USS Bradley County (LST-400)
The USS Bradley County, originally USS LST-400, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. It was renamed the USS Bradley County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties in Arkansas and Tennessee.
LST-400 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-400 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet at the stern. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to create causeways when they had to debark their cargos from deeper water, but they were also capable of dropping their forward ramps directly onto a beach.
The keel of LST-400 was laid down by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company at Newport News, Virginia, on September 28, 1942. It was launched on November 23, 1942, after being christened by Judith Flax-Ington, and it was commissioned on January 7, 1943, under the command of Lieutenant C. J. Lyden.
The vessel weighed 1,625 tons, was 328 feet long and fifty feet wide, and could achieve speeds of up to 11.6 knots. It was armed with two twin 40-mm gun mounts, four single 40-mm gun mounts and 12 single gun mounts, which were used primarily to protect against air attack. LST-400 could carry a crew of seven officers and 104 enlisted men in addition to up to sixteen officers and 147 enlisted men as passengers.
LST-400 was assigned to the European Theater and participated in the occupation of Sicily in July 1943 and the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. In addition to Lieutenant Lyden, LST-400 was commanded by Lt. (junior grade) L. J. McMahon from May 1945 to February 1946, and then by Lt. Fletcher C. Mann for an undetermined period. Lt. Bernard Theodore Hanson and Lt. William Franklin Scruggs both commanded the craft during 1953. It earned two battle stars during World War II.
LST-400 was designated the USS Bradley County on July 1, 1955, and was transferred to Taiwan as grant aid in September 1958, where it served as the Chung Suo (LST-217). It was struck from the navy list on April 25, 1960.
For additional information:
“LST 400.” Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Naval History and Heritage Command. https://www.history.navy.mil/research/histories/ship-histories/danfs/l/lst-400.html (accessed July 13, 2018).
Rottman, Gordon L. Landing Ship, Tank (LST) 1942–2002. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing Co., 2005.
“USS Bradley County (LST-400).” NavSource Online. http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/16/160400.htm (accessed July 13, 2018).
Mark K. Christ
Little Rock, Arkansas
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