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Landing Vehicle, Tracked

Description

The Landing Vehicle, Tracked was designed by Donald Roebling, after the United States Marine Corps had been impressed by the capabilities of a previous, similar design by Roebling, intended for civilian rescue work in Florida's swamps.

When production started in 1940 with the LVT-1 and later LVT-2, the vehicle was only intended for transporting cargo, and was built from mild steel. Troop landings were still done with the light LCVP, built from plywood, which could hold 36 soldiers.

At the 1943 amphibious attack on the Tarawa, LVT-2's, nicknamed Water Buffalo, were used as an interim solution to transport troops ashore. Despite its lack of armor, the LVT-2's were much more successful than the LCVP's, the latter stranding on the coral reefs around the atoll resulting in heavy casualties. It was therefore decided to built an armored version, the Landing Vehicle, Tracks (Armored), or LVT(A), dedicated to transporting troops.

As the war progressed, a large number of variants were built. Those that entered production were:

LVT(A)-1
Fire support version, mounting a modified Light Tank, M3 turret.
LVT(A)-2
Initial troop carrier version, based on the mild steel LVT-2.
LVT-3
Troop carrier version, nicknamed Bushmaster, in which the forward-facing ramp of the LVT-1 and LVT-2 was moved to the read, to better protect troops during dismounting.
LVT-4
Troop carrier version, similar to the LVT-3.
LVT(A)-4
Fire support version, mounting a modifier 75 mm Howitzer Motor Carriage, M8. Some were converted to flamethrower vehicles, replacing the main gun. A prototype, mounting a modified Light Tank, M24, was built, but didn't see series production.
LVT-3C
Post-war version of the LVT-3, with an armored turret.

A total of 18 620 of all types were built. The LVT's were mainly used in the Pacific theater, though some were used in Europe as well, such as during the crossing the Rhine and the Elbe rivers. The LVT's were used by both the American, British, and Canadian armies during World War 2. After the war, they were used during the Korean War, as well as by the French during the First Indochina War.

Technical Details

  LVT(A)-2 LVT(A)-4
Crew
Crew
  • Commander
  • Driver
  • Assistant driver
  • 24 passengers
  • Commander
  • Gunner
  • Loader
  • Driver
  • Assistant driver
  • Machine gunner
Physical Characteristics
Weight 14.9 t 18.1 t
Length 7.95 m
Width 3.25 m
Height 2.5 m 3.1 m
Armour
Armour (range) 6-13 mm 6-38 mm
Performance
Speed (road) 30 km/h 40 km/h
Armament
Primary weapon .50 cal. Browning Machine Gun (1) 75 mm Howitzer, M3 (1)
Secondary weapon .30 cal. Browning Machine Gun (3)

Images

Side view of an LVT(A)-1
Frontal view, with an open ramp.

Further Reading

Sources

  1. CHAMBERLAIN, Peter & ELLIS, Chris. British and American Tanks of World War II : The Complete Illustrated History of British, American and Commonwealth Tanks, 1939-45. Weidenfield : Cassell, 2000. 224p. ISBN: 03-0435-529-1.