The Tactical Employment of Landing Boats
LVTs and DUKWs in the Ship-to-Shore Movement
Section 1. General. Section 2. The Tactical Employment of Landing Boats in the Ship-to-Shore Movement. Section 3. The Tactical Employment of LVTs in the Ship-to-Shore Movement. Section 4. The Tactical Employment of DUKWs in the Ship-to-Shore Movement. Section 5. Unloading Operations.
Section 1. General
- The basic concept of the Ship-to-Shore Movement is set forth in Chapter IV of FTP 167. Further detailed instructions on the landing boat organization, the duties of landing boat commanders and the control of the landing boats are contained in Chapters III, IV, and V of FTP 211 and Chapter IX of this doctrine.
- The problems introduced by the presence of natural and artificial underwater obstructions in the approaches to landing beaches have brought about major changes in the Ship-to-Shore Movement in these special cases.
- This chapter sets forth the procedure for:
- The tactical employment of landing boats in the Ship-to-Shore Movement under conditions where approach to the beaches is either unrestricted or sufficiently cleared of underwater obstructions to permit boats to reach the shore line over a large portion of the beach to be assaulted.
- The tactical employment and operation of LVTs in the Ship-to-Shore Movement under conditions where either natural or artificial obstructions are present in the approaches to and on the beaches which make the beach accessible only to LVTs.
- The tactical employment of DUKWs in the Ship-to-Shore Movement and in support of landings.
- The employment of landing boats, LVTs and DUKWs in post-assault unloading operations.
- Obstructions in the approach to landing beaches may consist of natural obstacles, such as barrier reefs, coral heads, and pinnacles, sand bars and rocks; man-made obstacles may include horned sculleys, tetrahedrons, jetted rails, pipes, hedgehogs, cribs, log barriers and wire fencing, supplemented by various types of mines. The condition of surf and tide have a direct effect on the ability of the
various types of landing boats and amphibious tanks and vehicles to negotiate these obstacles.
- Regardless of the degree to which beach approaches are obstructed, LVT(A)s and LVTs normally will be used to form at least the initial assault waves. Even under conditions favorable to the beaching of landing boats, employment of armored and unarmored LVTs in leading waves instead of landing boats will afford maximum protection to the assault troops during the landing and permit maximum fire on the beachhead during the critical phases of the landing just before the first wave hits the beach.
- Troops, tank, artillery, combat equipment, and supplies are subsequently moved ashore by landing boats, LVTs and DUKWs as practicable, taking advantage of all beach approaches available for water transportation and to meet tactical requirements. These movements are either "on call" from the shore, or as directed by the responsible military authority afloat charged with control.
Section 2. The Tactical Employment of Landing boats in the Ship-to-Shore Movement
- Upon taking designated station in the Transport Area, and when directed by the Officer in Tactical Command of the Landing Attack, through the Transport Squadron and Division Commanders, transports commence lowering landing boats. Landing boats which are rail loaded with assault personnel and cargo proceed to the designated boat wave in the Rendezvous Area directly upon being launched. Landing boats which are not rail loaded proceed to the Assembly Areas as indicated in Figure 1.
- Landing boats of Transports carrying reserve troops may be dispatched to transports carrying assault troops in numbers sufficient to permit the simultaneous debarkation of complete battalion landing teams. This evolution is executed as set forth in the Master Landing Boat Employment Plan, described in Section 3 of Chapter VI and as diagramatically set forth in Figure 2 of this chapter.
- The LCV(P) Assembly Areas will be located on the port or starboard quarter of the transport when debarkation takes place from one side, and on both quarters when debarkation takes place from both sides of the transport simultaneously. The LCM Assembly Area will be located to the port or starboard of the transport during debarkation from one side of the transport and at the stern of the transport when debarkation takes place from both sides of the transport.
- Landing Boat Assembly Area formations are prescribed and defined in Chapter III, paragraph 306, FTP 211. Landing boats will keep closed up while circling in the Assembly Areas. The Assembly Area Boat
circles should not be allowed to shift from the assigned position in relation to the transport.
- The Assistant Boat Group Commander is responsible for the location of the Assembly Areas, the movement of unloaded landing boats from the Assembly Area to the debarkation stations, and for the dispatch of loaded landing boats from the transport to the Rendezvous Area. The boat Coxswains will maintain proper station in the Assembly Areas and proceed as directed by the Assistant Boat Group Commander until dispatched to the Rendezvous Area.
- Landing boats will proceed to the debarkation stations when called alongside. The following signals will be used at the debarkation stations to call landing boats:
(1) By day - GREEN Flag
LCV(P) Radio Equipped
(2) By night - GREEN Light
LCV(P) Radio Equipped
Bullhorns and voice projection equipment may be used for calling boats alongside the transport debarkation stations and provide an excellent supplementary means of communications.
- All landing boats in the Assembly Area must keep a sharp watch on the transport debarkation stations. When the signal is given at a debarkation station for a particular type of landing boat, the landing boat nearest the debarkation station will proceed from the Assembly Area circle to the debarkation station. The Assistant Boat Group Commander will be responsible for the prompt movement of landing boats to the debarkation stations.
- Upon completion of loading, landing boats will proceed to proper station in the designated boat wave in the Rendezvous Area. The Rendezvous Area may be marked by the Boat Group Commander or by Secondary Control Vessels at each flank. Paragraph 311 of FTP 211 locates the Rendezvous Area and sets forth the landing boat procedure. See Figure 2.
- The formation of wave circles in the Rendezvous Area will be supervised by the Boat Group Commander. Coxswains will keep landing boats closed up and in proper station while circling.
- The tactical plan will ordinarily require Control Vessels to take station at the Line of departure, in which case the Boat Group Commander leads the boat waves from the Rendezvous Area to the Line of departure.
- Landing boat waves will move from the Rendezvous Areea to the Line of departure in accordance with the procedure set forth in paragraph 312, FTP 211, see Figure 3. Landing boat waves will execute such tactical maneuvers as directed by the Boat Group Commander using boat signals set forth in Figures 8 and 9.
- Landing Boat Wave Commanders will bring about the prompt execution of wave maneuvers and maintain proper distance between waves. Landing Boat Coxswains will promptly execute boat maneuvers, and will maintain proper distance and interval.
- Landing boat procedure at the Line of Departure is set forth in Section 313, FTP 211 and in Figure 4. On arrival at the Line of Departure, landing boat waves will take station and circle until dispatched to the beach by the Control Vessel.
- The Central Control Officer on board the Central Control Vessel will determine the scheduled time of departure of the initial boat waves from the Linde of Departure. See Chapter IX.
- When directed by the Central Control Officer through the Squadron Control Officer, the Control Vessel at the Line of Departure will dispatch landing boat waves to the beach.
- The following procedure will be employed in the dispatch of scheduled landing boat assault waves from the Line of Departure fo the beach:
- At departure time minus five (5) minutes, the Control Vessel at the Line of departure will hoist the numeral ONE flag at the dip.
- At departure time minus two (2) minutes, the Control Vessel at the Line of Departure will TWO-BLOCK the numeral ONE flag.
- Upon hauling down the numeral ONE flag, the landing boats of the first wave will proceed from the Line of Departure to the beach.
- For all succeeding waves, the Control Vessel at the Line of Departure will TWO-BLOCK the numeral flag of the wave to be dispatched two minutes prior to the scheduled time of the movement of the wave from the Line of Departure.
- The hauling down of the numeral flag of a designated wave will be the signal for the movement of the boat wave from the Line of Departure.
- Boat wave tactical formations and maneuvers from the Line of Departure to the beach will be directed by the Boat Wave Commander who will execute the beaching formation set forth in the Landing Diagram. See Chapter VI. The Boat Signals set forth in the Figures 8 and 9 will be used in executing boat waves formations and maneuvers in the dash to the beach. During the last 1000 yards, boat waves will ordinarily proceed at the maximum speed which can be made by all boats of the wave. The Boat Wave Commanders may, however, move the boat wave at such speed and execute such tactical maneuvers as are required to beach the boat waves on the proper beach in accordance with the Approach Schedule and the Landing Diagram. Landing boats will maintain proper distance and interval.
- Normally, the minimum beaching interval between landing boats will be 50 yards; the maximum interval will be 150 yards; the usual interval will be 75 yards. Unless otherwise directed, the 75 yard interval will be used.
- Upon beaching and discharge of cargo and personnel, landing boats will raise ramps, retract promptly from the beach and clear to the nearest flank of the boat land. Incoming landing boats have the right-of-way.
Section 3. The Tactical Employment of LVTs in the Ship-to-Shore Movement
- This section sets forth the tactical employment of LVTs in the Ship-to-Shore Movement.
- Ships transporting LVTs which are to be used in the assault (normally LSTs) will take position in the LST Areas, which are located approximately 1000 yards to seaward of the Line of Departure and on an extension of the direct line from the Line of Departure to the beach. The detailed positioning of ships in the Tractor Areas will be indicated in the Landing Attack Order. The arrival of the LVT carriers will be timed to reduce to a minimum the period during which they are exposed to enemy fire from the shore.
- Launching of the LVTs must be timed so that they may form in waves, proceed to and arrive at the Line of Departure at the time scheduled for crossing it. They must not be launched so far in advance that it will be necessary for them to maneuver for a long time behind the Line of Departure.
- Immediately after launching, LVTs will form on their respective guide boats and proceed in column to the area located parallel to and seaward of the line of departure. Number boards will be displayed prominently in each LVT to facilitate the formation of LVT waves. The numeral flag or flags corresponding to the wave number will be flown from the command tractor of each wave.
- LVT Wave Guide Boats, either LCV(P)s or LCP(L)s, will be provided, (1) to assist in the formation of LVT assault waves discharged from the LVT carriers; (2) to lead the LVT waves to the Line of Departure; and (3), when dispatched, to lead them across the Line of Departure and as close inshore as practicable. See Figures 5A and 5B.
- LVT Wave Guide Boats will display flags to indicate the landing beach and the wave number (the beach flag over the wave numeral) and will lead LVT waves for which they are responsible to their assigned positions in the assault formation. They will take station with the LVTs of their wave to seaward of the Line of Departure in line abreast until dispatched to the Beach by the Control Vessels. The LVTs will be led, in column, from the LVT carriers along one of the flanks of the boat land for their assault beach to a point to seaward of the Line of Departure, where they will execute a column right, or left, to bring them parallel to the Line of Departure and then execute a turn movement to bring them into line abreast headed for the proper beach. See Figures 5A and 5B.
- The LVT wave guides will determine that the waves for which they are responsible are complete and properly formed, and will report to their respective Control Vessels when each wave is ready to be dispatched. In the event of any casualty or delay they will immediately report that fact to the Control Vessel giving the cause of the delay, the steps being taken to correct the condition, and the probable duration of the delay.
- If the time for crossing the line of departure is delayed for any reason and it becomes necessary for LVTs to maneuver in the area parallel and seaward of the line of departure to keep from drifting, the following method of maneuver will be used:The area of manuever for each wave will be approximately 25 yards in depth, and the length will be the same as the width of the boat lane. The maneuver area of the 1st wave will be 25 to 50 yards from the line of departure, 2nd wave 75 to 200 yards, 3rd wave 125 to 150 yards, etc.
In the maneuver area, waves of LVTs will be in column formation. Because of the limited vision afforded drivers of the armored LVTs this formation will cause least confusion. The guide boats assigned to the LVT wave may lead the LVTs in the maneuver area. All maneuvering will be done at slow speed. On the appropriate signal from the control vessel, LVT waves will execute a right or left flanking movement to form a line abreast for the dash to the beach.
- The following procedure will be employed in the dispatch of scheduled LVT assault waves from the Line of Departure to the beach:
- At departure time minus five (5) minutes, the Control Vessel at the Line of Departure will hoist the Numeral One flag at the dip.
- At departure time minus two (2) minutes, the Control Vessel at the Line of Departure will two-block the Numeral One flag.
- Upon hauling down the Numeral One flag, the LVTs of the first wave will proceed from the Line of Departure to the beach.
- For all succeeding waves, the Control Vessel will two-block the Numeral Flag of the wave to be dispatched two minutes prior to the scheduled time of the movement of the wave from the Line of Departure.
- The hauling down of the numeral flag of a designated wave will be the signal for the movement of the boat wave from the Line of Departure.
- Guide boats for the leading LVT wave will control direction and speed of advance for the entire formation. They will constantly check compass course and position relative to known land marks on or adjacent to their assigned beaches and will regulate speed to bring their waves to the beach at the prescribed hour.
- Wave guide boats for the second and succeeding waves will:
- Bring their waves to the Line of Departure to cross on schedule.
- Keep their LVTs in the assigned approach lane.
- Note and maintain the proper course to the objective beach.
- Maintain proper distance from the next wave ahead in order to meet the landing schedule.
- Prevent straggling and see that proper interval between LVTs is kept.
- LVT waves should not be stopped at the Line of Departure as proper formation cannot be maintained unless the LVTs are underway.
- There are two approved methods of using guide boats in leading the LVT waves across the Line of departure and toward the beach:
- Guide boats take station, one on each flank of the wave. In this position the best lateral spacing is secured; however, LVTs near the center of the wave are unable to see the guides.
- One wave guide takes position about fifty yards in advance of the center of the line. The command tractor follows this guide and other tractors guide center on the command tractor. The second guide boat takes station in rear center of the wave to aid in maintaining the formation and pick up personnel from any disabled or damaged LVTs. This disposition limits the fire of LVTs on approaching the beach and tends to reduce lateral spacing. If the leading wave consists of more than eight LVTs, guides should be used both at flanks and center. In this case the leading center guide should drop back close to the line of tractors when they arrive within effective range of the beach to permit unrestricted fire. The disposition of wave guides is established by the troops and will be specified in the Landing Attack Plan.
The wave guides will remain with the wave to the safe limit of navigation or to a position approximately five hundred yards from the beach. Center guides then haul out to the flanks, keeping clear of incoming LVTs. Designated wave guides will then take station on the flanks of the LVT wave lane to rally returning LVTs and guide them to the Transfer Area.
- LCI gunboat types, including LCI(G), LCI(R), and LCS(L), will normally precede the first wave of LVTs by about 500 yards. They will adjust their speed in order to maintain this distance to the limit of their run. The LVT waves are not to regulate their speed by the gunboats, but it is the responsibility of the gunboats to maintain the required interval ahead of the leading wave. When they reach the end of their run the gunboats will exert every effort to remain headed toward the beach, and not turn parallel to it, in order to offer minimum obstruction to the LVTs passing around them. The Landing Attack Order will specify at what time the gunboats will pull out to the flanks and clear the boat lanes for the incoming waves. LCI(M) usually will be deployed along the flanks of the boat lanes. They will proceed toward the beach with the boat waves and maneuver to deliver effective mortar fire in accordance with their Gunfire Support Plan.
- The tactical movement of the LVT assault waves beyond the limits of navigation of the LVT wave guide boats will be the responsibility of the Troop Commander of the troop unit embarked in the LVTs.
- A standard distance of forty (40) yards will be used as the LVT beaching distance, unless otherwise directed.
- Upon proceeding ashore and discharging personnel and cargo, LVTs will depart the beach area and proceed to the nearest flank clear of the LVT lane. Incoming LVTs have the right-of-way.
- To provide effective fire on the landing beaches during the assault waves, armored LVTs will generally be employed in the leading assault waves, whether LVTs or landing boats constitute the succeeding waves. If armored LVTs and landing boats are both used in a landing attack, LVT wave guides and boat wave commanders will take special care that landing boat waves do not overtake slower moving waves of armored LVTs.
Section 4. The Tactical Employment of DUKWs in the Ship-to-Shore Movement
- DUKWs are generally employed in the Ship-to-Shore Movement under conditions in which the beach is obstructed and not accessible to landing boats and the movement of assault personnel and cargo must be made over the obstructions, or under conditions where it is desirable to move personnel and cargo directly from the transporting vessel to unloading areas on the landing beaches or inland.
- DUKWs are normally not employed in assault waves. If so employed, however, tactics similar to those for LVTs, as set forth in the preceding section, will be used. The operation of DUKWs is more fully described in Chapter V.
Section 5. Unloading Operations
- The transport unloading phase commences upon the beaching of the assault waves and sufficient neutralization of the beachhead to permit extensive unloading operations on the beach. Under conditions in which the beaches and the beach approaches are relatively free from underwater obstructions, or sufficiently free to permit a practicable movement of landing boats to the beach, transport unloading will be principally carried on by landing boats.
- During the transport unloading phase, the operation of the landing boats, LVTs, and DUKWs will be directed by the Transport Squadron Control Officer through the respective Transport Division Control Officers.
- The limitations of the beach and its approaches and the limitations in personnel and unloading facilities at a designated beach may restrict the number of landing boats which may have simultaneous access to the beach. Control of traffic to the beach is exercised by Control
vessels as set forth in Chapter IX of the Transport Doctrine. These vessels take station in an area safe for navigation, immediately to seaward of the breaker line and beyond the range of small arms fire from the beach and direct the flow of traffic to the beach.
- Landing boats will operate as directed by the Control Vessel at a designated beach until directed to proceed to the landing beach.
- The tactical plan may provide for the establishment of Cargo Rendezvous Areas to seaward of the Control Vessels. The purpose of Cargo Rendezvous Areas is to keep landing boats which cannot be promptly unloaded away from the beach and in areas beyond the range of small arms fire until their cargo can be expeditiously discharged or until it is required on the beach. Separate Cargo Rendezvous Areas may be designated either for the various types of cargo carried or by the method required for unloading such as cargo requiring handling by personnel, palletized cargo or self-propelled cargo. Upon beaching of assault waves, landing boat Wave Commanders may be assigned as Cargo Rendezvous Area Control Officers. They shall man landing boats designated as Rendezvous Area Control Boats and shall assist the Control vessel by controlling the boats in the Cargo Rendezvous Control Areas and dispatching them to the landing beach or to the Control Vessel as directed. The Cargo Rendezvous Control Officers shall maintain constant communication with the Control Vessel.
- During the unloading phase, landing craft such as LCTs, LSM, or LSTs may be available for cargo unloading on the beach. LSTs and LSMs ordinarily will be beached only on order from the Group or Flotilla Commanders. See Section 5, Chapter IV.
- If the beach areas or the approaches thereto are obstructed and inaccessible to landing boats during the unloading phase, LVTs will be used for the transportation of personnel and cargo over the obstructions and to the beach. In this situation, landing boats are used to transport personnel and cargo from the transports to the Transfer Area, at which point the personnel and cargo will be transferred into LVTs for movement over the obstructions on the beach or in the approaches thereto.
- The Transfer Area is located between the Line of Departure and the practicable limits of landing boat navigation, but beyond the range of small arms fire from the beach.
- Upon completion of loading, LVTs may be dispatched to the beach from a control point known as the Line of Transfer. See Figure 7.
- The procedure to be followed in the actual transfer of personnel and cargo from landing boats to LVTs will be set forth in the Landing Attack Plan of the Transport Group Commander. The transfer procedure will provide for the following:
- The expeditious return of LVTs from the beach to the flank, or flanks, of the Transfer Area.
- The rallying of LVTs by the Guide Boats, seaward of the reef or underwater obstructions.
- The rendezvous of landing boats with LVTs in or near the Transfer Area.
- An expeditious plan for the actual transfer of personnel and cargo from landing boats to LVTs, in a manner to permit the organized and simultaneous transfer of complete troop units.
- The control of traffic in the Transfer Area.
- The Control Vessel at a designated beach will direct the transfer operations, the movement of LVTs to and from the beach and the movement of landing boats to and from the Transfer Area.
Figure 1. Landing Boat Assembly Areas
Figure 2. Landing Boats in the Transport Area
Figure 3. Movement of Landing Boats to the Line of Departure
Figure 4. Movement of Landing Boat Waves from Line of Departure to Beach
Figure 5. LVT and DUKW Waves at Line of Departure
Figure 5A. Formation of Assault LVT Waves (Waves One, Two & Three)
Figure 5B. Formation of Assault LVT Waves (Waves Four & Five)
Figure 6. Movement of Assault Waves from Line of Departure to Beach
Figure 7. Transfer Operations
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