graduate

LCI Class, Allied Landing Craft


Photograph of LCI

U.S. Army. Via Leighton and Coakley (1955)

Schematic diagram of LCI

ONI 226


Specifications:


Tonnage

246 tons displacement

Dimensions

153' by 23'3" by 5'3"
46.6m by 7.08m by 1.60m

Maximum speed     

15 knots

Complement
24

Armament

Light antiaircraft guns
Early units carried two 300 lb (136 kg) depth charges
Protection
2.75" (70mm) plastic armor around conning station, wheelhouse, and gun positions
Machinery
2-shaft GM diesel (1600 bhp)
Bunkerage
110 tons
Range
500 nautical miles (900 km) at 15 knots
4000 nautical miles (7400 km) at 10 knots carrying extra fuel in place of troops and cargo

Capacity

250 troops

Variants
Beginning with the Treasury Islands landings in October 1943, a number of LCIs were modified as LCI(G) with 2 20mm Oerlikon AA guns, 3 40mm Bofors AA guns, and 5 0.50 machine guns. These ships had a larger complement but little troop-carrying capacity. A total of about 219 LCI were converted to LCI(G) by the end of the war.

By the time of the Marshalls campaign, 24 LCI(G) had been equipped with an additional six rocket racks, each with 72 rockets. The rockets had a range of 1100 yards and the modified craft were designated as LCI(R)s.

About 61 LCI(I) and LCI(G) were converted to LCI(M) armed with 1 40mm Bofors, 4 20mm Oerlikon, and 3 4.2" chemical mortars. These were used to lay smoke screens.

The Landing Craft, Infantry, Large or LCI(L) (often referred to simply as the LCI or "Elsie Item") was a large seagoing landing craft used to land troops and supplies on hostile beaches. The design originated with British requirements for a landing craft capable of crossing the English Channel on its own power and landing a company of raiders.  Because the British were already fully occupied constructing LCTs, they sought to have the craft constructed in the United States, and requirements were transmitted to Washington, D.C., on 30 April 1942. By this time the British were beginning to recognize that the design they had in mind would be ideal for the cross-channel invasion of France, and they requested the construction of 300 LCIs, enough to carry the 60,000 troops projected for a 1943 landing. However, for political reasons (chiefly a bid to gain sponsorship by the U.S. Army, which preferred small landing craft to large landing ships) the LCI continued to be characterized as a raiding craft.

Because there was no shipping to spare to carry the craft across the Atlantic, the LCI was required to have enough range and seaworthiness to make the journey on its own power with extra fuel stowage. Its design landing slope (1:100) reflected its anticipated use landing troops across the flat beaches of France, and sometimes proved problematic in the Pacific, where few beaches had this ideal slope. To achieve the desired speed of 15 knots or better, the LCI required two 4' (1.2m) propellers, large enough that the propellers required tunnel protection, which was provided by three skegs. Variable-pitch propellers were used, to accommodate different loadings, a pioneering use of this propeller technology in the United States. The craft proved adept at beaching and retracting, but were very unmaneuverable while backing.

Building capacity in the United States was already very heavily subscribed, and construction was simplified by designing with as few curves as possible, resulting in a rather boxy craft. Production began on 7 July 1942 and the first unit was completed on 9 October 1942. The first LCIs entered combat in July 1943 at Kiriwina in New Guinea and Kiska in the Aleutians. They quickly proved their worth here and at Sicily in the Mediterranean Theater.

The LCI was equipped with two bow ramps that allowed its passengers to quickly disembark. Normal armament was a few light antiaircraft guns, but a number were specialized as fire support craft, LCI(G)s, with heavier antiaircraft and rocket launchers. The chief limitation of the LCI in the Pacific was its short cruising range, which meant it had to be loaded at a port close to the planned amphibious operation. This reduced its strategic flexibility.

The Japanese had no real equivalent to the LCI, which was much larger than anything in the Japanese arsenal.

Though designated as craft, the LCI was clearly more ship than craft, with its relatively large size and oceangoing capability. Their relatively high speed for a landing craft contributed to their popularity. As a result, it was redesignated the Landing Ship, Infantry, Large (LSIL) in 1946. There was also a Landing Craft, Infantry, Small or LCI(S), the British GRC Mk II, which was produced in relatively small numbers and saw little or no use in the Far East.

Total Production

The following table gives total production.  About 30% of this was allocated to the Pacific until the final year of the war, when most of the amphibious fleet began to be shifted to the Pacific.

1942-9     


1942-10     

25

1942-11

59

1942-12
68
1943-1
70
1943-2
47
1943-3
22
1943-4
10
1943-5
3
1943-6
9
1943-7
16
1943-8
22
1943-9
23
1943-10
25
1943-11
28
1943-12
30
1944-1
35
1944-2
34
1944-3
54
1944-4
69
1944-5
78
1944-6
60
1944-7
44
1944-8
36
1944-9
27
1944-10
26

Photo Gallery


LCI approachingn Labuan

AWM

LCI beached

U.S. Navy


References

Clancey (2010-9-23; accessed 2011-1-12)

Friedman (2002)

GlobalSecurity.org (accessed 2009-7-29)
Leighton and Coakley (1955)
Morison (1950, 1951)



Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional