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LCM 56

The enemy's view from the shoreline must have been ominous. After the ferocious pre-invasion bombardment concluded, the clearing dust and smoke revealed scores of small craft headed toward the beach, with many more behind them, circling and awaiting orders to proceed to the line of departure. In each small craft were up to 120 American assault troops, or a single Sherman tank.

There were hundreds of such craft scheduled for the assault. They were Landing Craft, Mechanized (LCM). They brought American and Allied troops to beaches from Casablanca to Leyte, from Normandy to Kiska, from Salerno to Sagami Wan. Their armor could stop a .30 caliber bullet and their capacious fuel tanks not only made them extremely buoyant if damaged; they could cruise almost 800 miles unloaded. The "M," meaning mechanized, meant that the landing craft could carry vehicles up to and including a 30-ton tank.

 

The LCM (3) on exhibit at Battleship Cove was built by Higgins Industries in New Orleans, Louisiana. Prepared for landing on a hostile beach, the LCM had a crew of four, two .50 caliber machine guns, and armor around the wheelhouse. An eminently adaptable watercraft, the LCM was also used for ferrying troops and equipment, for resupply and medical evacuation, and for various liaison duties. 

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