Landing Craft Support

Landing Craft Support

The Landing Craft, Support (Large) — later reclassified Landing Ship Support, Large — class of amphibious assault ships were used by the United States Navy in World War II in the Pacific. They were primarily used to close support before landing forces on beaches. They also performed radar picket duty and fire fighting. They were nicknamed the "Mighty Midgets".

The original designation for the ships was LCS(L)(3), which stood for Landing Craft Support (Large)(Mark 3). In 1949 the class was reclassified to LSSL, Landing Ship Support, Large.

Design and Manufacture

A total of 130 were made. Three different ship building yards did the construction: Lawley & Sons, George (Neponset, MA); Commercial Iron Works (Portland, OR); and Albina Engine Works (Portland, OR).

The hull was the same as the Landing Craft Infantry ships. They were 158 ft 6 in (48.3 m) long, displaced 250 long tons (254 t), 23 ft 3 in (7.1 m) wide and drew 5 ft 10 in (1.7 m) when fully loaded. The flat bottom and skegs between and on either side of the twin screws allowed the ships to safely beach. The anchor is at the stern of the ship so it can be used to help pull the ship off the beach if necessary.

The twin variable pitch screws were each driven by a bank of four Grey Marine (later General Motors), with a total power for all eight engines of 1600 hp. These engines gave a maximum speed of 16.5 knots (30.5 km/h), but normally the ships sailed at 12 knots (22.2 km/h). The ships had a range of 5500 miles.

Armour for the gun mounts, pilot house and conning tower was provided by 10-lb. STS splinter shields.

The ships could be built in as little as 10 days, and final fitting out would take a further few weeks.

Three guns and 10 rocket launchers were the main armaments. The bow gun was a 3"/50 caliber gun, a single 40 mm gun or a twin 40 mm gun. The forward and aft deck guns were twin 40 mm gun. The 10 mark 7 rocket launchers were situated between the bow and forward deck guns. Four 20 mm cannons were also mounted and other arms stowed.

The ships had a smoke generator which was used to obscure landing craft approaching the beach.

The ships also made very good fire fighting ships. A fire fighting manifold was fitted in front of the bow gun and two monitors with pumps fitted just forward of the aft gun.

British LCS vessels

The British also designed, built and operated a small number (ten) of Fairmile Type H LCS vessels. Three of these were sunk in action. [Lambert, John and Ross, Al . [,M1 "Allied Coastal Forces of World War Two, Volume I : Fairmile designs and US Submarine Chasers."] 1990. ISBN 978-0851775197.]


The Battle of Tarawa showed a gap in Navy resources for close in support of landing troops. The time interval between the end of shelling from the large ships and the arrival of the landing craft on the beach allowed the defenders to regroup. The Landing Craft Support was designed to fill this void.

The first Landing Craft Support ships arrived in the Pacific Theater in time for the landings at Iwo Jima.

After providing close in support during the landings at Okinawa, many Landing Craft Support ships were placed on the radar picket stations as anti-aircraft platforms. When not on a picket stations, the ship would create smoke to hide the fleet at anchor and perform "skunk patrol" screening for suicide boats.

In the Borneo Campaign, Landing Craft Support was used in landings in Tarakan and Balikpapan.

Post War

At the end of the war, surviving ships returned to the United States. Some were restored to action for the Korean war. Many were transferred to Japan, France (and on to Vietnam), Greece, and other nations.

Only two ships are known to still exist. One has been highly modified as a fish boat. The second is in Thailand and is very similar to its original configuration (HTMS Nakha). The National Association of USS LCS(L) 1–130 are looking at having it returned to the United States and put on permanent public display.

From Pattaya Mail (Vol. XV No. 37 FridaySeptember 14- September 20, 2007) "HTMS Nakha set off on her final voyage home on September 2, heading for the Mare Island Naval Shipyard at Vallejo City in the United States where she will become part of a museum of historic ships".

See also

* List of US Landing Craft Support(Large)(Mark 3)


* [ NavSource] photo archive page for the LSSL/LCS(L) class
* [ HyperWar] US Navy Landing Ships/Craft
* [ Construction Records] and "Disposition" summaries
* [ French Riverine Craft] , where some of the LSSL ended up
* Vic Smeed's Model Maker Annual, 1963. No ISBN.
* [ Mighty Midgets] — Official website of the National Association of USS LCS(L) 1–130

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