American Landing ship
|Type:||Landing ship (LST-1)|
|Completed||1943 - Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth VA|
|Owner||United States Navy|
|Date of attack||20 Feb 1944||Nationality: American|
|Fate||Sunk by U-410 (Horst-Arno Fenski)|
|Position||40° 57'N, 13° 14'E - Grid CJ 5934|
|Complement||103 officers and men (24 dead and 79 survivors).|
|Route||Nisida, Italy (19 Feb) – Anzio-Nettuno Beachhead|
|History||Completed in February 1943. USS LST-348 participated in the following landings: Sicily and Anzio-Nettuno. The vessel earned two battle stars and the Navy Unit Commendation for her World War 2 service. |
|Notes on event|
At 01.57 hours on 20 Feb 1944 the unescorted USS LST-348 (Lt Stephenson Jennings, USNR) was hit on the port side forward by one FAT torpedo from U-410 about 22 miles southwest of Gaeta, Italy. The torpedo struck at frame #16, ruptured bulkheads in several compartments and tore out the deck in a length of about 40 feet, directly aft of the elevator hatch. Damage control parties proceeded to close and dog all water-tight doors in the troop compartments as far forward as the damage allowed. Lookouts spotted an unidentified object off the port quarter, thought to be the U-boat and one shot was fired from the 3in gun. This happened almost simultaneously with the hit of a second torpedo which had been fired by the U-boat at 02.21 hours. The explosion broke the ship in two forward of the main cargo hatch and covered the vessel with oil, causing a violent fire which lasted two minutes and swept down over the entire stern part. Several men were thrown overboard and others jumped into the sea in flames as practically all the men who were on deck were burned in various degrees. The order to abandon ship was given and all five available rafts were launched, but only one of the five LCVP aboard could be lowered as three had been blown away and another had jumped from the davits. The wounded were placed in the boat and Lt(jg) Wulfman secured essential first aid material and thoroughly searched for any injured crew members before leaving USS LST-348. The commanding officer was the last man to leave and the LCVP cast off about 30 minutes after the first torpedo hit, but the screw had become fouled and it was necessary to use stretcher boards to paddle away from the wreck. The forward part had disappeared shortly after the landing ship broke in two and the stern part eventually sank at 06.30 hours. Four officers and 20 ratings were lost.
Shortly after 03.00 hours, USS LCI(L)-195 (Lt(jg) R.L. Leventhal, USNR) and USS LCI(L)-219 (Lt Albert J. Corsi, USNR) reached the area after having observed the second explosion and the latter immediately began to pick up most of the survivors, first taking off the men from the disabled LCVP which was cast adrift because it was impossible to tow in the moderate swell. The rescue work continued for two hours and most survivors were picked up before dawn, only three more men were found at daylight. The commander, six officers, 66 ratings and the bodies of two officers had been taken aboard USS LCI(L)-219, while one officer, five ratings and one body had been picked up by the other vessel. At 07.45 hours, USS PC-627 arrived at the scene and the landing craft proceed to Anzio-Nettuno where 31 injured men were transferred to the British hospital ship HMHS Leinster. They were largely suffering from second degree burns. The remaining survivors remained aboard USS LCI(L)-219 which after unloading returned to Pozzuoli, arriving on 21 February.
|On board||We have details of 103 people who were on board.|
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