depends upon careful planning based upon a full exchange of complete and accurate information between ship and unit to be embarked.

    4. Cargo in an LST must be stowed in a manner different from that employed when loading transports or cargo vessels. If a large amount of loose cargo is to be unloaded rapidly, it must be stowed outboard on each side of the tank deck and at the after end, leaving space sufficient to permit trucks to be backed in, permitting 6 or 8 of them to be loaded simultaneously.

    5. Trucks and trailers should be fully loaded when embarked. The more rolling stock stowed the faster the ship is able to unload when beached.

    6. When the ship is properly loaded and with efficient unloading, 500 tons of bulk cargo can be discharged within one daylight period.

    7. Each LST has been allotted one crawler crane and two finger lifts which are a great assistance in loading and unloading bulk cargo or pallets.

    8. For Safety Regulations, see LST Type Organizations, Regulations and Standard Operating Procedure, Chapter VII, Section 2, Appendix 4 to this publication.

  2. Capacities of an LST are generally as follows:

    1. Troop Officers -- 12 to 16.

    2. Troops, enlisted -- 150.

    3. Landing condition: Cargo load 500 tons; draft forward 3'0"; draft aft 9'6"

    4. Ocean going condition: Cargo load, 1431 long tons; draft forward 8'0" draft aft 14'4".

    5. Maximum load carried in Main (weather) Deck -- 350 tons.

    6. Main (weather) deck -- 6000 sq. ft. (not over 4500 sq. ft. net, because of ventilators, padeyes, etc.).

    7. Tank Deck -- 28 ft. x 226 ft. -- 6328 sq. ft. all net, of which 4707 sq. ft. are abaft of elevator.


LST Loading Diagram


    1. Elevator from tank deck to weather deck; dimensions 24 ft. fore and aft by 14 ft. thwartships; maximum capacity 10 tons. LST numbers 514 and up, except number 531, are equipped with a ramp instead of an elevator; dimensions, 30'6" by 12'6".

    2. LST have no booms and must be loaded:

      1. Direct from beach over ramp in bow (preferred method).

      2. From a lighter secured to the ramp.

      3. By crane from dock or by another ship; cargo then lowered by elevator -- a slow, laborious method. For LSTs with ramps instead of elevators, this method is not practicable.

    3. Speed of ship maximum 10 knots. Vehicle capacities are as follows:

      Load for Tank Deck

      1. Light tanks 30.
      2. Medium tanks 20.
      3. Heavy tanks 10.
      4. LVTs 17.
      5. 2-1/2 ton trucks 33.

      Load for Main (weather) deck

      1. 1/4 ton trucks 44.
      2. LVT(1) 9.
      3. 2-1/2 ton trucks 24.

  1. Ocean Going Cargo Characteristics.

    This tonnage figure is placed at 1431 long tons. It is variable depending on weights of other factors affecting the displacement and is based on the following:

    Light Ship (7-40mm singles, 12-20mm) __________ 1490 tons.
    Fuel Oil (all regular fuel oil tanks full, to give a cruising distance of 12,000 miles with adverse conditions of weather and bottom) __________ 595 tons.
    Fresh water (all designed fresh water tanks full, LSTs without evaps). __________ 434 tons.
    Lube Oil __________ 10 tons.
    Stores __________ 36 tons.
    Complement (23 officers at 400 lbs. per man; 217 men at 300 lbs. per man)
    NOTE: Complement for all bunks full, crew and troops.
    __________ 33 tons.


    Ammunition -- 20mm __________ 8 tons.
    Ammunition -- 40mm __________ 33 tons.
    Liquids in machinery __________ 10 tons.
          Total, prior to loading __________ 2,649 tons.
          Cargo -- Pay Load __________ 1,431 tons.
          MAXIMUM OCEAN DISPLACEMENT __________ 4,080 tons.

    The following special loads will reduce the ocean going cargo capacity.

    LCT(6) with stores, parts, etc., ways and launching gear __________ 176 tons.
    2 x 30 pontoon causeways __________ 90 tons.
    3 x 7 pontoon __________ 30 tons.
    3 x 12 pontoon barge (add 4 tons to pontoons if self-propelled) __________ 54 tons.
    LCM(3) __________ 28 tons.
    LCV(P) __________ 8 tons.

  1. Tank Cargo Space Dimensions:

    Length (to top of hump) 250 ft.
    Width (inside fenders) 28' x 6"
    Width (inside angle) 29' x 4"
    Height (to bottom of beams) 12'11/2"
    Volume 92,765 cu. ft.
    Door opening (clear) 14' x 13'6" wide
    Ramp dimensions 23' x 15'6"
    Cargo hatch dimensions 32' x 14'
    Doors open thru arc of 104 degrees

Section 4. Loading of Landing Ships Medium (LSM)

  1. General. The primary value of the LSM lies in its use for carrying DUKWs, Medium Tanks, Heavy Artillery, and beach party equipment. Combat loading of LSMs will be conducted according to plans which will meet the tactical requirements of the assault and also provide for the maximum safety of the ship and embarked personnel. Loading plans will be approved by the Commanding Officer of each ship and submitted to the Group Commander for his approval and further distribution in accordance with paragraph 1929(b), Transport Doctrine.

  2. Combat Loading.

    1. LSMs will not usually carry ammunition, explosives, gasoline, and other miscellaneous general cargo but when they do the gasoline must be stowed forward in the Well Deck and the ammunition aft with the available inert cargo separating them.


[B L A N K]


    1. As much as possible of the cargo to be loaded should be wheelborne to facilitate unloading.

    2. All vehicles and motorized mobile equipment should be loaded stern first and must be accompanied by competent operators. For Safety Regulations see LSM Type Organization, Regulations and Standard Operating Procedure, Chapter 50, Appendix 8 to this publication.

    3. Heavy equipment should be lashed with chains and shored. Any cargo subject to salt water damage should be further protected by waterproofing or tarpaulins. (See paragraph 2007 for responsibility).

    4. Fire Fighting equipment and sounding tubes must be kept clear.

    5. The load is limited to 165 tons for landing with a draft of approximately 3'6" forward and 7' aft. However, if the slope of the landing beach permits, a load of 337 tons with a draft of approximately 6'4" forward and 8'3" aft can be carried.

    6. Upon the completion of combat loading and prior to movement to the theater of assault operations, frequent inspections will be conducted to ascertain the security of the ship and its embarked cargo. Extreme caution will be exercised to avoid the unnecessary presence of inflammables in the Well Deck. Repair activities will be reduced to the absolute minimum. No welding or burning will be permitted without special authority.

    7. Vehicle capacities are as follows:

      DUKWs (M2)       10
      Tanks, Heavy       5
      Tanks, Medium       10
      1/4 ton trucks       39
      2-1/2 ton trucks       12

      NOTE: It should be borne in mind when loading vehicles that the clearance at the ramp to the overhead is 11'6". See Appendix 8 to the Transport Doctrine, "Combat Loading of LSMs", for additional suggested loads.

  1. UNLOADING -- APAs and AKAs.

    1. In assisting APAs and AKAs in unloading, LSMs can be loaded in much the same manner as LCTs and have about the same capacity. They should be utilized chiefly for heavy rolling stock which would otherwise have to be unloaded into LCMs. Bulk cargo, of course, can be taken from APAs and AKAs, but this should not be done as long as there are still vehicles to be landed in order to advantageously employ LSMs. The Commanding Officer of the LSM will contact the loading officer of the ship he is to assist to obtain information concerning the cargo to be unloaded. It is his responsibility to supervise the arrangement of cargo and vehicles in this ship to preserve the safety of both ship and cargo.


  1. Troop Capacity.

    1. Normally LSM accommodations permit the embarkation of two officers and 41 enlisted troops, but these figures vary depending on whether LSM staff personnel are aboard. The Commanding Officer of troops should consult with the LSM Commanding Officer to determine the number of billets available for troop use.

Section 5. Loading of Landing Craft Infantry (LCI)

  1. General.

    The primary mission for which these ships are designed is to land infantry and their equipment on a hostile beach. To this end it is necessary that the vessel approach the landing beach with suitable draft and trim so that she will land, preferably by the bow, in water shallow enough for the troops to wade ashore.

  2. Stability and Loading.

    1. When operating at comparatively light displacements, a very small portion of the vessel's structure is immersed and they are consequently difficult to manage in winds of any intensity because of their tendency to "sail". The bow will pound in rough seas. On the other hand, the shape of the bow is such that, if loaded too deeply, the ships will be very wet forward, resulting in damage to topside gear and hull structures in a sea of any magnitude. It is considered that the best balance will be struck if the vessel is loaded nearly to, and not in excess of, a mean draft of 5 ft. 8 in. with drafts forward and aft approximately equal. This draft corresponds to a displacement of 387 tons.

    2. LCIs may be called upon to transport limited amounts of small package cargo capable of being man-handled. In order to stay within maximum advisable displacement of 387 tons, it will be necessary to reduce the weight of fuel carried. To maintain adequate stability characteristics, cargo should be stowed as low as possible in the troops holds. It is not expected that a significant amount of cargo will be carried concurrently with troops. The Bureau of Ships has caused a sign to be placed in the pilot house of each vessel of the LCI(L) 351 class prohibiting the transporting of cargo on the main deck or above.

    3. It is characteristic of vessels of this size with adequate stability to have a short, and consequently uncomfortable, period of roll. Any temptation to load weights high in the ships to reduce GM and ease the rolling of the ship must be resisted. Such a reduction in stability may render the vessel unseaworthy. Troops and their effects should be kept below decks as long as possible to prevent further reduction in stability, as well as for their own protection.


  1. General Loading Capacities for Troops or Cargo are as follows:

    1. Troop Officers, 9, and troops, 201.
      45 troops in No. 1 Troop hold.
      66 troops in No. 2 Troop hold.
      66 troops in No. 3 Troop hold.
      24 troops in No. 4 Troop hold.
      (draft forward 5 ft. aft 6 ft.)

      Cargo 75 tons maximum in Troop holds.
      30 tons in No. 1 Troop hold.
      30 tons in No. 2 Troop hold.
      13 tons in No. 3 Troop hold.
      (draft forward 4 ft. 8-1/2 in; aft 4 ft. 11-1/2 in.)
      Cargo 5 tons when troops are carried.

Section 6. Loading of Landing Ship Dock (LSD-457 ft.)

  1. General

    These ships were especially designed to carry tank landing craft with tank loaded and to be able by means of flooding, to embark and float them out.

  2. Capacities of the LSD are as follows:

    1. Troop officers, 20.
    2. Troops, enlisted, 230.
    3. Ship has 2 35-ton cranes.
    4. Number of LCM(3)s -- 20 (with medium tanks).
    5. Number of LCM(6)s -- 20.
    6. Number of LVTs -- 45.
    7. Number of LCTs -- 3.
    8. Number of DUKWs -- 40.
    9. With portable spare and mezzanine decks installed, 92 LVTs and 108 DUKWs may be carried.

Section 7. Loading of Landing Craft

  1. General:

    One of the most serious handicaps which will complicate the TQM's problem in unloading a ship is the limited number of landing boats and tank lighters available for ferrying vehicles and supplies ashore. Ordinarily APAs carry 2-4 LCMs and 25-30 LCVPs. Obviously no equipment which can be carried in LCVPs should be sent ashore in LCMs as long as heavy equipment remains aboard. Capacity of landing boats is generally referred to in terms of BOAT SPACES. It is assumed that one boat space is equal in weight or volume of an average soldier fully equipped for combat. For the sake of a uniform figure


    a BOAT SPACE is assumed to equal 224 lbs. or 53.5 cubic feet. Either figure is used depending on which capacity is reached first. Listed below are loadings which have been used on actual operations:

    LCP or LCP(R) 36 men or 4 tons of cargo.

    LCVP       4 tons cargo:
    3/4 ton C&R, W/C, etc.
    1/4 ton truck and trailer, plus 17 men
    105mm Howitzer plus 15 men
    2 - 1 ton trailers plus 5 men
    37mm A/T gun, 1/4 ton truck and 15 men
    Amphibian 1/4 ton truck and 15 men
    2 - 37mm A/T guns plus 18 men

    1/2 ton trucks in LCVs -- 3/4 ton trucks in new LCVPs.

    LCM(3)     30 tons of general cargo.
    3 - 1/4 ton trucks
    4 - 1 ton trailers
    1 - 105mm Howitzer with prime mover plus 20 men
    Medium or light tank
    2 - 1/2 ton trucks
    Scout car plus 1 ton trailer
    Half track or bulldozer
    Any 3/4 or 1-1/2 ton truck
    Gun, 90mm w/mount
    Crane, tractor
    Scraper, 8 yd.
    Shovel, gas, 1/2 yd.
    Tractor, D-8, w/o blade
    Crane, tractor, 7 T
    Crane, truck, Mtd.
    Tractor, D-7, w/o blade

    LCM(6) and LCM(3) rebuilt with 6' added to the tank deck amidships.

                        34 Short tons cargo:
    1 - 34 ton tank
    Any type loads listed for LCM(3)

    LCT(5) and (6)

                        15 Short tons cargo:
    5 medium tanks.

Section 8. Debarkation -- Unloading

  1. This section covers that phase of amphibious operations from the time ships approach the Transport Area until they depart.


  1. The responsibilities mentioned in paragraph 2001 are further defined in connection with unloading as follows:

    1. The Amphibious Force Commander, and therefore commanding officers of transports through the naval chain of command, is responsible for safely and expeditiously delivering cargo and supplies to the beach, using ships' boats, large landing craft, and other lighterage which may be assigned.

    2. The Commander Expeditionary Troops, through Landing Force and other subordinate commanders, is responsible for providing working parties under competent supervision on each transport for handling cargo and otherwise assisting in unloading. Through the same channels he is also responsible for the organization of shore parties according to Standing Operating Procedure for the purposes of unloading cargo out of small boats or larger landing craft arriving from the transports and keeping the beach clear by removing cargo to designated dispersal dumps.

  2. Selection of Transport Area. See Articles 219-223 of FTP 167.

  3. Stations in the Transport Area are assigned each transport in an annex to the Operation Order. Upon arrival at assigned stations, transports lie to and maintain position unless anchoring is prescribed by Commander Transport Squadron.

    1. Regardless of depth of water, it is usually deemed advisable not to anchor because:

      1. A transport at anchor rides into the wind and sea, thus providing no lee for lowering and unloading boats.

      2. A transport at anchor is unable to maneuver quickly if attacked by airplanes, surface craft, submarines, or shore artillery.

    2. After transports have closed the beach to expedite unloading, it is often desirable to drop an anchor underfoot and ride to short stay. This avoids drifting, assists in the prevention of fouling other vessels, and eliminates delays in unloading necessitated by maneuvering to keep position.

  4. Identification of Transports: See Article 316 of FTP 211.

    1. A rapid debarkation of troops and material reduces exposure of transports to enemy action during the period when they are most vulnerable. However, material must not be placed upon the beach until the landing force is ready to receive it -- close liaison between troops and transports must be maintained in order to meet these conflicting conditions.

    2. Commander transport Squadron must keep Group Commander informed of the progress of debarkation. For this reason, each transport will be required to make periodic reports giving the percentage of cargo discharged, continually revised.


  1. Boat Assignments. See Article 304 of FTP 211.

  2. Boats carried on the hatches will, as far as practicable, be swung out and lowered, and lashed to the rail. The outboard tier of davit boats will also be lowered to the rail and ready for loading.

    1. It will be standard practice to debark and unload from both sides of the ships simultaneously when sea conditions permit. If sea conditions are such as to require a lee, ships will be maneuvered and stopped so that there is a lee to port. The port davit boats are then lowered loaded. As soon as these are clear, ships are maneuvered to make a lee to starboard. As a matter of policy, vessels which can effect lowering of tank lighters and heavy equipment from but one side will arrange and use the starboard side for this operation.

    2. When possible, all davit boats will be initially loaded at the rail. As soon as they are water borne, they will cast off and proceed to their rendezvous areas.

    3. When davit boats are loaded at the rail, personnel will be instructed to take their weight out of the boat by supporting themselves on the life lines rigged from the strongback. Maximum loading limit for LCVP is 8100 lbs.

    4. Also see Article 305 of FTP 211.

    5. Sling hoisted boats will be water borne prior to loading.

  3. Loading Alongside. See Article 306 of FTP 211.

  4. Debarkation Station Operating Instructions. See paragraphs 412 and 413, Chapter IV of Transport Doctrine, Amphibious Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and paragraphs 307(a) 1-5, 307(c)1, and 307(c)3a, Chapter III of FTP 211.

    1. A designated member of each boatload of debarking troops will carry with him into the boat a board on which has been painted a number, by which number that particular boat will be designated in the landing operation. This board will be displayed prominently at all times, both on board the ship and while in the boat until beyond the Line of Departure, when the waves have assumed the appropriate formation.

    2. Number boards prescribed in FTP 167 have proved unsuitable. Wind and sea causes the number boats hung over the bows to flip over; the one hung over the stern is also in an unsuitable position.

      1. Rectangular shaped boards, 14 x 10 inches as shown, nailed to a staff 5 feet long of 2 x 2 inch white pine, will be prepared by each APA and AKA, one for each boat.

      2. Numerals will be painted on both sides of the boards upon receipt of the Boat Assignment Table for a specific landing or exercise. Boats are numbered with two digits. The first indicates the boat wave number, the second the boat number within the wave.


  1. FTP 167 and FTP 211 do not provide for the use of signals indicating the type of cargo being carried by landing boats after the assault waves have landed.

    1. In order to expedite unloading, after the assault waves have landed, the following signals shall be displayed by landing boats upon approaching the traffic control boat and the beach.

      1. Landing boats carrying cargo requiring handling by personnel only for prompt unloading will display a RED flag by day, and flash a RED light by night.

      2. Landing boats carrying pallet loads or cargo requiring use of tractor for prompt unloading will display a YELLOW flag by day and flash a YELLOW light by night.

    2. The Boat Traffic Control Officer will direct boat coxswains in the proper display of these signals.

    3. Beach and Shore Parties will be on the alert to distinguish these signals and will take prompt action to expedite unloading.

  2. The same details that loaded the ship will unload it under the direction of the ship's Transport Quartermaster, in the same capacity and handle the same cargo that they stowed.

    1. Non-commissioned officers assigned to holds act as checkers and maintain a record of all equipment and supplies debarked. They must be able to furnish the Ship or Troop Transport Quartermaster at any time with information regarding cargo unloaded, cargo remaining, and an estimate of time of completion.

    2. During the ship-to-shore movement, except in Administrative Landings, APAs will be required to furnish all of the following:

      1. Ship control details.
      2. Damage control details.
      3. Fire control details.
      4. Gunnery details.
      5. Engineering details.
      6. Communication details not otherwise prescribed.
      7. Messing details.
      8. Winch operators.
      9. Hatch tenders.
      10. Naval section shore parties.
      11. Essential working details.

      Watches will be continuous with only brief, necessary reliefs. All non-essential work will be postponed. Meals will be served on station.

    3. Men may be shifted from gun or engineering watches to other details reducing the course of unloading in order to equitably distribute the physical burden.


  1. An unloading plan, regardless of form, is necessary to insure that priorities of landing material will be followed as outlined by the Commanding Officer of Troops. Upon these priorities depends the success or failure of his tactical plan. Transport personnel have no authority to change them, either to suit their own convenience or their conception of the problem to be met. As may be seen from the foregoing sections, the general debarkation scheme is based on the tactical plan, but after embarkation is completed, the detailed debarkation plans must be made. Debarkation of personnel will generally be planned and conducted by Troop Officers and other ship's officers, therefore, the principle concern of the Transport Quartermasters will be the debarkation of material. For each hold of the ship a list must be made showing the priority of unloading each item and type of boat required for each. When any item requires LCM transportation, an alternative item will be stated so that no delay need ensue if the LCM is not available when needed. Attached to each hatch unloading list shall be a directory of names, rates, and duties of all ship and troop personnel assigned to work at that Hatch either in the hold or on deck. Copies of such list and directory shall be issued to each officer who may be concerned with directing activities at that hold.

  2. The following will not apply to any particular ship or any specific situation but may serve as an outline or model in drawing up unloading plans:

          D minus 1 Day
    1. Place combat loads in all vehicles.
    2. Check all vehicles, including batteries, tires, gas, lights, springs, and ignition keys.
    3. Test motors of vehicles carried as deck load.
    4. Distribute K and D rations to troops.
    5. Fill all water trailers. Give rust time to settle. Drain off and complete filling.
    6. Place small arms ammunition (cases) in boats as ordered.
    7. Units spot combat equipment needed in first trip of boats.
    8. Fill all nets with highest priority cargo. Attach slings to equipment or vehicles as practicable.
    9. Carefully check all combat equipment.

          H minus 6 Hours
    1. Prepare troop compartments for an early start.
    2. Move combat equipment to points where it will be hoisted out or passed into boats with hand lines.
    3. Remove all covers, tarpaulins, guys, stays, lashings.
    4. Final policing of troop spaces.
    5. Rig booms, warm up winches, make boats ready for lowering.
    6. Muster troops. Move to debarkation stations.


    1. Station unloading details.
    2. Lower away all boats.
    3. Clear and open hatches.
    4. Debark troops and combat equipment.
    5. Unload cargo when "ready" signal received from the beach.

    1. Boats: -- (No. -- types)
    2. Personnel: -- (No. -- duties)
    3. Cargo nets, slings, chime hooks, salmon boards, etc.: -- (No., where, when)
    4. Priority of material: 00 (list)
    5. Method of unloading: -- (miscellaneous instructions)
    6. Changes in assignment of boats or personnel as unloading progress: --
    7. Reports required: --

  1. Loading of Boats: --

    1. Boats must be loaded at the ship's side with consideration for the problem of unloading them at the beach. Trailers must have tongues forward. Only one class of material, that is, material to be landed at one landing point may be loaded in one boat for one trip -- this will save time in the long run and avoid confusion at the beach. Overloading of any boat, but particularly a ramped boat with the load too far forward will delay it at the beach for a considerable period. Manhandling cargo over the bow when the ramp cannot be lowered is obviously inefficient.

    2. Once the landing has been begun, cargo must be landed as fast as possible, in accordance with the tactical plan.

    3. All whips must be kept in use continuously when unloading cargo; use all cargo nets and have one ready at all times for each whip when unloading broken cargo. Leave loaded nets in boats for discharge at the beach and return empty nets to the ship whenever practicable. Where a number of men are to embark in boats to accompany freight, the boats will move away from the working hatch to a nearby net to receive the men.

    4. Boats lowered unloaded and not dispatched to the assembly area will proceed in assigned rotation to their debarkation stations. All such boats will be assigned to nets for loading prior to lowering. In drills or operations with troops, extra ammunition, water, rations, and similar articles will be loaded in boats prior to lowering, as required by the Tactical Plan.

    5. A careful time study will be made of boat operations. The following times will be recorded and every effort will be made to reduce the interval required to get the Boat Group away. Zero time is the signal to commence lowering boats:

      1. First wave is dispatched.
      2. Each boat loaded at the rail (exclusive of First Wave) is unhooked.


      1. Each boat is loaded at a debarkation station.
      2. To lower all landing boats, subdivided by groups.
      3. Each wave after number one is dispatched.
      4. First tank lighter is in the water.
      5. Second tank lighter is in the water.
      6. Tank lighter is alongside ready for loading.

  1. Flag Hoist reports:

    1. Assault Ships -- Beginning at H plus two Hour, and on the even number of hours thereafter, until unloaded, a report will be made by flag hoist by all ships to the Transport Squadron Commander as follows:

      1. Percentage of total cargo unloaded (ABLE over numerals)
      2. Percentage of rations unloaded, (BAKER over numerals)
      3. Percentage of ammunition unloaded, (CHARLIE over numerals).

    2. Beginning at H plus three Hour, and on the odd number of hours thereafter, until unloaded, a report will be made by flag hoist by all ships to the Transport Squadron Commander as follows:

      1. Number of LCV(P)s empty and available for unloading, (LOVE over numerals).
      2. Number of LCMs empty and available for unloading, (MIKE over numerals).

  2. For duties of Ship and Troop Quartermasters during Unloading, see Chapter XIX, section 9.


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