A BRIEF HISTORY OF LCS(L) 111
Jack Cox, crewmember
The U.S.S. LCS(L)(3) 111 was built in 21 days by the George Lawley and Sons Shipyard, Neponset, Massachusetts. She was one of the 130 direct descendants of the prolific LCI (Landing Craft, Infantry), specifically the LCI(G) gunboat variant, and has been referred to as one of the ELSIE PROGENY. Her planned displacement was 387 tons, draft 5 feet 8 inches at the stern, beam 23 feet.
The ship’s crew at commissioning was 6 officers and 65 enlisted men. Her engine room’s main propulsion consisted of 8 diesel engines, General Motors 6-71 T.I. (6–cylinder, 71 cubic inch displacement per cylinder, turbo-charged induction). Each of the two propeller shafts was driven by a quad of 4 engines. Her planned standard speed was 10 knots at 450 RPM, and she was supposed to make 16 knots flank speed at 650 RPM.
LCS 111 was placed in commission on November 3, 1944 at 8:04 AM, with Lt. (jg) Leslie E. Culp, USNR, as Commanding Officer. The next 5 days were busy ones, loading food, gear, making test runs and getting ship’s complement ready to fight a ship of the United States Navy.
On November 8, 1944, we sailed from Boston, Massachusetts for the Amphibious Training Base at Little Creek, Virginia, via the Cape Cod canal. On November 10 we arrived at Little Creek and tied up at Pier 1. On November 11, LCS 111 headed north on Chesapeake Bay for the Amphibious Training Base at Solomons, Maryland. A Captain McIsaac, USN, came aboard for Captain’s Inspection upon our arrival. Next morning a shakedown cruise began, lasting 10 days, after which, on November 21, the LCS 111 headed south again, this time for Lamberts Point in Norfolk, at the Railroad Piers. On the way down the bay to Norfolk we hit a severe storm, shipped some water, and proved our seaworthiness.
During our stay in Norfolk we installed new bilge pumps, made minor repairs and repainted the ship, a camouflage green. On Thanksgiving Day 1944 we sailed for Key West, Florida, in company with LSMs 186, 187 and 278. Four days later we tied up at Craig Docks, Berth 1. Then, on December 6, our Task Group headed for Coco Solo, Canal Zone, arriving on December 10. There we took on water, fuel and provisions.
On December 11 the LCS 111 traversed the Panama Canal, under her own power, without a pilot. In the Pacific Ocean we headed north for San Diego, California, in a convoy with LSMs 185 and 278. On December 23 we passed abeam Point Loma Light and entered San Diego Bay. In San Diego we repaired a fuel tank that had ruptured off Tehuanapec, Mexico on the trip from the Canal Zone. We also had 3 new radios installed, completed training in surface, aerial and shore maneuvers, and the entire ship was scraped and repainted. On February 11, 1945, we sailed for Pearl Harbor. Our Task Group consisted of LCSs 63, 64, 85, 86, 87, 117, and LCI 368. We arrived in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on February 20.
On February 26, LCS 111 sailed for Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. There we picked up Convoy 72 and headed for Saipan, Marianas Islands, arriving there on March 14. On March 25, LCS 111 joined another convoy headed for Okinawa, in the Ryukyu Islands. We arrived off Southern Okinawa on April 1, and were attacked by bogeys (Japanese planes). Two were downed, but one got through and dove into an LST. Thus was our baptism in World War Two.
On radar picket duty, along with LCS 114, M.L. ABELE (DD-733), and BENNETT (DD-473), when bogeys were reported in the area, the LCS 111 closed in on the ABELE to lend fire support. The ABELE, with an assist from the 111 took out a Nip plane. Later, one kamikaze dove on the ABELE but was splashed by her.
After taking care of logistics, on the evening of the 6th, we reported to USS HUDSON (DD-475) for duty on Picket Station 3, in consort with LCS 118 and LSM 199. The HUDSON was relieved by the USS MACOMB (DMS-23) on the evening of April 15. On April 18, LCS 81 and the PGM 17 joined our patrol. On the 19th, USS H. E. WILEY (DM-29) joined the patrol, while several vessels were relieved. On April 23 we were relieved of picket duty, returning to Okinawa to provide smoke protection for larger ships during night air attacks in the Hagushi anchorage.
On April 25 we began operating in Kinmu (Chimu) Wan, providing smoke cover and anti-aircraft support for the USS BOWDITCH (AGS-4) and LST 670. LCS 111 shot down one Japanese Betty bomber while in this area. We returned to radar picket patrol on May 2. With us were the USS BACHE (DD-470), USS MACOMB (DMS-23), and LCSs 89 and 117. On May 3, the MACOMB lost her after 5-inch gun when a kamikaze Tony crashed into the gunhouse. In another incident, Lt. (jg) C. H. Harper, USNR, Combat Air Patrol pilot off the USS RUDYERD BAY (CVE-81), ditched his shot-up Wildcat, and was picked up, unhurt, by LCS 111 and transferred to the MACOMB for further transfer to his carrier.
LCS 111 spent 4 days patrolling off Kerama Rhetto, after which, on May 6, she headed for the Hagushi anchorage. Until May 13, she received stores, repairs by USS ENDYMION (ARL-9), and entered the Landing Ship Dock WHITE MARSH (LSD-8) for welding of the stern plates near the skegs, forward of the screws. For the next 24 days, the 111 patrolled in Nakagusuka Wan (Buckner Bay), engaging in skunk (suicide boat) patrol, anti-aircraft support and shore bombardment.
On May 27, LCS 111 went alongside PC 1603, after she had been hit by two suicide Tonys. We pumped out 7 feet of water from her engine room, and 2 feet from other spaces. She was then taken in tow by a salvage tug. On May 28, the 111 splashed a bogey off her port quarter. On June 6, having damaged our screws on coral reefs, we entered the LINDENWOLD (LSD-6) for repairs. During LCS 111’s time at Okinawa she was credited with 4 assists and 1 kill against the kamikazes.
On June 7, LCS 111 joined a convoy headed for Saipan, commanded by Captain Sears, USN, and arrived there on June 13. On June 14 the crew had shore leave. On August 5 the 111 went into drydock, the USS ARD-15, and had her sea chests, containing sea water and filters for engine cooling, cleaned, the bottom scraped, and the skegs, which had been damaged by beachings, and groundings on coral bottoms, re-welded.
On September 14, the war over, the 111 got underway for Tokyo Bay. The Task Group consisted of LC(FF) 536, LCSs 23, 24, 25, 38, 39, 40, 109, 110, 111, 112 and 113. Time was lost during the trip due to a typhoon we had to avoid. On September 20, LCS 111 entered Tokyo Bay and moored alongside LCS 112, which was anchored between the breakwaters at Yokohama.
On September 24 we took on 12,000 gallons of fuel from the USS KENNEBEC (AO-36). During the fueling operation, 4 mooring lines broke, and the bow was under water most of the time. Later that day, LCS 111 got underway for Aomori, as part of Flotilla Three, under the command of Captain Aylward. The group consisted of USS LC(FF)s 988, 485 and 536, LCSs 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 38, 39, 40, 109, 110, 111 and 112. From September 25 until September 30, LCS 111 supported the occupation landing of Aomori, Japan. When that operation was completed, LCS 111 sailed for the United States.
|Back to the Navsource Photo Archives Main Page||Back To The Amphibious Ship Type Index||Back To The Landing Craft Support (LCS(L)(3) Photo Index||Back To The LCS(L)-111 Main Page|
|Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster.|
This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo|