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Andrew Jackson Higgins
(1886 - 1952)
Born in Columbus, Nebraska

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The Higgins boats broke the gridlock on the ship-to-shore movement. It is impossible to overstate the tactical advantages his craft gave U.S. amphibious commanders in World War II.

Col. Joseph H. Alexander, USMC (Ret)
A FELLOWSHIP OF VALOR
The Battle History of the United States Marines

During the 1930's Higgins Industries had perfected a workboat, dubbed the 'Eureka' model, designed to work in the swamps and marshes of south Louisiana. The shallow-draft boat could operate in only 18 inches of water, running through vegetation and over logs and debris without fouling its propeller. It could also run right up on shore and extract itself without damage. As part of his sales demonstrations, Higgins often had the boats run up on the Lake Ponchartrain seawall.
The "head log" - a solid block of pine at the bow - was the strongest part of the boat, enabling it to run at full speed over floating obstacles, sandbars, and right up on to the beach without damaging the hull.

A deep vee hull forward led to a reverse-curve section amidships and two flat planning sections aft, flanking a semi-tunnel that protected the propeller and shaft. Aerated water flowing under the forefoot of the boat created less friction when the boat was moving and allowed for faster speeds and maneuverability. Because of the reverse curve, objects in the water would be pushed away from the boat at a point between the bow and amidships (including the aerated water - only solid water reached the propeller). This allowed continuous high-speed running and cut down on damage to the propeller, as floating objects seldom came near it. The flat sections aft, on either side of the shaft tunnel, actually had a catamaran/planing effect which added to the hull speed.

All of these features contributed to the boat's successful adaptation as a landing craft, and when a bow ramp was added at the request of the Marine Corps, the LCVP design was complete.

The boat could land a platoon of 36 men with their equipment, or a jeep and 12 men, extract itself quickly, turn around without broaching in the surf, and go back out to get more troops and/or supplies. This was critical - any landing craft that could not extract itself would hinder the ability of succeeding waves to reach the beachhead. The tough, highly maneuverable Higgins boats allowed Allied commanders to plan their assaults on relatively less-defended coastline areas and then support a beachhead staging area rather than be forced to capture a port city with wharves and facilities to offload men and material. The 20,000+ Higgins boats manufactured by Higgins Industries and others licensed to use Higgins designs landed more Allied troops during the war than all other types of landing craft combined. Col. Alexander (cited above) was accurate in calling the LCVP "...a world-shaking innovation, one that would defeat Germany and Japan as ineluctably as any other technology."

SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE HIGGINS INDUSTRIES 36-FOOT LCVP

Construction Material: Wood (oak, pine and mahogany)
Displacement: 15,000 Pounds (light)
Length: 36-Feet, 3-Inches
Beam: 10-Feet, 10-Inches
Draft: 3-Feet Aft and 2-Feet, 2-Inches Forward
Speed: 12 Knots
Armament: Two .30-Caliber Machine Guns
Crew: Three - Coxswain, Engineer and Crewman
Capacity: 36 Troops with gear and equipment, or
6,000-Pound vehicle, or
8,100-Pounds of Cargo
Power Plant: Gray 225-HP Diesel Engine
 


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