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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Landing Craft Tank
LCT-546

History Supplied by Ralph Gallant MoMM2/c LCT-546
LCT 546 was laid down, 14 September 1943, at Bison Shipbuilding Corp, North Tonawanda, N.Y. , launched, 29 September 1943, delivered to the US Navy and place in service, 21 October 1943.

LCT 546 was signed for by Ralph Gallant MoMM2c, 19 December 1943 at Brooklyn Navy Yard, N.Y. where she was loaded aboard the merchant ship Sebastian Vizciano in three sections. Shipkeepers assigned to ride the Sebastian Vizciano were Ralph E. Gallant MoMM2/c, Paul M. Havner MoMM2/c, and Robert Bailey S1/c.

The Sebastian Vizciano departed New York, 29 December 1943 in a convoy of 81 ships. Three days out of New York while waiting for a storm to hit, German U-Boats began picking off ships of the convoy. Ships were on fire, men and boats were in the water, but there was no chance to stop and pickup survivors. Any ship that stopped for survivors was the next target. Destroyers, Destroyer Escorts and Canadian Corvettes steamed between the convoy lines dropping depth charges to flush out the U-Boats from under the convoy. The next day the ship count was 67 in a convoy now slowed down due to weather. The speed of the convoy was down from eight knots to five knots. The slowed down conoy lost several more ships in next few days from both U-Boats and the weather.

When the Sebastian Vizciano was within sight of Greenland she changed course for St. Johns Newfoundland for repairs. The damage to the ship was extensive, five inches of prop blade had broken off of one of the four bladed props blades. All four lifeboats and eight life rafts were lost. The forward 3"50 gun was damaged, the gun tub flattened, and ammo boxes had broken loose from the deck. The anchor repeatedly crashed into the hull causing a crack in the bow and a hole in the chain locker and carpenter ship. Both of these areas were flooded. After three weeks of repair the Sebastian Vizciano departed St. Johns in a slow convoy. The ship arrived at London and moored King George V Dock, 24 March 1944 after leaving New York 87 days earlier.

LCT-546 was off loaded on 24 March 1944, moved to Millwall Docks for assembly and equipment testing during the remainder of March and into April 1944. LCT-546, under her own power, moved to the mouth of the Thames River where a Royal Navy Lt. and Signalman reported aboard for the trip down the coast to the Plymouth area. (German E-Boats were known to be active in the area.) LCT-546 arrived at Dartmoor and ran several trips out of that port for test landings. She next moved to Portland/Weymouth Harbor and loaded for the Invasion of Normandy. The crew was instructed to prepare for departure, 5 June 1944, but weather postponed the scheduled departure until the next day, 6 June 1944.

LCT-546 landed on the beach at Normandy approximately 0700 as part of Wave 16 H+120 at Easy Red Beach with elements of the 197th AAA Bn.. After retracting from the beach she picked up several wounded and transported them to a hospital ship. Damage from the landing included several small caliber bullets hitting the hull and shrapnel dropped in the gun tubs and around the anchor windless top side. The crew of LCT-546 had sustained no injures during the landing.

LCT-546 returned to the United States in 1944. She was placed out of service, 6 December 1946, and struck from the Naval Register, 22 January 1947. She was then turned over to the Maritime Commission for delivery to her new owners, Henry M. Todd, of Moncks Corner, S.C. Ex-LCT-564 was employed hauling rip-rap (large granite stones) from a quarry located in Cayce S.C., down the Congree and Santee Rivers into Lakes Marion and Moultrie to be placed on the face of several dams and dikes around the two lakes. After this project was completed the ex-LCT-546 was sold and her fate is unknown.

LCT-546 earned one battle star for World War II service.

Submitted by Ralph Gallant USCG Ret.


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