LCVP


LCVP

The Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP) or Higgins boat was a landing craft used extensively in World War II. The craft was designed by Andrew Higgins of Louisiana, United States based on boats made for operating in swamps and marshes. More than 20,000 were built, by Higgins Industries and licensees.

Typically constructed from plywood, this shallow-draft, barge-like boat could ferry a platoon-sized complement of 36 men to shore at 9 knots (17 km/h). Men generally entered the boat by climbing down a cargo net hung from the side of their troop transport; they exited by charging down the boat's bow ramp.

Specifications

* Displacement: 18,000 lb (8,000 kg) light
* Length: 36 ft 3 in (11.0 m)
* Beam: 10 ft 10 in (3.3 m)
* Draft: 3 ft aft, 2 ft 2 in forward (0.9, 0.7 m)
* Speed: 9 knots (17 km/h)
* Armament: 2 × .30 cal (7.62 mm) machine guns
* Crew complement: 3
* Capacity: 36 troops or 6,000 lb (2,700 kg) vehicle or 8,100 lb (3,700 kg) general cargo
* 225 hp (168 kW) Diesel (GREY) or 250 hp (186 kW) gasoline (Hall-Scott) engines

Design history

Andrew Higgins started out in the lumber business, but gradually moved into boatbuilding, which became his sole operation after the lumber transport company he was running went bankrupt in 1930.

Fortuitously, the US Marine Corps, always interested in finding better ways to get men across a beach in an amphibious landing and frustrated that the Bureau of Construction and Repair could not meet its requirements, began to express interest in Higgins' boat. When tested in 1938 by the Navy and Marine Corps, Higgins' Eureka boat surpassed the performance of the Navy-designed boat and was tested by the services during fleet landing exercises in February 1939. Satisfactory in most respects, the boat's major drawback appeared to be that equipment had to be unloaded, and men disembarked, over the sides—thus exposing them to enemy fire in a combat situation. But it was put into production and service as the Landing Craft, Personnel (Large), LCP(L), the "Higgins Boats", or the "U-boats". The LCP(L) had two machine gun positions at the bow. The LCP(L) or commonly called the "U-boat" or the "Higgins" boat, was supplied to the British where it was initially known as the "R-boat" and used for Commando raids.

The Japanese had been using ramp-bowed landing boats in the Second Sino-Japanese War since the summer of 1937—boats that had come under intense scrutiny by the Navy and Marine Corps observers at Shanghai in particular. When shown a picture of one of those craft in 1941, Higgins soon thereafter got in touch with his chief engineer, and, after describing the Japanese design over the telephone, told the engineer to have a mock-up built for his inspection upon his return to New Orleans.

Within one month, tests of the ramp-bow Eureka boat in Lake Pontchartrain showed conclusively that successful operation of such a boat was feasible. This became the Landing Craft, Personnel (Ramped) LCP(R). The machine gun positions were still at the front of the boat but closer to the side to give access between them to the ramp. The design was still not ideal as the ramp was a bottleneck for the troops as was the case with the British Landing Craft Assault of the year before.

The next step was to fit a full width ramp. Now troops could leave en masse and a small vehicle such as a Jeep could be carried and it became the LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel), or simply, the "Higgins Boat". the machine gun positions were moved to the rear of the boat.

Legacy of the Higgins boat

No less an authority than the Supreme Allied Commander declared the Higgins boat to be crucial to the Allied victory on the European Western Front and the previous fighting in North Africa and Italy:

: "Andrew Higgins ... is the man who won the war for us. ... If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different." — General Dwight Eisenhower

The Higgins Boat was used for many amphibious landings including Operation Overlord on D Day in Nazi German occupied Normandy, and previously Operation Torch in North Africa, the Allied invasion of Sicily, Operation Shingle and Operation Avalanche in Italy, Operation Dragoon and of course the Pacific Theatre at the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of Tarawa, the Battle of the Philippines, the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Battle of Okinawa.

urvivors

in Wheaton, Illinois. [ [http://www.firstdivisionmuseum.org/museum/whatsnew/default.aspx First Division Museum: What's New page] , retrieved Sept. 12, 2008]

Another original Higgins boat is currently being restored in France. It was constructed in 1942 and most probably took part to landings in North Africa and in Italy during WW2. This boat will be restored to be able to sail again and to participate in some big events. [ [http://www.challengelcvp.com|Challenge LCVP Web site] , in French, retrieved Sept. 12, 2008]

ee also

*amphtrack
*LST
*Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM)
*Landing Craft Assault
*Gray Marine Engine

External links

* [http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ships/LCVP.html "Ships of the U.S. Navy, 1940–1945": LCVP]
* [http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/I/USMC-I-I-3.html "History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II Volume I" Chapter 3: Development of Landing Craft]
* [http://www.ussrankin.org/id41.htm USS Rankin (AKA-103): LCVP]
* [http://lst494.freeyellow.com/LST_494_Higgins_Boat_LCVP_.html USS LST 494 Higgins Boats]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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