We’re in the middle of drafting some posts on landing craft, past and present. In doing our research, we came across on specialized platform we thought we’d share with you right away.
During Operation Neptune, the sea based part of the invasion of Normandy, there were large numbers of British landing craft that were not assigned to a mothership, nor did they have galley facilities on board. Life assigned to these vessels was tough enough. Craft like the LCM and various LCVP assigned to specialized roles had no berthing, and little or no storage for food, nor even heads for sanitation.
The Royal Navy, realizing this was rather burdensome, looked to provide some level of logistical support to the flotillas of small craft. Building specialized variants of landing craft was not an option. The production of landing craft for the assault wave was already behind schedule. So instead, the RN took up into service numbers of the lighters in use on the Thames River. Some were modified to serve as station tankers for the craft. Others carried fresh water. And then there was the LBK, the Landing Barge, Kitchen.
Given just enough engine power to cross the channel in good weather, it was a floating storeroom and galley. It could carry enough fresh and bulk foodstuffs to feed 900 men for a week. Up to 1600 hot and 800 cold meals per day could be prepared.
After cooking meals, a day’s rations would be placed in insulated containers, similar to the Mermite can, and handed across to a landing craft crew. Few thing improve morale and efficiency like a good hot meal.