Legendary Liberty: Inside the only remaining Liberty ship from D-Day

CNET | 8/18/2019 | Geoffrey Morrison
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Click For Photo: https://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/img/GDDhLDTd0vHfM7yamAzjOQAn2_c=/756x567/2019/06/10/ce66fad6-566f-4bc8-984f-0fb4f52bc33f/ss-jeremiah-obrien-63-of-55.jpg

D-Day, June 6 1944, was the largest marine invasion in history. 156,000 men hit the beaches in Normandy. In less than a year Hitler's war machine was beaten and the Allies victorious. Countless volumes have been written about the incredible vehicles that helped make this possible. Fighters and bombers, submarines and aircraft carriers, tanks and jeeps, and more.

One of the most vital of all is also one of the most unassuming. It's not a battleship, or even a destroyer. It's slow, barely armed and cheaply built. I'm talking of the humble Liberty ship. These quick-to-build cargo vessels helped ferry men and materials across the Atlantic so they'd be in place for the invasion of Fortress Europe. Some were even used to get soldiers and equipment across the English Channel on D-Day.

Meet - SS - Jeremiah - O'Brien - Liberty

Meet the SS Jeremiah O'Brien, one of the 2,710 Liberty ships built between 1941 and 1945, and one of only four still in existence. It took part in the D-Day invasion, sailed across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, and is now a museum ship in San Francisco. Here's a look inside.

The Liberty ship was designed to be built quickly and cheaply yet remain reliable. Shipwrights used welding instead of the slower riveting, and an obsolete but rugged and easy-to-build triple-expansion steam engine. Before Liberty ships, no one had previously built welded ships in great numbers, while the engine was new technology back when Lincoln was president.

Machine - Guns - Liberty - Ships - Part

Though they possessed a few machine guns, Liberty ships weren't meant to defend themselves. Instead they were part of convoys, protected by a phalanx of Navy ships on the surface, and often aircraft and blimps in the sky above.

The Jeremiah O'Brien was laid down on May 6, 1943 in Portland, Maine, and completed just 44 days later. As incredibly fast as that is,...
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