Saturday, November 13, 2010


Here are some images of Modelcraft's 1/35 scale LVT (A) 5 Alligator.
From Wikipedia "The Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) was a class of amphibious vehicles introduced by the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Army during World War II. Originally intended solely as cargo carriers for ship to shore operations, they rapidly evolved into assault troop and fire support vehicles as well. The types were all widely known as amphtrack, amtrak, amtrac etc., a portmanteau of amphibious tractor.

The LVT had its origins in a civilian rescue vehicle called the Alligator. Developed by Donald Roebling in 1935, the Alligator was intended to operate in swampy areas, inaccessible to both traditional cars and boats. Two years later, Roebling built a redesigned vehicle with greatly improved water speed. The United States Marine Corps, which had been developing amphibious warfare doctrine based on the ideas of Lt. Col. Earl Hancock "Pete" Ellis and others, became interested in the machine after learning about it through an article in Life magazine and convinced Roebling to design a more seaworthy model for military use. After more improvements, made difficult by Roebling's lack of blueprints for the initial designs, to meet requirements of the Navy, the vehicle was adopted as Landing Vehicle Tracked, or LVT.

The contract to build the first 200 LVTs was awarded to the Food Machinery Corporation (FMC), a manufacturer of insecticide spray pumps and other farm equipment which built some parts for the Alligators, the initial 200 LVTs were built at FMC's Dunedin, Florida factory, where most of the improvement work had been done as well. Eventually the company became a prominent defense contractor, United Defense (now part of BAE Systems Land and Armaments). During the War LVT production was expanded by FMC and the Navy to four factories, including the initial facility in Dunedin, Florida; the new facilities were located in Lakeland, Florida, Riverside, California, and San Jose, California. Roebling Construction would get the lucrative construction contract for the Lakeland factory, this being the sum total of Roebling's profit from his Invention, as the quite patriotic Roebling refused to accept any direct royalties or commissions from the government, seeing it as his personal duty in support of the war effort.

The LVT 1 could carry 18 fully equipped men or 4,500 pounds (2,041 kg) of cargo. Originally intended to carry replenishments from ships ashore, they lacked armor protection and their tracks and suspension were unreliable when used on hard terrain. However, the Marines soon recognized the potential of the LVT as an assault vehicle. Armored versions were introduced as well as fire support versions, dubbed Amtanks, which were fitted with turrets from Stuart series light tanks (LVT(A)-1) and Howitzer Motor Carriage M8s (LVT(A)-4). Among other upgrades were a new powerpack, also borrowed from the Stuarts, and a torsilastic suspension which significantly improved performance on land.

Production continued throughout the war, resulting in 18,621 LVTs delivered. In late 1940s a series of prototypes were built and tested, but none reached production stage due to lack of funding. Realizing that acquisition of new vehicles was unlikely, the Marines modernized some of the LVT-3s and LVT(A)-5s and kept them in service until late 1950s.

  • LVT(A)-5 (1945)
    • LVT(A)-5 with powered turret and a gyrostabilizer for the howitzer. Some were upgraded in late 1940s by changing armor configuration. 269 units produced.


Pablo J. Álvarez said...

Incredible Water Buffalo. I like this bug

Warren Zoell said...

Thanks Pablo.

Diego said...

Both work great, and my memory for the 11th of November.


Warren Zoell said...

Gracias Diago - Es importante tener en cuenta nuestro veterinario y los soldados caídos.

Pat Tillett said...

Great detail! right down to the rust on the track (sprockets?)

Warren Zoell said...

Thanks Pat - I'm wondering did you ever see these types of vehicles in Vietnam? Or something similar.

Pat Tillett said...

the amtracs we had had a much more blunt front end and much flatter on the top.