Unseen Body Blows
Between 1942 and 1945, 1,051 amphibious tank-landing ships were rapidly produced. At first, LSTs had a reputation of being expendable and of relatively low value, and so were bestowed another, less noble, nickname; “Large Slow Targets.” Put into service to get troops and equipment ashore, the story of LST 479 is in some respects the story of all of these ships. Its crew on commissioning day, April 19, 1943, consisted of raw amateurs.
But over the next 1,046 days, through collisions, accidental groundings, navigational errors, and lots of mechanical breakdowns, the 479 crew became sailors. Displaying heroism and ingenuity, they rescued the crew of a crippled landing craft during an Alaskan storm, battled fires aboard a burning LST hit by kamikazes, and fought off air attacks on the way to Makin and Guam, at Saipan, in the Philippines, and around Okinawa.
In gripping, meticulously researched, “you are there” fashion, author William A. Gay, recounts the fascinating history of the
479’s seven Pacific campaigns; from the day-to-day life of the men aboard her to their terrifying encounters in battle as they delivered “unseen body blows” to the enemy that helped win the war in the Pacific.