The Landing Vehicle Tracked or LVT was a amphibious landing craft that first saw service during World War Two with the several different branches of the United States military: United States Navy, Marine Corps and Army. Although originally conceived to ferry supplies from ship to shore, the LVTs were quickly pressed into service as assault and fire support vehicles in their own right. As is often the way, troops quickly nicknamed the LVTs as amphtrack, amtrak, amtrac, etc., as a shortening of ‘amphibious tractor’. 

LVT used in the TV Series “Pacific” [Via]

Disgorging its cargo of supplies, troops or light vehicles from its large ramp door to the rear of the vehicle, the LVT gave its passengers a far higher chance of surviving initial contact with the enemy than other landing craft with frontal door ramps.

LVT used in the TV Series “Pacific” [Via]

The LVT were mainly used for logistical support at Guadalcanal up until the development of the LVT-4 version which allowed for embarkation and disembarkation from a rear ramp, greatly improving combat utility by allowing troops to dismount from the vehicle much more quickly. The LVT first saw action as an assault in the Pacific during the landings on Tarawa where they were able to ferry troops ashore despite the coral reef and shallows the LCVP were not able to negotiate. However, a large portion of the vehicles involved in the action were lost and it was concluded that the LVT was too lightly armoured therefore armour kit were soon issued to vehicles that would participate in any form of opposed landings. 

LVT used in the TV Series “Pacific” [Via]

Although strongly associated with the fighting in the Pacific, the LVT also served the Allied armies during the campaign in Europe. Taking part in the fighting the clear the Scheldt estuary in the later stages of 1944 and numerous other river crossing operations up until the end of the conflict in Europe. 

LVT used in the TV Series “Pacific” [Via]

Who wouldn’t want to have their USMC hitting the beach in one of these during the many assaults on Japanese-held islands in the Far East, Commandos assaulting across the Scheldt Estuary, in Holland, or British, American and Canadian troops crossing the Rhine during Operation Plunder?

FMC LVT(4) in The Pacific, TV Series, 2010 IMDB Ep. 6

As with nearly all of the land-based armor during WWII, there was an evolution in amphibious armor. The various “alligators” and “buffalos” developed by the US varied mostly in armament, engine/cargo placement, and egress of ferried soldiers. The LVT-4 moved the engine forward to behind the driver’s compartment and provided a rear ramp that enabled soldiers and cargo to disembark more easily (and more safely for the soldiers, who previously had to jump over the sides of other variants).

The late LVT-4 differed from the earlier version in the addition of side and bow armor plates, some of the fittings on the body of the beast, and removing the Plexiglas dome over driver’s periscope. Over time, the forward .50 machine gunners increased their protection from a single armored plate, to a curved plate that provided more coverage, to a box-like structure that gave overhead cover as well. Many of the British versions of the LVT-4 were armed with a Polsten 20mm anti-aircraft gun and two .30 cal Browning machine-guns.

1943 FMC LVT(4) in The Pacific, TV Series, 2010 IMDB Ep. 5

Information of LVT for sale from Vendor: LVT Buffalo WW2 Runs well. Still swims. It was used in the TV Series “Pacific” and is pretty much in original condition with minimal rust (not restored but fully functional). It has been refitted with an industrial Detroit diesel to make it more usable and safer to operate. It would be ideal for future film work or as a museum display piece. These vehicles are getting very hard to get in this condition.

Source: | Wikipedia | |

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