LST(M) Landing Craft Tender
The LST proved to be a remarkably versatile ship. One successful conversion was the LST "Mother Ship." This version of the standard LST hull had two Quonset huts erected on the main deck to accommodate 40 officers. Bunks on the tank deck berthed an additional 196 men. A bake shop and 16 refrigeration boxes for fresh provisions augmented the facilities normally provided the crew. Four extra distilling units were added, and the ballast tanks were converted for storage of fresh water.
The Iwo Jima operation 19 February 1945 marked the first appearance of a new type of logistic vessel, the LST Landing Craft Tender, familiarly known as the "mother ship." Of the four LST's converted to LST(M)'s as a result of experience gained in the Marianas campaign, two took part in the Iwo Jima operation. They were constructed with 20 "reefer" boxes in the tank deck for carrying 160,000 rations of fresh and frozen provisions, stowage space for 160,000 rations of dry provisions, bunks for 350 additional enlisted men in the tank deck, bunks for 40 officers in a quonset hut on the main deck, and extra galley also housed in a main deck quonset hut, additional washroom facilities, and large evaporators. These ships were designed to act both as a "home" for transients and boat crews left behind at the objective upon nightly retirement of transports, and as supply ships for small craft ranging from PCEs through LCTs.
In this function they were eminently successful, berthing a total of over 2,500 officers and men, subsisting 4,900 officers and men, refueling and watering 54 vessels and reprovisioning 76 vessels, all between D-day and D-plus-15. Their value should be even greater during a longer operation, where the prospect of a hot meal, a shower and a good night's sleep for "stray" boat crews, and fresh provisions for the small craft, will doubtless serve as an excellent morale builder.
Damage from loading alongside transports constituted an estimated 93 percent of all damage sustained. As a whole it may be classed as serious, and for the most part unavoidable, since not only bad or poor weather contributed to the damage, but also the inherent design features of all LSM's lead to the inevitable damaging of every pot side of every vessel including title A, B, and C equipment there installed.
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