.: Pat McCumiskey's Italeri LVT-(A) 1 Alligator - "The Bloody Trail"

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Landing Vehicle Tracked

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Landing Vehicle Tracked
LVT-4 1.jpg
LVT unloading Jeep
Type Amphibious vehicle
Place of origin  United States
Production history
Manufacturer FMC, Roebling, Graham-Paige, Borg-Warner, St Louis Car
Number built 18,620 of all variants[1]
Specifications (LVT-4)
Weight 16.5 tons
Length 26 ft 1 in (7.95 m)[2]
Width 10 ft 8 in (3.25 m)
Height 8 ft 1 in (2.46 m)
Crew 2-7 [2]

Armor 6–13 mm if added
2 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) Browning M2HB MGs
2 × .30-06 Browning M1919A4 machine guns
Engine Continental W-670-9A; 7 cylinder, 4 cycle, gasoline radial engine
250 hp
Power/weight 15.2 hp/t
Payload capacity 9,000 lb (4,100 kg)
Transmission Spicer, 5 forward and 1 reverse[2]
Suspension torsilastic
Fuel capacity 140 US gal
150 mi (240 km) on road
75 mi (121 km) in water
Speed 20 mph (32 km/h) on land
7.5 mph (12.1 km/h) in water

The Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) was a class of amphibious warfare vehicle, a small amphibious landing craft, 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. The types were all widely known as amphtrack, amtrak, amtrac etc., all being portmanteaus of amphibious tractor, as well as alligator or gator.


The LVT had its origins in a civilian rescue vehicle called the Alligator. Developed by Donald Roebling in 1935, the Alligator was intended to operate in swampy areas, inaccessible to both traditional cars and boats. Two years later, Roebling built a redesigned vehicle with greatly improved water speed. The United States Marine Corps, which had been developing amphibious warfare doctrine based on the ideas of Lt. Col. Earl Hancock "Pete" Ellis and others, became interested in the machine after learning about it through an article in Life magazine and convinced Roebling to design a more seaworthy model for military use. After more improvements to meet requirements of the Navy (made difficult by Roebling's lack of blueprints for the initial designs) the vehicle was adopted as "Landing Vehicle Tracked" or LVT.

The contract to build the first 200 LVTs was awarded to the Food Machinery Corporation (FMC), a manufacturer of insecticide spray pumps and other farm equipment which built some parts for the Alligators. The initial 200 LVTs were built at FMC's Dunedin, Florida factory, where most of the improvement work had been done as well. Eventually the company became a prominent defense contractor, United Defense (now part of BAE Systems Land and Armaments). During the war LVT production was expanded by FMC and the Navy to four factories, including the initial facility in Dunedin; the new facilities were located in Lakeland, Florida, Riverside, California, and San Jose, California. Roebling Construction got the lucrative construction contract for the Lakeland factory: this was the only profit Roebling got from his invention, as he refused to accept any direct royalties or commissions from the government, seeing it as his personal duty in support of the war effort.

The LVT 1 could carry 18 fully equipped men or 4,500 pounds (2,041 kg) of cargo.[3] Originally intended to carry replenishment from ships to shore, they lacked armor protection and their tracks and suspension were unreliable when used on hard terrain. However, the Marines soon recognized the potential of the LVT as an assault vehicle. Armored versions were introduced as well as fire support versions, dubbed Amtanks, which were fitted with turrets from Stuart series light tanks (LVT(A)-1) and Howitzer Motor Carriage M8s (LVT(A)-4). Among other upgrades were a new powerpack, also borrowed from the Stuarts, and a torsilastic suspension which significantly improved performance on land.

Production continued throughout the war, resulting in 18,621 LVTs delivered. In the late 1940s a series of prototypes were built and tested, but none reached production stage due to lack of funding. Realizing that acquisition of new vehicles was unlikely, the Marines modernized some of the LVT-3s and LVT(A)-5s and kept them in service until late 1950s.

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