Landing crafts played an important role in World War II by ferrying troops, tanks, vehicles and cargo in Europe, North Africa and the Pacific. Used by both British and American forces, the landing crafts had a main ramp in the front that lowered for troop and equipment deployment on beaches. Made from plywood and armed with various weaponry, some crafts even had steel-reinforced hulls to help protect troops from incoming fire.
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Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP)
The Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel was the most common landing craft used to transport troops. Approximately 23,000 boats were built in World War II. Based on the design of swamp boats, troops climbed down netting hung from the side of a transport ship into the craft. Slender in size, it was 36 feet long by 10 feet wide with a 225 to 250 horsepower engine. It could reach 14 miles per hour with 36 troops and was armed with two 30-caliber machine guns.
Landing Craft, Mechanical (LCM)
The larger Landing Craft, Mechanical carried mostly vehicles, tanks and cargo. A slower landing craft, the 45-foot-long boat reached only 10 miles per hour at top speed. Manned by a crew of four, the craft could carry a 6-ton tank or 15 tons of cargo, or up to 100 troops. Its weapons consisted of 50-caliber guns.
Landing Craft, Tank (LCT)
The massive Landing Craft, Tank was more than 110 feet long with a crew of 13. Its initial design came from the Royal British Navy in 1940. Developed to carry up to 250 tons of armoured tanks, it could travel about 800 miles, reaching a speed of 9 miles per hour. Its defence systems included 2-pounder guns or 20-millimeter guns. Depending on the model, an LCT had two or three engines totalling 675 to 700 horsepower.
Landing Craft, Assault (LCA)
The Landing Craft, Assault supported missions led by special forces, Army Rangers and the infantry. Less than 45 feet long, it could travel up to 80 miles carrying three dozen troops. With a four-man crew, the craft had three seating sections for the troops, which were partially covered by an upper level. It got power from two, 65-horsepower engines, which reached 8 miles per hour. A light machine gun provided protection along with armour plating up to ¾ inch thick.
Landing Craft, Infantry (LCI)
Long and narrow at more than 150 feet, the Landing Craft, Infantry was ocean-going with a 4,000 mile range. It carried 180 to 210 soldiers with a speed of 15 miles per hour. Eight motors powered the craft, including its two reversible propellers that allowed it to back up after landing. Four 20-millimeter guns protected the troops and crew of two dozen.
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