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Landing Craft, Mechanized and Utility - LCM / LCU

Landing craft are used by amphibious forces to transport equipment and troops to the shore. They are capable of transporting tracked or wheeled vehicles and troops from amphibious assault ships to beachheads or piers. The use of landing craft in amphibious assault dates from World War II. The craft are carried aboard amphibious assault ships to the objective area.

Mechanized Landing Craft (LCM)


The LCM-6 is intended primarily for the transport of cargo and/or personnel from ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore. The craft is a 56-foot twin-screw, welded-steel craft with forward cargo well and bow ramp. The design of the boat permits its transportation aboard larger vessels.

In 1959, the LCM-3 was replaced with the larger 70-ton LCM-8. LCM-8 are manned by a four man crew, Boatswainmate Petty Officer, Enginerman Petty Officer, and a non-rate fireman and seaman. The LCM-8 is constructed of steel and powered by two 12 V-71 diesel engines. The LCM-8 has twin screws and rudders, which can be controlled from the pilothouse. LCM-8 is built of welded steel; it's bottom, however, is semiflat.

General Characteristics:

LCM 8 TypeLCM 6 Type
Power Plant:2 Detroit 12V-71 Diesel engines, twin shaft, 680 horsepower sustained, Kort nozzles2 Detroit 6-71 Diesel engines, twin shaft, 348 horsepower sustained; or
2 Detroit 8V-71 Diesel engines, twin shaft, 460 horsepower sustained
Length:73.7 feet (22.5 meters)56.2 feet (17.1 meters)
Beam:21 feet (6.4 meters)14 feet (4.3 meters)
Displacement:105 tons (107 metric tons)64 tons (65 metric tons)
Speed:12 knots (13.8 mph, 22.2 kmph)9 knots (10.3 mph, 16.6 kmph)
Range:190 miles at 9 knots (full load)130 miles at 9 knots
Military Lift:1 M48 or 1 M60 tank or 200 troops34 tons (34.6 metric tons) or 80 troops

LCM-8 Image Gallery:

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Landing Craft Utility (LCU)


The mission of the LCU is to land/retrieve personnel and equipment (tanks, artillery, equipment, motor vehicles) during amphibious operations. LCU's are scheduled to land personnel and equipment after the initial assault waves of an amphibious operation. The LCU has the capability of sustained sea operations for approximately seven days. Each LCU has its own galley and berthing spaces.

LCU-1600 Class:

The LCUs built in the 1970s are 135 feet long and can hold 11 crew members. Although the Navy now has a newer craft, the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), the LCUs have the backbone for heavier loads. It can carry 180 tons of equipment or 400 combat equipped Marines. Its development and design updated the landing craft used in World War II, made famous by the invasion of Normandy Beach and immortalized in numerous news reels and movies. However, the LCU requires a 9 foot draft beneath its keel to operate safely, making it less versatile than the LCAC, which flies on top of water or ground. Another difference between the two landing craft is the LCU is home away from home for its crew, because it can operate independently of the amphibious ships on which it embarks. It contains living compartments that include sleeping quarters, a wash room with shower, a clothes washer and dryer, a lounge with a television and a complete galley.

The 189 ton LCU are designed to carry 3 M-60 tanks, as many as 450 combat equipped troops or a variety of other support equipment such as surf cranes, bulldozers, trucks or artilleries. An LCU has a complement of a ten man crew consisting of a Radioman, Engineman, Electricians, Mess Management Specialist, Quartermasters and Boatswainmate, under the command of a Chief or First Class Craftmaster. The Craftmaster is wholly responsible for this craft and crew.

General Characteristics:

LCU 1610, 1627 and 1646 Class
Power Plant:2 Detroit 12V-71 Diesel engines, twin shaft, 680 horsepower sustained, Kort nozzles
Length:134.9 feet (41.1 meters)
Beam:29 feet (8.8 meters)
Displacement:200 tons (203 metric tons) light
375 tons (381 metric tons) full load
Speed:11 knots (12.7 mph, 20.3 kmph)
Range:120 miles at 8 knots
Military Lift:125 tons of cargo
Armament:2 12.7mm MGs
Radar:Navigation: LN 66 or SPS-53; I band

LCU Image Gallery:

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