Higgins Boat: New Orleans impact on WW2

Higgins Boat: New Orleans impact on WW2
The U.S. military developed tiny boats to transport troops from ships to beaches in the late 1930s. Andrew Jackson Higgins of New Orleans, who made shallow-water work boats for oil and gas exploration in Louisiana bayous, converted his Eureka Boat to suit military landing craft requirements. The 1942 Guadalcanal and North Africa landings employed the Landing Craft Personnel (Large), or LCP(L).

Separate LCP(L)s and LCVs were employed for personnel and vehicles initially. No ramp was included in the LCP(L). Jumping over the LCP(L) side to unload exposed troops under enemy fire, which was unacceptable. Higgins solved this problem by integrating the LCP(L) and LCV designs into the LCVP. The Higgins Boat, Higgins's most renowned design, allowed soldiers or small vehicles to depart down a front ramp.

Higgins Boats transformed battle. Previously, fleets had to attack highly fortified ports. Armies may unload over an open beach and choose multiple attack places with Higgins Boats. The defending forces were also strained. Defenders have to cover more shoreline instead of focusing on a few access spots. Higgins Boats helped Allied soldiers land in the Pacific and European Theaters of WWII.

The success of these boats made Higgins Industries a significant Wartime employment. From 75 workers in 1938 to nearly 20,000 in 1943. Higgins was New Orleans' first racially mixed workplace. His workers comprised undrafted white men, women, African Americans, the elderly, and disabled. All received equal pay for their work ratings. They broke manufacturing records, producing over 20,000 boats before war's conclusion.
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