Chapter III
Landing Boats

Section   Page
I. General 43
II. Standard Navy boats 47
III. Special equipment for standard Navy boats 50
IV. Special Navy landings boats 54

Section I

301. Boat requirements 43
302. Transportation of boats 43
303. Boats for landing assault battalions 44
304. Size of boats 44
305. Speed of boats 45
306. Boat armament 45
307. Draft of boats 46
308. Boats for landing reserve battalions 46
309. Lighters and barges 46

  1. Boat requirements.--

    1. A primary consideration in a successful landing against opposition is the provision of landing boats in adequate numbers, and with suitable characteristics to land the personnel and matériel of the landing force in accordance with the tactical and administrative plans. Allowance should be made for probable boat losses.

    2. Number of boats required.--

      1. It is highly desirable that sufficient boats be available to land all combat troops, without the need for any of these troops having to wait for a second trip. The number provided should at least permit the landing in the first trip of the boats of sufficient assault battalions, with essential combat equipment, to cover the required frontage in the proposed operations, together with the necessary artillery and local reserves to hold the ground gained until reinforcements are landed in later trips.

      2. Lighters and barges, in addition to the boats used to land troops, must also be provided to land the necessary equipment and supplies of the landing force within the time limit and under the conditions likely to be encountered.

    3. Scheme of maneuver.--The number of boats available must be considered in determining the scheme of maneuver to be adopted. A shortage of boats will probably require a reduction in the frontage on which the landing is to be made, and may slow down the advance inland of the leading elements due to the delay in landing reserve echelons. Under these conditions, more time will be available for the enemy to concentrate against troops ashore, as on a series of small islands, the landings can be made successively by using the same boats in each landing.

    4. Data on boat requirements.--Data on boat requirements for landing personnel and matériel of all units of the Fleet Marine Force can be obtained from Marine Corps Organization and Tonnage Tables, and from "Logistic Data, U.S. Marine Corps."

  2. Transportation of boats.--

    1. The transportation of the required number of boats to the theater of operations is a serious problem. The stowage requirements for boats and other deck cargo may be so large that unusual methods of boat stowage may be imperative. Such conditions may require stowage in holds or 'tween deck compartments, or construction of platforms or stages designed to increase the available deck stowage space. Some situations may permit the larger boats and lighters to be towed to the landing area. Specially converted ships to act as boat carriers may be necessary in large operations.

    2. Insofar as possible the boats and lighters needed in the landing should be carried on the transports. Each transport on which combat units are embarked should carry, as a minimum, sufficient boats to land one reinforced infantry battalion.
 --43-- Change 2 to FTP-167

    1. The capacity of ships' booms under all conditions of weather likely to be encountered will normally fix the maximum weight of boats which may be carried. Specially designed sectional boats and lighters of large capacity may be carried broken down for assembly after arrival at destination. Where time is available, and on ships with low freeboard, arrangements may be made for carrying lighters, beyond the capacity of the booms, to be launched over the side.

    2. When it is impossible to accommodate sufficient boats on the troop transports, it may be desirable to provide one or more specially designed ships to act as boat carriers.

  1. Boats for landing assault battalions.--

    1. It is extremely important that the assault battalions be landed in suitable boats. Desirable characteristics of such boats are:

      1. Armament.--Should mount suitable weapons capable of producing a heavy volume of fire.

      2. Speed.--Should be fast. Boats for leading waves should have a speed of not less than 12 knots, a greater speed being desirable.

      3. Shallow draft.--Should be able to run well up on any type of beach, override underwater obstacles, and ground on a fairly even keel.

      4. Good surfboat.--Should be seaworthy and easily handled in surf.

      5. Armor.--Should have armor protection against small-arms fire. This is particularly necessary for coxswain, gunners, engine, and gasoline tank.

      6. Rugged.--Not easily damaged by pounding in the surf.

      7. Nesting.--It is desirable that the boats be suitable for nesting or stowing in tiers aboard ship.

    2. Special type boats such as rubber boats and amphibian tractors should be provided in sufficient numbers for any special missions requiring this type of equipment.

  2. Size of boats.--

    1. The use of relatively small boats in landing the leading echelons has many advantages. A heavy volume of fire can be developed upon approaching the shore, small boats can be beached closer in, troops are quickly disembarked and deployed for attack on shore, and a number of small boats presents a less concentrated target for enemy fire. Small boats can be nested in large boats aboard ship or stowed in spaces not suitable for larger types, and can be carried on vessels not equipped with large capacity booms.

    2. Figure 1 illustrated diagrammatically the advantages of small boats over large boats in landing leading waves.

      Company A, on the right, lands its leading waves in eight small shallow-draft boats. The beach is covered by the fire of boat guns from the eight boats. Boats run well in to the beach and troops are on shore with minimum delay. Troops deploy ashore with slight lateral movement. The enemy fire is dispersed over eight targets, and a relatively small number of men are exposed to a single shell, mine, or the beaten zone of a machine gun.

      Company B lands its leading wave in one large boat. This boat beaches relatively far out, has little fire power, enemy fire can be concentrated, disembarkation and movement are slow, and troops must move laterally to get into attack formation. For example, the flank squads of Company B would have to debark and move 200 yards directly by the flank under enemy fire before gaining their proper places in the attack formation of the company.

    3. Large boats, however, have certain advantages, particularly for rear waves. To land a given number of troops requires fewer boats, less stowage space aboard ship, and fewer boat crews. Large boats simplify and speed the execution of the ship to shore movement, particularly where the beach or approach thereto is restricted. They can be used to best advantage where, due to surprise or under protection of troops already landed, the boats and troops disembarking will not be subjected to aimed fire of small arms or antiboat guns.

    4. It will be seen from the foregoing that from tactical considerations, as well as from the standpoint of procurement and transportation overseas, it is desirable that boats of several sizes be made available. The following sizes are the most suitable:

      1. Boats with a capacity of from 12 to 20 fully equipped men, in addition to the crew, for landing the leading waves. Sufficient boats of this size should be provided to land from 10 to 15 percent of the infantry of the landing force. Where destroyers are to be utilized for transporting troops and landing boats, it may be desirable to supply boats having a capacity of even less than 12 fully equipped men.

      2. Boats with a capacity of 20 to 40 men for landing support echelons, that is, the second waves. Sufficient boats of this size should be provided to land from 10 to 15 percent of the infantry of the landing force.

      3. Boats with a capacity of 40 or more men for landing reserve echelons, that is, third and succeeding waves. Sufficient boats of this size should be provided to land from 20 to 25 percent of the infantry of the landing force.
 --44-- Change 1 to FTP-167

      1. When boats are provided in accordance with the above provisions, about one-half of the total number of infantry battalions of the landing force will be equipped with suitable boats to land in assault formations.

  1. Speed of boats.--The time that boats are in the water between the transport area and the beach is an important consideration. Fast boats are less vulnerable to enemy fire and reduce the time available to the enemy to concentrate his troops and otherwise perfect his defensive measures. Fast boats in the leading waves decrease the interval between the lifting of the naval supporting fire and the arrival of the boats at the beach. When this naval gunfire lifts, the enemy may be expected to man his defenses near the beach. Any decrease in this interval will materially improve the chances of success of the landing.

    Figure 1: Comparision of small and large boats in landing leading wave
    Figure 1.--Comparison of small and large boats in landing leading wave.

  2. Boat armament.--

    1. In order to compensate for the probable limitations of naval gunfire and the necessity of lifting this gunfire when the leading boats are still well off the beach, each boat of the leading waves should be heavily armed with machine guns, a mortar, or other suitable weapons.

      1. Boats in the leading waves should be prepared to place a heavy fire on the enemy defenses near the beach. While the accuracy of this fire may not always be depended upon for destruction of point targets, its volume makes it effective for covering the beach area immediately dangerous to the landing of troops. Fire from boats can be compared with assault fire of troops attacking on land; that is, fire delivered while actually moving forward in the assault, which, while it cannot be considered accurate, has been found efficacious in keeping the enemy down. The fire from boat guns is assault fire delivered under extremely advantageous conditions and is of particular value during the period between the lifting of naval gunfire and the time troops are deployed on shore. After the boat grounds opportunity may develop for well-directed fire on visible targets at short range.

      2. Boats in succeeding waves should be prepared to open fire on enemy aircraft and on the beach when an opportunity is presented and such fire does not endanger preceding waves.

      1. All guns should be suitably mounted for firing at targets on the beach; machine guns should also be capable of delivering effective all-round antiaircraft fire. Mounts should provide for rapid and accurate laying from a moving platform.
 --45-- Change 2 to FTP-167

      1. It is preferable that boats guns and mounts be part of the fixed installation of landing boats. In this case antiaircraft and other fire is possible when boats are returning from the beach or carrying troops not armed with suitable boat weapons. In the event that boat guns are not otherwise available, the armament of the troops being landed can be so used.

      1. The .30-caliber machine gun, due to its rapid fire, and its adaptability for mounting and firing from small boats is an extremely effective weapon. A large percentage of the boats should be so equipped.

      2. Mortars are effective because of the large explosive charge of the projectile, and the relatively small dispersion in range of such high-angle weapons due to the pitching of the boat. Properly to mount and fire this weapon from a boat, however, usually requires a serious reduction in troop carrying capacity.

      3. Other automatic weapons, such as the .50-caliber machine gun, may be used to advantage, due consideration being given to space required to mount and operate the weapons.

    1. Ample ammunition should be carried. While the transportation of ammunition is not the serious problem that it is in land warfare, it must be considered in making up the load of small boats.

    2. The effectiveness of the fire from boat guns will vary materially, depending upon the training and experience of the personnel, the type of boat and gun mount used, and the character of the seas. Training of gunners, including actual firing under conditions similar to those to be expected in the operations, is of particular importance.

    3. The troops embarked in the boats should be so disposed that they may use some of their weapons, if needed, to augment the fire power of the boat guns against shore targets and aircraft.

  1. Draft of boats.--Light-draft boats are particularly desirable for leading echelons. Boats with heavy draft will ground a considerable distance offshore, causing troops to disembark in water above their waists and struggle ashore under severe handicap. This difficulty is accentuated on gently shelving beaches where the boats ground an appreciable distance offshore, and on beaches where the boats ground on a bar with deeper water between the bar and the shore. Troops wading ashore receive limited support by gunfire during this period, movement is slow, equipment is handled with difficulty, and the morale effect is bad. Under such conditions heavy casualties against even slight enemy opposition may be anticipated.

  2. Boats for landing reserve battalions.--Boats with large capacity are most desirable for reserve battalions which are landed under the protection of other troops. Where it is necessary to land reserve battalions in the second trip of the boats, the movement can be expedited by embarking the reserves on destroyers or other small craft which are moved as close to the beach as safety permits.

  3. Lighters and barges.--

    1. Tank lighters.--Self-propelled lighters capable of landing light tanks with or ahead of the leading wave are highly desirable. The lighters should be of shallow draft and should provide for the tanks being run ashore without delay under their own power. The lighter should be heavily armed to provide a point of support on the beach and cover the landing of the tank. These lighters can also be used for the landing of artillery, other vehicles and heavy matériel.

    2. Small lighters.--Small lighters with shallow draft and other suitable characteristics may be used to augment the artillery and tank lighters in the landing of matériel.

    3. Special barges.--Special barges may be required for the delivery of water, gasoline, and fuel oil in bulk to the beach during the later phase of the landing.
 --46-- Change 1 to FTP-167

Section II
Standard Navy Boats

310. Table of characteristics 47
311. Capacity in boat spaces 47
312. Speed in knots 48
313. Time to load 48
314. Designating letters 48
315. Crew 48
316. Boat spaces required for matériel 49

  1. Table of characteristics.--

    1. The use of standard ships' boats is not contemplated for expeditionary forces. They may, however, be used for ships' landing forces.

    2. Characteristics of standard Navy boats are shown in figure 2. The explanation given in the paragraphs which follow should be considered when using the data given in the table.

  2. Capacity in boat spaces.--

    1. A "boat space" is the space and weight required for one marine with his individual combat equipment. A marine so equipped is assumed to weigh 224 pounds (one-tenth of a long ton) and to occupy 13.5 cubic feet of space.

    2. The number of boat spaces available for troops (or matériel) is computed as 60 percent of the rated maximum personnel capacity of the boat, less number of men in the crew.

    3. Boats should not be loaded to capacity as shown in column 2 except for simple ferrying operations under ideal sea conditions. It should be further realized that the rated capacities as shown in column 2 will be modified by any of the following exigencies:

      1. If the sizes of the boat crews exceed the minimum as shown in column 6, the rated capacities as shown in column 2 must be decreased accordingly.

      2. If boats are to come under fire, there should be sufficient room to allow troops to get down low in the boats.

      3. If weapons are to be fired from the boats, sufficient boat spaces should be allowed for their operation.

    4. It should be noted that the space and weight of any protective armor, boat guns and ammunition, extra anchors, etc., will correspondingly reduce the capacity of a boat.

    5. The capacity of a boat in tons is one-tenth of its rated capacity in boat spaces.
 --47-- Change 2 to FTP-167

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Type Boat


to load
in minutes3

Ft.  In.

Day Night
50-foot motor launch 110 7      15 20 A 4 3' 1" 21,400
40-foot motor launch 50 6      8 10 B 4 2' 5" 14,500
36-foot motor launch 38 6      6 8 C 4 2' 2" 11,100
33-foot motor launch 27 4      5 7 D 3 2' 2" 8,400
30-foot motor launch 21 5      4 6 E 3 2' 2" 8,400
24-foot motor launch 10 5      3 4 F 2 1' 11" 5,600
50-foot motorboat 25 10      5 7 I 4 3' 1" 19,500
40-foot motorboat 18 9      4 6 K 4 2' 8" 15,000
35-foot motorboat 12 8      3 4 L 4 2' 9" 13,600
26-foot motorboat 8 6      3 4 M 3 2' 1" 6,200
26-foot motor whaleboat7 11 51/2 3 4 N 3 2' 1" 5,300
30-foot whaleboat 22 (8) 4 6 O 2 1' 9" 3,300
28-foot whaleboat 17 (8) 4 6 P 2 1' 8" 2,900
24-foot whaleboat 12 (8) 3 4 Q 2 1' 7" 2,300
1 See par. 312.
2 See par. 313.
3 See par. 314.
4 See par. 315.
5 See par. 316.
6 Includes hull, Diesel engine, standard equipment, and fuel.
7 Unsuited for landings in heavy or even moderate seas.
8 Pulling boat, must be towed.

  1. Speed in knots.--The speeds indicated in column 3 of the table represent average speeds with loaded boats, engines in good order, and fairly smooth water. Speeds will vary and should be determined by actual tests under various conditions of weather, sea, and load. The speed of a boat used in towing is cut approximately 50 percent when the combined load of the boats in tow equals the rated capacity of the towing boat.

  2. Time to load.--The loading times in the table are based upon debarking under average conditions and using cargo nets over the side of the transports in place of ladders and gangways. An allowance of about 50 percent has been made for delays which may be expected under war conditions and time for coming alongside. The time of loading a boat will vary according to the relative amount of personnel and matériel comprising the load, the facilities of the transport for discharging, the training of the personnel, and the condition of the sea. The loading time for each boat should, therefore, be determined by tests conducted under various conditions, using the actual load to be transported by the boat.

  3. Designating letters.--In boat diagrams and orders relative to debarkation it is convenient to designate each type of boat by a letter, using the designating letters listed in column 5 of the table. For example, the designation "A-1" should be used instead of "50-foot motor launch No. 1." These designating letters should be placed on the boat. (See 421c (9, 10, 11).)

  4. Crew.--

    1. The figures shown in column 6 of the table indicate the minimum number of men required to handle the boat. The figures do not include boat officers, gunners, additional personnel for handling lines, signalmen, or Hospital Corps men for ambulance boats. Marines to be landed may be used as gunners. (See 411.) Members of the beach party can be detailed to duty as boat officers, linesmen, etc., The number of additional officers and men must be determined for any particular situation and the number of boat spaces shown in column 2 of the table reduced accordingly.
 --48-- Change 2 to FTP-167

    1. The exact strength of the crew and other Navy personnel that will embark in each boat must be determined early, and this information made known to the landing force before the Boat Assignment Tables are initiated. (See 421.)

  1. Boat spaces required for matériel.--

    1. For general cargo, such as ammunition, rations, camp equipment, etc., the number of boat spaces required can be computed with sufficient accuracy by multiplying the weight of the cargo in long tons by 10.

    2. For vehicles, consideration must be given to the weight and dimensions of each article, and the center of gravity of the boat load. The dimensions of vehicles are given in "Logistic Data, U.S. Marine Corps."
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Section III
Special Equipment for Standard Navy Boats

317. Armament 50
318. Armor 50
319. Equipment for handling motor launches in surf 50
320. Procedure for beaching motor launches through surf 50
321. Miscellaneous provisions 53

  1. Armament.--Boats should be armed as indicated in paragraph 306a of this chapter.

  2. Armor.--It is desirable that boats to be utilized for landing assault echelons against opposition afford some armor protection against enemy small-arms fire. For this purpose protective plating can be rigged from waterline to gunwale in space occupied by troops, with additional protection for gunner and coxswain. The weight of the plating will decrease the speed and capacity of the boat, and possibly its seaworthiness. These factors must be considered in determining the practicability of installing plating.

  3. Equipment for handling motor launches in surf.--

      1. Two stern anchors of appropriate type and weight, and sufficient length of line (about 31/2 inches in circumference) to span the breakers should be in the boat for use in preventing it being broached while in the surf and to assist in its retraction from the beach. A luff tackle rigged to the towing post may be used to aid in hauling in the anchor line during retraction. The anchor and line should be carried properly faked in the stern ready for letting go.

      2. Heavy seas, strong currents or hard bottom will require the holding power of two anchors for each motor launch. In such cases it is preferable that the two anchors be bent in tandem on a single anchor line, with about 10 fathoms of line between anchors. One anchor is usually sufficient for the 26-foot motor whaleboat.

    1. Bowline.--A bowline should be coiled down in bow ready to run to the beach.

    2. Quarter lines.--Quarter lines are not necessary except in the case of boats which must remain beached in a moderate to heavy surf for an appreciable period; that is, for a longer time than that normally required to unload infantry with light combat equipment.

    3. Canvas screens.--Canvas screens lashed tightly to stern railings and supports and secured to stern beading will reduce the amount of water shipped over the stern in case of following seas. Flaps should be fitted in screens to permit working of stern anchor lines and tiller.

    4. Engine cover.--If necessary a canvas cover should be rigged over the engine housing to keep the engine dry, care being taken to allow for the intake of air.

    5. Oars.--Oars with grommets and thole pins should be provided.

  4. Procedure for handling motor launches in surf.--
    [See Skill in the Surf--A Landing Boat Manual (LCVP's and LCM(3)'s) for further details.]

    1. A surf landing is one of the hardest duties a boat crew is called upon to perform. Special training is necessary for success and each beach must be studied during the approach. The coxswain should give his orders by whistle or voice if the latter can be heard above the surf. The engineer must be alert at all times to give the anchor men as much assistance as possible with the engine. The most dangerous place in the surf is from the crest of the breaking waves to some distance shoreward. The distance of this area from the beach varies with the slope of the beach. On a flat beach waves will break well out from shore and once through this area a boat is in comparatively safe water. On such a beach the stern may strike first when a wave recedes, in which case the propeller has to be stopped to avoid damage. On a steep beach when the stern and propeller are clear, the engine should be used to help maintain the boat squarely on the beach.

    2. Upon approaching the beach the first anchor should be dropped about 5 or 6 boat lengths from the line of breakers, and the second as soon as the line between anchors has run out. The boat should be timed to follow directly behind a breaking wave if possible, and the anchor line should be paid out with a slight strain until the boat actually strikes the beach. Anchor men should then hold and secure the anchor line and the bowman should go over with the bow line and hold the bow to the beach. Anchor lines must be kept well taut at this point to insure against broaching. If swells are not parallel to the beach, landings should be made normal to the swell. When landing in a strong cross tide or wind the boat will fall off as it goes in and as a result its anchors will be to windward or against the tide. This is where they should be.

    3. The greatest help in making a successful landing is to have well set anchors and a taut anchor line. The boat should be timed to follow directly behind a breaking wave, but once in the surf it should not hesitate but keep going. Anchor line should be paid out, keeping a slight
 --50-- Change 2 to FTP-167

      tension until the moment of striking the beach, then it should be kept well taut to prevent broaching. If the anchor line is properly handled the boat will not broach to.

    1. In getting off the beach the bowman should be recalled as soon as the last troops clear the boat. On a flat beach the waves must be watched very closely and when the stern is lifted the anchor men should haul and the engine be backed hard. This is repeated for successive waves. Luff tackle should be used here if necessary. The anchor line must be taut before the next wave hits the stern. On a steep beach the danger is from waves breaking over the stern and swamping the boat. This can be avoided only by getting out fast. Care must be taken not to back over and foul the anchor line. Once through the breakers the anchor line should be taken in by hand.

    2. When 26-foot motor whaleboats are headed into choppy seas, as many of the troops as possible should be moved well aft to lighten the bow. A steering rowlock should be installed and a steering oar provided for use in case of a disabled tiller. The same rowlock serves as an excellent fair lead for paying out the anchor line.

    3. The procedure herein outlined is intended as general doctrine applicable to handling of powerboats in surf. The normal boat equipment required for the several types of standard Navy boats and detailed instructions to boat crews for landing through various conditions of surf with the least danger to personnel and material have been promulgated in other publications and instructions.

  1. Miscellaneous provisions.--

    1. Thwarts and bottom boards.--Movable thwarts should be removed. Bottom boards should be removable to permit bailing.

    2. Wire cutters.--Wire or bolt cutters, with long handles, and hacksaws should be provided for cutting barbed wire or heavier wire entanglements at beaches and approaches thereto.

    3. Cargo nets and assisting lines.--A cargo net on each bow stopped along rail, or lines looped along rail from bow to amidships will be of material assistance in disembarking troops and equipment from large boats.

    4. Boat compasses.--The errors of all boat compasses should be accurately determined prior to the landing.

    5. Life buoys.--Boats should carry a limited number of life buoys, and life jackets for troops embarked.

    6. Signal equipment.--Signal equipment to be carried in boats should be prescribed in appropriate orders. (See ch. VII, Communications.)

    7. Protection from chemicals.--Boats should be equipped with protective covering and decontaminating agents for protection against chemical attack. (See par. 831.)
 --51-- Change 2 to FTP-167

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Section IV
Special Navy Landing Craft

322. Special Navy landing craft 54

  1. Special Navy landing craft.--See confidential pamphlet "Characteristics of British and United States Landing Craft, Landing Ships, Landing Vehicles." [FTP 207]
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