September 7-9, 1943
Salerno - Operation
The USS LCI (L) 35's role in the Invasion of Salerno on September
9th marked Dad's first encounter with
For additional information related to the planning, rationale, and execution of "Operation Avalanche", the amphibious landing at Salerno (near Naples), please visit Naples-Foggia.
The troop and naval forces used in the
Invasion of Italy
in the Gulf of Salerno and supplemental information provided in
Chapter XII: D-Day on the Salerno Beaches in Vol. IX of Samuel
Eliot Morison's History of US Naval Operations in World War II
provide the preliminary details for "Operation Avalanche", the Salerno Invasion.
Maps From Vol. IX of Samuel Eliot Morison's History of US Naval Operations
in World War II (Pages 256, and 262-263, 271-272).
The Gulf of Salerno
Photo National Archives
The maps and photo depict the
panoramic view of the Salerno Beachhead and the landing areas for
the invasion. Maiori the site for the LCI (L) 35 landing is 2 miles
east of Amalfi and had a shingle beach with a steep gradient. Three
US Ranger battalions, embarking in 2 LSIs and five LCIs (including
the LCI (L) 35) under Lieutenant Colonel Darby, were to seize the Chiunzi
pass at Maiori.
Northern Attack Force Area
USS LCI (L) 35 departed Palermo, Sicily with its mission to drop Army
Rangers behind enemy lines in Maiori, Italy in the early hours of
September 7, 1943
At approximately 1030 the task of loading troops detached to the Ranger battalion that the LCI 35 was designated to carry began. The final total of troops aboard consisted of 177 men and
6 officers. The men had their own equipment which also included 26
carriages which included 8 mortars and ammunition. The LCI 35 got underway to stand-by in the Bay of Palermo outside
the break-water at 1950 awaiting the signal to get underway at 0300 on the morning of September 8, 1943.
September 8, 1943
The LCI 35 got underway at 0300 and fell into position behind the
LCI 33 and proceeded as directed. At 0630 a large convoy of LSTs
and other ships were sighted about one point off of the port bow.
After meeting and joining this other convoy, our small convoy immediately
fell into a single file and formed a port column in the convoy.
During the afternoon the crew was given the alarm for General Quarters
at about 1520. The alarm was given when an enemy plane attacked
the convoy coming in to attack from the direction of the sun. The plane
skirted the starboard side of the convoy and jett[i]soned bombs
at a sub-chaser. A large column of smoke became visible
off of our starboard bow about one point. The convoy then proceeded
at the required speed and were attacked again at 2130 when a large formation
of planes (types unknown to this source) attacked our convoy with bombs
and flares. Some of the enemy planes were seen to fall but the exact
number are not known. This attack was continued for approximately
an hour until 2235. During the attack smoke screens were seen to be
laid down (to this source the screening seemed at most instances to
be oil-screens). After this attack the convoy proceeded as before having
broken away from the main convoy at 1915.
September 9, 1943
At 0100 the convoy was very close to the Italian Mainland and was
proceeding South along the Coast. A large fire was seen to be burning
about two points off the ships port bow over the horizon. Another
fire was seen to be burning giving the impression of being inside
a bay or harbor which was later found to be in the vicinity of Maiori
a slight bit however to the south. At 0310 the formation has been broken
up and we have proceeded well in toward the assigned beach. The Rangers
and Commandoes are assigned to strike at 0330. We were signaled and
given beach markers from the shore to proceed in and beach at 0400
and the landing was completed and men started ashore at 0405. This
beaching was completed and the men and officers of the 83 Chemical
Bat[t]alion Co.C. which composed 177 men and 6 officers and equipment
was completed. At 0530 there was still another air attack
by enemy planes (the type and amount of planes are still unknown to
this source due to the darkness and visibility due to gunfire and
smoke-screens). Still no ships were seen to have been hit and the number
of planes shot down are unknown. A "secure" was sounded at 0545. At 0620
another alarm was sounded at which time more enemy planes were overhead
and more bombs and flares were dropped. Secure from this alarm
was sounded at 0640. These attacks were taking place while this ship
was underway and while in rendezvous area. At 0830 the flag hoist
was passed to fall into formation with other LCIs which were
seen proceeding seaward. This convoy was composed of 14 LCIs and our position was eventually to be the second ship
or behind the LCI 231 which was the first ship of the port
column of a three column convoy. 1000 we were well underway and proceeding
with the ultimate destination being Bizerte, Tunisia.
- Samuel P. Strickland Jr, Ensign D-V( O), USNR, Commanding Officer
From the National Archives
September 10, 1943
Return to Bizerte,
On Friday September 10th LCI 35 continued to proceed in the convoy
of 14 LCIs (second to LCI 231 in the port column) returning to Bizerte.
At 1800 the coast of Africa was seen in the distance. At 2255 LCI
35 completed its participation in their second major invasion and
anchored for the night in the Lake of Bizerte awaiting entrance to
the port when the submarine nets were to be opened in the morning.
September 11, 1943
Commander Sabin Aboard LCI 35 for Chow
1st Time With Stanley Galik (Dad) as Cook
The day after returning from the invasion of Italy at Salerno,
LCI 35 entered the port of Bizerte and tied to the docks alongside
LCI 321. The crew brought a few supplies on board, took on fuel and
fresh water and then received Captain Lorenzo Sherwood Sabin Jr. aboard
for chow. Commander Sabin was last aboard the LCI 35 for chow on June
8th, but this was Dad's first and only opportunity to cook for the
Note: Captain Sabin transferred
command of Flotilla Two on October 12th. Hopefully, Dad lived up to
the expectations of Captain Sabin who in December 1942 commented that
a cook is an essential rating on an LCI and "...someone
who knows how to cook is essential on this type of craft because of
September 12, 1943
to Palermo, Sicily
On Sunday September 12th at 1340 LCI 35 picked up soldiers at the
dock in Bizerte and then anchored for the night in the Lake of Bizerte.
On the same day, the following Action Report for the period September
7-9 describes the movement of the LCI (L) 35 during the "Operation Avalanche", the Salerno Invasion.
September 12, 1943
USS LCI (L) 35, No Serial, 12 September 1943
Part of LCI (L) Group Six participated in Ranger-Commando Landings
in North Gulf of Salerno. Disembarked Officers and Men of 83 Chemical Bat[t]alion
Co.C. – Convoy under enemy attack.
September 13, 1943
Underway for Palermo,
LCI 35 got underway on Monday September 13th to take the troops aboard
to Palermo whey disembarked them the following day at 1420. After
unloading these troops LCI 35 dropped anchor for the night outside
of the breakwater. For the rest of the week, LCI 35 made daily trips
into Palermo and returned to anchor outside the breakwater at night.
During the week the crew performed general and routine duties and
were granted liberty when possible. During the week LCI 35 tied to
LCI 235 and
September 16, 1943
Too Much Liberty for Some of the Crew
Some of the crew enjoyed their liberty a little too much on Thursday
September 16th and were disciplined by the Commanding Officer the
*It should be noted that the crew members aboard an LCI had
little in the way of recreation. After being confined to a 150'
ship with little to do in the way of recreation or time for relaxation,
liberty for most crew members was a time to "let off a little steam".
Consequently, throughout the duration of the war, most of the LCI
35 crew were disciplined at least once. (Whether this was typical of
other LCIs cannot be determined). However, most of the punishment
handed out by the Commanding Officer usually resulted from crew
members being late returning from liberty or having just a "little
too much refreshment" while on liberty. The punishment ranged from
extra duty, restriction to the ship, and on a few occasions reductions
The punishments given to the crew should in no way detract from
their hard work, dedication, loyalty, and ability to carry out their
duties, even under the most adverse conditions including attacks from
September 19-20, 1943
Underway for Safta,
On Sunday September 19th
LCI 35 remained at Pier 3 in Palermo awaiting the loading of troops
the next morning. After loading the troops at 1150 on Monday September
20th the LCI got underway as the first ship in the starboard column
in a convoy of LSTs and LCIs heading for Safta, Italy.
September 21-22, 1943
On Tuesday morning at 0910 LCI 35 broke away from the convoy and was
now the second ship in a single column of LCIs following LCI 232*
headed toward the beach where the troops were unloaded at 1000. Later
in the day at 1500, the LCI 35 crew helped in the unloading of American
troops and their gear from a British Transport. The unloading of gear
continued until 2110 when darkness and smoke halted further unloading
until the next day.
*LCI 232 was sunk on June 6, 1944 in Normandy
Unloading resumed on Wednesday September 22nd and continued until
at least 1530. At 1920 LCI 35 was assigned to carry Lieutenant A.
Hays aboard for the purpose of checking a freighter's cargo being unloaded
by an LCT.
September 23 - October 9, 1943
Cargo Inspections - Other Duties As
From Tuesday September 23rd until October 9th LCI 35's was assigned
duties to participate in the daily inspection of freighters or Liberty
Ships' cargo. The only break in the daily routine of inspecting cargo
occurred either when the LCI 35 beached on Monday September 27th to
allow Lt. Hays to go ashore. Unfortunately, when backing off the beach,
LCI 35's screws (propellers) cut off the stern anchor and cable. Lt.
Hays reported back aboard LCI 35 from the USS Biscayne to continue
the cargo inspections on Tuesday September 28th. That evening at 2030
a storm was approaching with winds kicking up and heavy lightning
noted. When the storm was in full fury at 2110, LCI 35 hoisted anchor
and went further out to sea. The next day LCI 35 moved closer to the
beach for salvage operations and further inspections of cargo ships.
LCI 35 closed the month by taking on fresh water from a Liberty Ship
before continuing with cargo inspections of Liberty ships and other
newly arrived vessels.
Other Ships Participating in Cargo Inspections
During the same time that LCI 35 was participating in the inspection
of freighters' cargo, some other ships may have been participating
at the same time. The following ships were noted in the Deck Log of
LCI 35 during the time that inspections occurred:
LCI 9, LCI 32*, LCI 45,
LCI 214, LCI 233 and LCT 199 and LST 355, HMS Empire Salvage (LCI 35 took
on fuel from this ship on September 29th)
* LCI 32 sunk on January 26, 1944 at Anzio
Other WW II Action and Notable Events
|September 12, 1943
||German Paratroopers took Benito Mussolini from the Hotel where he was being held by the Italian government.
|September 27, 1943
||Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters and the Vic Schoen Orchestra recorded "Pistol Packin' Mama" and "Jingle Bells" for Decca Records.
|September 29, 1943
||Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio signed an armistice aboard the British ship Nelson off Malta.