Weapons of World War Two
LVT 3 Bushmaster
The Americans were the first ones who approached seriously during the Second World War the problem of amphibious operations. The development of amphibious means was, surely, a notable step forwards in the solution of the problems related to the transfer of the troops from the ships to the landing beaches; however, as it often happens, while the results of the different LST and LCT were good, new problems arose, of which nobody had thought before. Firstly, the amphibious vehicle, slow and vulnerable, after downloading its load, should return to the starting point in a continuous labor of transfering troops to land. This exposed it to repeatedly passing through the most dangerous areas, with great chances of being destroyed.
Moreover, when the vehicle transported the soldiers on the first landing wave, it left the troops, as soon as the prow gate was opened, at the mercy of the enemy, even if this one were a sole man, who, facing a mass of disorientated men, often dizzy and crowded in such a small space, could play havoc with a simple rifle. Add to this a special problem of the scenario where the Americans actuated, specially in the early part of the war: the presence of coral banks in the atolls where the landings were more frequent. These banks, which suddenly limited the depth of the water to some decimeters, often forced the embarkations to stop much before the beach. The soldiers, overladen with weapons and ammunitions, had to jump to the water to walk towards the beachhead. Many of them drowned and others were hit by the enemy fire before arriving to land.
It was thought then to build a vehicle capable of overpassing the coral banks and carrying the soldiers to land, supporting them, if necessary, with the fire of the onboard weapons. So it was born a new type of equipment, denominated Landing Vehicle Track. The formula had so much success in the Pacific front, despite of a disastrous and dramatic debut, that before the end of the war 18620 LVT, of several types, would be built. One of the best series was the third one, of which 2962 units were built by Graham Paige Motor Corporation of Detroit and Ingersoll Steel Disc Division, belonging to Borg Warner Corporation of Kalamazoo, both in Michigan. These vehicles, denominated LVT 3 and nicknamed "Bushmaster" (American name of a certain type of rattlesnake), served with optimal results until the last days of the conflict.
The main innovation of the LVT was the utilization of all-around tracks. These, besides allowing to overpass submerged obstacles, ensured the movement in the water, thanks to a certain number of ribs in their outer face which actuated like paddles or oars, system later adopted by many amphibious tanks. The access ramp was located in the rear part, allowing the soldiers to exit with less danger. The vehicle could transport up to 4.5 tonnes or 30-40 fully equipped men. A light armor ensured enough protection and the armament varied from one to four machine guns, of calibers 12.7 and 7.62 millimeters. Often, after serving for transport, the LVT remained in the destination to be used as a support vehicle. The Bushmaster remained in service many years after the war and it was delivered to many countries.
Weight: 12 tonnes (empty)
Length: 7.40 meters
Width: 3.60 meters
Height: 2.59 meters
Ground clearance: 48.25 centimeters
Engines: Two Cadillac of eight cylinders and 220 horsepower
Maximum speed on water: 6 knots (10 kilometers/hour)
Maximum speed on land: 27 kilometers/hour
Operational range on water: 120 kilometers
Operational range on land: 240 kilometers
Armament: One or two 12.7-millimeter machine guns; one or two 7.62-millimeter machine guns
Ammunitions: 100 of 12.7 millimeters; 6000 of 7.62 millimeters
Maximum surmountable trench: 1.52 meters
Maximum surmountable step: 0.98 meters
Maximum surmountable slope: 35 degrees
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