Landing craft
Overview
 
Landing craft are boat
Boat
A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland or in protected coastal areas. However, boats such as the whaleboat were designed to be operated from a ship in an offshore environment. In naval terms, a boat is a...

s and seagoing vessels used to convey a landing force (infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 and vehicles) from the sea to the shore during an amphibious assault
Amphibious warfare
Amphibious warfare is the use of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to project military power ashore. In previous eras it stood as the primary method of delivering troops to non-contiguous enemy-held terrain...

. Most renowned are those used to storm the beaches of Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

, the Mediterranean, and many Pacific islands
Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are also sometimes collectively called Oceania, although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago....

 during WWII
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. This was the high point of the landing craft, with a significant number of different designs produced in large quantities by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Because of the need to run up onto a suitable beach, WWII landing craft were flat-bottomed, and many designs had a flat front, often with a lowerable ramp, rather than a normal bow
Bow (ship)
The bow is a nautical term that refers to the forward part of the hull of a ship or boat, the point that is most forward when the vessel is underway. Both of the adjectives fore and forward mean towards the bow...

.
Encyclopedia
Landing craft are boat
Boat
A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland or in protected coastal areas. However, boats such as the whaleboat were designed to be operated from a ship in an offshore environment. In naval terms, a boat is a...

s and seagoing vessels used to convey a landing force (infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 and vehicles) from the sea to the shore during an amphibious assault
Amphibious warfare
Amphibious warfare is the use of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to project military power ashore. In previous eras it stood as the primary method of delivering troops to non-contiguous enemy-held terrain...

. Most renowned are those used to storm the beaches of Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

, the Mediterranean, and many Pacific islands
Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are also sometimes collectively called Oceania, although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago....

 during WWII
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. This was the high point of the landing craft, with a significant number of different designs produced in large quantities by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

Because of the need to run up onto a suitable beach, WWII landing craft were flat-bottomed, and many designs had a flat front, often with a lowerable ramp, rather than a normal bow
Bow (ship)
The bow is a nautical term that refers to the forward part of the hull of a ship or boat, the point that is most forward when the vessel is underway. Both of the adjectives fore and forward mean towards the bow...

. This made them difficult to control and very uncomfortable in rough seas. The control point (bridge
Bridge (ship)
The bridge of a ship is the room or platform from which the ship can be commanded. When a ship is underway the bridge is manned by an OOW aided usually by an AB acting as lookout...

 was far too fancy a description for the facilities of the LCA
Landing Craft Assault
The Landing Craft Assault was a British landing craft used extensively in World War II. Its primary purpose was to ferry troops from transport ships to attack enemy-held shores. The craft derived from a prototype designed by John I. Thornycroft Ltd. During the war it was manufactured throughout...

 and similar craft) was normally situated at the extreme rear of the vessel as were the engines. In all cases they tended to be known by an abbreviation
Abbreviation
An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase. Usually, but not always, it consists of a letter or group of letters taken from the word or phrase...

 derived from the official name rather than by the full title.

Origin

In the days of sail, the ship's boats were used as landing craft. These rowing boats were sufficient, if inefficient, in an era when marines
Marine corps
A marine is a member of a force that specializes in expeditionary operations such as amphibious assault and occupation. The marines traditionally have strong links with the country's navy...

 were effectively light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

, participating mostly in small-scale campaigns in far-flung colonies
Colony
In politics and history, a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception....

 against less well-equipped indigenous opponents.

However during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, mass mobilization of troops equipped with rapid-fire weapons quickly rendered such boats obsolete. In February 1915 orders were placed for the design of purpose built landing craft. A design was created in 4 days resulting in an order for 200 'X' Lighters with a spoon shaped bow to take shelving beaches and a drop down frontal ramp. The first use took place after they had been towed to the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 and performed successfully in the 6th August landings at Suvla, Battle of Gallipoli
Battle of Gallipoli
The Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign or the Battle of Gallipoli, took place at the peninsula of Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916, during the First World War...

.

'X' Lighters, known to the soldiers as 'Beetles' displaced 135 tons, and were based on London barges being 105 ft 6 in long, 21 ft wide and 7 ft 6 in deep. The engines were mainly heavy oil using whatever was available. Some were converted to carry water and were renamed 'L' Lighters. 5 of these craft were used at the Dunkirk evacuation.

A plan was devised to land British heavy tanks from pontoons in support of the Third Battle of Ypres but this was not proceeded with.

The British produced the Motor Landing Craft
Motor Landing Craft
The Motor Landing Craft was a vessel that was used in the 1920s and 30s. It was specifically designed to deliver a tank to shore and may be considered the predecessor of all Allied Landing Craft Mechanized . The MLC also saw action in the first year of the Second World War. Its primary purpose was...

 in 1920 that could put their then-current medium tank directly onto a beach. From 1924 it was used with landing boats in annual exercises in amphibious landings. It would later be given the name "Landing Craft, Mechanized" (abbreviated to LCM). In the 1930s the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 carried out divisional-sized amphibious landing exercises. A boat for landing infantry, the Landing Craft Assault
Landing Craft Assault
The Landing Craft Assault was a British landing craft used extensively in World War II. Its primary purpose was to ferry troops from transport ships to attack enemy-held shores. The craft derived from a prototype designed by John I. Thornycroft Ltd. During the war it was manufactured throughout...

, was drawn up after research by the Inter-Service Training and Development Centre
Inter-Service Training and Development Centre
The Inter-Service Training and Development Centre was a department under the British Chiefs of Staff set up prior to World War II for the purpose of developing methods and equipment to use in Combined Operations....

 in 1938.

The United States revived and experimented in their modern approach to amphibious warfare
Amphibious warfare (United States)
The United States has a long history in amphibious warfare from the landings in the Bahamas during the American Revolutionary War, to some of the more massive examples of World War II in the European Theater of Operation on Normandy, and in Africa and Italy, as well as the constant island warfare...

 between 1913 to mid-1930s, when the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 and Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 became interested in setting up advanced bases in opposing countries during wartime; the prototype advanced base force
Advanced Base Force
The United States Marine Corps's Advanced Base Force was a coastal and naval base defense force that was designed to set up mobile and fixed bases in the event of major landing operations within, and beyond, the territorial United States...

 officially evolved into the Fleet Marine Force
Fleet Marine Force
The United States Fleet Marine Forces are combined general and special purpose forces within the United States Department of the Navy that are designed in engaging offensive amphibious or expeditionary warfare and defensive maritime employment...

 (FMF) in 1933. In 1939, during the annual Fleet Landing Exercises
Fleet Landing Exercises
The Fleet Landing Exercises, or FLEX were a series of annual large-scale amphibious landings exercises conducted to test the United States Marine Corps' legitimation of the Fleet Marine Force...

, the FMF became interested in the military potential of Andrew Higgins
Andrew Higgins
Andrew Jackson Higgins was the founder and owner of Higgins Industries, the New Orleans-based manufacturer of "Higgins boats" during World War II. General Dwight Eisenhower is quoted as saying, "Andrew Higgins ... is the man who won the war for us. .....

's design of a powered, shallow-draught
Draft (hull)
The draft of a ship's hull is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull , with the thickness of the hull included; in the case of not being included the draft outline would be obtained...

 boat. These LCVP
LCVP
The Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel or Higgins boat was a landing craft used extensively in amphibious landings 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...

s, dubbed the 'Higgins Boats', were reviewed and passed by the U.S. Naval Bureau of Construction and Repair
Bureau of Construction and Repair
The Bureau of Construction and Repair was the part of the United States Navy which from 1862 to 1940 was responsible for supervising the design, construction, conversion, procurement, maintenance, and repair of ships and other craft for the Navy...

. Soon, the Higgins boats were developed to a final design with a ramp, and were produced in large numbers.

WWII types

Nine-ton Landing Craft Navigation (LCN) were used by British "Combined Operations Assault Pilotage Parties" (Royal Marine and Special Boat Service
Special Boat Service
The Special Boat Service is the special forces unit of the British Royal Navy. Together with the Special Air Service, Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the Special Forces Support Group they form the United Kingdom Special Forces and come under joint control of the same Director Special...

 crew) for surveying landing sites.

The "Landing Craft Control" (LCC) were 56 feet (17 m) U.S. Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 vessels, carrying only the crew (Scouts and Raiders) and newly-developed radar. Their main job was to find and follow the safe routes in to the beach, lanes which had been cleared of obstacles and mines. There were eight in the entire Normandy invasion (two per beach). After leading in the first wave, they were to head back out and bring in the second wave. After that, they were used as all-purpose command and control assets during the invasion.

The smallest landing craft were amphibians such as the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

-designed Landing Vehicle Tracked
Landing Vehicle Tracked
The Landing Vehicle Tracked was a class of amphibious vehicles introduced by the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Army during World War II. Originally intended solely as cargo carriers for ship to shore operations, they rapidly evolved into assault troop and fire support vehicles as well...

, an amphibious (and sometimes armored) personnel carrier. These were operated by Army personnel, not naval crews. They had a capacity of about three tons. The British introduced their own amphibian the Terrapin
Terrapin (amphibious vehicle)
The Terrapin "4-ton amphibian" was a British-manufactured, amphibious armoured transport vehicle of the Second World War. It was first used at Antwerp in 1944, and to great effect during the Battle of the Scheldt....

.

Of the landing craft proper the smallest were the U.S. Landing Craft Personnel, Large (10 tons) and the British Landing Craft Assault
Landing Craft Assault
The Landing Craft Assault was a British landing craft used extensively in World War II. Its primary purpose was to ferry troops from transport ships to attack enemy-held shores. The craft derived from a prototype designed by John I. Thornycroft Ltd. During the war it was manufactured throughout...

 (LCA) (13 tons). These were small craft intended to be transported around by larger vessels then lowered into the water off the target beach. Typically they could carry 36 fully armed soldiers. The LCPL sometimes came with an enclosed cockpit and was often used as a command boat. It lacked a loading ramp which the LCA did have.

The U.S. Landing Craft Vehicle/Personnel
LCVP
The Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel or Higgins boat was a landing craft used extensively in amphibious landings 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...

 (LCVP), also known as a Higgins Boat, was a more flexible variant of the LCPL with a wide ramp — it could carry 36 troops or a small vehicle such as a Jeep, or a corresponding amount of cargo.

Landing Craft, Mechanized
Landing Craft Mechanized
The Landing Craft Mechanized or Landing Craft Mechanical was a landing craft designed for carrying vehicles. They came to prominence during the Second World War when they were used to land troops or tanks during Allied amphibious assaults....

 were larger (36 tons), capable of carrying one small tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

 or 100 troops.

None of the above was capable of making a voyage longer than about 6–12 hours, mainly through fuel limitations.
The Landing Craft Utility
Landing Craft Utility
The Landing Craft Utility is a type of boat used by amphibious forces to transport equipment and troops to the shore. They are capable of transporting tracked or wheeled vehicles and troops from amphibious assault ships to beachheads or piers....

(LCU) is used to transport equipment and troops to the shore. They are capable of transporting tracked or wheeled vehicles and troops from amphibious assault ships to beachheads or piers.

Then came the Landing Craft Infantry
Landing Craft Infantry
The Landing craft, Infantry or LCI were several classes of sea-going amphibious assault ships of the Second World War utilized to land large numbers of infantry directly onto beaches. They were developed in response to a British request for a vessel capable of carrying and landing substantially...

 (Large) or LCI(L), capable of making serious voyages under its own power (some were sailed directly from the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 to take part in the Operation Torch
Operation Torch
Operation Torch was the British-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II during the North African Campaign, started on 8 November 1942....

 landings, and U.S. Navy LCIs island hopped
Island hopping
Island hopping is a term that refers to the means of crossing an ocean by a series of shorter journeys between islands, as opposed to a single journey directly across the ocean to the destination.- Forms :...

 across the Pacific). LCI(L)s were about 158 feet long and 23 feet wide and carried around 200 troops. There were several sub-types of the craft, with the LCI(L) infantry carrier dominating; but LCIs also served as rocket (LCI(R)) and mortar (M), and gunboat (G) platforms, as well as a flotilla flagship (FF). While still intended to run up on the beach, these tended to have a normal type bow with stepped ramps on each side for the troops to disembark. The LCI was re-classified Landing Ship Infantry (LSI) by the U.S. in 1949.

Of a similar size was the Landing Craft Tank
Landing craft tank
The Landing Craft, Tank was an amphibious assault ship for landing tanks on beachheads. They were initially developed by the British Royal Navy and later by the United States Navy during World War II in a series of versions. Initially known as the "Tank Landing Craft" by the British, they later...

, which could carry up to 4 tank
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

s or other vehicles. These had a ramp at the front which was dropped for the vehicles to get ashore. Behind the ramp was an open space known as the Tank Deck. There were several different designs and sizes varied.

The next step was the Landing Ship Tank
Tank landing ship
Landing Ship, Tank was the military designation for naval vessels created during World War II to support amphibious operations by carrying significant quantities of vehicles, cargo, and landing troops directly onto an unimproved shore....

. This carried more vehicles than the LCT (20 in the US-built versions) and had normal looking bows, although the bows were actually formed by doors which were opened for the unloading ramp to drop. Fully loaded, these displaced more than 3,000 tons, rather more than any Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 destroyers of the period.

Finally there was the Landing Ship Dock
Dock landing ship
A Dock landing ship or Landing ship is a form of amphibious warship designed to support amphibious operations. These amphibious assault ships transport and launch amphibious craft and vehicles with their crews and embarked personnel...

, which had a large open compartment at the back. Opening a stern
Stern
The stern is the rear or aft-most part of a ship or boat, technically defined as the area built up over the sternpost, extending upwards from the counter rail to the taffrail. The stern lies opposite of the bow, the foremost part of a ship. Originally, the term only referred to the aft port section...

 door and flooding special compartments allowed this area to be open to the sea and LCI-sized vessels could enter or leave.

Initial British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 nomenclature used different type names leading to alternate names such as Assault Landing Craft, Infantry Landing Craft and Tank Landing Craft.

Due to their rather small size the majority were not given names and were simply given serial numbers, e.g., LCT 304. The LSTs were an exception to this being much the same size as a small cruiser
Cruiser
A cruiser is a type of warship. The term has been in use for several hundreds of years, and has had different meanings throughout this period...

. Three British-built LSTs were named as well, HMS Boxer
HMS Boxer (1941)
HMS Boxer, pennant F121, was built as a Landing Ship, Tank at Harland and Wolff. Launched in December 1942 and commissioned the following April, she saw service as part of the Allied invasion of Italy.-Design and devleopment:...

, Bruiser and Thruster which were somewhat larger than the U.S. design; they also had proper funnels.

Armament

DUKW
DUKW
The DUKW is a six-wheel-drive amphibious truck that was designed by a partnership under military auspices of Sparkman & Stephens and General Motors Corporation during World War II for transporting goods and troops over land and water and for use approaching and crossing beaches in amphibious...

s, LCAs and LCMs had no fixed armament, but there were ways for troops on board to use their own weapons.

LCIs and LCTs carried weapons such as the Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
The Oerlikon 20 mm cannon is a series of autocannons, based on an original design by Reinhold Becker of Germany, very early in World War I, and widely produced by Oerlikon Contraves and others...

 each side of the bridge structure. LSTs had a somewhat heavier armament.

Imperial Japanese Navy landing craft

The Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

 operated the following types of landing craft during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

  • Chuhatsu
    Chuhatsu class landing craft
    The or 13m landing craft was a type of landing craft, used by the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. It was a smaller version of the Daihatsu Class, with a bow ramp that was lowered to disembark cargo upon riding up onto the beach....

  • Daihatsu
    Daihatsu class landing craft
    The Daihatsu Class or 14m landing craft was a type of landing craft, used by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. It was similar to the Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel , with a bow ramp that was lowered to disembark cargo upon riding up onto the beach...

  • Mokusei Daihatsu
  • Shohatsu
    Shohatsu class landing craft
    The Shohatsu or 10m landing craft was a small landing craft used by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. It was used for landing personnel and stores. It was built of steel and had a single bow with no landing ramp. It was also carried by destroyers and smaller vessels as a cargo...

  • Toku Daihatsu
    Toku Daihatsu class landing craft
    The Toku Daihatsu Class or 17m landing craft was a type of landing craft, used by the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. It was a larger design of the Daihatsu Class landing craft, with a bow ramp that was lowered to disembark cargo upon riding up onto the beach...


WWII special craft

Some landing craft were converted for special purposes either to give defence for the other landing craft in the attack or as support weapons during the landing.

Landing Craft Assault (Hedgehog)

The LCA(HR) was a conversion of the British LCA which carried a battery of 24 spigot mortars, the Royal Navy's Hedgehog anti-submarine weapon
Hedgehog (weapon)
The Hedgehog was an anti-submarine weapon developed by the Royal Navy during World War II, that was deployed on convoy escort warships such as destroyers to supplement the depth charge. The weapon worked by firing a number of small spigot mortar bombs from spiked fittings...

 instead of personnel. The mortars were fired as a barrage onto the beach to clear mines and other obstructions. Having discharged its mortars and its duty the LCA(HR) would then leave the beach area. They were towed to the beach by larger craft such as the LCT which would carry the assault teams of the Royal Engineers with their specialist vehicles and equipment
Hobart's Funnies
Hobart's Funnies were a number of unusually modified tanks operated during World War II by the United Kingdom's 79th Armoured Division or by specialists from the Royal Engineers. They were designed in light of problems that more standard tanks experienced during the Dieppe Raid, so that the new...

 to complete the beach clearance.

There were 3 flotillas (of 18, 18 and 9 craft) used at Juno, Gold and Sword beaches.

Landing Craft Flak

The Landing Craft Flak (LCF) was a conversion of the LCT, intended to give anti-aircraft support to the landing. They were first used in the Dieppe Raid
Dieppe Raid
The Dieppe Raid, also known as the Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM and by 10:50 AM the Allied...

 early in 1942. The ramp was welded shut, and a deck built on top of the Tank deck. They were equipped with several light anti-aircraft guns—a typical fitting was eight 20 mm Oerlikons
Oerlikon 20 mm cannon
The Oerlikon 20 mm cannon is a series of autocannons, based on an original design by Reinhold Becker of Germany, very early in World War I, and widely produced by Oerlikon Contraves and others...

 and four QF 2 pdr "pom-poms"
QF 2 pounder naval gun
The 2-pounder gun, officially designated the QF 2-pounder and universally known as the pom-pom, was a 1.575 inch British autocannon, used famously as an anti-aircraft gun by the Royal Navy. The name came from the sound that the original models make when firing...

 and had a crew of 60. On British examples the operation of the craft was the responsibility of RN crew and the guns were manned by Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

. They carried two naval officers and two marine officers.

Landing Craft Gun

The Landing Craft Gun (LCG) was another conversion of the LCT, intended to give supporting fire to the landing. Apart from the Oerlikon armament of a normal LCT, each LCG(Medium) had two British Army 25 pounder gun-howitzers in amoured mountings, while LCG(L)3 and LCG(L)4 both had two 4.7 inch naval guns
4.7 inch gun
4.7 inch Gun may refer to a number of British-built 120 mm naval guns, and others:*QF 4.7 inch Gun Mk I - IV British naval gun deployed on cruisers 1888 to 1918, also as a field gun in World War I...

.Crewing was similar to the LCF. LCGs played a very important part in the Walcheren operations
Battle of the Scheldt
The Battle of the Scheldt was a series of military operations of the Canadian 1st Army, led by Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds. The battle took place in northern Belgium and southwestern Netherlands during World War II from 2 October-8 November 1944...

 in October 1944.

Landing Craft Rocket

The Landing Craft Tank (Rocket)
Landing craft tank (rocket)
The Landing Craft Tank or LCT was developed from the British Mk.2 and Mk.3 Landing Craft Tank during the Second World War. It was designed to saturate beaches with up to 1,066 RP-3 60 lb rockets prior to the landing of troops. Used by both British and U.S...

, LCT(R), was a LCT modified to carry a large set of launchers for the British RP-3
RP-3
The RP-3 , was a British rocket used in the Second World War. Though primarily an air-to-ground weapon, it saw limited use in other roles. Its 60 lb warhead gave rise to the alternative name of the "60 lb rocket"; the 25 lb solid-shot armour piercing variant was referred to as the "25 lb rocket"...

 "60 lb" rockets mounted on the covered-over tank deck. The full set of launchers was "in excess of" 1,000 and reloads totaling 5,000 rockets were kept below. The firepower was claimed to be equivalent to 80 light cruiser
Light cruiser
A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck...

s or 200 destroyers.

The method of operation was to anchor off the target beach, pointing towards the shore. The distance to the shore was then measured by radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 and the elevation of the launchers set accordingly. The crew then vanished below (apart from the commanding officer who retreated to a special cubby hole to control things) and the launch was then set off electrically. The launch could comprise the entire set or individual ranks of rockets.

A full reload was a very labor-intensive operation and at least one LCT(R) went alongside a cruiser and got a working party from the larger ship to assist in the process.

Landing Craft Support

The Landing craft Support were used to give some firepower close in.

The Landing Craft Support (Medium) (LCS(M)), Mark 2 and Mark 3 were used by the British forces at Normandy. The crew was Royal Navy with Royal Marines to operate the weapons: two 0.5 inch Vickers machine gun
Vickers machine gun
Not to be confused with the Vickers light machine gunThe Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled .303 inch machine gun produced by Vickers Limited, originally for the British Army...

s and a 4-inch mortar to fire smoke shells.

The Fairmile H
Fairmile H landing craft
The Fairmile H Landing Craft were British landing craft of the Second World War. Initially designed for commando type raids from a base in Britain as a way of probing enemy defenses and tying down additional troops, some were converted into fire support vessels.Two variants were developed:The...

 Landing Craft Support (Large) had armour added to its wooden hull and a turret with an anti-tank gun fitted. The LCS(L) Mark 1, had a Daimler armoured car
Daimler Armoured Car
The Daimler Armoured Car was a British armoured car of the Second World War.-History:The Daimler Armoured Car was a parallel development to the Daimler Dingo "Scout car", a small armoured vehicle for scouting and liaison roles. It was another Birmingham Small Arms design...

 turret with its QF 2–pdr (40 mm) gun
Ordnance QF 2 pounder
The Ordnance QF 2-pounder was a British anti-tank and vehicle-mounted gun, employed in the Second World War. It was actively used in the Battle of France, and during the North Africa campaign...

. The Mark 2 had a QF 6–pdr (57 mm) anti–tank gun
Ordnance QF 6 pounder
The Ordnance Quick-Firing 6-pounder 7 cwt, or just 6 pounder, was a British 57 mm gun, their primary anti-tank gun during the middle of World War II, as well as the main armament for a number of armoured fighting vehicles...

.

The American Landing Craft Support was larger, each armed with a 3-inch gun, various smaller guns, and ten MK7 rocket launchers.

Inflatable landing craft

Inflatable boat
Inflatable boat
An inflatable boat is a lightweight boat constructed with its sides and bow made of flexible tubes containing pressurised gas. For smaller boats, the floor and hull beneath it is often flexible. On boats longer than , the floor often consists of three to five rigid plywood or aluminium sheets fixed...

s were often used to transport amphibious troops from high speed transport
High speed transport
High Speed Transports were converted destroyers and destroyer escorts used to support amphibious operations in World War II and afterward. They received the US Hull classification symbol APD; "AP" for transport and "D" for destroyer....

s and submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

s. The United States used a 7 man Landing Craft, Rubber (Small) (LCR-S
LCRS
The LCRS was a small inflatable boat which was used by the USMC from 1938 to 1945. During World War II 8,150 LCRSs were made. It had a weight of 95 kg and could transport seven men.-External links and references:* at ibiblio...

) and a 10 man Landing Craft, Rubber (Large) (LCR-L
LCRL
The LCRL or LCR was an inflatable boat which could carry ten men that was used by the USMC and US Army from 1938 to 1945. 10,125 LCRLs were made during World War II.-External links:* at ibiblio...

).

Current Landing Craft

Amphibious mechanized utility and landing craft

The mechanized utility and landing craft, more commonly known as an amphibious landing craft or boat. This was the kind used during the second world war, and while the mechanized landing crafts of today are similar in construction, a lot of improvements have been made. Normally using diesel engines, the best amphibious landing boats (such as the LCM-8
LCM-8
The LCM-8 is a river boat and mechanized landing craft used by the United States Navy and Army during the Vietnam War and subsequent operations. They are currently used by governments and private organizations throughout the world. The acronym stands for "Landing Craft Mechanized, Mark 8...

 of the US Navy) are capable of a military lift of 183 metric tons at a speed of 22 km/h, carrying even heavy equipment like M1 Abrams
M1 Abrams
The M1 Abrams is a third-generation main battle tank produced in the United States. It is named after General Creighton Abrams, former Army Chief of Staff and Commander of US military forces in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972. The M1 is a well armed, heavily armored, and highly mobile tank designed for...

 tanks with little trouble. Amphibious landing craft normally mount several machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

s or similar weapons for the defense of troops and/or vehicle crews inside.

Air-cushioned landing craft

The air cushioned landing craft (Landing Craft Air Cushion, or LCAC in the US Navy) is based on small to mid sized multi-purpose hovercraft
Hovercraft
A hovercraft is a craft capable of traveling over surfaces while supported by a cushion of slow moving, high-pressure air which is ejected against the surface below and contained within a "skirt." Although supported by air, a hovercraft is not considered an aircraft.Hovercraft are used throughout...

, Also known as "over the beach" ("OTB") craft, they allow troops and material to access more than 70 percent of the world's coastline, while only approximately 15 percent of that coastline is available to conventional landing craft. Like the mechanized landing craft, they are usually equipped with mounted machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

s, although they also support grenade launcher
Grenade launcher
A grenade launcher or grenade discharger is a weapon that launches a grenade with more accuracy, higher velocity, and to greater distances than a soldier could throw it by hand....

s and heavy weapons. These vehicles are commonly used in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, the Russian Navy, and the Hellenic Navy
Hellenic Navy
The Hellenic Navy is the naval force of Greece, part of the Greek Armed Forces. The modern Greek navy has its roots in the naval forces of various Aegean Islands, which fought in the Greek War of Independence...

.

Landing barges

Landing barges were adaptations of British Thames barges and lighter
Lighter (barge)
A lighter is a type of flat-bottomed barge used to transfer goods and passengers to and from moored ships. Lighters were traditionally unpowered and were moved and steered using long oars called "sweeps," with their motive power provided by water currents...

s as landing craft. In size they came between the landing craft and landing ships. They were used at all beaches during the landings at Normandy manned by British crews.

Some were fitted with engines while others were towed to the beach. They were used for defence, transportation, supply (food, water and oil) and repair (fitted out with workshops).

Those fitted for vehicle carrying had a ramp fitted in place at the rear and they had to back onto beaches. They would work from ships and coasters to the shore and back.

Two flotillas were made up of "flak barges" to provide defence of the beaches. Like landing craft, flak barges carried A/A guns: two 40 mm Bofors and two 20 mm Oerlikon, with army gunners and naval crew.

The "Landing Barge Kitchen" (LBK) was fitted with a large superstructure containing the galley. With a crew of 20 plus they could carry food for 800 for a week and provide 1,600 hot and 800 cold meals a day, including freshly baked bread.

External links

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