The title may be an over-statement but this is a fine book about an important class of vessel. WWII saw amphibious warfare come of age. Dunkirk saw the creative use of large numbers of very small boats to evacuate hundreds of thousands of soldiers off the beaches under heavy air attack and this was followed by the need for large numbers of vessels to land troops back on heavily defended beaches – Highly Recommended.
NAME: The Boat that Won the War, An illustrated History of the Higgins LCVP FILE: R2581 AUTHOR: Charles C Roberts Jr PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 124 PRICE: £14.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War Two, World War 2, Second World War, war at sea, amphibious warfare, beach landings, island hopping, troop carriers, landing craft ISBN: 978-1-5267-0691-1 IMAGE: B2581.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y7yoztr5 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The title may be an over-statement but this is a fine book about an important class of vessel. WWII saw amphibious warfare come of age. Dunkirk saw the creative use of large numbers of very small boats to evacuate hundreds of thousands of soldiers off the beaches under heavy air attack and this was followed by the need for large numbers of vessels to land troops back on heavily defended beaches – Highly Recommended. The landing of troops on an enemy beach was not a new concept created in WWII. In ancient times warships were troop carriers that either fought other troop carriers or landed troops in invasion or to support an existing force. In the days of sail, Britain made great use of troops landed in small and large numbers to assault enemy positions and to seize territory, often carrying the troops thousands of miles to their target. WWI notably saw beach landings during the Gallipoli campaign, but these followed the well-proven method of using ships' boats to carry the troops ashore. WWII was very different because of the scale of amphibious warfare and the need for a whole series of specialist boats and vehicles. Dunkirk was extraordinary because it was dependent on the very creative use of vessels that were designed for very different purposes. Anything that floated, and could be sailed across the Channel, was employed. Sailing wherries and barges, rowing boats, inland cruising boats, lighters, coastal forces craft, paddle steamers, destroyers, RNLI lifeboats, the list was endless and many were crewed by civilians. Had specialist craft been available, the total number of soldiers evacuated might have been higher and it might have been practical to recover much of the heavy equipment, but the courage and determination of crews was such that they largely overcame any shortcomings their craft might have had. After Dunkirk, attention very quickly turned to the construction of craft that could deliver the numbers of troops necessary to take heavily defended beaches. By the time that the US entered the war some two years later, British landing craft designs were advanced and battle proven. On that basis it is stretching things to claim the Higgins LCVP as THE boat that won the war. Never-the-less, the Higgins LCVP was built in great numbers, was critical to the island hopping campaign in the Pacific, and was used also in Europe. It performed well and was liked by those who used in. The author has done a great job in describing the vessel in detail with some first class illustration through the book. He has a particular love of this vessel, having restored and operated a 1943 Higgins LCVP. The Higgins design is a classic landing craft. It does have to be seaworthy but is intended for short repeat passages between troop carrying ships standing offshore and the beaches. Of primary importance is the ability to load and unload very quickly. This led to an ability to scale the craft. Even the smallest infantry landing craft were equipped with a wide ramp that closed the bow and dropped to provide a firm and easy to use path to the beach. Craft, such as the Higgins LCVP, were therefore able to carry infantry and also carry smaller vehicles such as motor bikes and jeeps. Basically the same design in larger size could be used to deliver trucks and tanks directly to the beaches. The format was so successful that it is still in use today, but with some refinements. The British did not depend exclusively on drop-ramp landing craft. A range of specialist vehicles were developed, notably swimming tanks, to increase the firepower arriving on a heavily defended beach with the first attack wave. Even that was not adequate for the Normandy landings. One development was to take a tank landing craft and equip it with a large number of rockets that could be rippled-fired close inshore at enemy defences. The other significant development was the design of pre-fabricated ports which were towed across the Chanel and assembled to connect to the Normandy beaches, complete with an undersea pipeline for fuel. Necessary and practical for the cross Channel operation, the US in the Pacific had to depend on what could be carried across blue water to the target beaches. In this situation, amphibious warfare demanded large numbers of landing craft with special attention to infantry landing craft, augmented by specialist tracked amphibious vehicles for the USMC and also amphibious trucks for the more sheltered waters. At the end of WWII, many assumed that the need for amphibious warfare had ended, but there have been campaigns around the world where amphibious warfare and craft similar to the Higgins LCVP have been essential. The most extreme example is where Great Britain pulled a task force together in a matter of weeks and sent it 8,000 miles to eject Argentine invaders from the British Falkland Islands, operating far from the nearest friendly port and having to take everything needed with the Task Force. Critical to the outstanding success were landing craft and landing ships.