Daihatsu Class, Japanese Landing Craft

Photograph of Daihatsu landing craft

Wikipedia Commons


10.5 tons light displacement
47'10" by 11'0" by 2'6"
14.58m by 3.35m by 0.76m
Maximum speed       About 8 knots
2 light machine guns or 2-3 25mm/60 AA guns
1-shaft kerosene (80 shp)
100 nautical miles (190km) at 7.5 knots
50 nautical miles (90 km) at 8.5 knots
1 Type 95 7.4 ton tank or 70 men or 10 tons cargo

The Daihatsu ("large motorized boat") or 14m landing craft, known in Army service as either the Type A or the Type LB-D, resembled the Allied LCVP, with a bow ramp that was lowered on hitting the beach. However, the Daihatsu was less boxy than an LCVP, giving it better seakeeping. It had a welded steel hull. The postwar U.S. Naval Technical Mission reported that it was powered by an 80-horsepower kerosene engine, but other intelligence sources suggest that there was little standardization on the power plant, and diesel and gasoline engines of 60 to 80 horsepower were also used. The Daihatsu was often field-modified to carry addition weapons of up to 37mm caliber, and the crew compartment was often protected with improvised armor.

Though originally developed for the Army, the Navy adopted the Daihatsu as its principal landing craft and ordered 3229 units. It is not known how many were actually completed (though at least 40 were built in 1942), but the craft were so frequently encountered by Allied forces in the South Pacific, where they played an important logistical role, that actual construction must have been closer to the figure of 3229 than 40. Postwar the U.S. Navy Technical Mission determined that 85% of all Japanese landing craft were of this type.

Allied destroyers had a difficult time intercepting Daihatsu traffic in the Solomons. The improvised armor kept 40mm fire from being fully effective, and the landing craft were difficult targets for 5" guns because of their small size and high maneuverability.


"Handbook on Japanese Military Forces" (1944-9; accessed 2017-7-15)

Jentschura, Jung, and Mickel (1977)

Merriam (2006)

Morison (1950)

Murray and Millett (1996)

Parillo (1993)

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