Sinking of LCF 37 - Walcheren
Unit/ Formation: Landing Craft Units
Period/ Conflict: World War II
Date/s: 01 November 1944
Landing Craft Flack (LCF) were converted Landing Craft Tank (LCTs) with the front ramp welded in position and the hold decked over as a platform for the guns. There were a number of variants (Marks) but most were around 150/200 ft long with a beam of around 30/40 ft.
LCTs were designed to carry tanks and heavy transport, while the LCFs were equipped with anti-aircraft guns to provide air cover for the invasion fleet, particularly the troop carrying Landing Craft Assault (LCA) flotillas, which were poorly equipped to defend themselves against air attack.
During Operation Infatuate the amphibious Landings on Walcheren Landing Craft Flak 37 was the leading LCF of the Southern Support Group.
After driving off the ML working the shoal at the deploying position German Battery W15 switched to LCF 37 while she was still 3,500 - 4,000 yards from the shore and so well out of range for her own guns.
She was first hit on the port quarter on the water line at 09.20 hrs, but the hole was successfully blocked with hammocks.
At 09.45 hrs, W15 having switched to fresh targets, she was engaged by W13 and began to make smoke. However she was hit astern, a near miss on the port beam filled the bridge and upper deck with water, and two hits were sustained forward blowing away the bows and forward magazine.
At 09.48 hrs a shell hit the main magazine blowing up about 100,000 rounds of 2-pr Oerlikon ammunition, turning the ship forward of the bridge into a shambles and causing a large number of casualties.
Most of the crew were blown into the sea .
The total casualties were: 2 offrs, 39 ORs missing believed killed; 4 ORs seriously wounded; 2 Offrs and 3 ORs slightly wounded.
Marine BUTTS, RONALD JAMES R J
H.M. L.C.F. 37
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