This page was last updated: 10 JUN 01, 1400Z
A TOUR of USS LST 325
A Suggested Route and Plan
for Our Tour Guides
Copyright © 2001, 2002 The USS LST Ship Memorial, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
It is suggested that you print out this page and
refer to it frequently while giving your tours.
See Detailed Route Below
NOTES TO OUR TOUR GUIDES:
Please understand that this tour has been designed for the casual visitor to our ship. It was never intended to be a complete, detailed and intricate explanation of the ship's workings, equipment and operation; nor was it written for the seasoned Navy veteran. Keep in mind that most of our visitors desire only a brief exposure and overview. Leave it to their own discretion to ask more detailed questions, and then use your own knowledge and experience to respond. But please don't ever make things up. If you're not sure of the answer, then you should point the visitor toward someone who can. All our work has been for them; let's give them an enjoyable experience!
Like the ship itself, this Tour Plan is a "work-in-progress." We want and need your comments and suggestions! If something needs to be added, deleted, explained in more -- or less -- detail, let us know. We want this to work for you as well as our visitors. Adapting this plan for your own use is one thing. Keep in mind that there will be Tour Guides following in your footsteps and they'll be needing a good Tour Plan as well.
Also, it's intended to publish a "Self-Guided Tour of LST 325" based upon this plan. At some point in time, that booklet will be offered for sale aboard the ship as a self-guided tour and as a souvenir. That will provide income for the ship, her restoration and her operation. We need to make it a booklet that people will want to buy and to save.
Please email your comments to the WebSkipper, and thanks ever so much for your volunteer help!
SOME BASICS OF GIVING TOURS:
- The safety of visitors and volunteers is the first responsibility of tour leaders.
- Security of property on LST 325 from theft or damage is a fundamental responsibility. It is an unfortunate reality that there are some people who will try to obtain a “souvenir” of their visit. This is especially applicable in areas of the ship that are furnished, e.g., officer and crew quarters, galley and dispensary. Any area that contains small, portable items must have proper safeguards to prevent theft or damage to exhibits and furnishings. Sometimes this often easily accomplished merely by limiting access (looking into an area, but not allowing entry) and by moving small objects out of easy reach.
- Accurate information: If you don’t know the answer to a question, just say you don’t know, and then find or refer them to someone who will know the answer.
- There is no such thing as a “stupid” question. Many people are unfamiliar with history in general, and life in the Navy in particular.
- Keep your group together. A ship is an unfamilar and difficult environment for most people to move around. Be especially sensitive to older and younger visitors. Resist the temptation to “show off” your familiarity with the ship.
- When speaking to your group, place yourself in a position where you can be seen and heard easily. Do not be distracted or give undue attention to the “sharp-shooters” (the visitors who are trying to show off their own knowledge) .
- Be polite and --above all -- know the people on the ship who have detailed knowledge and refer the “sharp-shooters” and difficult questions to them. Most importantly, do NOT get into an argument or dispute with someone over a minor point. When appropriate, simply admit that you may not know the information, and be able to refer them to an appropriate staff person.
Greetings to Our Visitors - Welcome Aboard M/V LST Memorial (formerly USS LST 325)!
We hope that you will have an exciting and informative visit on this grand old ship.
During your visit we ask you to observe the following tips and rules to insure a safe and enjoyable tour:Above all, please stay on the tour route. It is designed to give you the best possible information while insuring that you have a safe visit.
Please be careful going up and down ladders. You may find it best to descend the sloped ladders by facing the steps, in order to avoid hitting your head on the way down. Watch your head and shins when going through doors and hatchways. Please remember that LST 325 is a “work-in-progress.” There are people on board who are working to restore the ship, and they may be engaged in activities that do not allow them to talk with you at any given moment.
A Brief History of LST 325
Construction of USS LST 325 began on August 10, 1942, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in Philadelphia, PA. The ship was launched on October 27, 1942, and placed in commission as a ship of the United States Navy on February 1, 1943. During World War II this ship was assigned to the European Theater of Operations. She participated in the invasion and occupation of Sicily in July 1943, and made 44 crossings of the English Channel during the Normandy Invasion in June of 1944. She earned two Battle Stars for service in World War II.
The ship was decommissioned on July 2, 1946, and sent to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. In 1951 she was reactivated, designated as USNS LST 325, and assigned to the Military Sea Transport Service, where she was engaged in arctic resupply missions. On September 1, 1961, the ship was struck from the Naval Register of Ships and transferred to the National Defense Reserve Fleet. On May 1, 1964, the 325 was transferred to Greece under the Military Assistance Program. She was renamed Syros (L-144) and operated in that nation's navy for more than thirty years. The Greek Navy retired the ship in the late 1990’s.
In August of 2000, with the help of the United States Congress and the Government of Greece, she was acquired by The USS LST Ship Memorial, Inc. Basic repairs were made on the ship by the organization’s volunteers, with the assistance of the Greek Navy and US Navy personnel stationed in Souda, Crete. On November 14th, the 325 began her long journey home. She sailed out of Crete bound for the US with an intrepid crew of 29 veteran LST sailors, whose average age was 72 years old. They arrived safely in Mobile, Alabama, on January 10, 2001, undaunted but a bit the worse for wear.
Her current official name is M/V LST Memorial, which translates to “Motorized Vessel LST Memorial.”
- The ship is 328 feet long and 50 feet wide.
- Her displacement (weight) is 1,770 tons unloaded and 3,880 tons fully loaded. This means she can carry cargo loads even heavier than her own basic weight.
- Unloaded she draws only 2’ 4" feet of water at the bow and 7’ 6" feet of water at the stern. When fully loaded, the draft is 8’ 2" at the bow and 14' 1" at the stern. The ship’s shallow draft and flat bottom give her the ability to move in very shallow water, right onto the shore itself.
- Top speed 12 knots (13.2 miles per hour); Standard speed about 9 knots (10 mph).
- Range about 10,000 miles on 50,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
- She is powered by two General Motors 12-567 Diesel engines (12 pistons each).
- Crew consisted of 8-10 officers and 100-115 enlisted men.
- Armament: The armament of LST’s is defensive in nature, and the guns are of the type usually used against aircraft. The number and caliber of the guns varied during the war. Most all LST’s carried dual 40mm Bofors guns in mounts called “Gun Tubs” on the bow and stern. Some had additional single 40mm guns in smaller gun tubs on the main deck. Some ships had 20mm Okerlion guns and .50 and .30 cal. machine guns in various locations topside. Present armament:
2 - dual 40mm Bofers, 1 centerline forward and one centerline aft. 4 - single 40mm Bofers, 2 port and starboard aft, 2 port and starboard forward. 4 - 20mm Okerlion guns.
What is an LST?
In the days before ballistic missiles, the United States’ first line of defense was the major oceans. With our coastlines guarded by the Navy and a system of Army coastal fortifications, the basic strategy of the US was defensive. By the mid-1930’s the likelihood of war with Japan or Germany became increasingly apparent. Military planners realized that our armed forces must have the capability of moving and landing troops and supplies onto hostile shores. This strategic fact necessitated the development of tactics and equipment designed specifically for amphibious warfare. Working on shoestring budgets, Navy and Marine Corps planners began experiments in amphibious operations and developed a rudimentary amphibious doctrine in those pre-war years. The development and construction of specialized ships and amphibious craft, however, had to wait until the hard reality of war made them a necessity.
LST stands for “Landing Ship, Tank” (military designations normally start with a general category, followed by a more specific modifier). These were the largest of the vessels designed to deliver troops and cargo directly onto the beach. The LST was a British concept, inspired by their experience in amphibious operations in the early days of World War II. At the time, British shipyards were fully engaged in building cargo and convoy escort vessels, so they produced only three prototype LST’s, modifying shallow-draught tankers with bow doors and ramps.
In November of 1941 officers of the British Admiralty came to the United States to discuss ship design with the US Navy's Bureau of Ships. In their meetings, special interest was placed on the construction of amphibious vessels. One of the decisions made was that the US Navy would design the LST. Within a few days, Mr. John Niedermair of the Bureau of Ships had sketched out the fundamental design for the LST’s that would be built during World War II. His design was tested and, with some modifications, adopted as a standard production ship. In December 1941 the United States found itself at war with both Germany and Japan. The US would have to move vast numbers of men, as well as millions of tons of equipment and supplies, thousands of miles across the oceans. LST’s became a high priority item for American shipbuilders.
The keel of the first LST was laid down on June 10, 1942, at Newport News, VA, barely six months after the initial design was submitted. By October of that same year, the first standardized LST's were out of the builder’s dock, and by the end of the year 23 were in commission. Their shallow draught and simplicity of design made it possibile to construct LST’s far from the coast in wartime shipyards in the Midwest. The completed ships sailed down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from these “cornfield” or “prairie shipyards” to New Orleans. Of the 1,051 LST's built during World War II, over half (670) were constructed by five major inland builders.
In simple terms, an LST is a large, mobile, floating box. They are designed to do what no other ship was ever designed to do: ground itself on the shore, unload troops and materiel directly onto the beach, and then move off the beach under its own power. As ships go, the LST does not have the speed of a destroyer, the rakish lines of a cruiser or the power of a battleship. Yet without these homely, rough-riding, plodding and rugged little ships, Allied victory in World War II would have been much more difficult and bloody.
The majority of LST’s were decommissioned after World War II. Those that remained were involved in all manner of operations and duties. In the late 1940’s they were used extensively in arctic resupply missions in support of the DEW Line and other US government outposts, and they continued with these missions into the early 1960’s. World War II-built LST’s also saw service in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In Korea they were used much as they were in World War II, in amphibious landings and supply. LST’s repeated this role in the early part of the Vietnam War. Later, their shallow draft and beaching capabilities made them indispensable in supply and support duties in the Mekong Delta, and in the rivers of South Vietnam.
(Primary source: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. VII (1981), pp. 569-731)
Tour Route: Synopsis
- Main Deck
- Starboard Wing Deck
- Engine Rooms
- Tank Deck
- Aft Crew Quarters
- Dispensary/Sick Bay
- Control Room
- Ship's Store
- Crew's Galley
- Officers' Country
- Pilot House
- Radio Shack
- Captain's Sea Cabin
- Conn & Signal Bridge
- Return to Quarterdeck
Here is some basic ship terminology you may find helpful:
- Forward means towards the Bow - the front end of the ship.
- Aft means towards the Stern or rear end of the ship.
- Port is the left side of the ship as you face the Bow.
- Starboard is the right side of the ship as you face the Bow.
- You are now standing on the Main Deck.
- Decks/Levels above the Main Deck are referred to as the 01, 02, etc.
- Decks/Levels below the Main Deck are numbered 2nd, 3rd, etc.
Please watch your feet as you make your way!
Here you will notice the “cloverleaves” on the deck. These are used to lash down vehicles and cargo. Notice also the Cargo Hatch, used to load bulky material directly into the Tank Deck. At the forward part of the ship you see the Cargo Elevator. This was used to transfer cargo from the main deck to the tank deck below, and then through the bow doors onto the beach. [Later-model LST’s were equipped with a ramp instead of an elevator.] Forward of the elevator, you see the ship’s forward guns and the Fire Control Director. Fire from all of the ship’s forward guns was directed from this station. On the bow you will find the Capstan and Anchor Windlass.
You will begin your tour below decks by entering the starboard (your right when facing the front of ship) booby hatch and proceeding down the ladder.
STARBOARD WING DECK
On either side of the ship are a series of compartments called the wing decks. These compartments run almost the entire length of the ship and they were originally identical. These were designed as troop berthing areas. On this ship, the starboard wing deck was altered by the Greek Navy to suit their specific needs and to provide a higher comfort level. You will even pass through a compartment that actually features an electric fireplace. This starboard wing deck also provided spaces for crew messing and berthing, heads (bath and toilet facilities), and the Chief Petty Officers’ lounge, home of the electric fireplace.
Moving aft, you will pass through a number of these berthing compartments and heads.
Engineering Compartments (Engine Rooms)
NOTE: The Engineering spaces are not accessible without special permission. This is because they are accessed by vertical ladders, which are often slippery with grease and oil. For persons not used to dealing with these, the slippery vertical ladders pose a significant hazard for serious bodily injury in case of a slip or fall.
(Because you cannot go into these spaces without special permission, the text below offers an explanation of the engines, systems and electrical power needed to operate this ship.)
Main & Auxiliary Engine Rooms
An LST’s propulsion comes from the two General Motors V-12 Diesel engines, each delivering 850 horsepower. The Main Engines power the ship to its destination and push her onto and off of the beach. Everything on an LST uses electricity. Without this life-giving “blood,” nothing works on a LST, not even the main engines. Electrical power is provided by three generators, each driven by an Inline-6 Detroit Diesel with output voltages of 440 VDC. Under normal circumstances, only one such generator is required. Under heavier loads (such as raising the anchor) more than one may be needed to supply enough current. Where AC current is required, the DC current must first be converted through the use of a Motor-Generator set. Also on this level are the ship’s desalination units that extract salt from seawater in order to provide fresh water for cooking, drinking and hygiene.
Adjacent forward and aft of these engine rooms are the “voids” (empty, sealed-off compartments) and all the storage compartments (tanks) of diesel fuel and lubricating oils. The voids give the 325 the necessary buoyancy for the heavy loads she had to carry. An LST also has ballast tanks, similar to those on submarines, that can be filled or emptied of seawater to improve the “trim” of the ship -- how high or low the ship rides in the water. Proper trim is very important when going to sea with or without cargo, and for beaching. These tanks allow the captain to adjust the ship’s “attitude” (fore-and-aft and side-to-side positioning) for better sea-handling performance.
As the wing deck comes to an end, you will be in one of the crew/troop mess areas. This is where the enlisted men ate their meals. All enlisted personnel ate on this level after filling their tray from the galley one level above you. If you made it from the galley to this point, and the food was still in its separate tray compartments, you were a happy sailor.
Finally, you will pass a small workshop and the ships scullery. The scullery is where the crew’s trays were cleaned before being returned to the galley.
Turn right and step through a hatch, turn right again, you are now looking into the tank deck. Proceed down the ladder.
The Tank Deck is the reason for the LST’s existence. This empty space was filled with any and all manner of tanks, other vehicles, supplies and equipment. While the basic role of an LST was carrying men and materiel to the beach during an invasion, some were modified as troop barracks ships and others as repair ships. In World War II, a few LST's were even configured as emergency hospital ships. One of these ships (LST 464) had a complete complement of medical and dental personnel with surgical services, and operated in close support at invasions. LST 397 and LST 458 were especially equipped to handle beachhead casualties. Each carried a Surgical Team with two doctors, and could handle 50-100 casualties. They provided life-saving surgery and care on the way to the nearest hospital ship or base.
It is possible that the some of the ship’s tank deck blowers may be running during your visit. Don’t worry -- you won’t have to ask -- you will know! These powerful and loud exhaust fans removed the toxic carbon monoxide and other exhaust fumes from the tank deck while the ship was loaded with vehicles. When the LST’s operated in very hot climates, these blowers were also used to augment the ship’s ventilation systems. This is why the blower may be running today.
On this deck you will again see cloverleaves like those on the Main Deck. They fit the specially-designed “gripes” or “tiedowns,” securing whatever vehicles or cargo were being carried. Virtually all LST sailors have stories about something “breaking loose” on the Tank Deck during heavy weather. You can well imagine how difficult and dangerous it would be to try to wrestle and tie down a tank, truck or other heavy object that broke loose in this confined area.
As you make your way forward on the tank deck, you will pass several hatches and doors. They lead to storerooms, ammunition lockers, paint lockers and various shops used by the crew. On the starboard side, you may find both the machine shop and electrical shop open for your inspection. In the machine shop, crew specialists could fabricate or repair various components needed on the ship. The electrical shop provided a place for the ship’s electricians to work on various components small enough to carry. Larger items needed to be serviced in place. Also in the electrical shop is a battery-charging station and panel. Batteries could be charged at this station, and other batteries in various parts of the ship could be set to charge using this panel.
Also on the starboard side, located at the base of the ladder up to the Crew's Quarters, is the ship’s laundry. It was important to have your clothing clearly marked with your name and service number. Dirty clothes were placed in a large bag in your berthing compartment. The ship's servicemen picked up the bag, washed and dried the clothes, and returned them to your compartment. Usually the first guy needing something became the one who sorted the clothing and dumped them on your rack (bunk). The laundry also had a mangle to press clothes, usually the officers' and chiefs' khaki uniforms.
All the way forward (at the bow of the ship), you will see a large rectangular shape -- that is the Bow Ramp, held in place by heavy gripes. Around the edge of the ramp, you will see a thick rubber gasket that seals the Tank Deck from the water just a few feet away. On the other side of this ramp are the Bow Doors. As the ship approaches the beach, the bow doors are opened by electric motors. The Bow Doors are extremely heavy and they are reinforced to provide the strength necessary to plow through the seas. These doors are held in place by heavy gripes and an I-Beam called a “strongback.”
While approaching the beach, crew members climb down from the Main Deck into the space between the Bow Doors and the Bow Ramp to release the gripes and strongback. Other crew members remove the gripes from the Bow Ramp. Once the Bow Doors are fully opened and the ship is aground, the ramp is lowered by a winch to permit equipment and cargo to be unloaded. Beneath the bow are “Beaching Tanks,” which are filled or emptied of seawater to raise or lower the bow. Raising or lowering the bow was especially important when carrying cargo onto rocky or muddy beaches.
Please exit the tank deck the way you came in …
AFT CREW QUARTERS
As you leave the tank deck, turn right and you will enter the Aft Crew Quarters.
The standard crew of an LST consisted of 100-115 enlisted men. The men were usually berthed by division. On an LST there were usually three divisions: Deck, Engineering and Operations. It makes practical sense to berth the crew in this way. The men of each division had general duties, watch stations and battle stations in common. A sailor’s “rating” (Navy language for job specialty) determined the division to which he was assigned. This compartment was occupied by one of those divisions, the particular one varied from ship to ship.
The Deck Division did all the work on the Main Deck and the Tank Deck, manned the 40mm Guns and handled the LCVP’s. Ratings in the Deck Division included Boatswain’s Mate and Gunner’s Mate.
The Engineering Division maintained the ship and saw to the proper functioning of her systems. Some ratings of the Engineering Division included: Machinist’s Mate, Boilerman, Engineman, Electrician’s Mate, Internal Communications Electrician, Shipfitters and Damage Controlmen.
The Operations Divisions saw to the administrative and operational aspects of running the ship. Some ratings of this division would include: Radioman, Radarman, Signalman, Fire Control Technician, Quartermaster, Yeoman, Personnelman, Storekeeper, Hospital Corpsman, Commissary Man, Ship’s Serviceman and Steward’s Mate
And, of course, most of the crew was made up of Seamen and Firemen who did the real work!
Life on an LST
At best, sailing on an LST is much like riding a bucking bronco, even in moderate seas. The ship’s flat bottom, shallow draft, slow speed and blunt bow combine for a most interesting, and not always enjoyable, ride. The lack of maneuverability and slow speed gave LST sailors the inspiration for a nickname: Large Slow Target, a humorous but somewhat undeserved twist on her type name. In fact, only 26 LST’s were lost to enemy action, with another 13 lost to weather or mishap. Figures like that stand as a sterling tribute to good design, rugged construction and the dedication and professionalism of the crews that served on LST’s.
One of the most interesting peculiarities of an LST in heavy seas is a phenomenon called “slamming.” This happens because the ship does not slice into a big swell like a deep-draft, knife-bowed ship would. An LST drives herself up the swell (which is not so bad); it’s cresting and coming down the swell that gets exciting. At the crest of the swell the bow lifts up, which can throw you several degrees off-course. Then comes the descent. The ship sometimes slews a bit (goes slightly sideways) as it slides down the swell. The really exciting part comes at the bottom, when you slam smack into the trough of the swell and the next oncoming wave. At that point, the ship seems to momentarily stop and shudder, with the main deck visibly vibrating and quivering. The icing on the cake comes when the swell passes beneath, and the whole stern of the ship drops several feet, slamming down onto the sea. Then the whole process starts all over again, and sometimes continues for days on end. While LST sailors disagree on which location was the worst place to be, the aft crew compartment was especially uncomfortable when the stern slammed down.
Leave the aft crew quarters and enter the port wing deck. This wing deck remains very near its original WWII appearance. As you travel forward, imagine these spaces filled with nervous and seasick troops preparing for an imminent landing.
At about midway in the port wing deck, you will arrive at the Sick Bay. LST’s did not carry a medical doctor; all medical care on the ship was in the hands of Hospital Corpsmen. Primary care was given by a senior enlisted man, usually a First Class or Chief Petty Officer, assisted by one or two of lower rank. “Doc’s,” as these Corpsmen were invariably called, were more than just first-aid providers. They were trained in First Aid & Minor Surgery, Nursing, Materia Medica, Pharmacy, Diseases & Disease Control, Basic Medical Laboratory Testing, Emergency Dental Care and Health Inspections, including Potable Water Supply & Safety. They were also responsible for all medical records. These "Doc’s" were also often called upon to act as impromptu psychologists and guidance counselors.
The medical facility on an LST usually consisted of two compartments. One contained the examining area with an adjustable table, sterilizing equipment, a small H2O distiller, and a counter with sink and storage for the lab procedures. Lab work included microscopic study of blood, urine and stool samples. A locked storage and pharmacy closet and toilet facility were also part of the compartment. The second compartment quartered the corpsmen and bunks for those too ill or injured to return to their regular quarters. Sick call was held each morning and evening, during which routine illnesses were seen and treated. In sum, this facility is equipped to handle basic medical services and most emergency services.
During General Quarters, the corpsmen were assigned battle stations at various points on the ship where they would be most available in case of casualties from enemy action. They had with them at their station a 40-pound pack of emergency treatment supplies.
Pass the ladder to the outside and enter the Tank Deck Control Room.
TANK DECK CONTROL ROOM
From this station the crew could control the various functions of the tank deck. With its bird’s-eye view of the action, the sailors could operate the bow doors, bow ramp, traffic signals for the Tank Deck and those powerful tank deck blowers.
Go back to the ladder and up to the Main Deck. Then proceed aft, to the stern (rear) of the ship.
On the fantail you will see a large winch that is attached to the Stern Anchor. This small anchor is not used in the normal role of holding the ship in place, but rather it is used when the ship is beached. Depending upon beach, tide and wind conditions, the Stern Anchor was dropped a couple of hundred yards offshore when approaching the beach. When the ship “retracted” (moved off the beach), the cable was hauled in to help pull the ship seaward. Another function of the stern anchor was to keep the ship from broaching on the beach. Without this stern anchor, wave action could push the LST sideways onto the beach, rendering it helpless and unmaneuverable without assistance. Ideally the ship should be kept at close to a 90 degree angle to the beach.
The After Twin 40mm Gun Tub is above you. The 40mm Guns on the ship were of a Swedish design. They are fully automatic and have a fire rate of 160 rounds per minute per barrel. They are designed as anti-aircraft guns and require a gun crew of at least 9: the Mount Captain, the Pointer and the Trainer who aim the gun, and at least 6 Loaders/Passers who supply ammunition.
Meals for the enlisted members were prepared and served in this area called the “Galley.” You lined up, got your metal tray and were served your “chow.” Then, carrying your tray of food in one hand and holding the rail with the other, you went down the ladder to the Mess Deck below. All this transpired while the ship was rolling and pitching, so filling your tray right to the brim was not recommended. You had to clean up your own spillage.
Luxuries on an LST were few and far-between. The only place for those little luxuries that were available was the Ship’s Store. Sailors could buy cigarettes, toothpaste, candy bars, sometimes soft drinks, and other similar items. They could buy them, that is, until supplies were exhausted. That was invariably all too soon and far from a supply base.
OFFICERS' QUARTERS, HEADS & WARDROOM ("OFFICERS' COUNTRY")
You are now in “Officer’s Country.” An LST normally had 8-10 officers assigned: Commanding Officer, Executive Officer, Deck Officer, Engineering Officer, Communications Officer, Operations Officer, Asst. Deck Officer and Asst. Engineering Officer.
The Commanding Officer was called the Captain, no matter what his actual rank. An officer with the Navy rank of Lieutenant usually commanded an LST.
Please take time to visit the wardroom. This is where the officers gathered for meals and to socialize.
Being a small ship, LST officers and enlisted men had to work well together.
Go up the Internal ladder to the …
01 LEVEL - PILOT HOUSE (WHEEL HOUSE)
The Pilot House (or Wheel House) is where the ship is steered and orders given to the engine room. You will see before you the various devices and equipment that are used to steer the ship and communicate with all areas of the ship:
- Gyro Compass – principal navigational compass. Gyroscopic compasses are designed to be more stabilized during stormy weather and rough seas, situations in which a normal compass would swing so wildly as to be of little practical use. Their primary stabilization mechanism, as indicated by the name, is an electrically-powered spinning gyroscope.
- Magnetic Compass – a backup for the gyro compass (the two iron balls adjust the compass for the ship’s magnetic field). This compass is also used to initially set the gyro compass.
- Engine Order Telegraph (or Annunciator) – communicates engine orders to Main Engine Room.
- Voice Tubes – brass tubes that allow verbal orders to be spoken and heard.
- Communications equipment - Sound-Powered Phones – interconnect all parts of the ship.
- General Announcing System (1MC) – used to give announcements and orders throughout the whole ship.
01 LEVEL - CHART HOUSE, RADAR SHACK & RADIO SHACK (IF OPEN)
This area housed the radio communications equipment, radarscope, and navigational charts. During the WWII and Korean War eras, the radio and radar equipment used vacuum tubes (you remember those "old" radios at home?). This equipment has long since been made obsolete by modern, more reliable, solid state electronic equipment. And yes, this is the origin of the name used by a certain chain of stores.
02 LEVEL - CAPTAIN'S SEA CABIN
Here the CO could take a much-needed rest and still remain near the conn. The Captain is responsible for his ship, regardless of who is in actual control of the ship and its movements at the time. For that reason, the Sea Cabin is located directly below the Conning Bridge and directly above the Pilot House. Many LST commanding officers slept in that cabin while underway, so as to be "close to the action" if necessary.
03 LEVEL - CONN (CONNING TOWER)
You are now at the entrance to the ship’s conn. In its WWII configuration, this glass-enclosed station was open to the elements, with merely an optional canvas covering to keep out the sun, rain and spray. From this station the Captain commanded the ship during General Quarters and while entering or leaving port (Special Sea Detail). During normal steaming, the Officer of the Deck navigated and controlled the movements and operation of the ship from here. Helm and engine orders were transmitted through the voice tube to the Pilot House, and through the Sound-Powered Phones, which were in contact with the Pilot House, Engine Room, and Lookouts at all times.
03 LEVEL - SIGNAL BRIDGE
During World War II, LST’s rarely operated alone. They usually operated in groups of 4-6 ships, called a Squadron. The quickest, safest and most secure way to communicate in such a formation was by using visual techniques: signal flags, flashing lights and semaphore flags. The two large rectangular boxes are the “flagbags.” They contain the alphabetic, numeric and special signal flags used to communicate from ship to ship. Flag’s hoists were used to communicate maneuvering orders and situational information.
The ship also has two 1000-watt incandescent Signal Searchlights, one each on the starboard and port sides of the 03 Level. These lights were used to flash Morse Code (long and short light flashes) in communicating messages at long range, 6-8 miles on a clear day or night. A shutter system attached to a lever in front of the lens was used for this purpose. At closer range, informational messages could be sent by semaphore. In this method, the Signalman held small flags and used various arm positions to represent letters of the words or code being sent.
From this level, you have a good view of the LCVP’s (“Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel”). These are the ship’s boats. These were used when mooring to buoys, carrying out the bow anchor chain or stern anchor cable. They transported the crew to shore for liberty, and hauled supplies to the ship in the harbor. Occasionally they were used as "tugboats" to push the LST when maneuvering in tight quarters. All this is in addition to their main duty of carrying invasion troops ashore!
RETURN TO QUARTERDECK (End of Tour)
We hope you have had an enjoyable and informative visit on LST 325.
- Provide opportunity for questions.
- Provide donation and souvenir information.
Many thanks to Fr. Dan Brown (SM3, LST 905) for compiling this tour guide. Before becoming a priest, he was an historian with the National Park Service for 21 years. He was park historian at the Fort Pulaski National Monument, the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Stones River National Battlefield and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. He has had extensive experience in giving, developing and training in all facets of tours, talks, programs, etc. That experience, along with that of being a signalman aboard LST 905, brings us this excellent, comprehensive tour of LST 325.
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by The USS LST Ship Memorial, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. Please email the WebSkipper with comments, corrections or suggestions.