On June 6, 1944, 79 years ago to the day at 06:30 French time, soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy.
The unique amphibious landing craft, known as the Land Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) ship, played a vital role in numerous military operations during World War II. Surprisingly, its original design was inspired by the challenges faced by Andrew Higgins, a lumber businessman and former Nebraska National Guard Infantry Officer. While extracting hardwood trees from Louisiana swamps, Higgins encountered difficulties with his conventional boats repeatedly running aground in shallow waters.
Determined to overcome this obstacle, Higgins ingeniously developed a shallow draft boat with improved capabilities, continuously refining its design over the next few decades. Despite initial struggles to sell his innovative boats, Higgins eventually secured a contract with the U.S. Government, resulting in the purchase of over 20,000 LCVP ships. These remarkable vessels served in critical campaigns across North Africa, Italy, Normandy, and the Pacific islands.
General Eisenhower himself acknowledged the pivotal role played by Higgins, referring to him as “the man who won the war for us.”