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Landing Vehicle, Tracked ~ LVT(A) 1, WWII

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Visited 2-11-11

LVT(A)1 at Camp Pendleton LVT Museum

LVT-(A)1 and LVT(2): Same Basic Design

The LVT(A)1 was developed at the same time as the LVT(2) and the two shared the same basic design. However, the LVT (A)1 was an armored version, and included the M3 Light Tank turret with 37 mm gun. A cargo version design was converted by lowering a turret and decking into the open cargo space. Two to three .30 caliber machine guns were mounted in the bow and armor was added to the hull.1

With this design, it was planned that the turreted LVT(A)1 would provide a heavier fire power after initial bombardment had ceased as well as increased armor protection. From lessons learned from Tarawa, amphibious assaults were later organized by landing craft position rather than by a fixed time schedule. With the new plan, LVT(A)1s lead the landing vehicles while firing their 37mm cannon and 30 caliber machine guns.

Fire Support by LVT(A)1s During Amphibious Assaults

LVT-(A)1 at Camp Pendleton LVT Museum

LVT(A)1. Photo on museum sign.

Upon reaching the beach, LVT(2)s, carrying troops, moved through the LVT(A)1s and up to the beach. The LVT(A)s would discontinue fire so as to prevent friendly fire, and move to the flanks where they resumed firing. This support firing by the LVT(A)1s continued from the flanks or they assumed the role of tanks and lead the troops inland.2

LVT(A)1 Firepower Proved Inadequate


Unfortunately, the 37mm gun on the LVT(A)1 proved inadequate for the job, particularly as it lacked the ability to destroy bunkers. It was eventually replaced by the LVT(A)4 which used the turret and 75mm howitzer of the M8 Howitzer Motor Carriage.3

The LVT(A)1 also suffered from its light armor; a heavier design would not have allowed it to float.

WWII Campaigns for the LVT(A)1

LVT (A)1s participated in 5 major campaigns during World War II, including: Roi-Namur, Northern Kwajalein Atoll, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, and Peleliu.

1Major Alfred Dunlop Bailey, USMC (Retired). Alligators, Buffaloes, and Bushmasters, The History of the Development of the LVT Through World War II. Washington, D.C.: History and Museums; U.S. Marine Corps, 1986, p60.

2Henry I. Shaw; Bernard C Nalty; Edwin T Turnbladh. Central Pacific Drive. Washington, D.C. : National government publication. Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. 1966. p128.

3Robert J. Icks. Landing Vehicles Tracked. Windsor, Berks: Profile Publications Limited, 1972.

Photos were taken by WW2HQ staff, with permission of the World War II Korea LVT Museum at Camp Del Mar Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton, California.