LCI538 Training

USS LCI(L)538 History leading to the invasion of Normandy D Day



Accounts of the LCI(L)538 up to D Day, Easy Red Beach Normandy France

The information contained on this page is from the Ships Section Office of Public Information Navy Dept. Some information from the ships history writeup that I have and a bit of a newspaper article. I have a report from the Commanding Officer, C. H. East USNR, USS LCI(L)403 to the Commander LCI(L) Flotilla Twelve of action that occured on Omaho Beach on June 6, 1944 at 14:12 hrs, that I will include in the action page dedicated to D-Day and the few days after the invasion.

The USS LCI (L)538 was commissioned on 20 January 1944 and started their training for World War II ou of Solomons Maryland and Virginia Beach. For a time the LCI (L)538 operated with Flotilla 9 while conductiong landing exercises in and around the Chesapeake area. The ships crew had to learn what need to be done for a beach assault and the LCI(L)538 operations in general. The LCI (L)538 was armed with a main battery of five 20 MM Machine guns, it's purpose was to carry troops. Two hundred or more infantrymen could be landed on a beachhead by this amphibious vessel. When the LCI(L)538 was beached, the ramps would lower from the catheads forward, then those Infantrymen could walk down the ramps for the landing, then the LCI(L)538 could retract it's ramps and the ship would be off again.

The landing at Normandy was the LCI(L)538's first taste of action and it turned out to be her outstanding performance. The crew knew great events were impending, when on April 15, 1944, hardly three months after commissioning, the LCI(L)538 reached the Port of Horta, Azores, Portugal. After a few days the LCI(L)538 proceeded to Falmouth, England to start a gruelling period of amphibious warfare training. What took place at the hectic Normandy landing was detailed in a report from an eyeitness of LCI(L) Flotilla 12 which drew assignment of landing the 115th Infantry Regiment on strongly defended "Omaha Beach" in Colleville-Vierville Sector, Normandy, France.

Landing Crafts Proved Worth in Normandy Raid

The section in the next paragraph is taken from a news article sent to me by Mr Schmidt my dads shipmate aboard the LCI(L)538. The story is from the Homefront section of the Puget Sound Navy News Dated Friday September 10, 1993 and was written by staff writer Brian Jones.

When the Landing Craft Infantry, or LCI's vessels were developed, the plan was to ship them overseas in sections, and assemble them there. The 158 foot vessels were designed to transport troops to foreign shores during World War II. Equipped with two diesel engines, the ships had a top speed of 16 knots, and a ferry range of 4,000 miles. It took a Navy crew of 26 enlisted and four officers to operate the ship. The crafts were built in a relatively short period of time, from 1942-44. The whole design of the ship was completed in just one month.

The LCI, was a part of every major offensive in World War II, although engineers thought the craft could not sustain long sea voyages. The crafts proved more rugged than designers anticipated. As the war progressed, so did the mission of the LCI. It was no longer just a vessel to ferry troops. Equipped with rocket launchers, the ship could provide fire support for troops as they charged the beaches. The crafts were also used to send supplies to advancing regiments, as well as ferrying wounded soldiers and Marines from the front lines. The LCI's brought forth the realization for the need of a reliable amphibious craft that could do more than just carry troops.

The British and other allied Navies used them for coastal patrol and their own amphibious transport needs. The U. S. Military improved the LCI design and launched a series of new amphibious assault class ships which replaced the LCI's. "The Navy took 18 to 21 year olds, told them to sail around the world and put these crafts on the beach." explained Emil Quinones. Quinones was an engineman on the LCI (L) 538.

The Deck Log for the USS LCI(L)538 has Identification 51538, Commanded by C. R. Chishol, lt(jg) USN, Sixty Eighth Division Group 34, Twelfth Flotilla, Twelfth Fleet. I have the Deck Logs for June 3 to June 10 1944 and that is the information that I will be supplying on the next page, the deck log information.

On the next page I will have information from the Deck Log entries from the LCI (L)538 ship for the week leading up to D Day. Just click on the Deck Log 3 link in important links section for the next page on the Ship.