Weapons of World War Two
Landing Craft Mechanized III
At the beginning of World War Two, the belligerent powers, despite having developed in many cases a technology and a military technique of high level, had not still taken into consideration, in a proper perspective, the problem of eventual landings in enemy territory. So, when the victorious German forces, after having expelled from Dunkirk the Anglo-French forces, seemed in need of launching at any time the feared Operation Seelowe, the war industries had to promptly dedicate themselves to fill the serious gap of amphibious landing elements.
Already in 1915, in Gallipoli (Turkey), had been developed military operations where, for the first time, it has been attempted to solve the problem of disembarking troops in such a way that, conceptually, would be adopted by all the prime armies of the world 25 years later. In Gallipoli, in fact, besides approximating the troops to land on normal transport or rescue embarkations, it had been modified as well an old collier, the "River Clyde", in order to, after having approached as much as possible the beach, open a gate through which, passing above a ponton, two thousands riflemen could disembark creating successively a bridgehead. The operation went badly and about 1600 soldiers died, but the technical lesson was not forgotten. The American would take good benefit from this experiment.
When in 1940 the Wehrmacht had necessity of elements that allowed to disembark its soldiers in beaches that were very close to the own territory, for they just had to cross the English Channel, it estimated that emergency means could do the job. But the US Army, which had to provide transport for its troops to distances of thousands of kilometers, was forced to project elements adapted to its own necessities starting from requirements that 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).
The first ones should transport, escorted by a naval squadron, 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 to start transporting soldiers from the anchored LS to the landing beaches in multiple travels. Over time rather large LC were built to effectuate relatively limited passages and landings in an autonomous way, without having to resort to the support from the LS. Soon emerged the distinctions according to the specific purpose of the units: Landing Ship Personnel and Vehicles, Landing Ship Tank, Landing Craft Infantry, Landing Craft Mechanized, Landing Craft Assault, etc...
These embarkations would be built in large number to serve in every front, from the Pacific, where from 1943 their usage would be omnipresent, to Europe, where they would allow the Allies to carry large amphibious operations in the Italian and French sectors that would be decisive for the victory. One of the most widespread means was the small LCM III, used by both Americans and British, and built in many hundreds of exemplars. Operative from the late 1942, it was devised to carry motorized elements, so important for the infantry, in the first landing waves. In each travel it could transport some light vehicles of the type Bren Carrier or one Sherman tank, plus a certain number of infantrymen apart from the crews of the vehicles.
Length: 15.24 meters
Width: 5.47 meters
Maximum draught: 1 meter
Displacement: 52 tonnes at full load
Engines: Two Diesel of 450 horsepower actuating in two propellers
Maximum speed: 12 knots
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