There were four TYPES of sea going vessels listed by Allied Nations of World War II to become known as Landing ship, tank or the LST. Only the Type II were exclusively built in United States shipyards. The Prototype (British conversion), Type I and Type III LST designs were built in Commonwealth shipyards in England, Ireland or Canada.
Originally conceived in the United Kingdom and known as a Tank Landing Craft (TLC), the design was brought to the United States by a delegation from the Admiralty and was submitted to the United States Navy’s Bureau of Ships in November, 1941. After some design modifications, and with the concurrence of the Allies, the design was approved and the TYPE designator was changed to Landing Ship, Tank (LST, Allied Type II). Of the 1052 Type II vessels to be produced during WWII, one hundred seventeen were transferred to either the Royal Navy of England or the Royal Hellenic Navy of Greece under the terms of the Lend Lease Act. Still other LSTs were assigned to be crewed by the United States Coast Guard.
According to the official inventory of ships and service craft in custody and titled to the United States Navy, the Naval Vessel Register (NVR), there are SEVEN (7) CLASSES of the TYPE II LANDING SHIP, TANK (LST) on record.
The first three CLASSES of TYPE II LSTs built during the war years, were all the same design and built simultaneously on both coasts and in shipyards along the Ohio and Mississippi River systems of the United States in Illinois and Indiana. The LST-542 CLASS were essentially similar to the LST-1 and LST-491 CLASSES. The differences were primarily:
(Type II Specifications)
– Ramps were substituted for elevators between main & tank decks
– Bow door machinery was changed from screw gear to hydraulic type
– Additional landing craft davits increased from two to six
– Main deck reinforced to provide for transportation of LCTs
– Conning Station added over pilot house to see over main deck cargo
– Stowage and accommodations modified
WWII TYPE II LSTs:
LST-1 CLASS – NO NAME FOR CLASS – 390 VESSELS (100 LSTs canceled 16 September 1942)
LST-491 CLASS – NO NAME FOR CLASS – 50 VESSELS
LST-542 CLASS – CHELAN COUNTY CLASS – 612 VESSELS