War Machine, Volume 11

Landing Ship Infantry (Large) (continued) Assault Ships of World War II 2403 'v v 'Tm m when the Germans invaded. She was converted to the auxiliary cruiser Meersburg and also survived the war, Last was the Blue Funneler Tele-machus converted to the escort car­rier HMS Activity AP was the general category for American troop transports modified to APA for the more specialist Attack Transport category. Most were basic conversions but notable classes de­signed to purpose were the 1 l,S00-ton 'Generals' and 700-ton 12 Admirals’ with steam turbine or turbo-electric propulsion for about 20 kts. They went onto give very useful sarvice after World War II. Specification ‘Glen class Displacement: 9800 tons gross Dimensions: length 155.7 m (511 ft) beam 20.3 m (66.7 ft) draught 5 8 m (27.75 ft) Propulsion: two diesels delivering 8948 kW (12000 bhp) to two shafts Performance: maximum speed 18 kts range 22250 km (13825 miles) at 14 kts Armament: three twin 102-mm (4-in) AA four single or twin 2-pdr AA and eight to 1 2 single 20-mm AA guns Capacity: two LCMs 12 LCAs 232 landing craft crew and 1087 troops Complement: 291 Below: Llangibby Castle was typical of the many mercantile vessels fitted as in fan try landing ships for the major European landing operations from 1942 to 1944. Most only took part in one such landing and were then returned to trade. Above: Requisitioned and commissioned in 1939 HMS Gleneam and her sisters could each carryover 1000 troops. Their heavy armament made them amongst the most battleworthy of all British LSIs. UK/USA Landing Ship Infantry (Medium) (LSI(M))/High-Speed Transport (APD) Cross-channel packets though short­ legged were fast and showed great potential for conversion in World War I. So it was in World War II with the bonus that the German invasion of the Low Countries provided many fine Belgian and Dutch ships in addition to British and French vessels Queen Emma (Koningen Emma) and Princess Beatrix (Prinses Beatrix) had been completed by Dutch yards only months before hostilities and being motorships had the advantage of small machinery spaces and great economy. They were converted for small-scale assault as Landing Ship Infantry (Medium) or LSI(M) their large accommodation areas being ideal for some 600 complement: crew landing craft crews and army personnel. The troops were put ashore by six LCAs, stowed under davits. Two LCMs were also davit-carried but the machinery's 39-ton capacity limited their use the craft having to be pre-loaded with vehicles by crane. Both ships together with several smaller ex-Belgian ves­sels carried the bulk of the force on the Dieppe raid all returning safely. Not strictly similar in designed func­tion but often used as such were the American APD or High-Speed Trans­port ships. The first group comprised 32 very-similar flushdecked des­troyers (the venerable 'four-pipers'). By outstripping the forward machin­ery spaces accommodation was cre­ated for about 150 troops though 200 could be carried over short hauls Even with only half power remaining, they were still good for 23 kts. Topside, the two forward funnels and all torpe­do tubes were landed and four LCP(R) added in davits. These 11-m (36-ft) craft could each upland to 36 troops. Each weighed about 6 tonnes in davits, and must have posed a stability prob­lem to such narrow-gutted ships. These destroyer conversions were fol­lowed by nearly 10 rebiMdings of des­troyer escorts (DE) with Very similar size and speed. These carried four LCVPs nested in pairs under two dis­tinctive gantry davits. Up to 150 troops, four carts four 75-mm 95-in) (2 pack howitzers and up to 255 m3 (9000 cu ft) of stores ammunition and fuel could be carried the ships being equipped with a pair of cargo booms (derricks) for their handling. The APD proved extremely useful in the island war of the western Pacific and having re­tained her surface armament was comparatively independent. Specification ‘Queen Emma class Displacement: 4140 tons gross Dimensions: length 115.8 m (380 ft) beam 14.4 m (47.25 ft) draught 4.6 m (15 ft) Propulsion: two diesels delivering 9694 kW (13000 bhp) to two shafts Performance: maximum speed 22 kts range 12979 km (8065 miles) at 1 3 kts Armament: two single 76-mm (3-in) AA two single 2-pdr AA and six single 20-mm AA guns Capacity: two LCMs six LCAs 60 landing craft crew and 372 troops Complement: 167 HMS Princess Beatrix in common with most other Channel packets, was relatively fast but short-ranged. This was no real handicap on operations to the coast of Europe, and with her sister and several smaller ex-Belgian ferries she took part in the D ieppe raid. The long and varied careers of the US Navys flush-decked four-stackers saw a number converted to fast transports for use in the island- hopping campaigns of the Pacific War. Eight were lost but only one of the 94 succeeding converted destroyer-escorts went down.
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