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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive
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Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons
Precedence of awards is from left to right
American Campaign Medal - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (1) - World War II Victory Medal
LST-1 Class Tank Landing Ship:
Laid down, 27 October 1943, at American Bridge Co., Ambridge, PA.
Launched, 30 December 1943
Commissioned USS LST-138, 5 February 1944. LT. John B. Wilson, USNR, in command
During World War II, USS LST-138 was assigned to the Europe-Africa- Middle East Theater and participated in the campaign:
Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign
|Campaign and Dates
|Invasion of Normandy, 6 to 25 June 1944
Decommissioned, 20 November 1945
Struck from the Naval Register, 5 December 1945
USS LST-138 earned one battle star for World War II service
Sold for conversion to merchant service, 16 June 1947, to Three Star Line, Inc., Lake Charles, LA.
Purchased by the Irgun Etzel (Jewish freedom fighters), named Altalena, used to transport passengers and arms during a truce
Final Disposition, shelled and burned on the beach at Tel Aviv, Israel during the Israeli War for Independence, 20 June 1948, blown up by the Haganah
4,080 t.(fl) (sea-going draft w/1675 ton load)
2,366 t. (beaching displacement)
Length 328' o.a.
light 2' 4" fwd, 7' 6" aft
sea-going 8' 3" fwd, 14' 1" aft
landing 3' 11" fwd, 9' 10" aft (landing w/500 ton load)
limiting 11' 2"
maximum navigation 14' 1"
Speed 11.6 kts. (trial)
Endurance 24,000 miles @ 9kts. while displacing 3960 tons
Boats 4 LCVP
Cargo Capacity (varied with mission - payloads between 1600 and 1900 tons)
One Landing Craft Tank (LCT), tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment and military supplies. A ramp or elevator forward allowed vehicles access to tank deck from main deck
Additional capacity included sectional pontoons carried on each side of vessel amidships, to either build Rhino Barges or use as causeways. Married to the bow ramp, the causeways would enabled payloads to be delivered ashore from deeper water or where a beachhead would not allow the vessel to be grounded forward after ballasting
Armament (varied with availability when each vessel was outfitted. Retro-fitting was accomplished throughout WWII. The ultimate armament design for United States vessels was
2 - Twin 40MM gun mounts w/Mk. 51 directors
4 - Single 40MM gun mounts
12 single 20MM gun mounts
Diesel 4,300 Bbls
two General Motors 12-567A, 900hp Diesel engines
single Falk Main Reduction Gears
three Diesel-drive 100Kw 230V D.C. Ship's Service Generators
two propellers, 1,700shp
|Click On Image
For Full Size Image
||USS LST-138 at anchor, date and location unknown.
||USS LST-138 beached in France while unloading USAAF 23rd Photo Squadron trailer, 4 September 1944.
US National Archives - US Army Air Corps photo 56610 A.C.
||Ex-USS LST-138 as MV Altalena off the port of Marseille, France, June 1938. She was ship loaded with 930 refugee passengers and arms destined for the Irgun.
Paul H. Silverstone Aliyah Bet Project web site.
||MV Altalena underway bound for Israel with volunteers and freedom fighters on board, June 1948.
||Jewish immigrant ship MV Altalena on fire after being shelled near Tel-Aviv, 22 June 1948, by Israeli forces on the orders of the Israeli leader David Ben-Gurion.
Photo courtesy of Israel Government Press Office. Photo from the book "Great Moments In Jewish History" (page 205) by Elinor and Robert Slater. Pub: Jonathan David Publishers, 1998) ISBN 0824604083,
||MV Altalena burning on the beach at Tel Aviv, Israel, 22 June 1948.
||The burned out hulk of MV Altalena abandoned on the beach at Tel Aviv, Israel, June 1948.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
|01||LT. Wilson, John B., USNR||5 February 1944 - ?|
|Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves
Crew Contact And Reunion Information
U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log
Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
The USS LST Ship Memorial
LST Home Port
State LST Chapters
United States LST Association
The Altalena Affair
Last Updated 29 January 2021
This page is created by David W. Almond and maintained by Gary P. Priolo|