Chapter VIII
Rubber Boat Operations


Section 1. General
Section 2. General Description of Types
Section 3. Stowage, Inflation, Launching and Loading
Section 4. Landing
Section 5. Training
Section 6. Manufacturer's Notes on Ten-Man Rubber Boat [not included]

Section 1. General

  1. Rubber boat operations differ from normal landing operations in that they are of a specialized nature and require a special technique for their accomplishment. It is the purpose of this chapter to describe the technique of rubber boat operations in order to assist in the training of troops and ships in this particular type of landing.

  2. At present, troops executing ship to shore movements in rubber boats are embarked on APs, AKs, SSs, and APDs. In addition to APDs it is contemplated that, in the future, DDs and DEs will also be used as high speed troop transports, utilizing rubber boats in the ship to shore movement.

  3. When the success of the mission depends upon secrecy and/or tactical surprise, rubber boats are nearly always employed. Such special missions may be one or more of the following:

    1. To land and reembark troops under cover of darkness in order to gain or verify information of the enemy, to capture prisoners, etc.

    2. To land troops under cover of darkness in order to capture an atoll or seize a beach-head pending the arrival of supporting troops.

    3. To land troops during daylight or under cover of darkness in order to attack the hostile flank or rear.

    4. To land reserves through surf on a beach-head under friendly control in order to exploit success or further the attack.

    5. To execute hit and run raids in order to damage hostile installations, dumps, etc.

    6. To take demolition teams near a hostile beach to destroy underwater obstacles.


  1. Since rubber boat landings are of a special nature it follows that the troops employing the boats be specially trained in their maintenance, care, and handling. This training cannot be over-emphasized. All troops, as well as ships, must be cognizant of the capabilities and limitations inherent in the employment of rubber boats in order to insure the success of the assigned mission. Only by intensive training and close coordination of all hands can this success be attained.

Section 2. General Description of Types

  1. At present there are two general types of rubber boats used in transporting troops from ship to shore, or on reconnaissance missions. These types are described below:

    1. Landing craft, rubber, small LCR(S) 7 troops 210 lbs 12'5" 5'8"  
    2. Landing craft, rubber, large LCR(L) 10 troops 320 lbs 18'    8'    *
    * Has attachment for outboard motor and 1 .30 cal. LMG

  2. In addition to the LCR(L) and LCR(S) there has recently been developed a new type of rubber boat especially designed for reconnaissance or demolition work. This boat is capable of carrying two (2) men with their equipment or 900 pounds and is propelled by an electrically driven motor which will maintain a speed of seven (7) knots for two hours endurance.

Section 3. Stowage, Inflation, Launching and Loading

  1. If the launching is to be conducted from APD's, SS's, DD's or DE's, rubber boats should be taken aboard prior to the embarkation of troops, in accordance with the loading plan, and stowed in positions from which they are to be inflated and launched. This eliminates the necessity of shifting boats prior to launching and consequently reduces the amount of confusion that normally accompanies a night landing.


  1. In considering stowage aboard APs, AKs or any other type of ship capable of carrying a large number of troops, it is important that LCRs be stowed in spaces that are easily accessible. Attention is called to the fact that LCRs need considerable room for inflation and are difficult and awkward to handle when inflated. If possible, it is always advisable to inflate the rubber boats at or near the positions from which they are to be launched.

  2. LCRs should be inflated and ready for launching at least two (2) hours prior to arrival at the Transport Area. If a night or pre-dawn landing is to be made, this should be accomplished prior to dark the previous day.

  3. LCR(L)s should be inflated by four (4) men from each boat crew who have been designated to inflate and launch them. To facilitate rapid inflation, ship's air hose should be made available. Inflation of one LCR(L) by means of the air hose normally takes two (2) minutes.

  4. Each type of LCR is equipped with a hand pump. Inflation by means of the hand pump alone takes fifteen (15) minutes.

  5. Prior to launching, a painter or handline should be attached to the stern in order to facilitate control of the boat when it is water borne.

  6. The four (4) men who inflate LCRs will also launch them. If launched from APDs, DDs, DEs or any other type of vessel with low freeboard, the easiest method is to shove the boat overboard, bow out, while retaining hold of the bow and stern painters. If launched from an AP or other vessel having a high freeboard, it is best to lower the LCR over the side by means of attached handlines.

  7. All equipment, except individual equipment and supplies that is to be transported in LCRs, should be lowered by means of lowering lines previously attached. It is important that one man, in addition to the coxswain, enter the boat prior to the lowering of equipment. It should be his duty to receive and secure such equipment in the boat before the remainder of the crew embarks. It shall be the coxswain's duty to hold the boat at its proper station and supervise the loading and securing of equipment and supplies.

  8. The use of guide line (11/2" manila) run fore and aft, near the water line, on both sides of the ship is an excellent means of controlling rubber boats while they are being loaded alongside the ship. This line should be rigged prior to the launching of the boats.

  9. The ten-man rubber boat (LCR(L)) is especially adapted for towing, being equipped with a towing bridle and quick release Pelican Hook. The most satisfactory towing hawser found so far has been of 2" manila with 60' between the tow and the first lizard and 30' between each successive lizard. The lizard should be from 2' to 5' in length. An excellent type is shown in Figure 1.


    Since most rubber boat landings are executed at night, special emphasis must be placed on the method of taking the rubber boats in tow or "hooking on". Speed and economy of time are essential and can be attained only as a result of close coordination and teamwork on the part of boat crews and LCR crews. An accepted method of taking LCRs in tow, as used by APDs, is as follows:

    "When LCRs are water borne and loaded they shall group closely together in tactical groups alongside the ship with bows out, boats being controlled by means of the guide line previously run alongside the ship. The towing boats shall come alongside, on order of the Debarkation Officer, and the towing hawser shall be passed to their respective groups of LCRs. (See Figure 2 A) The bowman in each LCR will attach the Pelican Hook on the LCR towing bridle to the loop or ring of the towing hawser. When all LCRs of each group have "hooked on" each towing boat shall commence its tow. The towing line will be trailed under the LCRs. This practice eliminates the possibility of capsizing the rubber boat or sweeping LCR personnel overboard in a turn."

  1. Another accepted method of "hooking on" is as follows:

    "Rig towing hawser(s) on side of ship with lizzards attached to life line by means of light twine. As soon as LCRs are loaded, bowman of each LCR crew will pass end of towing bridle to ship's personnel on deck who will attach Pelican Hook to eye on end of lizzard. On order of Debarkation Officer, towing boats come alongside and receive end of towing hawser. On order of Debarkation Officer, ship's personnel on deck will cut lizzards and towing hawser free, and towing boat will commence tow. (See Fig. 2)".

Section 4. Landing

  1. The type and size of ships, number of LCRs and towing boats, and type of landing to be executed, will determine which method to employ.

  2. Some difficulty has been experienced by Pelican Hooks releasing themselves in a fouling sea. This can be overcome usually by a slight increase in the speed of the towing boat. The line running from the boat to the Pelican Hook should never be taut unless it is desired to release the boat from the tow.

  3. When two or less LCRs are to be taken in close to a hostile beach it is sometimes advisable to load the LCRs on the tow boat rather than tow them to the point of release.

  4. Before selecting the Transport Area, it is imperative that a thorough hydrographic study be made of the particular island or atoll on which the troops are to be landed. The majority of islands and atolls in the Pacific are favored by currents of varying velocity; many of these currents run parallel to the


Figure 1. Towing Hawser for LCRs
Figure No.
Towing Hawser for LCRs


Figure 2. A. Passing Hawser From Tow Boat to LCRs. B. Rigging Towing Hawser Before Tow Boat Comes Alongside.
Figure 2.
A. Passing Hawser From Tow Boat to LCRs.
B. Rigging Towing Hawser Before Tow Boat Comes Alongside.


    coastline. It has been found by experience that these currents may attain velocities of three (3) knots or more. Consequently, the location of the Transport Area must be such as to take advantage of velocity and direction of existing currents so that troops embarked in LCR's may reach the designated landing beach in the shortest time and with the least expenditure of energy.

  1. In recent operations, troops landing in LCR's encountered a three (3) knot current that almost swept them beyond the island on which they were to land. In this particular instance the Transport Area was 3000 yards directly off shore.

  2. Upon arrival in the Transport Area, LCR's after being launched and loaded, will be towed immediately to the Rendezvous Area.

  3. If LCR's execute a ship to shore movement under paddle propulsion, the Rendezvous Area should not be over 50 to 150 yards from the ship, in order that tactical control can be gained as quickly as possible before proceeding to the beach. When LCR's reach the Rendezvous Area they should assemble compactly in their tactical groups.

  4. The normal method of conducting the ship to shore movement is to tow the rubber boats, loaded with troops and equipment, within easy paddling distance of the beach and "cast off"; the rubber boats completing the trip to shore under their own power. As LCR landings will usually be made under cover of darkness, it is most important that all ships and troops be thoroughly trained in methods of maintaining direction and control.

  5. The following notes on maintaining direction and control are the result of practical experiences of trained rubber boat personnel:

    1. USE OF SHIP'S RADAR. Ships' radar has been successfully used to guide towing boats and rubber boats, under cover of darkness, to the proper beach. The leading boat of each wave should be equipped with a TBX or similar radio. Ship's radar can track the towing boats and give correct changes of course by radio. After rubber boats are released they can be tracked into the beach. The ship and one rubber boat should maintain contact by means of the SCR 511, or similar radio. With SF equipment contact can be maintained on steel helmeted troops in LCRs up to 4000 yards and in LCPRs up to 8000 yards.

    2. LCR's when cast off can maintain contact by the use of a "White line" connecting each boat.

    3. Another method of maintaining control is to equip all coxswains of LCT crews with luminous arm bands.

    4. Direction can be maintained by use of the lensatic compass with which each squad leader is equipped.


  1. When executing a night landing it is important to remember that the sound of underwater exhausts may betray the presence of the landing force -- even at a distance of 1000 yards. On the newer LCPRs underwater exhausts make less noise than older types. Experiments should be held to determine how far underwater exhausts may be heard before attempting to make the point of release less than 100 yards of the beach.

Section 5. Training

  1. It is obvious that all LCR trainees must be qualified swimmers. Not only will a trainee's swimming ability insure his personal safety in the water, but it will provide a self-confidence that will enable him to grasp the fundamentals of rubber boat operations easily and quickly.

  2. While swimming instruction will be included in the training program, it is suggested that only qualified swimmers be selected for LCR training. Weak swimmers cannot be developed into strong swimmers in a short time. Experience has also shown that many men, no matter how much time and training is expended on them, can never be strong swimmers.

  3. All hands should be given the following in smooth water:

    1. Side stroke, breast stroke, and back stroke.

    2. Swimming for endurance. Endurance should be built up gradually. It is hoped that a minimum of 500 yards can be achieved by all hands.

    3. Underwater swimming.

    4. Swimming fully clothed.

    5. Improvisation of emergency life preservers and pontoons, utilizing shirts, trousers, water breakers, barracks bag, and paddles.

    6. Personal damage control, tired swimmers carry, combatting cramps.

  4. When sufficient training has been completed in smooth water, all hands will then enter the surf. It is imperative that competent instructors be provided for this phase of the training. Under-tows and rip-tides must be explained and the men should be taught the best possible methods to combat them. The danger of surf cannot be underestimated; a thorough familiarity and technique must be mastered if the individual is to survive. LCR's shall be introduced at this point and all hands should practice entering them from the water and propelling them by swimming with them. It should be insisted that in training and in operation, troops will only leave a capsized LCR will float, a man might not.


Table of Contents  *  Previous Chapter (7) *  Next Chapter (9)

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation