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The world's nnost eornprehensive encyclopedia of the military weapons of the 20th century

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Armed Forees of the World: China (Part 2)

Storming the Rhine

The Battle of Tarawa LVTs at Peleliu

A fully iliustrated guide to Amphibious Vehicles of World War Itr

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Vehicles of
ttVorldWbr ll
Most of the Grcat Powers rls,ed amphibious vehicles during ADUKW surges ashore over a landing beachwith its
World War II. Some, like the Soviets' pre-war amphibious trim vane still in the raised position. The rope
fenderswere to prevent theDUKW banging into a
light tanlcs, proved to be superfluons but others, like the DD ship's side durin g the lo ading ope r ation. D U KW s
Shermans and the DUKW, were of crucial importance, were used extensively during nearly all Allied
amphibious opetations from 1943 onwards.

The range of vehicles contarned in this study is much wider than usual, Yet for all these differences the contents ol this study include many of
for the range of amphibious vehicles used during World War II was very the most rnteresting vehicles used during World War I1. Each of the
iarge, At the lower end of the range was the little German Schwimm- lypes described here has some special destgn or other point in its favour
-rVag€fl while at the upper end the German LWS took some beating for although a few have more against than for them, Perhaps the most
sheer size, even rf the slab-srded American LVTs were far more numer- interesting of all, and not only from a viewpoint ol importance were the
cns. Thrs wide range was a result of the many and various roles that American LVTs, These vehicles were very much a compromise desrgn
amphibious vehicles had to undertake. Some armed forces wanted them to obtain the best possible overland and water performances. The two
srmply as personnel or supply carriers that could support amphibious are disparate requirements, but the LVTs achieved a good workrng
cperatrons, others needed specialized reconnaissance vehicles that compromise and were thus abie to carry amphibious warfare irom the
could cross water obsiacles, and yet others required load carriers to Rhrne to the islands of the Pacrfic. They were remarkable vehicles, but
:ransport supplies anywhere. They are all rncluded in this study so it one can only wonder at how therr crews had the courage to use their
','rould be unfair to make cornparisons between say, the M29C Weasel flimsy charges to approach a defended enemy shore and drrve them
and the Soviet T-38 amphrbious light tank, The same disparities make rtght at the muzzles of the defender's guns,
comparisons between the DD Shermans and the Japanese Type 2 Ka Mi
-mpossrble, for the DD Sherman was intencied sirnply to accornplish a
LVTs do their best to hurry ashore under the cover of a battle-wagon. The
short journey from a vessel to a nearby shore where it immediately vehicles in the foreground are LVT(A) 4s, armedwith the turret and75-mm
became a gun tank, whrle the Type 2 was more of a reconnarssance (2.95-in) mainweapon of theMS Howitzer Motor Carriage,whichwereused to
-.-ehrcle that could cross water obstacles, provide local fire support in the early stages of a landing.
I rn r'rt
r -ol
. ''':.:t_-..

-': l,'t:-'---.jt '--+ --r-::-:.: :

: . ;:.. .:--=.-=-, -::--. - =' ._--= : -.::_.
-:i'. ,'.:i: -. .:-.: | --li -! . lr::::-
_ _ i ----: _ _ at- a:_-:-:-i al__c
.:-: .'-..:-j .:-i:
---i---:<- ir1 i

L--: -:-ll:,','::q'r,ren:eni icr hght scout-

-i-,:: :a:_<s Hc.'..e;er li n'as not long
:=-::: ::-: Soilei desrgm teams real-
--j -:a: -:re Carcien Loyd A4E1l drd
::. r:::_ all iltetr Iequrrements and so
1=.- s:: :icut developing their own
-l:- al]ti:-bious tank based on the
::--: d=s:gn. Thrs resulted in the T-
i3','.-:----:.,',a:sub;ecled -o some rrgor
:'i: =:is belore it was deemed un-
.,:-:-::-:ry Further desrgn work re-
:-:i -: rhe T-37 light amphibious
-.. :: ilme the T-37 was produced
-.-::=-,';:s lrttle left of the original Bnt- Above: The tiny T-37 light inent radio frame aenal around the up- with which to stem the advance of the
:,- r:s-;r: other ihan the concept The amphibious tankwas produced in per huil; this was used only by com- German forces By the end of 1942 the
--:- :a: a GAZ AA englne and the several versions, but all were lightly manders needtng to matntain conlact last of the T-37s had passed from use
:ia::i a! rt'as an improved version armoured andhad only two-man with rear command levels, while though a few hulls were retained fc:
: :-: -ed on the French AMR hqht crews. They were in production from orders were transmitted to other tanks use as ltght tractors.
-.: l:,:e aQfaln the flrst T-37s were I 935 onwards, but few survived after by signal flags On some vehicles the
- -^':r .l a lnorough lesting ptog- the end of l94l as they were too frail usual riveted turet was replaced by a Specification
:-::::,= ard as a result changes were to stand up to prolonged combat. cast item, As was to be expected on T-37
--:-:-.::i to the full production mod- such a small and hqhi tank armour was Crew: 2
= r, r :: ilrst came off the ltnes in late very thin, the maxrmum being only Weisht:3200 kg (7 055 lb)
::: .--i early 1934. The production bious on inland waterways only, As it 9 mm (0.354 in) thick and the norm only Powerplant: one GAZ AA petrol
--:- .';.s a small vehicle wtth a two- was desiqned as a light scoutrnq or 3 mm (0. 118 in). Thrs armour could not engrne developinq 29.8 kW (40 hp)
- j t::.'.' r.e commander rr d tuIIeL reconnaissance vehicle, the T-37 had withstand even light anti-armour pro- Dimensions: length3.75 m (12 ft3.6 ir-'
,'.=. .: -:,: dght and the driver seated only Light a.rmdmenT compns'rg a jectiles, but the T-37s were to be used width2. 10 m (6 ft 10.7 rn); height 1.82 r-
-:-,:--::-'-- : ine lmmediate left. Most of srngle 7 62-mm (0 3-in) air-cooled as vehrcles only ard were nol (5 it 1 l.7 in)
: -:-.-a:3_Y came from two pontoons machine-gun. tntended for employmenr rn a s-and up Performance: maxrmum road speeci
-:-=::: s-cie of the upper hull above
, = :-:-<s and at the rear there was
Production ofthe T-37 continued un armoured figrht. Nevertheless they 56,3 kn/h (35 mph); maximum road
til 1936 and durinq the production run were so used durlnq the desperate range 185 km(i15miles)
,- -,:-:' srrqle propeller and a rud several variants occurred. One was days of 1941 and 1942 when the Soviet Armament: one 7.62-mm (0 3-in) DT
r-: -- :.: I 37 was meant to be ampht- known as the T-37TU and had a prom- army had at times virtually nothmg machrne-gn-m

)'. a m p h ibio u s tan]cs are seen rn the s now of the W inte r W ar

a.= Ler: T - 3 7 Lig h t T-37 light amphibious tanks on parade in the Soviet union. The three leading
:_;:-:::s: Nie.Frnn in I939- 1940.In this campaign the T-37s showed up badly, as
s tanks areT-37(TU) command tanks fitted with frame aerials and radios;moit
:e; :ad only light amour. The front vehicle is a T-37(TU) command tank with T-37s had to communicatewith flag signats as thegenera,lrs,sue o f tank'radios
::: --g.:a;rs of an aerial showing. was not standard practice until after I 945.

' :::
-r-:, -. - s:,:, :: -,-,:re
.:e:rsr T-37 amphi- result was known as the T-38, and The T-38 was wider than the T-37 and until 1939 by whrch time about
:' : _::-- .:r:: lolling off the although it looked very drfferent to the had better floatrng characrerrstics. had been completed. Some change:

.--- -- --:i::l::-l:-,VaSUnOeI T-37 was very little advanced over the Carried over from the T-37 was the were introduced during the produc-
" =-,,1, -==::- : -=: :- 1,l:ic'uv virtr-rally odginal armament of a single 7 62-mm (0.3,in) tion run, the first of which was the T-3&
-r :::1 .,= l:S-l: a- -ie T-37 and The T-38 was of the same general DT machine-gun and rhe power train MI, an attempt to introduce a ne,';
,-: -" ---:-- :I -: l:'-l .: -liCrOVe and concept as the T-37 and the two-man of the GAZ AA truck. transmission system that in the er:
- : r:r:-: -:-+ : -. .-;- realtzed by crew was rera-ned. bul lhe rurrer posi- The first T-38 was built in 1936 and proved too compiicated for mass pr:
..i :=.,: --.. l.s:qr. tlon was switched to the left and the full productron commenced in the fol- duction. Then came the T-38-M2 whic:,
: : :t,:--- r..- :-t=11-.- :- : ia:e The dnver s position was also switched. lowing year Manufacture continued was accepted, for it used the pov..::
T-38 (continued) Amphibious Vehicles of World War II
train and engine of the then-new GAZ- by adding some extra armour but the
MI truck One held modihcat-on was result offered few advantages over the
the changing of the machine-gn-m for a ongrnal and the protecl was ter-nin-
20-mm ShVAK cannon to produce ated,
more flrepower. fhe T-oB did take parl In some ln-
When the T-38 went into action teresting experiments involving radio
alongrside the T-37 during the 1939-40 control The idea was that T-26 light
campaign in Finland, the weaknesses tanks packed with explosives should
of the desrgn became very apparent. be directed towards bridges or other
The tank was quite simply too ltghtly demolition targets and then exploded
protected, for even machine-gun pro- by radio command from a T-38, The
jecrrles could p erce he thtn a"mour T-38 was equipped with special radios
and knock out the vehrcle. DespLte lor lLe purpose and was even glven a
attempts by their crews to keep out oi new desrEmation NII-20, There are re-
the way and simply observe enemy ferences to this demolttion method
positrons, the T-37s and T-3Bs were beinq used durLnq the Ftnnish cam-
shown to be too vulnerable on the bat- parqn, but its success is not recorded.
tlefield; but they were not lmmediately
withdrawn, for the simple reason that Specification
I there was nothinq to replace them at T-38
J that time. Instead T-3Bs were still in use Crew:2
until 1942 to the detriment of their Weisht:3300 ks (7 275 lb) Performance: maximum road speed TheT-38 (left) could easily be
ctews, who suffered healry casualties Powerplant: one GAZAA or GAZ M-1 40 kro/h (24 9 mph)l ma-ximum road distinguished from the T-37: the
as Soviet army commanders attemp- petrol enqine developing 29 B kW range 170 km (105,6 miles) turretwas naw mounted on the ie:l
I ted to use them as light support tanks. (40 hp) Armament: one 7 62-mm (0.3-in) DT handsjde, and the driver's posl':c.:
In an attempt to continue the use of Dimensions: lenqth 3.78 m (12 ft 4.8 in); machrne-gun or one 20-mm ShVAK moved to the right. It remaineci
the exrstrng T-38 production facilities width3.33m(lOlt lL.l in); heisht cannon utterly inadequate as a combai
an effort was made to develop the T-38 1.63m(5ft42rn) vehicle.


Despite the lack of success of the T-37
and T 38 series, the planning author-
rties of the Red Army still constdered
there was a need for a light amphi
bious tank for reconnatssance pur-
poses and rn l93B a deslgn team tn
Moscow was qnven the task of produc-
rng a replacement for the T-38. But ior
once an alternative to an amphibious
vehicie was demanded, and it was de-
crded to produce amphrbious and non-
amphibrous versions of the same de-
srgn: these were given the designa-
tions of T-304 (amphibious) and T-308
The T-30A was completed during
1939 and theend of that year it had
been accepted for Soviel army service
as the T-40. In order to speed produc-
tion the T-40 had been desrgned from
the outset to include as many auto-
mobile a nd r ruck componenls as possl.
ble but production was surprisrngly
slow no doubt as a result of the low
priority given to light tanks at that time, armour could be carried and the resul- The T-40 used as many automobile components as possib/e to speed
Compared to the earlier T-37 and T-38, tant vehicle could be issued to production. Itwas armedwith a l2-7-mm (0.50-in) machine-gun, althoug.
the T-40 was an entrrely new vehicle. armoured units where nver crosslngs some mounted a20-mm (0.787-in) cannon. Relatively fewwere produced.
The two-man crew was retained but were an unlikeiy occurrence. A veht-
the small tunet was now mounted in a cle known as the T-40S was produced,
more orthodox slightly ofiset posttion but it emerqed that this model would
and mounted a 12,7-mm (0.S-in) DShK require far more production facilities
heavy machine-qun, (lt had orrqinally than the orrqtnal and rt was bulkter as
been suqgested that a 20-mm cannon well, so that hne of development was
should be mounted,) The rear of the dropped, instead it was decrded to
hull was rather buiky in order to pro- turn to the T-30B, the non-amphibious
vide the necessary flotation chambers, version of the prototypes produced in
The original production versions had a -9J9 ths was accep ed for servLce as
blrrnt nose thar drd litrle lor sw.mming the T-60, which soon replaced the T-40
characteristics, so thrs was later round- as the Soviet armys new light recon-
ed off to a more streamlined outline in a naissance tank.
version known as the T-404. Prop- Thus the T 40 was not manufactured
ulsron in water was provrded by a in very largre numbers and production
propeller at the rear, and there was a ceased after only about 225 had been
single rudder. built (a triflinq quantity by Sovtet stan
The main disadvantaqe of the T-40 dards) and the Soviet light amphibious
continued to be the thin armour that tank iine came to an abrupt end.
had to be used. On the T-40 this was at
best 14 mm (0 55-in), 'with the norm Specification
only 7 mm (0.275 rn). By 1940 this was T-40
considered to be far too liqht mainly as Crew: 2 (6 it 4.8 in) The T-40 was in small-scale se-::e
a resuh ot opera'ional expor-ence Weight: 5900 kg (13,007 lb) Performance: maximum road speed with reconnaissance unil-. c: :='"-=-:-''
gained duringr the fighting of the pre- Powerplant: on e C AZ-2A2 petol 44km/h(27 3 mph) ma-ximumroad and armoured formattons ::: . ?4 -
vious winter tn Finland, It was decided engrne developinq 52 2 kW (70 bhp) range 360 km (223.7 miles) butwas already being re-o-a:=::t'
that if the amphibrous propertres of the Dimensions: length 4. 1 I m ( L3 ft 5, B in); Armament: one 12 7-mm (0.S-in) DShK the slightly improved T-€1.
T-40 were dispensed wrth more width 2 33 m(7 f17.7 in); heiqht 1.95 m machine-gun
Storming,fhe Rhine
By the middle of March 1945, theAllied armies in thewesthad
reached theRhine andwerepoised to invade theGerman
heartland. To ensure a success{ul crossing, artillerywas
n:assed on an ea.stern front scale and 14,0a0 parachutists
made ready ta attack. In the forefront of the assault were the
amphibians; DD Shermans swam together with waves
of infantryinLWs.
,r June 1940 the British armv was booted out of France. leaving almost all of rts
eq,;ipment behind. It was bemused by a new form of warfare that most of 1ts
--,en did not comprehend, but once back rn the UK tne ccre of proressrcnal
soidiers still left set afiout forming new armies wrth ner.ry skjils to dejeat iher
:eterrnined enemv. ln June 1944 the new Brtsn ctzel] arin:es nad ceen
-':ined to the pointat which they could carry or.rt the mosr c:;{; of at n' iilanr
:.reraiions, an amphibious landing on a defended coast, and b,r'March 1945 they
L'e sel [o ca.rv out a s m.lar operat o^ a I or er ago.- r.-ey .\ e:e Jo 1g Io -'oss
:^-. River Rhine into the heartland of the German enemy.
Tne British army was not alone. As Allies they had' the Americans, the
l:radians and many others, and the British army of 1945 was equipped in a
-.anner the army of.'1940 could not have comprehended. lt was aiso vastlv
::ller oi-ganrzed; it had to be, for the operation it was about to unleash was to be
,'re c'th"e largest of its kind ever coniemplated. The army had to amass a vast
cf men and equipment ready lo cross one of the widest rivers in Europe in
.^e of an enemy determined io keep the Allies away f rom the Fatherland, lt
'. :s :o be not just a srmple cro5sing.but a combined operation rn whrch the AllieC
. "crces, armres, airborne forces and erren some naval elements would have to
.'.:'< togeiher in a co-ordinated manner. . A B uflal o of the 7 9 th Arm ou red D ivis io n c arries froop.s a cross t he R h i n e in t h e
aftermath of Aperation'Veritable'. Note how low the vehicle is in the water
Advance totheborder and how little freebaard thetewas once thevehiclewas lully toaded. Each
-ie canipaigns of late 1944 were-concerned with clearinq the ro.ute to the Buffalo had a basic crew of three.
.--.nan borders. After. the failure,of the ambitious 'Market Garden' operatrons
:. -.'rnern rt was appreciated thartthe approaches to Germany were not gorng to Army engineer regiments to help. out. Ultlmately over a quarter of a1l supp e.
-: as raprd as at first hoped. The German counteroffensive through the Arden-
' :: ai tlle turn of the year made the A lies appreciate i u lly that Germany was as
and equipment rnvolved in the Rhine crossinqs was that of.enqtneer units.
Tie Alires we'e taking no cha'lces Tne A'l6d a I 'orces we.dprovdeo r,r '
=. 'ar f rom beaten,. and made them far more cautrous. But by early March 1945 the task of completely neutralizing the rurnp of the Luftwaffe lefl after if=
-= apprcaches to the Rhine nearWesel had been completed and the build-up Atdennes o'rensive of t^e prev.o-i winler. Srand ng patrols we.e estao. s--..
:::ar. over all Luftwaife arrfre ds ltkely to become rnvolved in the crossings, mainly:,
r :-' ^9 ior the Rn,ne cross.ngs rao been std'ted even oeIore tre prev,o-s prevent the Luftwaffe seeing the vast build up of men and matertelciose toii-:
.=.- rad ended. it was not iusl a matter of pil ng up men and supplies for the crossing points. New rarlheads had to be established to enable 662 tanks o'.
:':ssir-rg as a great deal qf training was necessary for the specialrzed techniques kinds, 4;000 tank transporters and 32,000 veh cles of every va r ety to be brou c
r :-. used. One of lhe largest train ng proerammes concerned the conversion of up. Moreover, there were no less than 3,500 field and medium guns to::
.:. ei-ar tank regiments to the use of LVTs, or Buffaloes as they were known to assembled, together u,rth a quanlity of really heavy artillery that ra,rouli cover ii :
.^: 3:r.lrsh. These Buffaloes were to be used to carrv the first waves of men rna ^ cross ng<
-:':ss and theywere to be followed up by a second wave travelling in assault
, :::s crossings were also to rnvoive a considerable engrneer involvement. British Army LVTs were known as Buffaloes. and were used mainly by the 79t:.
.::.niy rrad the bridgino equipment necessarV to cross the Rhjne to be Armoured Division. Many Buffaloes were armed with 20-mm (0.V?-in)
-.:erbled ready for use, but approach roads and other transport facilitres had to Polsfen cannon for the Rftine crosslhgs . and many carried extra machine-
,: -':de ready. ln the end thrs was managed only by the allocation of several US Eruns.

a !'
. !*)
Amphibious Vehicles of Worlc ,,r; a: .-

3vT: At,!i.r!li;,j
.:lr&. l

To add to the planners' problems the Rhine had irs.own say in the matter. The Above: Buffaloes of the 79th Armoured Division ferry nen of fhe Cfies.:]r'e
:rea r,a.rhere the crossinas were to be made is flat and prone to f looding, and the Regiment over the Rhine in support o{ the lst Commando Brigade. in tre
r:ev ous wrnter had been so wel that by March the flood platns rrvere sr, I very background is the twisted wreckage of the railwal, fo7';4n. Iiate :: :
:1 .. WdS dea fO rne Bl'-alOes OUI nol cO pasv -Or'^e O ter \o;r C er l.o-g' "rWesel.
2A-mm (0.78-in)Polsfen guns carried in addition to the machine-9uns.
. \,\'as a risk that had to be accepted.
Cn the night of 23 March 1945 the ctossrngs began undera barrage f rorr, ali oi
:ie ar'lr lery weapons that nad been assembled The first troops v\ent of ros j I
1..:if aloes w th numbers o{ DD Shermans and other spec al i,eh cles ln train Tne
-remv did the r best to counter the ftrst waves but the preparation had been
:rcir that local air support was often able to c eat a path for the landtng forces
-:rs air suppoit was so intense that Wesel itself was con f dent y bom bed b), tne
.:iqht of RAF Bomber Ccmmand when Allres troops were only a lew hundred
Tie:tres away. Thrs not only cleared Wesel of the enemy but prevenled the
f ermans from moving through Wesel ro counterattack. -g:*
The Allles drd not have it all thetr own way. The mud was so bad rn places that r
-,- =*:-
.oi even the Buffaloes could make much forward progress, with the resuit that
.:. fn
srnre of the second assault waves, crossing in boats, came under ntense fire
arcj took heavv casuaities. Some of the assault waves used ln{antrY-carrynq
anding craft that had been brought to the Rhine on spec ai tanI transporters
Opposrtion to the [andings was patchy ln places the defenders fought fiercely
:rd in others the preliminary bombardment had been so fierce that organlzed
:ef ence was sliqht. The sheer weight of the onslaught was such ihat n places
rre Allies were soon able to wade ashore and eslablrsh srzeable bridgeheads,
-r toe 'r o n srengtn or Lne atldcf ,/,as \eI lo .o-e.
Assault from the air
This arnved at about mid-dav wrren the first of the Allied arrborne forces came
What became known as the 'armada of the air' flew over the Rh ne lo
,r1o srght.
:rsgorge two divisions of parachute ircops who seemed at tlmes to rnake the Above: DuF,lex Drive (DD) Shermans areseen r'm rnediately afler iie i: j.:.
sky dark r,vrth their numbers They were soon foliowed by glider tugs that crossings, with their wading screens collapsed to allow them lo use iie:: : .
-:nleaslred therr charqes to land in an area known as the D ersfordter Wald and 75-mm (2.95-in) guns.ln the background is a Hamilcar, the largest o! al.:::
another known as the Mehr-Hamrninkeln. These clider troops did not lanci Brilish war time gliders.
inscathed. Despite all effons of the A lred arr forces io neutral ze flak sites near
lne landing points, some guns escaped to concentrate the r fire power on the
gl:ders, and about one quarter of ali gllder prlots involved became casualtles rn
rnis operalion. But rt was to no avail as far as the Germans were concerned The
nlnrbers that did land safelv were such ihat the airborne {orces and the troops
:hat had made the nver crossings were abie to join up, often we I n advance of
iie anticlpated trmes. By nightfall the Rh ne br;dgeheads were 5ecure arrd
iespite some localized German counterattacks tney were across the rrver to
Meanwhrle the crossings had to be followed up. As eary as the aftetnoon of
24 March the {jrst Allied tanks were berng ferried across the river. By nightfall
tne engineers had started to bulld the first of ,"nany Bailey bridges that would
caffV the bulk of the Allied arm es across to take the fighting farther into
Germany. All day long the assault Buffaloes ferried back and forlh carryrng yet
more men and supplies, and alongside them DUKWs and Terrapins shutlled to
anC forth. Overhead the Allied air forces kept the Luitwaffe at bay and the
smooth progress of vast numbers of vehicles was maintained. it was all a far cry
irom the events of Jure 1940.
DuKWs shuttle back and {orth by the side of a pontoon bridge just 24 hours
after lhe firstBritish troops carved out abridgehead. Despite localized
counter-attacks, ffte success of the crossing was assured by the night of 24
ZN Terrapin
The Terrapin was the British equiva-
lent of the American DUKW, and
although it was never built in the num-
bers that the DUKW achieved it made
a useful addrtion to the amphibious
load-carryingr fleet used by the British
army in 1944-5,
The Terrapin was designed by
Thornycroft, but production was car-
ried out by Morris Commercral, About
500 were built, and the bulk of them
were used by the 79th Armoured Divi-
sion, frrst gornq into action during the
autumn of 1944 when they were used to
supplement DUKWs during opera-
tions to open up the water approaches
lo Antwerp. The Terrapin was a
straiqhtforward amphibious design
but it had some odd features, some of
which were not to its advantage. One
concerned its two Ford V-B petrol en-
gines, each one driving the four
wheels set along each side; with the
Terrapin rn the water the engines
each drove one ofthe two propellers at TheTerrapinwas powered by twoFordV-B petrolengines andwas drivenin thewater by two propellers at the
the rear The snag with this arranqe- rear. There were two cargo holds and the driver sat in the centre of the vehicle.
ment turned out to be that if one of the
engrnes stalled for any reason the freeboard and it could be all too easily trouble was that it restrtcted even to hand meant there was no pomt -:-
other engine kept driving, causingthe swamped in rougrh water The top of funher the drivers lorward vrew developing it further, and wrth the e:'
vehicle to go into a rapid turn which the vehicle was completely open, but For all these drawbacks the Terra of the war the Teffapin Mk ls wel:
could cause alarm and damage to al1 raised mouldinq boards around the pin qave good sewtce. Even before it also withdrawn,
concerned. Thus Terrapin drivers had holds could keep out the worst of the was used operatronally some of the
to be specraliy alert to this hazard, The water. The driver was located rougthly drawbacks had been rea[zed and Specification
i,,rro engines were mounted almost in the centre of the vehicle and hts Thornycroft was asked to produce a TerrapinMk I
centrally to spread wheel loadinqs, but view to the front and rear was rather new design. This emerged as the Ter- Crew: I -l- at least 2
thrs had the effect of dlviding the carQro limited, meaning that other crew mem- rapin Mk 2, the orrgdnal model there- Weights:unloaded 6909 kq ( 15,232 Ib
trompartments into two halves. Thus bers had to give directions during tiqht upon becoming the Terrapin Mk L It loaded 12015 kq (26,488 lb)
although the Terrapin could carry landings or when travelling througrh had a large 'one-piece' hold, much bet- Powerplant: two Ford V-B petrol
more than the DUKW it could not cafiy restricted wban areas. The Terrapin ter all-round performance and the engines each developing 63, 4 kW
the really largre loads such as guns or was also a rather uncomfortable vehr- driver positioned well forward under (85 bhp)
large vehicles. cle during bad weather conditions. cover. The hull shape was improved to Dimensions: lenqth 7.01 m (23 ft);
The overall performance of the Ter- Being seated in the open the driver provide better seaworthiness and wa wrdth 2.67 m (B ft 9 in); heiqht 2,92 m
rapin was not all that grood. It was and crew had to rough it, but an ter manoeuvrabrhty was much im- (9 ft 7 in)
rather slow on land and in the water, awning could be raised ov*or the front proved, But the Terrapin Mk 2 arrived Performance: maximum land speeci
:ld rt was in the water that this per- compartment, This was meant to act as on the scene too late: the war ended 24, 14 km/h (15 mph); maximumwate:
-crmance really mattered. When fully a spray shield in the water, but it could before it could be placed into produc- speed B km/h (5 mph)
loaded the Terrapin had only a limited also double as weather protection; the tion and the larse numbers of DUKWs Armament: none

>K bp sr,"rman
The DD Sherman was a British de- the turret at water level, about O.9 I 4-m was disreqarded, often with dire re- ate use after landing. The bcrr
;elopment that started dunng 194], An (3-ft) freeboard berng provided by the sults. Once the DD Sherman was in machine-gun could not be fitted to n:
engileer named Nrcholas Straussler, screen. Drive in the water was pro- about I 5 m (5 ft) of water the screen DD Shermans but the maln gun 1r-
.'iho had been rnvolved with armoured vided by two small screw propellers at could then be collapsed. It was here often used to support 79th Armoure:
;ehicles for some time, turned his lhe rear. These were driven vra a gear- that the marn advantage of the DD Division operatrons directly after iar-:-
aliention to producinq a method by box from the track drrve and steerinqt Sherman became apparent, for it was ing on the beaches, especially duri:-_:
xLlch an ordinary tank could float in was accomplished by swivelling the able to retain its main gmn for immedi- the D-Day landings of 6 June 194j
'.'.ater durrng amphibious operations. propellers Extra steering could be
Early experiments involved the Tet- caried out by the tank commander
rarch hght tank (Valentines were aiso using a simple rudder and tiller The DD Sherman came asa
used at a later date) but in the end it arangement behind the turret. great surprise to the
-,vas decided to standardrze the even- Forward progEess rn the water was Germans, for thefu own
rual results on the Sherman tank, then slow depending on the sea state, and attempts to produce
available in some numbers To pro- the sea state also severely affected the swimming tanks ended in
vide a cover, these floating tanks were ability of the DD tanks to float, Any- relative failure during the
named Duplex Drive (DD) Shermans, thing over sea state 5 was considered earlywaryears.
The first DD Shermans were ready too nsky, but at times this limitation
rn 1943 and were converted by the
addilron ol a collapsible fabrrc screen
and 36 rubber air tubes or pillars. This
screer/tube assembly was attached to
a boat-shaped platform welded
around the hull of the tank, The rdea
-, that the pillars were inflated from
:tvo air cyhnders carrred on the tank,
a:rd as the inflation continued the pil
lars rarsed the screen to a point above
-he level of the tuffet. The screen was
ilen locked into position by struts Ali
.lrese operations could be carried out
i:,"* the crew, and the whole operatron
::'.rld be carried out in 15 minutes
abcard a tank landing craft, Once
:eady, the tank could be driven off the
-a:lding craft ramp into the water,
-,';::erethe tank would then float with
DD Sherman (continued) Amphibious Vehicles of World War II
Once out of the water the tvvin prop- proved unsuccessful and had been
ellers could be rarsed out of the way, termrnated some years earlier, The
and offthe beaches the DD Shermans sight of DD Shermans clambering up
could be used in a normal combat role, the beaches was too much for some
The DD Shermans were the only defenders who promptly made them-
item of specialized amphibious war- selves scarce. In other locations the
fare vehicles used by the US Army in DD Shermans provided invaluable im-
June 1944, and the Americans even mediate flre support for units aheady
produced their own versions, During in actron on the beaches and in the
the Normandy landings the DD Sher- immediate hinterland. DD Shermans
mans came as a nasty surprise for the were also used al the Rhine crossings
German defenders as therr own ex- and during some north Italian opera-
periments with 'floating' tanks had tions in 1944-5,

Below: The DD Sherman in the Right: The twin propellers of this DD

foreground is in the process of Sherman can be clearly seen under
lowering itswading screen just after the wading screen, which is in the
a river crossing. The wading screens colJapsed position. Only S hermans
were supported on columns o{ air were used operationally with DD
contained in rubber tubes, and the equipme nt from D - D ay onwar ds
soldier in the foregroundis assrfing until the crossing of the Elbe in I 945.
their collapse.

Above: DD Shermans are seen after crossing the River EIbe in the late stages of
the war in Europe in 1945. The wading screens could remain attached to their
parent tanks after use, as they did not hinder the tank's fighting efficiency.


-The amphibious truck that became clous and could just about carry loads
-:ruversally known as the 'Duck' first such as light artillery weapons - it was
appeared in 1942, and was a version of even possible to fire some weapons
dre standard GMC 6xO truck fltted such as the 25-pdr field gmns during
a boatlike hull to provrde buoyan- the 'run in' to a beach. The driver was
cy, It derived its name from the GMC seated behrnd a foldrng windscreen
model designation system - D showed and a canvas cover could be erected
rhat it was a 1942 model, U that it was over the cargo area. For drivrng over
amphibious, K indicated that it was an soft areas such as sand beaches the six
all-wheel-drive model, and W de- wheels used a central tyre pressure-
noted twin rear axles, From this came control system.
DIIKW, and this was soon shortened to The Duck was meant tor carryingT
Duck', supplies from ships over beaches, but
The Duck was produced in largre it was used for many other purposes,
numbers. By the time the war ended One advantage was that it did not al-
21, 147 had been built, and the type was ways have to unload its supplies
used not only by the US Army but also directly on the beach: on many occa-
by the British army and.many other sions it was able to drive its load well
Allied armed forces, Being based on a forward to where the freight was
wrdely-used truck chassrs it was a fa[- needed and then return, Many were
ly simple amphibious vehicle to main- used as troop transports and the num-
taln and drive, and its performance ber of specral-purpose versions wete
was such that it could be driven over legion, Some were fltted wrth special
most types of country, In the water the weapons, such as the I 14,3-mm (4.S-in)
Duck was moved by a single propeller rocket-flring version used in the
at the rear driven from the main en- Pacific and known as the Scorpion,
gine, and steerinq was carried out us- Mention has been made of field gnrns
ilg a rudder behrnd the propeller; ex- flring from the cargo area, and some The main use of the DUKW was as a /ogrstr'ca/stores carrier loading supplies
tra steering control could be achieved Ducks were armed with heavy from ships standing offshore. They could also carry overland to supply
by using the front wheels, The driver machine-guns for self-defence or anti- dumps.ThisDUKW is seen during a training operationin the preD-Day
was seared in front of the main cargo aircraft use, A tow hook was frtted at periodin 1944.
compartment, which was quite spa- the rear and some vehicles also had a

self-recovery winch, Twrn bilqte

pumps were fltted as standard
Many Ducks were sent to the USSR,
and the type so rmpressed the Sovret
army that the USSR produced its own
copy, khown as the BAV-485. This dif-
fered from the original by havrngr a
small loading ramp at the rear of the
cargo area. Many of these BAV-485s
are still in use by the Warsaw Pact
nations, and the DUKW still serves on
with a few Western armed forces. The capaclty was rather liqht and perform- Weights: unloaded 6750 kq ( 14, BB0 1b); ThisDUKW has its canvas tiltraised
British army did not pension off its ance rn rough water left something to ioaded9097 kg (20,055 lb); payload over the Ioad-carrying area and the
Ducks untrl the iate 1970s, be desired, but the Duck was a good 2347 ks (5,175 lb) driver's screen r ais e d.
The Duck has been descnbed as sturdy vehicle that was well-[ked by Powerplant: one GMC Model270
one of the war-winners for the Allies all who used it. engine developing 68,2 kW (9 1.5 bhp) Performance: maximum land speed
and certainly gave good service Dimensions: length 9.75 m (32 ft 0 in); B0 krn/h (50 mph); maxrmumwater
wherever it was used, It had some Specification: DIJKW width 2.51 m (B ft 2.9 in); heisht 2,69 in speed 9,7 km/h (6 mph)
limitations in that the load-carryrngr Crew: lf l (B ft 10 in) Armament: see text

i,Vr 2 and tvr 4

Developed from a civil design rn-
tended for use in the Flonda swamps
the LVT-I was not really suited for
combat, being intended solely as a
suppiy vehicle. The Paciflc war was to
prove the need for a more capable
amphibious assault vehicle, This
emerged as the LVT 2, which used a
better all-round shape to improve wa-
ter performance, though it was still a
nigh and bulky vehicle. Another rm-
provement was a new suspension and
the track qtrousers were made better
by the use of alumrnium W-shaped
shoes that were bolted onto the track
and could thus be easily changred
w-hen worn or damaged. A defimte
loEnstic improvement was introduced
by use of the engine, final drive and
transmission from the M3 light tank. At
the time the LVT 2 was being de-
veioped these components were
readily available and made spare part
supply that much easrer.
The steerrnq system of the LVT 2
gave considerable trouble at first, for
the brake drums operated in oil and
prolonged use of the steerinq bars The gun proved to be too hght for this and thereafter every tsland-hopptng LWs lumber ashore during a
could resuiL Ln the bra kes sejzrng up on role, so it was iater supplanted by the operation involved them. Some were training exercise, with others
one side. Trarning and experience short 75-mm (2,95-in) howltzer used in Europe during the Scheldt and following in a non-tactical line; inan
solved that problem, mounted in the turret of the MB Howit- Rhine operations ol i944-5 and there assault the LVTs would land in waves
On the LVT 2 the engrne was zer Motor Carriage to produce the were numerous odd 'one-off attempts srde-by-side. The LVT on the right
mounted at the rear, which restricted LVT(A) 4. On both of these gun vehr- lo mount various ypes oi weapon in has shieldedweapons that couldbe
the size of the cargto compartment. cles the turrets were mounted towards therr, rangrng lrom rocker batteries ro eithermachine-guns or
This was relatively easily designed out the rear of the carqro area, whrch was Iiqht cannon. Flamethrowers were flamethrowers.
oi the overall layout by moving the en- covered in by armoured plate. fitted in some numbers, but all these
qine forward and mountrnq a ramp at The ordrnary LVT 2s and LVT 4s types of armament should not disguise
the rear to ease loadrngr and unloadrng. became the main load carriers of the the fact that the LVT 2 and LVT 4 were TheLVT 4 differedfrom the LVT 2 in
Thus the LVT 2 became the LVT 4, early Pacific operations. The first LVTs most often used to carry ashore the flrst hauing a loading ramp at the rear,
which was otherwise generally simi- were used in action at Guadalcanal, waves of US Marines. which enabled it to carry large loads
]ar, Of all the LVT series the LVT 4 was such asJeeps and some light
produced in the largtest numbersr we apons. I t c arrie d machine- guns
8,348 produced on five productlon on pintles at the front and sides.
lines; in contrast 2,963 LVT 2s were
produced on six lines. There were
some desrgm differences between the
LVT 2 and LVT 4: for instance the
driver's controls were rearranged on
the LVT 4, but the main improvement
was that all manner of ]oads could be
carried on the LVT 4, ranging from a
Jeep to a 105-mm (4, 13'in) fleld howit-

Most LVT 2s and LVT 4s were

armed with 127- or 7.62-mm (0 5- or
0.3-rn) machine-guns on rarls or pin-
tles, but there were two versions of the
LVT 2 that had heavrer weapons, The
LVT(A) I was an LVT wrth an M3 iight
tank turret mounting a 37-mm QrLrn; this
was intended to supply fire support
during the early phases of an amphr-
brous landing during the interval rm-
mediately after reachrngr the beaches.

LVT 2 andLVT 4 (continued) Amphibious Vehicles of World War II
Powerplant: one Continental W970-9A
petrol engdne developrng 186.4 KW
(250 hp)
Weights: unloaded I 1000 kq
(24,250]rb),loaded 13721 kq (30,250 Ib)
Dimensions: Iength 7.975 m (21 ft 6 in);
width 3.25 m (10 ft B in)i heiqht 2,5 m
(B ft 2,5 in)
Performance: maximum land speed
32 km/h (20 mph); maximumwater
speed 12 kn/h (7,5 mph); roadradius
24 I km (150 miles); maximum water
radius 161 km (100 miles)
Armament:one 12.7-mm (0 5-in) and
one 7 62-mm (0,3-in) machrne-gnrns

Right: The LVT(A) I was armed with

the turret and 37-mm (1.45-in) gun of
the M3 light tank to provide some
measure of local fire support in the
initial stages of an amphibious

TheBritishArmy received anumber of LVTs, and knew them as the Buffalo. The LW (F), commonly known as lfie Sea Setpent, was an LW 4 converted by
Here a nunber are being prepared for the crossing of the River EIbe during the British Army to mount two Wasp flamethrowers forward and a machine-
the latter stages of thewar in northwestEurope;itwas in these finalriver gun aft. Despite the potential of this flame weapon lleSea Serpentwas little
ctossings that the Buffalo saw most use. used by the British.

Compared with the earlier LVT I and
2, the LVT 3 (or Bushmaster) was
entirely new desiqrn, For a start it
attdbutes just as much as did the US
Madnes (althouqh the US Army used
the LVT 4 mainly as a supply carrier).
Any water that did get in was drained
througrh gratings in the cargo area
deck to be dealt with by the bilge
traced back to the Roeb[ngr ua-:rs
but it was not the end of the line. D--:-
ing the post-war years the conceD:-,'. a.
:ad two engines (Cadillac units), each For a short while the LVT 3 was used pumps. developeo still furlher and maly o: -:.:
r:ounted in a side sponson. This by both the US Marines and the US The LVT 3 was armoured like the present vehicles now in use car lra3:
allowed an increase in size of the car- Naw. LVT 2 and LVT 4. bul extra protection their origrns to the LVTs.
qc-carrying area and enabled a load- On the LVT 3 the driver and co- could be added by means of an
1q rarnp to be installed al the rear driver were located in a cab forward of armoured cab for the driver and co-
lae overall outline remained the same the cargro area, Behind them was the driver and by the use ofadd-on panels Specification
- on the ear[er vehicles, but there gnrnner's firing step and by the time the of armour. (These armoured panels LVTS
-/,-ere numerous changtes The track LVT 3 arrived on the scene the arma- could also be added to the LVT 2), Crew:3
-ras entirely new, being rubber- ment of the LVTs had been increased Extra shields were also available to Weights: unloaded 12065 kq
bushed, and the width was reduced from the initial single machine-gnrn to protect the machrne-guns and their (26,600 Ib); loaded 17509 ks (3E.6Cl ':
-;ath no detriment to water propulsion three: one 12,7-mm (0.5-in) hearry and gmnners. Perhaps the most reassuring Powerplant: two Cadillac petrol
l,-LLrch continued to be carried out us- two 7.62-mm (0,3-in) medium machtne- item of equipment carried was a engines developing a total of 164 , <-,',-
rg the tracks on1y, gnrns, Along each side of the cargo wooden box in the driver's cab, This (220 hp)
The first LVT 3 appeared duringp area were the sponsons containing not contained a quantity of raqs, waste Dimensions: 7 95 m (26 ft I Ln): ','. -c.:
-945 and by the time production en- only the engines but the hydramatic material and tapered wooden plugs of 3,25 m (10 ft B in); heisht 3 023 m {: -
Ced 2,692 had been produced. It went transmissions, bilgre pumps and blow- various srzes to stop any leaks caused 11 in)
on to be the 'standard' post-war vehil ers to remove fumes. Some American by enemy acrron or olherwise ir- Performance: maxrmum roac spe =:
cle of its type but by i945 the LVTs references refer to these sponsons as duced. Oiher special-to-rype equrp- 27.3 km/h ( 17 mph); maxLmun',';a:::
'rere used not cnly by the US Marines pontoons, for they certainly added io ment carried included siqnal lamps, a speed9 7 krr/h (6 mph): roadrai .
but by the US Army, This service had the vehicle buoyancy, The rear ramp water tank and even some spare parts 241 km ( 150 miles); waterracils
ihe usual doubts regardingr the was raised and lowered by a hand- for onthe-spot repairs, 120.7 ]<n (75 miles)
efficiency of LVTs, but after its initial operated winch and had healry rubber The LVT 3 represented the frnal Armament:one 12.7-mm (0: :. -.:
mrsgrmngs came to value the type's seals alonq the sides to keep out water, wartime point in the line that could be two 7,62-mm (0.3-in) mach,ne-::-
landingVehicle Trccked {LVT el
The LVT 4 shawn here was derived from the LVT 2, with the engine moved forward and a downwards-opening
ramp at the rear. The LVT 2 and LVT 4 were both developed {rom the pre-war Roebling tractor thatwas designed
originally to operate in the Florida Everglades, but which was equally suitable for US Marine Corps use in
amphibious operations. TheLVT 4was driven in thewater by its tracks, and flotation chambers gave thevehicle its
high silhouette. The LVTs were usedas,logrisf ic transports aswell as landing craft for Marines, and manywere used
to mountvarious forms of armament.



t.-: l,
:,:. 11-

Amphibious Vehicles of World War tr
LVTs at Peleliu
The P alau I slands were defended by 30,000 J apanese troops, including the crack
14th Division, all commanded by General Sadao Inoue, who stationed one-third of
hisforces to defend Peleliu and its airtield. The task of capturing this position fellto
the l st US Marine Division; at 8.30 am on 15 September 1944 three Marine regiments
bqan their landing on the south west coast of the island.
3_; ie trme the US Marines were contemplat- ped from the coral and a maze of anti-tank
::g an amphibious landing on the small island ditches on the beach approaches were cou-
:: Peleliu in September 1944, therr style of pled with a vast maze oi obsLacles and mines
a:r;,phibious warfare had become well estab- just under the high-water mark. To add to these
-:shed. Peleliu was yet another of the islands man-made defences the island is naturally co-
:ai had to be taken on the way to the Japanese vered in thrck scrub and parts of the island are
:::a:dand, and it is sihrated in the Palau island mangrove swamp.
lrcup rcme 725 km (450 miles) to the east of the Valuable experience
Fh:iipprnes, Llke so many islands that attracted
attentions of the US Marine Corps during lf this sounds daunting, tr musl be remem-
:re penod 1943 to 1945, Peleliu has a coral reef bered that the US Marlnes were used to such
s:rorinding the central island, which is mainly prospects. Starting at Guadalcanal tn 1942 and
'a: but with a central ridqe and a mountain at moving through the horrors of Tarawa in late
:::e end, Its main attraction for the Americans 1943 the US Marines had learned how to over-
-r.-=s ihat it possessed an airstrip fromwhich the come even the most strongly defended islands,
-:-=ericals could cover the next stage of their They rehed on several things. One was their
'.-arrd-hoppinq campaign, so an operation was overpowerinq weapon strength, which ranged Pelefiu is a sma ll island in the Palau group 725 km
i-a:rned for 15 September 1944, from the massive naval guns fired from bat- (450 miles) eastof the Philippines.lts importance
Feieliu was to prove to be no easy nut to tleships lying oflshore to close support from in 1944 stemmed from its airfield, centre for the
not that any island or defensive position low-flying strrke alrcraft. They had also learned concentration ofJapanese air power since the
-ack. destruction of their base at Truk.
:e,i by the Japanese was easy. There were that tanks landed with the flrst waves of US
they had
10,000 Japanese on Peleltu, and Marines were invaluable in providing direct
iee:i provided with ample time to dig them- fire-support. It was the co-ordination of all this being worked out, By lale 1944 the drills had
s=-;es in and iortify the island, Systems oi tun- effort that took up so much of the plannrng time been largely established but there was still
:-:,s ald trenches had been blasted or chip and cost so many lives whiie the details were much more to be learned, and Peleliu was to

The LWs made their landingunder cover of

repeated air strikes from IJS carrier aircraft. but
the well- sited J apanese gun emplacements still
managed to bring the beachhead under effective
fire. Peleliu had been pounded by battleships
offshore and bombed'bv aircraft'for the preceding
three days, but the limeltone.I]id-ges had been
honey combed with deep hwike1s'whe r e the
derenders couldftr_etllp..!,4y1$,F. !4ry9p.!:

-.41'. .:,, .: :
::-r .'.- rcw much this was,
-..: Peleliu landings were for once to be
--r: oy a US Marine force weaker rn numbers
':.-- -he defenders, and thrs time ihere would
- = :-: chance for all the units concerned to
--,:,= ihe usual preliminary rehearsals for
:' ::yone to shake down, The units involved
'=:e too scattered for that, and it was hoped
:,-: experience and improvisation wouid over-
- any drfficulties, But for once shipping was
:- short supply, and to add to the overall plan'
,--:g dlfficultres two of the support battleshtps
::-hded and had to be wiihdrawn from ihe
.rDport force, More shrps colhded en route,
=:-C so short was the eventual tonnage avail-
-,',1:l that some tanks had to be lelt behind,
m,ghl have been a decrding factor was
:lat the IrVTs were also,in short supply, though
-: the last moment a number arrived and all
:=em€d Set,
The landrng was preceded by the usual nav. craft were supposed to add their weight to the American M arines crammed: into, the beachhead
fray, forcrng the defenders to keep their heads immediately after the landings onPeleliu islanc.
=l bombardment of the rsiand, This lasted for
:rree days, but while spectacular it had little down, but in the fog of war thrs couid not always During this operation one Marine division was se:
L^ ^^^- against over 10,000 well dug-in defenders.
:ifect on the defenders who promptly went nappen.
-nderground into their prepared caves and At Peleiru the interval between the dehvery
."nnels and wartecl, They knew what to expect oI Lhe air support and the first US Marine landl c]es these partres encountereo n--e:-=- i-n,-
and they also knew that as soon as the bom- 1ng prolonged Dy
ing was prolongeO by lne number OI
the nUmOeI undenrra- ,:r
of UnOeIWa- do llille
could OO
.:r COUIO liltle mOIe
mor€ man.Cleal pa::; :a
fe-w pa:.i:S
than.clear a Ie-W :. --;l=
cardmeni lifted they had to movecul quickly to ter obstacles scattered olf the beaches. Urrder+$ beaches. The firsli;Waves were LV-Ts .:=Ced
jefend themselves against the first,wavesof US water clearance teams had moved in ahead of
wr'h US Manne infantry and ihel sr'=lej
-'utarines, It was at thrs point tha:t*e strike air- the first waves, but the very numbers of ob.ffH!;--badlV
..':,':ai.:' ' ,:::,:i::::::i.i€
.,,:,:i;',+,:,..:'l ':r,ii-ii;i riliitiillllrliEiilli:ir.
- ** g-llteMarines anticipated th at the capture o! Pek::
' "* ""., .h. . 'oi g":rguldonlytakelwodays.buttheJapanese
" ''. -*'"aJrv'rrr'!J'
r: "+Ron tLs . In'some of themost saiage close- ?u€ttet
' ;,-S,isit tingffiePacificcampidga,ihe deieids-s
,: ,'.,..,'!,:r,,rrr.,tiii-iit:,rl'1,rifl
,i.:. .: i:.i.:.,..-::.;.1.::.::i:i;i- , ;is'iweres/ot#lg_tivorndownuitilthelastpocke:sa!
. f resrstance prrere annihilated oi 25 Nove.:: =. - -'."
It l:'' Japanesemmmanderbroadcasffohiss--:*:::--:
i$ . 'AII is over on Peleliu' before committirg :::::.
.' suicide.
- ------'
.-E:..-:.,. '::i
.. .rfuj '*iifi; 1:1i1,,,:' ti'
;^ .]f-i:'J '

i i: 'ii;j;i:i--.'ll' .-:=1t!. . ,ifi;

.r:i ;
ii:- i :::',l.:.i;r': ii'rt: ,,..




{b *i$ ffi
LVTs at Peleliu
As the LVTs approached the usual coral was favoured, The LVT 4 had a rear-mounted wrecked LVTs, DUKWs and tanks. The Peleliu
:=eis all was well, The LVTs' tracks enabled ramp whrle on the LVT 2 the US Marines had to operations were well under way, however,
:em to clamber over the reefs without too leave over the srdes, offering tempting targets though the actual fightrng iasted until almost the
::uch difflculty, but rn the calm water inside the to the enemy Once on the beach the terrain end of November, for as usual the Japanese
:eei the casualtres mounted. The obstacles not rarely resembled what was expected. Vehi- defenders clung on to every position lrterally to
:i-; snagged the LVTs but also blew them up, cles often landed in the wrong places and the the death. And much of the oflensive was liter-
:::,.mderwater mines and aircraft bombs were US Marrnes had to form up as best they could ally uphill work. The US Marines had landed on
:ee1y scattered among the stakes and wire, before movrng forward to their objectives, All the lowest part of the rsland in order to have
:c add to this the waters were covered by the whrle the Japanese were doing their best to room to establsh a sizeable beach-head but
::achlne-gun and mortar fire from concealed ensure that no such progress was possible, this meant that the flat ground was dominated
-,'ieapon prts. Those vehicles that did reach the Thus the LVT(A)s were called upon to blast a by the ridge and mountain away to the north. It
ieach soon found themselves in a maze of antr- way through before the tanks arrived. was there that the Japanese had their main
ditches, I:VT casualties soon mounted and
:a::-< Somehow, out of all the confusion on the defensive posrtions, though in such fighttng the
::r-usion reigned, beaches of Peleliu, some form of command LVTs could play little part other than keeping
cohesion emerged, and by the end of the flrst the supplies moving from shtp to shore
LVTs inthelead day the beach-head was about 2740 m (3,000
icr once the staff planners had declded not yards) wide and 450 m (500 yards) deep, By the This LVT is equippedwith abuilt-up
superstructure and three- sided m achine-gun
:: reiy upon LVTs alone for the first wave, so end oithe day the LVTs had been able to bring sfti'e/ds. Conversions such as this were becoming
:: iVTs were quickly followed by tank land- ashore some pack artillery, and a constant common during the latter phases of the Pacific
':; oraft that disgorged their loads from close stream of LVTs brought more men and sup- campaigns in order to provide the landing troops
'-=.nore, During the Peleiiu landings one in- plies, But the beaches were lrttered with with extra fire cover.
:-:';a:ion was the use of IrVTs to 'lead' the tanks
..:r:re The first vehicle off the landing craft
-,r- an LVT which moved on its tracks along
--:-: sea bottom, If rt started to float the following
:-:--<s could not progress so another route
-:r:re had to be found, This simple method
that many more tanks than usual found
j13-r:,"v-dy ashore and were able to provide the
-:-c:r-ant direct flre support, The 'leader' LVTs
-.',-::e also useful rn that they carried with them a
s::-=- lcca-l supply depot to keep the tanks in
--As were not the only direct fire support
provided some
.1-=ap:ns, for the LVT units also
-: reir cwn. In every LVT unit there were a
:-:::ber of LVT(A)s turreted LVTs armed
-,.;ith 37-mm tank quns or more useful
s:::: .5-mm (2 95-in) howrtzers. Despite their
::-a:-,-e iack of armour these LVT(A)s proved
:--,-.';able in providrng fire support in the inter-
'.'.' ce:cre the flrst tanks could clamber ashore,
--:- a: Peleliu there was another innovation,
-: -,',-as a small number of LVTs armed with
--:-,-.' -aa:iern flamethrowers, These were sup-
::s: j :o be used with every one of the inrtral
---:-:-3 -,vaves, but in the confusion caused by
:-= .-.:-ierw-ater obstacles and by overall lack
-: ::::nand and control lollowing the inltial
---i-;s tese flamethrower tanks were not
*i=i :: -;Tas to be the third day of the campaign
:::-:: fust of them were deployed oper-

,i:;:iicatron of the close-quarter combat

;::eriaken on Peleliu can be gained from this
:-:xaj,- ofMannes so near to the Japaneseposifions
:.:.: or:e,l4arine is throwing petrol bombs. Despite
:::-. :.1 e restric e d n a turc of the terr ain m ake s the

I!a:::es bunch togiether too closelyfor tactical

rg-::-je:i bul rea dy for any attack.
Amphibious Vehicles of World Wa: II
iviZvC vVeasei
:=3 plans were made to rnvade
Norway, and rt was
the Weasels could be controlled re-
motely using hand-operated cords but
.:::::rated that some form of snow- this technique had its hmitatrons. The
r-:.:jrg cargo carrler would be re Weasels were also very reliabler they
, -::i After a senes of trials a tracked rarely broke down and their track ltfe
=- :ie known as the TiS Weasel was was later found to be far in excess of
.=,=::ed for servrce and this was later anticipatrons,
--.':lcped into the T24 still named
'''::sel The M29C was also used by signal
and developed for use not only units for its abillty to cross water and
- '=: snow but over mud rough terrain land impassable to other vehicles
i: r swamps, in time the T24 was stan- made it a very valuable wirelaying
:=rirzed as the M29 Carqo Carrier vehicle. But it was as a supply or per-
.-=i from thrs evolved the M29C sonnel carrier that 1t was most useful.
=:::hrbious light cargo carrier. The Aithough unarmoured, M29Cs were
=re Weasel was once more carried often used to carry armed troops
:'.':r. even though the offlcial name across water obstacles and land them
.Ark was promulgated. in front of an enemy position, other
-he M29C was a simp.le conversion M29Cs then followrnq up with ammuni-
-- the land-use M29. Changes were tion and supplies
:---:d-e to the flexible rubber tracks to By the time the war ended about
,=:able them to provide propuision Ln 8,000 M29C Weasels had been pro-
-,'.-ater flotation chambers were pro duced, and orders for a further 10,000
-ied at front and rear and twin rud were then cancelled But the M29C
r:rs were added for steerrnq rn water. concept had been well estabhshed by
-re land M29 had already demons then and since 1945 many follow on
raied its abilities to cross just about designs have been produced
:ry type of terrain rncludinq snow and M29Cs were used by several of the American personnel undergo a rather bumpy ride in an M29C Weasei o-.'e:
::ugh stony ground, and the M29C re Allied armres, The British army made swampy terrain. The rear-mounted rudders can be clearly seen. and these
:lreo all these qualitres In water jt use of a number during 1944 and 1945 were lowered once the vehicle actually entered the water.
as somewhat slow and it could not and for a few years after that Some
:cerate in other than rnland waterway Ewopean armres used them for years
r,.nditions, so its use in surf or rouqh after the war, and numbers can still be
','.'ater was very limited. But when used found in civi[an hands hard at work
:rrrectly the M29C soon proved to be over swampy terrarn.
= valuable vehrcle. Its uses were le
:.or. especially drr'ng the many is- Specification
-=nd-hopping campaigns in the Pacrflc M29C
:eatre. Once ashore they were used Crew: l+3
.a cross terraln that no other vehicle Weishts:unloaded 2195 kq (4 840 Ib);
rruld attempt, and they carrred men Ioaded2740 kg(6,040 lb); payioad
:rpplies and even towed artillery us- 390 kq (860 lb)
-:g their rear-mounted towrng prntle. Powerplant: one Studebaker Model 6-
?rce flelds were no obstacle and the 1 70 petrol engine developinqr 55.9 kW

l.l29C was equally at home crossrno (75 bhp)

:and dunes Dimensions: length overall 4,794 m
The M29C and the land-based M29 (15 ft8.75 tn); lengthoverhull4.4 m
,rr-easels were used as ambulances on ( 14 ft 5.5 in); width L.7 m (5 ft 7 rn);
:.any occasions Another use was for heiqht 1,797 m (5 ft 10.75 rn)
::ossing mineflelds as the Weasel's Performance: maxrmum road speed The M29C S tudebaker Wease./ was used as a n amphibious cargo cane r : :
;ound pressure was very low often 58.58 krdh (36,4 mph); maxrmum could beused to carry personnel. Although small, it could carry useiu.'.c.::-:
.:c low to set off anti tank mrnes A water speed about 6.4 km/h (4 mph) over almost any type of terrain, and once in the water used its tracks ic
-=:hnique was even evolved whereby Armament: none provide propulsion at slow but steady speed.

a Type 2 Ka-Mi
- ie Japanese army produced an but the hull became a larger and bul- effected by rudders on the rear pon-
:rphibious halftrack as early as 1930 kier shape, Large slabs ofarmour piate toon, controlled by cables from a
-:d tested it extensively before decid- were used on the huli which had in- steering wheel in the turret. As there
J that it was too underpowered for built buoyancy chambers, and a rede- was very little freeboard when floating
.-ll cross-country mobility and thus siqned turet carried a 37-mm anti- a trunking arrangement was usually
.jrninqr to other projects However, the tank gmn wrth a co axial 7.7-mm (0 303- erected around the engine intake TheType 2 Ka-Mi amphib:cLs '-;:.:
::a of an amphibioLrs armoured vehi in) machine-qun. Specral-to-role ex grills on the hull top tank was the mosl comm o-:- ;- :-.3: : -'
:-: ol some kind was not entirely lost tras rncluded a bilge pump, and dratn The amphibious light tank was de theJapanese swimmrng ia-ni:s. --: ":a:
.:--i some low-prionty expertmenta- holes were inserted into the road siqnated the Amphibious Tank Type 2 pontoon floats {ore and alr :c ;'.'t
:: ,\/ent on throughout the l93Os in an wheels. In the water the two steel pon- Ka-Mi and rt went into production dur- most of the swimming buo; a: :,: =--.
:mpt to produce an amphibious
--:::cle roons were held .n place by securrng ing 1942. Compared with the land- the bulky hull also had large

for the Japanese navy One oi clamps, and once ashore the pontoons based light tanks it had several innova- buoyancy chambers to p:c',:ie
-:--se projects was to add kapok-fllled were drscarded Steerirg was tions not the least of which was radio more flotation once in the',q'a:e: =.'=:.
l =,s to a Type 95 Kyu-Go light tank
' .. 'ink/floaL combinarion belng prop-
- -=i'rasby two outboard motors. The
. r:r to produce a tank-landrng or
: -:r-crossinq system only but
= .,::;ih the floats worked the com-
-- i- ln was very difflcult to steer and
: = ;:: rect was abandoned at the trials
:.: ]=
: - re idea of makinq the Type 95
l --l: .nto an amphibious light tank
-,: -,-, Crsappear Instead ofthe float
, = -::s -i was decided to redesign the
' .-- , :e TVpe 95 and use steel pon-
-,:,::: and aft to provide buoyancy.
l = - :-::Ls. track, suspensron and en-
: - : ::g with many other compo-
:=-.. ,-.:e Type 95) were retained,
Type 2 Ka-Mi (continued)

a ielephone rntercom system for

-i :lew members. Compared with
-=j-based tanks, the Type 2 also had
1:- ,tcrease ln crew numbers: the
--"pe 95 Kl'u-Go had a crew of only
-:-l=e but the Tlpe 2 could house flve,
:::a-rJy as a result of the increased in-
::rial volume of the hull. One of thrs
:::eased crew was a mechanic who
-:':ked ajier the engdne and the power
:a:isfer. fiom the road wheels to the
-r,-: propellers that drove the vehicle
For its penod the Type 2 Ka-Mi was
: slccessflil little amphibran, and was
-ed operationally on several occa-
s-cns by the Japanese navy. However,
-: suffered the fate of most Japanese
armour, being used in dribs and drabs
:: provlde purely local infantry sup-
,Dort. By 1944 they were more often
.ean not used srmply as land-based
pillboxes in attempts to defend islands
aEarst invasion which was a waste of
reir amphrbious potential, Therr other
problem was that there were never
encugh of them. Japanese industry
::uld never produce enough to meet
iemands, and as every vehicle was
'.:ltually hand-built production was al-
-,';ays slow. But for ail that the Type 2 (24,914 lb); without pontoons 9571 kg B in) This Type 2 Ka-Mi light amphibious
Ka-Mi was one of the best designs of its (21,100 rb) Performance: maximum land speed tank has its forward pontoon float
cenod. Powerplant: one 6-cylinder air-cooled 37 kn/h
(23 mph); maximum water detached and resting on the ground,
diesel developinq 82 kW ( I l0 hp) speed 9,65 km/h (6 mph); land radius clearly showing the large size of this
Specification Dimensions: length wlth pontoons 199. 5 km ( 125 miles); water radius component. The truck is a 2-ton
type 2 Ka-Mi 7.417 m(24 ft4 rn); Iengthwithout kn (93 miles)
149,6 Nissan I 80 cargo vehicle produced
Crew: 5 pontoons4.826 m(15 ft 10 in); width Armament:one 37-mm gmn and two dufing the lattet stages of the war in
Weights: with pontoons I 1301 kg 2.79 m (9 ft 1.8 in); height 2.337 m (7 ft 7 7-mm (0. 303-in) machine-gnrns the Pacific.

-:: -336 the German army generai staff conducted throuqh a series of trials LWS was that it was unarmoured, and tt Germany and brougrht to the UK for a
::lred upon Rheinmetail Borsrg AG to with no great sense ofurgency until the was felt that armour would be needed thorough technical evaluatron by the
:e;elop a specral tractor that could be aftermath of May and june 1940 for any operatrons likely to be under British,
-:i rn amphibious operatrons. The brought the prospect of 'Seelowe (Op- taken. It was also felt that the floatingr
,iea -was that the tractor could tow be- eration 'Sea Lron', the rnvasion of the trailer was a bit cumbersome so a new Specification
.-:-i it a special trailer that could also UK) to the forefront, The LWS and trail- idea was taken up The overall layout LWS
l::: capable of carrying vehicles or er could no doubt have been used for of the LWS was retarned, but thrs trme Crew: 3+20
:-:er cargo up to a weight of about such an operation but it was really in- the trackwork and suspension of a Weisht: 13000 ks (28,660 lb)
-:-,iC kq (39,683 lb). Afloat the tractor tended for the calmer waters of inland PzKpfw IV tank was used to carry a Powerplant:one Maybach HL 120
rld act as a tug for the floating trail- water obstacles Even so the LWS was Iightly armoured floating chassis TWo TRM V-12 engine developing
=: i:'rt once ashore the tractor would pushed with a greater sense of urgen- of these vehicles known as Paruer- 197.6 kW (265 hp)
.,-re io pull the trarler to a point where cy for a whrle, but the prolect never fdhre or PzF, were supposed to carry a Dimensions: lenqth B 60 m (28 ft 2,6 in);
.- :: ld be salcly unloaded. really got off the ground and by 194 I it large pontoon between them wrth the width 3 16 m (10 ft 4.4 in); height 3. 13 m
?:ernmetall undertook the project had been abandoned tank or other load on rt Thus the PzF (10 ft3.3 rn)
=:i produced the Land-Wasser-
Schlepper (land-water tractor) or
One point that counted against the wouid have been a ferry rather than a
tractor. but the whole pro'ecr was
Performance: maximum road speed
40 km/h (24.85 mph); maximumwater
tWS The LWS was very basically a abandoned during 1942 after two pro- speedunloaded 12,5 km/h(7 B mph);
l:-: -:r tlrg f,tted with tracks and was a totypes had been built and tested. roadrange 240 km (149 miles)
--;= and awkward-looking machine After 1945 the LWS was captured in Armament:none
-:-: ::evertheless turned out to be a
:::----kably workmanlike vehicle, The TheGermanLWS was built tocarry up to 20 men and a crew of 3, and itcould
also tow a floating trailer carrying a vehicle or some form of weapon.
-,', S cad a flat bottom on each srde of
:-::: ere two long sets of tracks On

:=::- s:de four sets of road wheels

',-;::: s,ispended in pairs from leaf.
:!r:-lr slspensions, The LWS had a
;:::-:--lced bow and on top was a
:-:: r:l the crew of three men and
:J3le :3r a firther 20. What appeared
,-:: a small funnel was in lact an air
:-.-: r:r the engine At the rear, or
s:=r: :-rio large propellers were
I'.:si:3r water propulsion. To round
:: .:-= :.iauticai flavour of the LWS the
s-::s :: fie crew cabin had portholes.
:- l::rastthe floating trarler was a
--;:: slac-sided affarr that on 1and,
:-r:-,':i cn n heels located on one axle
:::r-d ard two at the rear. At the rear
- :.::-! :::Id be folded down for load-
:.; a -.prcal load being an SdKfz 9
,:-::-:: ::alftrack whose crew trans-
:he LWS for the water lour-

trailer concept was

TheBattleof Tarcrwcr
- h e amphibious assa u/f on T ar aw a w as one of the toughest of the whole P acifi c
The US Marines had to cover I 5 km ( I0 miles) before they reached the
si.cre, crossing enemy obstacles and the coral reef under heavy J apanese shelling,
i,,':ich continued despite a bombardment by US battleships and series of airstn'l<es.
lhe water inshore of the reef was very shallow, grounding many of the landing craft,
Dit the amphibians pressed on to the beach under a hail of fire.
-.:--,',-a lies some 4025 km (2,500 mrles) south The LCVPs which would normally be used
''=:. cf Pearl Harbor, and its strategic import- (and rn any case would still have to carry the
::,:e rn 1943 rested upon its geographical posr- bulk of the supplies) might just scrape across
,-:- along the route from the Allied-held New the reef rf they were not too heavily 1aden, but
--=lrides to the main Japanese south east the LCMs carrying vehicles and (as soon as
: =:rc bastion at Truk, plus also the fact that on possible after the assault) ltght tanks would
l::awa the Japanese had built an airstrip cap- have no chance at ail of gotng all the way in,
=:-e ol taking fighters and llght bombers, By LVTs forthe Marines
---= sarne token, the Japanese had burit heavily
--:creted defence positions in a network of The oniy vessels available rn the Pacific at
:-ierground casemates around the strip and the end of 1943 which might be able to save the
::--rned them with some 2,600 well-trained US Marines a long and exposed walk through
r:lps, auqmented by another 2000 Korean waist-deep water towards a defended beach,
--:struction workers who could be trusted to were LVTs (l,anding Vehicles Tracked), used
-.srst in the rsland's defence, so far only to take suppiies into an estabhshed
larawa consists of a submerged coral reelin beach-head, and either totally unarmoured or
:-= rough shape of an archer's bow, with sever- in the case of some 50 LVT 2s, very lightly
. stretches of the reef risrng above the waves armoured and fitied with only two machine-
.- rorm rslets upon which palm and scrub Qnrns (one 7 62-mm/0 3-in and one 12 7-mm/0 5-
'-:Eetaiion has taken root over the centuries. in), Some rehearsals were carried out wtth
.:-e bow encloses a lagoon rnto which there is those vehicies available, boiler-plate was fltted Marines take cover from fire from a Japanese
::--y one channel, near the apex of the bow, to the sides and cab-fronts olsome LVT ls, and bunker and watch as a special assault team
attempts to burnout the defenders. Tarawawas
--l the nearest islet to the channel is Betio,
:-rely 4.8km (3 mrles) long and less than-
it was piously hoped that covering fire would
compensate for the lack of armoured protec- covered by so many bunkers that ptogress across
the islandwas slow and difficult, with each enen;'
- : km (0 5 mile) wide, upon which the airstrip tton.
strongpoint having to be taken in turn.
-.1 the bulk of the Japanese defences lay. As the Japanese commander, Rear-Admiral
:=-ro, obvrously, was the prime target for Allied Shrbasakr, had not surprisingly placed his
-::aUlt heavy armament and main defences to face out Admiral Shrbasaki s boasr rhar ::r= .r--:-=: .,:-
: rom the point of vrew of the commanders of to sea, the American commanders decided to could not take Betio with one millicr::::- :-,-
,: assault force, Rear-Admiral Harry Hrll and put the US Marines ashore rnsrde the lagoon. years drd not at first glance see:- -:-:-.. .-.
,.1='cr-General Julian Smith commandrng the Even here, though, aerial reconnaissance re- founded,
-,.i Marine Division the greatest initral prob ported that the defences were stronq: under
-=::.-r,rould be to get the men ashore and then water booby-trapped obstacies littered the la-
.-:cly them across a coral reefwhich gaveat goon bed, and a 1.2 m (4-ft) high sea-wall of This aerialview of one of theTarawa landing
:,:.: i.O6-m (3.S-ft) draught, and ran across an coconut logs at the top of the beaches which beaches demonsttates how the nature of the see
.- -:.< lront varylng between 550 and 915 m might have offered some shelter was obviously wall and the blasted terrain prevented mani'c: :.e
: :o 1,000 yards) from the target beaches, enflladed by well-srted machine-gun posts LWs from making their way inland.

a x T -3't
J k"* i
*' rr*
i r':s -;rk IrF
The Battle of Tarawa

l:- -: November 1943 Task Force 52 lelt

=--: -:: .he New Hebrrdes, overtook on 17
l,,'..=:rber the slower moving LST group car-
--.-:-l:lre LVT 2s and arrived some 9,7km (6
: ,-=s :if the outer beachesof Betio inthe early
-.: -:'s:i 20 November. The guns of the flagshrp,
: =',35 ivhryland, two other battieshtps and six
lr *-sers -r,/ere soon engaged in a due,l with the
,-cr:.ese coastal armament whiie the marrnes
- - -:= assault combat teams from 2nd and Bth
l.llr-:-e Regiments clambered down the heavy
:=carkation nets, the first wave went stralght ii;,t. :: . .ii

,:-.: :1e LVTs, the second and third waves into

-l-,-Ps, and the fourth wave into sea boats
--:=ad-y loading wrth heavy weapons and
=l:,Oment. Led by minesweepers and
=s::r.eci by two destroyers, the l1nes of landing
:r=-: nade for the narrow channel ihrough the
:=:- and as dawn hghtened the sky they
:-::^ied their way into the laqoon and began
.:,: ,rrn lor the run-in.
Strafing raids
,:s :ley did so carrierborne aircraft streaked There were three of these (Red 1, 2 and 3), Bodies of Japanese troops lie amongst the
:- ,r:m ihe west and for nearly half an hour each the goal of a rernforced battalion, bui the wreckage ofa bunker onTarawa in the aftermath
.= rr-ed the length of the island, especially the first marines to qo ashore were a scouting snip, of three days of desperate fighting. Of the
r *---.,',-a_,/s and any sign of habrtation or strongt- er team under Lieutenant Hawkins whose task Japanese garrison,4,690 were killed and 17
wounded soldietswere captured. The body count
;-:-:. the pilots could see. As the aircraft it was to storm the end of a long pier which at Tarawawas testimony to the bravery of the
.:r:a::ed away into the growlng hght, the separated Red 2 and 3 neutralize rts defences
Japanese and an ominous sign for the Marines.
: =: . , naval guns at sea opened up in a concen- and hold the pier lor use by the supply vessels
:.- :i bombardment which shrouded Betio in asthey came in, The team's LCVPhit the reef at towards the beaches, Some were hit dunng
.::---<= and huge brllowrng clouds of coral dust, the end of the pier on time and Hawkins led his that last approach, machine gun fire laced the
= =: ,-.,e ly blindrng both the defenders and men up the ramp conveniently built there by air across the width of all the beach-heads but
:-,:= :riiically, the drivers of the manouvring the defenders, to flnd himself immediately en- by 09 10 the frrst wave of marines was rolling
--.- - s .all keenly aware of the necessity of put gaged in a swift and violent action among over the sides of the craft and racing up to-
-..= :reir passenQlers down on the right stacked fuel drums, two of which exploded wards the dubious shelter of the coconut pali
=: l]les durrng the fight Two wooden huts were attack- sade Fortunately, frre from the escortlng des-
ed with a flamethrower (and the resulting con- troyers had already obliterated two of the en
),avy F6F Hellcatroars in to blast inlandJapanese
flagratron burned through an area of the prer flladrng machine-gun posts, and soon the
pcsjtjons as Ma rines take cover behind the sea floor, thus addrng later to the problems of the others were also silenced, The marines dug in
;,,'al| of Tarawa and stranded LVTs litter the supply teams), a dozen Japanese soldiers were deeper, sniped at anything that moved inland,
cackgtound. Getting over this was was one of the killed and then the pier was in American and watted for therr supporting waves to arrive.
),larjnes' most difficult tasks in the initial landing hands. By this time the first LVTs had clam- All along the reef edge the LCVPs and LCMs
a J=l dLlAl1S. bered across the reef and were swimmino rn grounded; the water was even lower than ex

:=r :C and nothing untracked could cross.
the marines slid down into the waier
,, :egan the awlul walk to the beachesr there
.: :-rihing to hrde behlnd, and the Americans
:leld down to a slow trudge through r,varst-
- -,r:-= r,.ater, frothed by machine-gun crossflre
:j r an inferno of explosions, only too oflen
,'-:-:d deep prnk from the writhing bodies ci
-:-r:riends, But nothing stopped the sun/ivors
:: :-lre and more craft arrived at the reef sc
-:: and more lines of men fl]led the lagoci
. i .-;aded implacably forward, and soon :he
:s rn/ere reaching the beaches and runnrnj
.-. '. 'r,rards Ine palsade
:tiddenJapanese Pa:< nc-.'.-izers -rere now ashore, the des A US M arine rises aboye fir's sa ndbagge d p os idc:
--lere slow proerress was made. The .r. ...Ii r+--a:rL= e-/el more acculate rn prn- to hur I a hand g r enade at a J apanese posjdor. f-: g
r. anese were largely unseen except for fiicit- pc:n:rng :heir targets, two companiei of lapanese had extensively fortified Tarawa anci
rrariaes brcke clean through across the air- demanded a heavypricefor every bunker: over
=r,:g tongues of red and orange flame s:ab 1,000 leathernecks were killed and 2,500
: :,3 from gun-ports in low lying and con s:rip arrd reached the ocean shore where they wounded.
=-ied bunkers. Every move put the attackers dug rn and the whole of the western end of
different firelane, and casualties mounted Beiio came under Amerrcan control allowrng
. =a -worrying rate. Coionel Davrd Shoup, ihe yei more marine battalions to land The situa The Japanese and Korean defenciers :: :,=
:::nbat commander, went ashore on Red 2lust tion closely resembled that on Crete in 1941 other rslets of Tarawa atoll were qurc<- .- -',-=--
-:ore noon and hrs first signal back to Admrral once Maleme airfield had failen to the German come, though in the case of the japa::.= . - --
..-,i read 'lssue in doubt . But first impressions rn paratroops: the attackers could be streng diers each one had to be cornered a:-i .- =:
: a:tle are apt to be uncertain, and shortly aiter- thened, and the defenders were being inexor- only 17 wounded lapanese were la<=:, :--.:
','ards the flrst of the light tanks threaded therr ably ground away. most of the 146 PoWs being Korear- -':.= :=
.', ay through the swamp of floating bodles and mainder ol the 4 75O-strong garrrs, ,-. ' -;.-' '
:-:ved qulckly to the aid ol the pinned-down Counterattack the death, On the other side, over - , - - - :
--=-antry, On the last day of the battle, the Japanese did Marines had been killed and more .:a:- - , - ,
More waves came into the beach, the heavy mount a counterattack, some 500 men boiling wounded,
---.pplies trundled along what remained of the up out ofthe underground casemates to throw four Medals of Honor were \ -or- : -- -,-.. j
:-er and reached the men who needed them, themselves through devastating destroyer and the fame of the US 2nd Marine Di,:.s--: =: ., .
-.d as the long afternoon dragged by and dusk artillery fire at a marine company, and rn 20 lrshed for ever. And lessons wers .- -::. .: .-
:-1. ihe rnrtrative passed inevitably lnto the minutes of chaos and confusion at bayonet and the scrence ol amphibrous w;r:;:: .. - .-
:-arines' hands and the Japanese lost any grenade range, both sides were almost annihi- would save countless hves rn future *:---.
riance they had ol dnving thelr attackers off lated. But there were more Americans than
:::io, They made no attempt at a counterattack Japanese, so the result was pre-ordained. The The aftermath of the initial stages of the Tara','.'a
-:rnng that nlght (the bombardment had following morning the 2nd Marine Divisron Iandings: wrecked and stranded LWs litter :.e
:::ashed their communication system) and the completed mopping up, destroying the last de seawall. Underwater obstacles and enemy *e
:-:-<t morning (21 November) another battahon fenders rn co-ordinated rnfantry/tank opera- combined tomake this opening phase of the
-- -he 8th Marines came ashore after a wretch- tions, and at 13, 12 on 23 November General Tarawa landing one of the most costly of th.e r.a:]'
=: nlght spent bobbing about rn LCVPs. Smrth declared Betio secured, amphibious operations in the Pacific.

*t!li;rt;l r:':.lrllltlli:lra:til

, g.';il;;

1-1; -6



:e German army demanded

-:ci more of these vehrcles dur-
r: early war years for the
,r,m-,r/agen was a handy little round performance To make sure that transmrsslon was isolated. Water British troops maintain a captured
.:. Ap"rt 'rom Lts reconnd-ss- none of the cross-country power was steenng was effected vla the front German Schwimmwagen that has
:= ::ie many were used by com Iost specral all-terrarn tyres were wheels. Desprte tts handrness ir warer beenpressedin toAllied use as a
.: j::s of all types of unrt who found fittecl. the Schwimmwagen proved to be runabout. They areworking on the
- =:- '.:.\r useful for vlsiting scattered The propeller used to drrve the equaily at home in the desert wastes of propeller unit thatwas lowered as
--- :. :specially over the wrde ex- vehicle rn .water was located on a North Africa some ending in that the vehicle moved into the water-
: ---.:s :i the Eastern Front The vehr- swinging arm at the rear. Before the theatre with the Deutsches Afrika Note the overall chubby appearance
: - '.'.-:s powered by a l.3Jitre petrol vehicle entered the water thrs arm had Korps Rommel made requests for of the design, produced by the use of
=:;:-:-: .hat rvas shghtly more powerfui to be lowered to aligrn the screw with more, but rnstead the bulk of the pro- flotation chambers.
: ::- :r. ri the Kubelwagen and whtch the drive chain and once propeller duction went to the Eastern Front
-.:.= Schwrmmwagen a beiter drrve had been selected the resi ofthe where the arr-cooled engrne anci the presence of more water obstacles
:1':a a1l
meant Lt could be used to better effect:
Rommel instead qot Kilbelwaqens
Many of the Eastern Front models
were f,tted wrth a special tank contarn
rng a vely vota-ile fuel 'or st.r irr g
under wrnter condrtions
The Schwrrnrnwagen was an attrac-
tive little vehrcle and many were used
by the Alles, often as trophres but
more usually for run-abouts by Alhed
commanders. Many strll exlst as col-
lectors Ltems

Schwimmfahiger Gelandeng Typ 166
Crew: 1+3
Weights: unloaded 903 5 kq (i,992 lb),
payload 434 5 kq (958 lb)
Powerplant:one VW 1 13lrtre petrol
engrne developrng 18.64 kW (25 hp)
nl t Dimensions: lenqth 3.825 m (12 ft
:1 6 6 in); width I 48 m (4 ft 10 3 in); heiqht
Performance: maxrmum road speed
B0 km/h (50 mph); maximurn water
speed I I km/h (7 mph) range 400-
450 km (250-280 miles)
Armament: none

Waffen SS soldiers from one of the SS

Balkan units are about to board their
S c hwimmw age n dur ing oper ati ons
agains t par tis ans. During such
oper ations the amphibious qualities
of this vehicle could often be used to
good advantage, as water obstacles
^- werenoproblem.
-s"mned Forces of the World

Ithe Chinese Navy

- -., , :' :"e People's Republic of China has a force is backed by a large conventtonal submarlne gates (known locally as the 'Chengdu' class) as r'r;
.-'':- :--:-gin of 284.000 regular officers and fleet of over 90 ex-Soviet and Chinese built copies as a f urther five units of a 'Riga'variant known as r-:
*:* ,'" :- :- additional 40,000 in the naval air arm of the Soviet 'Romeo' desiqn, two unsatisfactory 'Jiangnan' class. For second-line duties and coas::
.- : :: , - l ^ the marine corps. The reserves add at ind genous 'Ming' class units, and 20 or so obsolete patrol the Chinese have retained ln service a tota l'
i::: :-::^e:200,000 to these figures. The navy is Chinese-constructed examples of the Soviet'Whis- some 14 ex-Japanese, British, Australian a-:
:-:: ::r nto three fleet areas, the North Sea key' class. Although powerful in terms of overall Nationalist Chlnese World War ll corvettes, wn :^
:.. :=:g tne major one as it is nearest to the numbers, these boats are severely limited tn oper- they have not only refitted but also rearmed !., :-
ic Fleet's main operating bases. The ational capability by their 1950s' and 1960s' technol- more modern weapons.
- ^= =zcf
--=-:,'.. are the East Sea Fleet and the South Sea ogy weapons and systems. A new more modern
-=- conventional submarine class for series production
- .::rs of capabilities the navy is in fact a service is postulated for the mid-1980s, and it is believed
-- -:-irasts. On the one hand t has a growing fleet that the prototypes are undergoing trials now.
-' ::ciristicated nuclear submarines indicating a The largest surface warships in the navy are of
- :- :vel of expertrse in the nuclear sector, whilst destroyer size. These are four anti-ship cruise mis-
-- -^e other hand its curTent conventional sub- sile-armed 'Anshan' class vessels (although still in
-.- -e and surface combalanl constructon pro relatively good condition, these are in fact converted
:':-'Tres ref lect the country's lack of a technology ex-Soviet World War ll 'Type Vll' class gun des-
::a: n the armament and electronics requlred for troyers transferred to China ln 1954-5 from the
.,:- vessels. To offset this problem the Chinese Soviet Pacific Fleet), and the indigenous 'Luda' de-
'1960s and
,::-cached the US Navy, which sent as part of a s gn. The latter was begun tn the early
'=::nt Department of Defense delegation several appears to owe a lot to the Soviet 'Kotlin' destroyer
- ;^-ranking officers who apparently discussed the design. The first unit was completed in 197'1 , and
::ssibility of supplying 20-mm Phalanx CIWS, the construction programme is still under way. A
-.:ars, sub-surface weapons and sensors to equip total of around 16 is in service, and these are armed
---rent and future naval construction. A previous with anti-ship cruise missiles. The number would
..:3mpt along similar lrnes by the British earlier ln have been greater but for the interruption in the
-: 1 9B0s was cancelled because of the high costs shipyards in the early 1970s caused by the coup
- . clved. attempt of the defence minister, Lin Biao.
'.r .198'1 the first Chinese 'Xia' class 8,000{on, To assrst the destroyers in their work there is a
'20-m (393.7J1) long SSBN was launched at the growing number of frigates, most of which are of The Chinese naqilpossessesa large force of fast
-:rudao shipyard, 200 km (125 miles) north east of local design. The latest product is the 'Jianghu' attack craft to supplement its growing nuclear
.^e capital. Beijing. Entelng operational service in class, of which some 15 are in service in three submarine fleet- Many of the Chinese surface
- vessels are now obsolescent and their equipmen:
385, this vessel will be followed by at least another subclasses, the'Jianghu l','Jianghu ll' and'Jianghu
similarly dated. Here, Chinesd sailors man an MELI
'.e craft of the same class. An indigenous two- I I l'. A fi nal class total of over 20 is expected. The sole 1800 250-mm anti-submarine mortar aboard a
-.:age solid-propellant SLBM, the CSS-N-3, has been area SAM defence ships n the navy at present 'Shanghai II' class fast attack craft.
::siqned and built for use in the 12 missile tubes appear to be the two units of the 'Jiangdong'f rigate
'::ed to each unit. Before turning to SSBNs in the class which, after a long building pertod, have only
Mainstay of the Chinese surface fleet, the 'Luda'
:arly '1970s, the sarne shipyard launched the pro- just become fully operational. lt is probable that by
class destroyers are similar to the,Sovjet 'Kotlins'.
.:rype of the Albacore-hulled 4,5001on, 100-m now the navy has deployed large numbers of the Builtin two batches, the'Ludas' are armedwith
i2B 1-ft) long 'Han' class SSN After a lengthy trials locally built NH 5 'Red Tassel' shoulder launched two triple launchers for SS-N-2 type'HaiYing:'
:eriod this was followed by a second unit of the short-range defence SAM to supplement the ships' mr'ssr7es, a pair of FQF 2500 anti-submarine roc.kei
- ass in 980, with another two to follow during the
automatic AA guns. Apart f rom the 'Jianghus'there launchers and four I 30-mm guns, and can make a
- d- to late-1980s. This small nuclear submarine are also four Chinese-built Soviet 'Riga' class fri- maximumspeedof 36 kts.


lD PqsS
Armed Forces of the World China

'Shanghai II' fast attack craft carry two 37-mm and on replenishment and research vesseis. lt is orga- SSNs: two 'Han' class and two more building
lwo 25-mm gun positions: (left) twin 37-mm L/63s, a nized into three bomber and six fighter divisions, submarines: two 'M ing', 20 'Whiskey' and 93
Sovietweapon first introduced in I 943; and (right) each with three regiments (that at maximum ' 'Romeo'c ass, plus more'Romeotciass un ts
t"vin 25-mm L/80s. The 300 'Shanghai IIs' also have
strength each comprise three squadrons of three building
eight depth charges and can make 30 kfs.
flights of four or five aircraft, a maintenance un jt and missiledestroyers: four'Anshan' class and 1 5
-ne real strengtb of the navy, however, lies in its several light transports and trainers). The bomber 'Luda' class, plus more'Luda' class units building
3^i 'orces. These comprise some 220 fast attack divisions use a small number of Hong-6 (Tupolev missilefrigates: two'Jiangdong' class, four
:-:-:'rnissile) based on the Soviet'Komar' and'Osa' Tu-16 'Badger') medrum jet bombers for long-range 'Chengdu' classand 16'Jianghu l'.'Jianghu ll'
r=s gns and armed with the locally-built version of reconnaissance, minelaying and anti-shipping strike and 'J ianghu ll l' ciasses, with more 'J ianghu'
--: Sov:et SS-N-2 'Styx'anti-ship cruise misslle,340 with two underwing missiles based on the Chinese class units building
':s:aftack craft (gun), and 250 fast attack craft (tor- copy of the 'Styx'; Hong-5 (llyushin ll-28 'Beagle') frigates: f ive 'Jiangnan' class
:::c,. ln addition there are also some 60 large patrol torpedo attack, light bomber and photo- escorts: 1 4 assorted World War ll types
,::sels fitted for coastal ASW duties, and 1 40-1 50 reconnaissance aircraft; Oiang-5'Fantan-A' fighter- fastattackcraft(missile): 120'Osa'and 100'Komar'
.-: er coastal and river patrol craft. bombers for amphibious assault support; and a types
-^'crtunately there are only 23 'T43' class ocean number of obsolete ex-Soviet Tupolev Tu,2 'Bat' fast attack craft (g un): 300 'Shanghai I l' and
- -3s!^/eepers with 100 coastal and auxiliary units piston-engine medium bombers for general bomb 'Shanghai lll' classes, 40'Shantou' cJassand
-: ::;nterthe majorSovietthreat in this area. Offen- ing and minelaying training duties. The f ighter divi- three'Hail.ou'class
. .: - nelaying is reliant mainly on the submarine sions are integrated into the national air-defence fastattackcraft (torpedo):'140'Huchuan l' and
':-:: and the larger surface vessels, together with network and are equipped with the locally built F-7 'Huchuan ll'classes, 60'P6'class and 50'P4'
.^: ::mbers of the naval air arm. Defensive laying (Mikoyan Gurevrch MiG 21), F-6 (Mic 19), F-5 (Mic class
-'- :: rndertaken by most naval warship classes, 17) and F-2 (MiG 15) fighters. To supplement the large patrol craft: 40 'Hainan' class and 20
:,- s dependent on stocks of mainly ex-Soviet fighters there are a limited number of SAM regim- 'Kronshtadt'class
,', :-: 'Nar ll mine types that have been copied. ents equipped with the CSA-1 copy of the Soviet coastal and river patrol craft: four'Taishan' class, 30
--: an phibious warfare force comprises a mix of SAM 2 'Guideline' missile 'Beihai'and 'Wuhsi' classes, 30 'Fujian' class, 40
::-- l c and new craft, and can comfortably lift a For ASW and medium-range maritime patrol 'Huangpu' class, 40'Yulin' class and two
::-: =Ie division of the People's Army together there is an ageing force of ex-Soviet navy Beriev 'Yingkou'ciass
.\ -- : is equipment over medium distances. The Be-6 'Madge' flying-boats armed wlth bombs and MCM vessels: 23'f $'class, 20'Fushun'class and
-:- ^. scrps is now getting a growing number of depth charges. There is no helicopter ASW force at B0 auxiliary sweepers
-:,:'r-a:t for assault and logistics work, and this present, although the navy flies a number of Mil amphibious warf are vessels: 23 or more LSTs, 47 or
:-:.',-< a greater awareness of the hovercraft's Mi-1 'Hare', locally built H-5 (Nlil Mi-4'Hound') and more LSMs, 350 or more LCUs, 160 or more
:-::^::i inan is apparent tn some Western navies. the previously mentioned Super Frelon helicopters LCMs, some 20 hovercraft. with more of alltypes
:-'=xtended periods at sea the navy now has a in the transport and communications roles. For building
- ::: r;mber of underway replenishment ships freighting there are the Y-5 Chinese version oJ the
':-=: .,,'tn equipment similar to the American liquid Antonov An-2 'Colt' light transport and a number of Chinese Naval Air Arm order of battle
:-r so C store transfer systems. More develop- Lisunov Li-2 (Soviet-built Douglas C-47) medium bombers: 50 8-6,50Tu-2,50 B-5 (including
-=-- -:n,s area is expected as the navy conducts transports. reconnaissance variant), and 1 50 B-5 torpedo
--::- :eployments into areas such as the lndian Although precise details of the navy are not avail- bombers
l:=.- able, the fo{lowing order of battle is believed to be fighters: 50 J-7, 300 J-6, 200 J-5 and B0 J-2
--= li aiion of the People's Navy, as the naval air reasonably accurate. attack: 50 O-5
.-- s::,ed, is predominantly shore-based although ASW: 20 8-^-6
.=,:': :' ts French46rospatiale SA32'1 Super Fre- Chinese Navy order of battle helicopters: 40 N 5, 20 Mil-1 and 1 3 Super Frelon
: - :-:-sccrt helrcopters have bebn pictured at sea SSBNs: one'Xia'class and f ive more building transports: 20 Lt-2 and 40Y-5