The Landing Ship Tank (LST) was originally designed as a large, ocean-going ship capable of delivering tanks and other equipment directly on the shore.

The ship had a unique ballast system that allowed it to take on water giving it a draft of some 14 feet and much greater stability in the open ocean. However, the ballast tanks could be pumped out for landing giving the ship a draft of only 3 feet.

The overall design allowed the ship to beach itself, open its huge bow doors and the equipment could be driven off the ship and directly onto the beach. The LST could carry 2100 tons of tanks and vehicles. Of course, the ship was fitted for many other functions. In all, there were seven (7) classes of LST built in the U.S. during World War II.

The picture above is of LST 350 unloading an amphibious Sherman tank on a beach at Normandy, France.