This hybrid sea going vessel was initially conceived in November, 1941. As the design progressed and developed, the Tank Landing Craft (TLC) was re-designated an Artillery Transport, Mechanized (APM) - 8 vessels (APM 1-8), were authorized for the U. S. Navy and 7 vessels - (BAPM 1-7) were ordered for the Royal Navy under the Lend Lease Act. Before actual construction of these 15 vessels began, the designator was again changed, this time, to Landing Ship, Dock (LSD). The Navy twice expanded orders of the design during WWII - first to total 19 vessels, then to total 27 LSDs.
Landing Ship, Docks (LSDs) were designed to transport loaded landing craft, amphibious vehicles and troops into an amphibious landing area; ballast down to flood their well decks; lower the stern gate to the sea, and disembark their craft and vehicles for the assault on a hostile beach. Once a beachhead was established, they acted as offshore repair docks for damaged ships, craft and vehicles up to Landing Ship Medium (LSM) and Landing Ship Infantry (LSI) sizes. In at least one reported case, the bow of a Destroyer Escort (DE) was docked for emergency repairs. Equipped with their long dry docks; shipfitter's shop; machine shop; and a carpentry shop; these vessels were able to handle extensive repairs at the scene of the assault. The first 27 of the LSD design were considered prototypes. As soon as one LSD was launched, commissioned and tested in actual combat conditions, successive launchings of the LSDs reflected the latest improvements in armament and transport capacity with their "super" or "portable" prefabricated decks. The end result, is that no two LSDs of the World War II design are exactly alike!
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