National Geographic : 1944 Jul
The National Geographic Magazine U. S. Navy, Official No Drill This! A Nazi Shell Just Misses Army Ducks at Anzio Here its giant geyser plumes up between columns of amphibious trucks. One loaded with box cargo is just crawling out. Spray and fragments from the blast fly over it. Empty Duck at left is about to shed its land role and become a boat like the others heading for transports offshore. Behind the fountain an LCT off-loads from her lowered ramp. Battered by the constant German fire, work-horse LCTs have played a vital role shuttling supplies to this Italian beachhead (page 12). ramp and into the ship's cavernous depths. Yet LSTs have been loaded with some 80 vehicles in an hour and 34 minutes. And that includes time to chain the tanks to slots in the deck. It is ticklish business if the vehicles are bound for the upper deck. Then they must back up a second steep ramp just inside the bow. Older ships use an elevator, but this is much too slow. Walking aft, we passed through narrow troop spaces fitted with folding pipe berths and lockers. On swinging stools sailors were eating "chow" as if at a drugstore counter. Their cafeteria-style trays were piled with bowls of vegetable soup, roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed cauliflower, bread and big chunks of butter, and coffee. "We can serve 300 men-sailors and sol diers-quickly and efficiently," the captain said. Farther aft we came to a large compart ment filled with triple bunks, lockers, and tables (page 25). Living quarters for the crew and troops surround the tank deck like a big horseshoe. LST Shoots Down Six Jap Planes at Vella Lavella The main deck was cluttered with chimney like ventilators, cargo hatches, winches, haw sers, antiaircraft guns, tubs, and much other equipment (page 3). An LST can put up a terrific antiaircraft screen with her many guns. Six Jap planes 'in one day were bagged by an LST at Vella Lavella in the Solomons last August. Not bad for a squat, sluggish ferry that many consider "easy meat" for airplanes. Taking up much of the deck were great wooden timbers, which appeared to be a ship's launching ways.