Ship Specs

USS LCI(L)538 Specifications and the Beginning

Landing Craft Infantry Large USN Early History

The information contained on this page is from the Ships Section Office of Public Information Navy Dept. There is no date on this paperwork, it was provided to me by Jack Schmidt one of my dads shipmates on the LCI 538. The title of the page is History of USS LCI(L)538. I will not be including all the information here, just the early history, the writeup on here for D day will be included in that section of information as well as post D Day details.

The USS LCI 538 was put into commission on January 20, 1944, with Ensign Colin R Chisholm USN, as Commanding Officer. The USS LCI 538 was built by the New Jersey Shipbuilding Corporation, Barber, New Jersey. The shakedown and training was conducted out of Solomons, Maryland and Virginina Beach. The USS LCI 538 operated with Flotilla 9 while conducting landing exercises in and around the Chesapeake area.

Commanding Officers, serving in order were:

  • Lieutenant (jg) Colin R. Chisholm USN
  • Lieutenant (jg) Elton L Womack USNR
  • Lieutenant O. Engelsen, USNR
  • Lieutenant (jg) B. S. Meeks Jr USNR

As an LCI the "538" was armed wtih a main battery of five 20 MM Machine Guns, it's main purpose was to carry troops. Two hundred or more infantrymen could be landed on a beachead by this amphibious vessel. When beached, ramps lower from catheads forward. The LCI (L) 538 was 157 Feet in length, 23 feet beam, has a displacement of 400 tons, draft of six feet, and a credited speed of 15 knots.

Administrative Remarks Part II

Thurs 20 Jan 1944 United States Ship LCI (L) 538

The following is from a paper I have, there is a note on it with "ship's log 1st entry". It is a photo copy and is signed by C R Chisholm Ens.

1400 Lt Comdr G T Williams USNR representing the Commandant of the Third Naval District ordered Ens Colin R Chisholm USN, Prospective Commanding Officer to read his orders. Ens Chisholm read his orders and assumed command. The port watch was set with Ens J.T. Collentine assigned the first OOD watch. The ship was placed in full commission.

The officers are then listed, followed by a list of the crew, by name serial number and rank. Following the list of crew is the following: 1406 Lt Comdr G. T. Williams left the ship with commissioning party, commenced preparations for getting underway. 1435 Underway with Pilot A. W. Jayne at Conn, Captain on the bridge on various courses and speeds. I don't have the rest of the paperwork just this page but I wanted to share this with you.

Specs for the USS LCI (L) 538

from the NavSource Naval History Site

During World War II LCI(L)-538 / LCI(G)-538 was assigned to the European theater and participated in the;

  • Convoy UGS-38 (as LCI(L)-538), 20 April 1944
  • Invasion of Normandy (as LCI(L)-538), 6 to 25 June 1944
  • Decommissioned, (date unknown)
  • Struck from the Naval Register, (date unknown)
  • Transferred to the Admiral Farragut Academy, 1946
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
  • LCI(L)-538 received two battle stars for World War II service

It has on NavSource also that the USS LCI(L)538 received these military awards as well
  • American Campaign Medal
  • Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (2)
  • World War II Victory Medal
Here are the Specifications from NavSource also:
  • Displacement 246 t.(light), 264 t. (landing), 419 t.(loaded)
  • Length 158'
  • Beam 23' 3"
  • Draft Light 3' mean, Landing, 2' 8" forward, 4' 10" aft, Loaded, 5' 4" forward, 5' 11" aft
  • Speed 16 kts (max.), 14 kts maximum continuous
  • LCI(L) Complement 4 Officers, 24 Enlisted
  • LCI(L) Troop Capacity 6 Officers, 182 Enlisted
  • LCI(L) Cargo Capacity 75 tons
  • Armor 2" plastic splinter protection on gun turrets, conning tower and pilot house
  • Endurance 4,000 miles at 12 kts, loaded, 500 miles at 15 kts; and 110 tons of fuel
  • LCI(L) Armament five single 20mm guns, one bow mounted, one each port and starboard forward of wheelhouse, one each port and starboard aft of wheelhouse, on some LCIs two .50 cal machine guns were added
  • Fuel Capacity 130 tons, lube oil 200 gal.
  • Propulsion two sets of 4 GM diesels, 4 per shaft, BHP 1,600, twin variable pitch propellers

The next page will be some information I have regarding a short writeup of history from D Day. Just click next below to go to the next section regarding the ship.