The Allied Invasion (D-Day) took place on this day in 1944

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Tank landing ship

Common clues: D-Day craft; Utah Beach vessel; "Saving Private Ryan" ship; WWII transport; WWII craft

Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year

Frequency in English language: 63773 / 86800

News: D-Day – June 6, 1944 – Then and Now

Video: LSTs in the Pacific: WWII

The tank landing ship (LST, for "Landing Ship, Tank") was created during World War II to support amphibious operations by carrying significant quantities of vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto an unimproved shore. More than a thousand of these ships were laid down in the United States during WWII. Eighty were built in UK and Canada to a modified design and known as LST (3).

The British evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940 demonstrated to the Admiralty that the Allies needed relatively large, ocean-going ships capable of shore-to-shore delivery of tanks and other vehicles in amphibious assaults upon the continent of Europe. As an interim measure, three medium-sized tankers, built to pass over the restrictive bars of Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela, were selected for conversion because of their shallow draft. Bow doors and ramps were added to these ships which became the first tank landing ships, LST (1). They later proved their worth during the invasion of Algeria in 1942, but their bluff bows made for inadequate speed and pointed up the need for an all-new design incorporating a sleeker hull.

At their first meeting at the Argentia Conference in August 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill confirmed the Admiralty's views. In November 1941, a small delegation from the Admiralty arrived in the United States to pool ideas with the Navy's Bureau of Ships with regard to development of the required ship. During this meeting, it was decided that the Bureau of Ships would design these vessels. The specification called for vessels capable of crossing the Atlantic and the original title given to them was "Atlantic Tank Landing Craft" (Atlantic (T.L.C.)). Calling a vessel 300ft long a "craft" was considered a misnomer and the class was re-christened "Landing Ship, Tank (2)". LST (2).

Within a few days, John Niedermair of the Bureau of Ships sketched out an awkward looking ship that proved to be the basic design for the more than 1,000 LST (2) which would be built during World War II. To meet the conflicting requirements of deep draft for ocean travel and shallow draft for beaching, the ship was designed with a large ballast system that could be filled for ocean passage and pumped out for beaching operations. The rough sketch was sent to Britain on 5 November 1941 and accepted immediately. The Admiralty then requested the United States to build 200 LST (2) for the Royal Navy under the terms of lend-lease.

The preliminary plans initially called for an LST 280 feet (85 m) in length; but, in January 1942, the Bureau of Ships discarded these drawings in favor of specifications for a ship 290 feet long. Within a month, final working plans were developed which further stretched the overall length to 328 feet (100 m) and called for a 50-foot (15 m) beam and minimum draft of 3.8 feet (1.2 m). This scheme distributed the ship's weight over a greater area enabling her to ride higher in the water when in landing trim. The LST could carry a 2,100-ton (1,900 t) load of tanks and vehicles. The larger dimensions also permitted the designers to increase the width of the bow door opening and ramp from 12 to 14 feet (3.7 to 4.3 m) and thus accommodate most Allied vehicles. Provisions were made for the satisfactory ventilation of the tank space while the tank motors were running, and an elevator was provided to lower vehicles from the main deck to the tank deck for disembarking. By January 1942, the first scale model of the LST had been built and was undergoing tests at the David Taylor Model Basin in Washington, D.C.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tank landing ship".