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Landing Vehicle, Tracked LVT (2),
Water Buffalo

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Visited 2-11-11

LVT-2 Water Buffalo at Camp Pendleton LVT Museum

View of the top of an LVT-2 Water Buffalo

LVT (2) Water Buffalo, viewed from topside, rear, looking forward.

LVTs and Coral Reefs

The difficult amphibious assault became even more complicated when the island was surrounded by corral reefs as found at Tarawa. Troops had to wade the final distance which a boat could not travel, and supplies had to be carried in on foot as well. The LVTs were able to solve this problem. Carrying men and supplies, it could travel through water, climb over reefs, and travel on land, with no need for the troops or cargo to leave the vehicle until they reached their destination.

The problems in suspension and track found with the LVT(1), prompted a complete redesign to improve vehicle performance. Prototypes were developed concurrently for an armored amphibian along with the cargo version LVT.

Improved LVT Cargo Version - The Water Buffalo

"W" grousers (track cleats), on LVT (2) (Landing Vehicle, Tracked).

"W" grousers (track cleats), on LVT (2) (Landing Vehicle, Tracked).

The improved cargo version, designed by the Food Machinery Corporation, was the LVT (2) Water Buffalo. During land use, the track cleats (grousers) were worn out rapidly, and some 47 different designs were tested with the W-shape being adopted. The M3 Light Tank transmission, Continental engine, and final drive were used for the LVT (2).1

At the same time as the LVT(2), the LVT(A)1 turreted model was also developed and they shared the same basic design except for the additional armor, turret, and armament on the LVT(A)1.

LVT-2 (Landing Vehicle Tracked) Water Buffalo2


Description Data Description

26 ft  1in.

Fuel Capacity 110 gallons
Width 10ft. 1 in. Armament Provision for 1 Ca. 50 MG up to 4 Cal. 30 MG
Height (overall) 8 ft. 1 in. Speed - land 12 mph
Cargo 5,950 lbs. Speed - water 6-7 mph
Cruising range land 150 miles Engine
Continental W-690-9A, 250 HP
Cruising range water 50 miles    

Only Armored LVT Without Turret


A further development of an unarmored, LVT(2), was the armored LVT(A)2 which was the only LVT to carry the A designation for armor, that did not have a turret with a large-caliber gun.

Its external appearance was nearly identical to that of the LVT(2), however, the A2 had one-half inch armor on the cab and one-quarter inch on the hull which added a total of 2,400 pounds to the unloaded weight of the vehicle and reduced its cargo capacity 1400 pounds from the LVT2. The LVT(A)2 also had self-sealing gasoline tanks.2

LVT (2) - WWII Campaigns

According to Museum information, LVT 2s participated in 9 major campaigns during World War II, including: Tarawa, Cape Gloucester, Roi-Namur, Northern Kwajalein Atoll, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa.

1Robert J. Icks. Landing Vehicles Tracked. Windsor, Berks: Profile Publications Limited, 1972, p7.

2Major 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, p62.

3War Department. Instruction Book for Tracked Landing Vehicles, as cited by Alfred Dunlop Bailey, in Alligators, Buffaloes, and Bushmasters, Washington, D.C.: History and Museums; U.S. Marine Corps, 1986, p62.

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.