a ship design from preliminary drawings to laying the keel is generally measured
in years. The fact that the first
LST was commissioned on 2 November 1942, was a major achievement.
The Dravo Corporation would subsequently achieve a production rate of one
LST every 3-1/2 days. The total
time from laying of the keel to launch was about 2-months by the end of the war. Dravo Corporation was an innovative shipbuilder who designed
a system of transfer carriages to utilize its pre-assembly and hull-moving
techniques to speed up production. Dravo
built 60 transfer carriages for use at other inland yards.
This decision was made in spite of the fact that the other yards would
become state-of-the-art competitors in the post-war period.
gesture solved the problem of the production of
LSTs in the quantities required, and within a short time frame.
In general, many shipyards built ships of riveted construction, the
prevailing method at the time. The
Dravo people proved that a strong ship could be built with the all-welded method
of ship construction and passed their expertise on to several other inland
manufacturing firms. For the first
time in history, midwest shipbuilding of ocean-going ships was a reality. The Illinois, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers
became the conduit for the LSTís self-propelled travel to the Gulf
Dravo Corporation used an all-welded construction method of prefabricated
sections and work-stagings. Electric
welding was an advanced technique in 1942, and Dravo drew on their industrial
experience in river barge construction, among other skills.
They used clusters of generators on skids to provide power for the arc
welders moving around the site, with suspended staging and other mass production
methods. The prefabrication
included box sections of the main hull with plates tightly flanged at the edge
for smooth lap joints, giving little resistance to the water.
Each section had lugs temporarily welded for jacking into position, where
it was held by a screw bolt during the welding.
This tight construction made for a strong ship.
Even the washbasin supports, the bow door assemblies and hinges were
welded. On the upper
superstructure, tubed guards were shaped and welded around the gun positions,
preventing accidental fire into the shipís own decks or upperworks.