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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

USS Spark (IX-196)
ex
USS LST-340 (1942 - 1944)


International Radio Call Sign:
November - Zulu - Romeo - Oscar
NZRO
Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons


Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive 16 June 1943) - Navy Unit Commendation (1 March 1943 to 1 June1943)
Bottom Row - American Campaign Medal - Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (3) - World War II Victory Medal

Personnel Awards

Purple Heart (16 June 1943 - 1 KIA, 4 WIA)

LST-1 Class Tank Landing Ship:
  • Laid down, 17 July 1942, at Norfolk Navy Yard
  • Launched, 8 November 1942
  • Commissioned USS LST-340, 26 December 1942, LT. William Villella, USN, in command
  • During World War II USS LST-340 was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    Asiatic-Pacific Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Consolidation of Solomon Islands
    Consolidation of Southern Solomons, 16 June 1943
    Tinian capture and occupation, 24 July to 10 August 1944
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 15 June to 19 August 1944
     

  • Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified, named and designated USS Spark (IX-196), 20 October 1944
  • Decommissioned, 24 October 1944
  • Struck from the Naval Register, 1 September 1945
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown
  • USS LST-340 earned three battle stars for World War II service
    LST Specifications:
    Displacement
    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'
    Draft
    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
    Complement
    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
    Propulsion
    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

    On July 29 1944, USS LST-340 was pushed up on to a reef and stranded at "White Beach 2" on Tinian Island. She had dropped off 24 trucks and drivers at the temporary pier visible in 80-G-284218 and picked up a large number of US casualties who were being evacuated for medical treatment. While retracting from the beach large waves and winds from the edges of a typhoon broached the ship and then ran her hard aground on the reef. Her starboard propeller shaft was knocked five inches out of alignment and the main engine room flooded beyond control - the auxiliary engine room was flooded two feet deep with a four foot coralhead intruding through a hole punched through the ship's hull. The wind and waves were so strong that the temporary pier on the beach nearby was broken apart later that evening and destroyed, leaving the beachhead serviceable only by DUKWs and LVTs.
    Boats from USS Cambria (APA-36) were initially sent to assist the next day but the surf was still too rough to transfer the wounded solders. The task then fell to the time-tested but unnerving Breeches Buoy. 160 casualties were removed one at a time by breeches buoy to USS Chickasaw (ATF-83) over the course of eight and a half hours on July 30 and then transferred to USS LST-40. Chickasaw left to assist other vessels in need of towing services and was replaced by USS Clamp (ARS-33) who began repair and salvage operations on August 1. She was refloated early on the morning of Sunday, August 13 after nearly two week's work and towed by Chickasaw to Tanapag Harbor, Saipan. A Navy inspection revealed her to be beyond economic repair and she was turned into an unpowered barracks ship.
    Contributed by Tracy White
    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    LST-340
    80-G-284213
    200k USS LST-340 aground with USS Chickasaw (ATF-83) and likely USS Chichona (AN-12) during breeches buoy recovery of the casualties aboard the grounded ship. Note the LCVP rolling away from her stern as a wave passes and washes down the hull.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-284213
    Tracy White
    LST-340
    80-G-284217
    102k A soldier is transferred from USS LST-340's stern to USS Chickasaw (ATF-83) via breeches buoy as seen from a LCVP.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-284217
    Tracy White
    LST-340
    80-G-284218
    187k USS LST-340 aground with USS Chickasaw (ATF-83) and likely USS Chichona (AN-12) anchored further out. The attack transport in the distance is most likely USS Cambria (APA-36) as she was close enough that her boats responded to the grounding (and may be in view here) and the dazzle pattern matches the camouflage Measure 32 pattern 3D. Note the wave breaking over LST-340's aft boat davit.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-284218
    Tracy White
    LST-340
    80-G-284222
    160k A starboard view of USS LST-340 from the shoreline of White Beach 2 as she lay stranded on 30 July.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-284222
    Tracy White
    LST-340
    80-G-284223
    196k USS LST-340's well-weathered aft half during breeches buoy operations on July 30.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-284223
    Tracy White
    LST-340
    80-G-284224
    152k USS LST-340's bow when grounded showing the three forward single-barrel 40mm mounts and two of her forward 20mm mounts under protective canvas due to the weather. The two different sizes of hull number were due to different directives concerning the size of numbers on various classes of ship.
    US National Archives photo # 80-G-284224
    Tracy White

    USS LST-340 / USS Spark (IX-196)
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
    Commanding Officers
    01LT. Villella, William, USN26 December 1942 - August 1943
    02ENS. Haskell, L., USNR August 1943 - ?
    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 and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 4 January 2019