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Weapons of World War Two

The Allied Invasion of Sicily (Jul 1943)

Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM)

Version depicted: LCM 3

Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) 3

At the beginning of the Second World War, the belligerent nations, despite having developed in many cases a technology and a military technique of a high level, had not yet taken into consideration, to a fair extent, the problem of eventual amphibious landings in enemy territory. Thus, when the victorious German forces, after having expelled the Anglo-French forces from Dunkirk, were seemingly about to launch at any time the feared "Seelowe" operation, the war industries had to immediately dedicate themselves to fill the severe lack of amphibious landing elements. Already in 1915, in Gallipoli (Turkey), military operations had been carried out in which, for the first time, the problem of landing troops had been attempted to be solved in a way which would be conceptually adopted by all of the prime armies of the world twenty-five years later. In Gallipoli, in fact, besides bringing the troops to the land onboard common transport or rescue boats, also an old collier, the "River Clyde", had been modified in order to, after having gotten as close as possible to the beach, be able to open a gate from which, by walking on a pontoon, two thousands of riflemen could land to subsequently create a bridgehead. The operation went badly and about 1600 soldiers died, but the technical lesson was not forgotten. The American would take advantage from this experiment. When in 1940 the Wehrmacht had the necessity of elements which allowed to land their soldiers in beaches which were very nearby to their own territory, for they just had to cross the English Channel, they believed that they could do it with mere urgency means. But the United States Army, which had to provide transportation for their troops to distances of thousands of kilometers, was forced to design elements adapted to their own necessities based on requirements which had no antecedent in the former military history. From there it was born the idea of building two types of units: Landing Ships (LS) and Landing Craft (LC). Escorted by a naval squadron, the former should transport the bulk of the landing force, including the diverse LC, to the vicinity of the target. At that point, the LC would be put in the sea and then they would start to go back and forth between the anchored LS and the landing beaches. Over time they were built as well LC large enough to be capable of effectuating relatively limited passages and landings in an autonomous way, without having to resort to the support from the LS. Distinctions in accordance to the specific purpose of the units were promptly adopted: Landing Ship Personnel and Vehicles, Landing Ship Tank, Landing Craft Infantry, Landing Craft Mechanized, Landing Craft Assault, etc... These boats would be built in large numbers to serve in every front, from the Pacific - where from 1943 their utilization would be almost the order of the day - to Europe, where they would allow the Allies to carry out large amphibious operations in the Italian and French sectors which would be decisive for the victory. One of the most widespread means was the small LCM III, used by both the American and the British, which was built in many hundreds of exemplars. Being operational from the late 1942, it was devised to carry motorized elements on the first landing waves, which are so important for the infantry. It could transport on each travel some light vehicles of the Bren Carrier type or one Sherman tank, besides a certain number of infantrymen apart from the crews of the vehicles.

Year: 1942

Length: 15.24 meters

Width: 5.47 meters

Maximum draught: 1.00 meters

Displacement: 52 tonnes at full load

Engines: Two Diesel of 450 horsepower actuating on two propellers

Maximum speed: 12 knots

Crew: 3

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