*** OUR LCVP IS CURRENTLY DOWN FOR MAINTENANCE. PLEASE CALL BACK IN LATE JULY/EARLY AUGUST TO SCHEDULE A RIDE. WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE***
As war loomed over Europe and the Pacific, the U.S. Marine Corps was looking for a landing craft that could rival the Japanese Daihatsu-class ramp boats being used in China. In 1926, Andrew Jackson Higgins' designed the Eureka boat, which became the craft of choice for prohibition-era rum runners and the Coast Guard crews that hunted them, to be used in the shallow swamps and marshes of Louisiana.
To meet the Marine Corps' demand for a bow ramp amphibious vehicle, Higgins tested his landing 36 foot long Eureka boat on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Eventually, Higgins built a prototype made of pine, oak, and mahogany, with 1/4 inch steel plating on the front and sides and a landing ramp on the front. In June of 1941, the first Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) would be added to the U.S. Navy's fleet. Six months later, the surprise attack of the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese Empire would draw the United States into World War II. While most famous for being used in the Normandy Landings on D-Day, the "Higgins Boat" was used extensively in both theaters. Probably the best endorsement of the impact of Higgins' landing craft would be Supreme Allied Commander in Western Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said:
"Andrew Higgins ... is the man who won the war for us. ... If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different."
After WWII, the LCVP would be made of fiberglass instead of wood, and be used during the Korean and Vietnam War.
Our LCVP is not one of the original Higgins boats which stormed the beaches of Normandy, and was taken off the USS Austin (LPD-4).
LCVP rides are by appointment only. To schedule a ride, please call a week in advance to your visit. Available appointment times are during museum operating hours.