Legends of Warfare
US Landing Craft of WWII, Vol. 1
We don't generally review much in the way of Naval subject products at AMPS for obvious reasons. However, sometimes there is an occasion where the subject matter does relate to armor in some fashion, however small. This is one of those situations, given that armor was transported to some beachfront battlegrounds by landing craft, particularly ( but not exclusively limited to ) in the Pacific Campaign. As my Dad, a WWII USN coxswain was at the helm of an LCVP during the April Fool's Day 1945 invasion of Okinawa, I am particularly interested in reviewing this title from prolific author David Doyle.
This book is the first of a two volume treatment of WWII landing craft, the follow-on volume 2 will address the heavyweights of the landing craft family; the LCTs, LCM's and LST's.
The Legends of Warfare series of books published by Pennsylvania based Schiffer Publishing is an extensive and ever growing line of volumes on the famous and well known machines of war, divided by subject into Ground, Naval and Aviation subjects. These volumes share similar formats and production values, and are modestly priced at just $19.99 USD. Books in this series that I’ve examined were all found to be well worth the modest cost, and were useful additions to the modeler or military history buff’s library
Format - hardcover, square format
Page Count - heavyweight, glossy paper, 112 pages
Size - 9.25" x 9.25"
Photos - 176 black and white, and full color images.
Tables / Drawings / Diagrams - tables of technical / performance specifications, no drawings.
All text and photo captions are in English
What's in the Book?
Above - the book's table of contents
Following a compact introduction, the book launches into it's examination of the various models of landing craft developed for use in World War II. The chapters all follow a similar format; with opening text describing development and history on the chapter's subject, a table or two on specifications, and of course, loads of interesting photographs.
The book's opening chapter covers the early examples of landing craft developed in the late 1930's, examples of which are pictured in use during the early stages of WWII in storied locations such as Guadalcanal. Some very nice full color images of a surviving example in the National World War II Museum in New Orleans are also presented.
Above - informative tables of information on the various landing craft accompany the chapters.
The images in this book range from the home front factories and proving grounds ( waters? ) to the invasion landing beaches of Europe and the far flung islands of the Pacific. I really like the image above. I'd love to see a kit manufacturer do a US flatcar of WWII vintage to make a depiction of something like the above image possible.
Above - this book is full of good looks at the various models of landing craft, such as the views above of the LCVP coxwain's "office" where he operated the craft the landing craft, often into harm's way.
Above - the book makes very good use of the many full page images.
Above - an LCVP on it's way in to Omaha beach on D-Day. An iconic image if ever there was one.
Above - images of a newly constructed LCVP located at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. This LCVP was built using WWII blueprints and the crew building it included some of the very same folks who built the originals. Amazing.
A note on the images contained in this book - the images range from quarter page sized all the way up to a great many of full page size. The photos are uniformly well chosen for interest, and the vast majority are bright and crystal clear, enabling easy study of detail. The few images that are not absolutely perfect are more than worthy of inclusion in the book due to their historical interest.
Above - as I mentioned at the beginning of this review, there IS a bit of armor related content in this book. In what is my favorite image of the entire book, we see an M2A4 light tank being lowered into a landing craft for transport to the fight on Guadalcanal.
Above - great images are to be found throughout this book, like the ones above showing a larger class of landing craft that look more like regular ocean going ships to me.
A Note on Photo Captions - as I've found with his works on armor, the author's captions are quite complete, informative and clearly written. He does a thorough job of informing the reader of the what's, when's, where's and why's ( if applicable ), and points out areas of special interest if needed.
This is the first of the Legends of Warfare books that I've examined that was not strictly focused on armor, and I'm pleased to say that the same high standards that are present in the line's armor titles are maintained here. While not being a book focused on armor, this book's subject matter does have a bit to do with getting armor to the battlefield. In any case, these landing craft were vital to the war effort, and their history should be of interest to all who are interested in World War II.
The images found throughout this book were of a very good quality, being sharp and clear. There are many images from shipyards and proving areas that show great detail of these craft. There are also a good number of "in action" style images of the various landing craft models hitting the beaches worldwide. Additionally, there are some very nice full color "in detail / walk around " style images of surviving landing craft in museums.
The text and photo captioning in this volume is excellent, giving the reader a lot of interesting information in a clear, concise manner.
This is another fine, value packed entry in the Legends of Warfare series, and I found it of great interest. I look forward to seeing Volume 2 of this set!
Thanks to David Doyle Books for the review copy!
Reviewed by Chuck Aleshire, AMPS Chicagoland
AMPS 2nd VP, Midwest Region
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