The Landing Craft Personnel or LCP was a landing craft used extensively in the Second World War. Its primary purpose was to ferry troops from ships to attack enemy-held shores. The craft derived from a prototype designed by the Eureka Tug-Boat Company of New Orleans, Louisiana, manufactured initially in boatyards in and around New Orleans, as requirements grew it was produced in a number of yards around the United States. Typically constructed of planks and plywood, and fitted with some armor plate. Men generally entered the boat by walking over a gangplank from the deck of their troop transport as the LCP hung from its davits. When loaded, the LCP was lowered into the water, soldiers exited the boat by jumping or climbing down from the craft’s bow or sides. During the 1930s, the United States Marine Corps sought boats practical for landing troops on beaches, in 1936, the USMC conducted experiments with new types of boats, lighters, and launches. Many craft were considered coming from the Navy’s Bureau as well as fishing boat designs. Included in these experiments were some prototypes where, upon beaching, the craft was based on the company’s 1926 spoonbill-bowed craft used by trappers in the bayous of the Mississippi River delta. The boat’s draft was rather shallow,18 inches, and it could cut through vegetation and it could also run up on shore and extract itself damage-free. As part of demonstrations, boats were often run up on the seawalls of Lake Pontchartrain. The Marines specifications at the time were for boats operated by a crew of 6 that could carry a squad of 12 men, such boats should be able to achieve 15 knots, and to be hoisted on the US Navys standard davits. He produced the 32 feet Eureka or Higgins boat and this was the craft first used in American Fleet Landing Exercises in 1941. Before the USMC received their boats, the British Admiralty’s need for a raiding craft brought the first enquiries for a larger boat. Purchasing agents from Britain had become aware of Andrew Higgins’ Eureka boats, enquiries were made, the German occupation of France had changed British procurement plans dramatically. An initial order for 136 was placed, and the first 50 were delivered to Britain in October 1940, Higgins had already built these boats on spec and is said to have preferred this larger craft. Further US procurements were of this boat, and thus the LCP was the forerunner of all American LCP types. The LCPs were also known as Eurekas or R boats, before 1942, The USMC referred to them as T Boats
Image: Reinforcements land on Guadalcanal
A Eureka Boat, an early model of the LCP(L), used in commando raids. This image features Jack Churchill leading a charge armed with a broadsword (far right).
This boat, an early example from the Eureka Tug-Boat Company, was the progenitor of thousands of Second World War landing craft.
US Marines climb down a scramble net to an LCP(L) during preparations in the Fiji Islands for the Guadalcanal Campaign that would take place in August 1942. These men appear to be filling a returned craft as first wave troops would have entered the boat prior to its being lowered to the water.