The LVT-1 could carry 18 fully equipped men or 4,500 pounds (2,041 kg) of cargo. Originally intended to carry replenishment from ships to shore, they lacked armour 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. A battalion of LVTs was ready for the 1st Marine Division by 16 February 1942. LVTs saw their first operational use in Guadalcanal, where they were used exclusively for landing supplies. About 128 LVTs were available for the landings.
The LVT-2 Water Buffalo (British designation Buffalo II) was an improved LVT-1 featuring a new powertrain (using the same M3A1 light tank engine to save time and to simplify production) and a rubber “torsilastic” suspension. The aluminium track grousers were bolted on, making changes much easier since they wore out quickly on land and even more so on coral. Hard terrain performance was much better compared to the LVT-1. 2,962 units were produced.
The LVT(A)-2 was an armoured version of the LVT-2 with additional armour plating to the driver’s cab and the rest of the hull. By 1944, shields were added to protect the front gunners. 450 units were produced.
Production and development work continued throughout the war, resulting in 18,616 LVTs delivered. Twenty-three US Army and eleven USMC battalions were equipped by 1945 with LVTs. British, Canadian and Australian armies also used LVTs in combat during WW2.
- Options to build either an LVT-2 or LVT(A)-2
- Open or closed hatches
- Highly detailed tracks
- Waterline option included