LCM - 6
After the First World War and the British seaborne invasion failure at Gallipoli, both America and the United Kingdom began working on a class of vessels designed to be troop carriers launched just off shore from transports. These ships were to then beach themselves, discharge their soldiers and vehicles, and head back for another load from their mother ship. Over time, this style of boat became designated as ‘Landing Craft, Mechanized.’
The LCM-3, built by Higgins, was the most widely used LCM in World War II. The design was sound for its time, but improvements were always being sought to increase efficiency. In the later stages of the Second World War when engineers had more time to examine the LCM-3’s flaws and strengths, a new boat began to emerge as the LCM-6.
The LCM-6, took the Higgins style and extended the hull six feet in length amidships. This increased carrying capacity without hampering performance, upping the number of soldiers carried from sixty to eighty, and allowing for four tons additional cargo weight to be loaded, resulting in a total hauling capacity of 68,000 pounds. Performing admirably when used, the LCM-6 gradually overtook the Higgins as the favored landing craft type.
By Vietnam, the Mike Boat, as it was now called, was starting to show its age, and a replacement known as the LCM-8 loomed on the horizon. The LCM-6 didn’t go without a fight, however, making a name as an early workhorse in Vietnam. By 1967, however, the last of the active Mike Boats was pulled from the front lines, ending over two decades of service in three wars.