The Crew
About The Landing Craft Infantry



September 7-9, 1943

Salerno - Operation "Avalanche"
The USS LCI (L) 35's role in the Invasion of Salerno on September 9th marked Dad's first encounter with enemy action.

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 Invasion
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.

Map Showing Salerno Invasion Area

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).

Panorama of the Salerno Beachhead

The Gulf of Salerno

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
  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 9th.

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, Tunis, Tunisia

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 Flotilla Commander.

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 morale..."

September 12, 1943

Transporting Troops 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

Action Report-Operation Avalanche-Salerno Landing
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, Sicily

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 LCI 44.

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 following day.*

*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 in rating.

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 enemy forces.

September 19-20, 1943

Underway for Safta, Italy

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

Safta, Italy
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 Assigned
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 196, 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

September 1943
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.

One of Stanley Galik's Nickname was Gay

Stanley Galik, SC2 (Dad)

"Gay" was one of Dad's Nicknames

Salerno (Near Naples) Landing
Salerno (Near Naples) Landing
Action Report - September 12, 1943 "Operation Avalanche"

September 12, 1943 Action Report

Operation Avalanche - LCI 35

Cover Page for Ranger-Commando Landings in North Gulf of Salerno

Shores of Africa

Shores of Africa

A view of the coastline of Africa possibly around the time that the LCI 35 was returning to Bizerte on September 10, 1943 (See Deck Log entry).


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