The Higgins LCVP was one of the most important Allied weapons of the Second World War, a landing craft capable of carrying soldier, light vehicles or light guns straight onto a defended beach, with a shallow draft, and perhaps most importantly a bow ramp that could be dropped to allow its cargo to be unloading quickly. The LCVP provided one of the most iconic pictures of the D-Day invasions, looking towards the beaches from within the boat, as its cargo of soldiers waded towards the shore. It played a part in just about every major Allied amphibious operation of the war, from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, and most famously D-Day.
The author of this book has actually restored a 1943 example of a Higgins LCVP, so had real hands on experience with the type. However he doesn't just rely on that - this is a meticulously documented book, and the excellent text is supported by a vast array of contemporary plans, showing the different variants of the LCVP, and most aspects of their construction, as well as an equally impressive selection of wartime photographs of the craft.
The focus is very much on the LCVP as a ship, rather than on its operational history (which is essentially the same as a history of Allied amphibious operations). We begin with a look at the development of the landing craft, from the Navy's own rather unimpressive designs, through the early Higgins designs and on to the Japanese inspiration for the ramped landing craft. We then look in detail at the design of the LCVP itself, how it was constructed and how it was powered. There is also an interesting chapter on how it actually sailed, and the many difficulties faced by its crews. We do finish with a look at its wartime service, although the emphasis here is more on how it was used than on individual operations.
This is an excellent examination of one of the most important Allied naval weapons of the Second World War.
1 - The Landing Craft Concept
2 - The Higgins LCVP Design
3 - Construction
4 - The Power Plant
5 - Performance and Handling
6 - Wartime Service
Author: Charles C. Roberts, Jr