Landing craft tank


Landing craft tank

The Landing Craft, Tank (Landing Craft Tank) was an amphibious assault ship for landing tanks on beachheads. The first examples appeared during the Second World War. They were used by the Royal Navy and U.S. Navy in World War II. The latter used them afterwards under different designations in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. During WWII, they were commonly called by their abbreviation, LCT.

History

After the evacuation from Dunkirk it was seen that the only feasible way for the Allies to fight in Europe was by landing on its beaches. Winston Churchill's suggestion for a boat capable of carrying one or more tanks led to a concerted approach to designs for "Combined Operations" craft. British constructors met in mid 1940 and drew up designs that led to one of them, Hawthorn Leslie, producing the first "Tank Landing Craft" in November 1940. This was the LCT Mk I also recorded as "LCT(1)".

The LCT was produced in several configurations, the two US ones were the Mark V and Mark VI. LCT Mk Vs had only a bow ramp while LCT Mk VIs had both bow and stern ramps. They were much smaller than the Landing Ship Tank (or LST), a larger amphibious assault ship for landing tanks which was capable of hauling and launching an LCT. They were unarmored and only lightly armed. LCT were not given names, only numbers. A large number were given through Lend-Lease to the UK and a small number to the USSR.

Besides being used to transport tanks, men or supplies, the LCT was a suitable platform for conversion and were modified for special duties for the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. To provide anti-aircraft protection for the convoys and during the assault itself several LCTs were converted into floating AA batteries, the LCT(4) conversions receiving the new designation LCF(4) "Landing Craft, Flak" and so forth. Some LCTs were fitted with guns or rockets (the later becoming "Landing Craft, Tank (Rocket)") or as repair barges or minesweepers. Twenty-six of them had armor added, making them LCT(A), Landing Craft Tank (Armored) however, this reduced their load from 4 tanks to 3.

After WWII, the surviving US MK5s were sold off for scrap or for civilian use while the MK6s were redesignated as Utility Landing Ship (LSU) in 1949 and redesignated again as Landing Craft Utility (LCU). Six of them were modified in 1948-49 for Arctic service. After WWII, new craft were built from the Mark V pattern with larger crew quarters. Some of these were later reclassified during the Vietnam War as Harbor Utility Craft (YFU) because they no longer served in an amphibious assault role but were only used in harbor support roles such as transporting goods from supply ships into harbor.

Production

US Production:A total of 1,435 of these craft were built, including 965 built during WWII. Most of the US LCT's were built at the Darby Steel Plant in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, Kansas. The ships were then floated more than convert|1000|mi|km down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans, Louisiana prompting the ships to be nicknamed the "Prairie Ships."

LCT-401 to LCT-500 (all Mk. V) were built by New York Shipbuilding at Camden, New Jersey.

As of 2004, at least one LCT is still in use: "LCT-203" is the "Outer Island" on Lake Superior, working as a dredge and construction barge. This may be the only remaining ship of this type.

UK production:864 LCT(4)s were built. A British LCT, "HM LCT (3) 7074" is owned by the Warship Preservation Trust and moored on the Wirral in England.

LCT Mk III specifications

Appeared from May 1941.
*Number built: 235
*Gross tonnage: 305
*Length: convert|191|ft|m|abbr=on
*Breadth: convert|31|ft|m|abbr=on
*Engine: Paxman diesel (71 with American Sterling Admiral petrol engines)

LCT Mk IV specifications

*Length: 185.5 ft long
*Draught: about convert|3|ft|m|abbr=on
*Capacity: 9 M4 Sherman or 9 Cromwell tanks or 6 Churchill tanks, or 300 tons of cargo.
*Armament: as the LCF(4): 8 20 mm Oerlikon cannon, 4 2pdr (40 mm) Pom-Pom (gun)s.The LCT IV in its original form was armed only with 2 Oerlikon 20 mm cannon, mounted either side of the cabin. Sometimes they were additionally armed with pak 2 j projectors at the stern of the craft. After Normandy some of these craft were stiffened by adding additional plates to the sides and bottom in preparation for service in the Far east. These craft were constructed by metal fabrication companies and were put together at shipyards.Another feature of these craft, was that the tank deck was above the Waterline, whereas the previous marks of Landing craft the tank deck was below the waterline. Approx 740 MK IVs were constructed. Starting with Craft number no 500. These were mainly designed for use on the flat and shallow beaches of Normandy.

LCT Mk V specifications

*Displacement: 133 tons (135 t), 286 (291 t) tons (landing)
*Length: 117 ft (35.7 m)
*Beam: 32 ft (9.8 m)
*Draft: 2 ft 10 in (0.9 m) forward, 4 ft 2 in (1.3 m) aft (landing)
*Speed: 8 knots (15 km/h)
*Armament: 2 x 20 mm
*Complement: 1 officer, 12 enlisted
*Capacity: 5 x 30-ton (27 t) or 4 x 40-ton (36 t) or 3 x 50-ton (45 t) tanks; or 9 trucks; or 150 short tons (136 t) cargo
*3 Gray 225 hp (168 kW) diesels; triple screws

LCT Mk VI specifications

*Displacement: 143 tons (145 t), 309 (314 t) tons (landing)
*Length: 119 ft (36.3 m)
*Beam: 32 ft (9.8 m)
*Draft: 3 ft 7 in (1.1 m) forward, 4 ft (1.2 m) aft (landing)
*Speed: 8 knots (15 km/h)
*Armament: 2 x 20 mm
*Complement: 1 officer, 12 enlisted
*Capacity: 4 medium or 3 x 50-ton (45 t) tanks; or 150 short tons (136 t) cargo; accommodations for 8 troops
*3 Gray 225 hp (168 kW) diesels; triple screws

ee also

* Amphibious assault
* Landing craft
* List of British Mark 8 Landing Craft Tank

External links

* [http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/18/18idx.htm Photo archive organized by individual ship]
* [http://ww2lct.org LCT History]
* [http://yorkship.home.comcast.net/landing.htm Landing Craft of New York Shipbuilding]


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