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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

Landing Craft Tank
LCT-659


Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons


Precedence of awards is from top to bottom, left to right
Top Row - Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive, 6 June 1944)
Bottom Row - American Campaign Medal - Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal (1) - World War II Victory Medal


Landing Craft Tank (Mark 6):
  • Laid down, 25 January 1944, at Bison Shipbuilding Corp, North Tonawanda, N.Y.
  • Launched, 16 February 1944
  • Delivered and placed in service, 18 February 1944, Ens. J.L. Bradford in command
  • During World War II LCT-659 was assigned to the European Theater LCT Flotilla 26 and participated in the and participated in the following campaigns:
    Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaigns
    Campaigns and Dates
    Invasion of Normandy
    Omaha Beach - 6 to 25 June 1944
    "J.L. Bradford was assigned as skipper of the LCT 659 in Norfolk, VA. They traveled from Norfolk to New York in April, 1944 where they were loaded on an LST headed for England to prepare for the D Day invasion. One severe storm was encountered on the trip to England. The 659 was stationed in Salcombe, Devon, England to continue training for the invasion. While in Salcombe, at least one crew member, James Cothron, was added to the crew that had traveled from the states.
    For a period of time before the invasion the 659 was loaded with jeeps and 4X4's which were loaded with medical equipment. The crew and other personnel assigned to drive the medial equipment were restricted to the 659 with a camouflage canopy over the top. They also were not allowed to throw any trash off the LCT so they would not be spotted by aircraft. The trash was over ankle deep on the LCT by the time they unloaded on Omaha Beach.
    The LCT went out the first time on June 4 and had traveled for 4 to 6 hours before a speed boat caught up with them and told them to turn back. On D Day the LCT 659 was part of flotilla 26, task group 124.5, assault group 0-3. they were loaded with jeeps and trucks loaded with medical supplies and arrived in the 10th wave. Before landing on the beach, they were instructed to not fire their guns to ensure that they would not be firing on their own men. On their first approach, a 4X4 was unloaded but quickly hit a deep hole and was submerged except for the roof. On the second approach, a jeep was unloaded but it also flooded out and was being pushed ashore. On their third approach they were able to make it all the way in to the beach under a cliff where they finished unloading. After unloading, the LCT 659 turned and headed straight back out into the channel. After getting out a good ways, one of the big guns on the cliffs took two shots at them, one missing to the left and the next to the right. Both shots were close enough to rock the boat. A destroyer saw what was happening and moved in to return fire at the cliffs. The Germans did not fire any more shots at the 659.
    The LCT 659 was then directed to go into the English beach. For the next several weeks, the 659 hauled different cargo from the cargo ships into the beach. Once the big ships were able to come in to the harbor, their mission was finished and they were reassigned."
    Jess Bradford, son of J.L. Bradford Officer in Charge LCT-659
  • Here is another slightly different version of what happened to LCT-659 during the Invasion of Normandy
    "...ON 15, MAY 1944 THEY WERE ORDERED TO AN ACCESS AREA IN WEYMOUTH HARBOR, ENGLAND TO BE LOADED. THEY TOOK ON 1 JEEP, 11 TRUCKS, 41 MEN AND 200 BLANKETS. JOHN MARK GANNON WAS ASSIGNED TO THE ENGINE ROOM AS AN F/N MM ABOUT 1, MAY.
    THEY GOT UNDERWAY ON MONDAY, 5, JUNE AND HEADED OUT INTO THE ENGLISH CHANNEL. 5 HRS. LATER THEY WERE ORDERED BACK. IT WAS THE JEEP WITH AN OFFICER AND DRIVER THAT WENT OFF FIRST AND SUNK IN 15 FEET OF WATER. THE DRIVER AND OFFICER SWAM TO SHORE. THEY UNLOADED AT "FOX-GREEN" LANDING AREA. ON BACKING OFF THE BEACH THEY HIT A SUBMERGED OBJECT AND PUT A HOLE IN THE BOTTOM CAUSING THE CRAFT TO LIST TO PORT. THEY WERE ABLE TO GET UNDERWAY ABOUT 1700 HRS. AT THAT TIME THEY PICKED UP A BRITISH FLIER THAT HAD BEEN SHOT DOWN OVER NORMANDY. [SEE ATTACHED NOTE]. THEY ANCHORED OFF SHORE ABOUT THREE MILES TO MAKE REPAIRS AND GET READY FOR DAY TWO...
    ONE OTHER NOTE, THE LCT-659 HAD 3 DETROIT DIESEL ENGINES NOT GRAY MARINES. JOHN REMEMBERS GETTING "CHEWED OUT" FOR GOING IN THE ENGINE ROOM DURING THE SHELLING. HE REPLIED TO BRADFORD HE HAD TO GO IN TO CLEAN THE SEA STRAINERS TO KEEP THE ENGINES FROM OVERHEATING. BRADFORD REPLIED "WELL DONE SAILOR".
    LARRY BOWERS AMERICAN LEGION POST-32 OIL CITY, PA
  • Placed out of service, date unknown
  • Struck from the Naval Register, date unknown
  • Final Disposition, fate unknown.
  • LCT-659 earned one battle star for World War II service
    Specifications:
    Displacement 143 to 160 t.(lt), 309 to 320 t.(fl)
    Length 119' 1" (ovl.)
    Beam 32' 8"
    Draft 5'; (max)
    Speed 10 kts.
    Range 700 nautical miles at 7 kts.
    Complement 14
    Cargo Capacity 150 short tons
    Armament 2 single 20mm AA gun mounts, 4 .50 cal. machine guns
    Armor 20lbs wheelhouse, 10lbs gun shield
    Propulsion 3 Detroit Diesels, 3 propellers, Shaft horsepower 225 per shaft

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Contributed
    By
    LCT-654 86k LCT-659 skipper Ens. J.L. Bradford (far right) and other officers of LCT Flotilla 26, date unknown. Jesse Bradford for his father J.L. Bradford OIC LCT-659
    LCT-654 178k Ens. J.L. Bradford, skipper of LCT-659 at right with an unknown officer, date and place unknown. Jesse Bradford for his father J.L. Bradford OIC LCT-659
    LCT-654 78k LCT-659 crew photo, 1 May 1944, location unknown. ENS. Bradford in the center of the back row with John M. Gannon F1/c on his right. Jesse Bradford for his father J.L. Bradford OIC LCT-659
    LCT-654 132k LCT-659 crew standing inspection, date and place unknown. Possibility prior to arrival at Salcombe, England. LTjg. J.L. Bradford is at far left. Jesse Bradford for his father J.L. Bradford OIC LCT-659
    LCT-654 74k LCT-659 on the beach at Normandy soon after D-Day. Joe Radigan MACM USN Ret.

    There is currently no DANFS history record for LCT-659 available at Navsource
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information Web Sites
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
    The World War II LCT Flotillas
    Back to the Navsource Photo Archives Main Page Back To The Amphibious Ship Type Index Back To The Landing Craft Tank (LCT) Photo Index
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 3 June 2011