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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

USS Benton County (LST-263)
USS LST-263 (1943 - 1955)

International Radio Call Sign:
November - Golf - Golf - Zulu
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Precedence of awards is from left to right
American Campaign Medal - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (2) - World War II Victory Medal

LST-1 Class Tank Landing Ship:
  • Laid down, 7 September 1942, at American Bridge Co., Ambridge, PA.
  • Launched, 27 February 1943
  • Commissioned USS LST-263, 30 June 1943, LT. Lawrence B. Russell, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS LST-263 was assigned to the Europe-Africa-Middle East Theater and participated in the following action/campaign:

    Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaigns
    Acton and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Convoy UGS-37
    11 to 12 April 1944
    Invasion of Southern France 15 August 25 September 1944
    From the Unit History of the 214th AAA Bn, Sept. 1944.
    2 September 1944, Batteries alerted for loading on to LSTs at Ajaccio, Corsica, A & B Batteries on LST-263. Left docks about 1530 and sailed from the harbor at 1800. CO and. S-3, 406th AAA Gun Bn saw us off. Fresh meat for supper.
    3 September 1944, Sea journey to St. Tropez, France. windy and rough. Anchored in harbor about 2030.
    4 September 1944, Debarking took place at Delta beach, approximately 3 miles west of St. Tropez, from 0800 to 1245

  • Decommissioned, 29 May 1946, and laid up in the Reserve Fleet
  • Named Benton County (LST-263), 1 July 1955
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 1 November 1958
  • Sold in 1959
  • Documented in 1971 as the freight barge TNT Puerto Rico owned and operated by TNT Trailer Ferry Inc., Jacksonville FL.
  • USS LST-263 earned two battle stars for World War II service
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
    1,625 t.(lt)
    4,080 t.(fl) (sea-going draft w/1675 ton load)
    2,366 t. (beaching displacement)
    Length 328' o.a.
    Beam 50'
    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
    13 officers
    104 enlisted
    Troop Accommodations
    16 officers
    147 enlisted
    Boats 2 LCVP
    Cargo Capacity (varied with mission - payloads between 1600 and 1900 tons)
    Typical loads
    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
    Fuel Capacity
    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
    twin rudders

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    USS LST-263
    LST-263 1124k USS LST-263 under way, 19 October 1943, location unknown.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-411655 a US Navy Bureau of Ships photo now in the collections of the US National Archives.
    Dave Kerr
    LST-263 64k USS LST-263 beached at Civitavecchia, Italy. LST-263 was the first LST to arrive at the Italian port, forty miles northwest of Rome in June, 1944. The Royal Navy port clearance officers have cleared a path through 46 ship wrecks in the harbor and have to guide landing craft to their designated landing areas.
    Imperial War Museum Admiralty Official Collection, by Roper, F.G. (Lt), Photo No. IWM (A 24320)
    Mike Green
    LST-263 72k USS LST-263 landing US Army replacement troops on the beach in southern France, after the invasion. Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret
    LST-263 83k USS LST-263 at anchor in Naples Bay, Italy as part of the assault group. Robert Rutter, photo by his grandfather CAPT. Anthony Kohout Jr. CO USS LST-77
    LST-263 334k USS LST-263 moored pierside at Palermo, Sicily, circa late-1944 to early 1945. Douglas K. Fidler, Captain, USAF-Retired, in honor of his father, LCDR. Harold J. Fidler USN (Ret), CO USS LST-263
    LST-263 605k USS LST-263 ship and group staff officers, August 1944, Palermo, Sicily:
    Front Sitting (l - r) Ensign Bradford, LT(jg) Reynolds, LT Barnett, LT CDR Russel, LT J. Alfred Austin (CO), Ensign Griffin, LT T.C. McMillen, LT(jg) Benjamin J. Petrusek (CAPT, USN-Ret)
    Back Row Standing (l-r) LT(jg) Sparks, LT(jg) New, LT E. Hower, LT(jg) Rothblith, LT(jg) Almand, Ensign Harold J. Fidler (LCDR, USN-Ret)
    Douglas K. Fidler, Captain, USAF-Retired, in honor of his father, LCDR. Harold J. Fidler USN (Ret), CO USS LST-263
    LST-263 372k USS LST-263 first reunion. Douglas K. Fidler, Captain, USAF-Retired, in honor of his father, LCDR. Harold J. Fidler USN (Ret), CO USS LST-263
    Merchant Service
    77k Ex-USS LST-263 in service as TNT Trailer Ferry Inc., barge TNT Puerto Rico offloading trailers, date and location unknown.
    Photo by Hamilton Wright.
    Tommy Trampp

    USS LST-263
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LT. Russell, Lawrence B., USNR30 June 1943 - 18 June 1944
    02LT. Austin, Alfred, J., USNR18 June 1944 - 15 September 1945
    03LTjg. Fidler, Harold Joseph, USN 15 September 1945 - 29 May 1946
    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
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    This page is created by David W. Almond and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 7 February 2020