Dragon DRA60424 US LVT-(A)1 Amtank Amphibious Vehicle - 708th Amphibious Tank Battalion, Ryukyus, 1945 (1:72 Scale)
"There was a hypnotic fascination to the sight so alien to our Western philosophy. We watched each plunging kamikaze with the detached horror of one witnessing a terrible spectacle rather than as the intended victim. We forgot self for the moment as we groped hopelessly for the thought of that other man up there."
- Vice Admiral C.R. Brown, commenting upon the massed Japanese suicide attacks following the invasion of Okinawa, April 1945
The Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) was a class of amphibious vehicles introduced by the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Army during World War II. Originally intended solely as cargo carriers for ship to shore operations, they rapidly evolved into assault troop and fire support vehicles as well. The types were all widely known as amphtrack, amtrak, amtrac etc., a portmanteau of amphibious tractor.
After much deliberation, it was determined that amphibious tracked vehicles were the only solution to this problem. Both the amtrac and the amtank were developed, designed to be able to climb onto a reef from the sea then advance across the rough coral to the beach without exposing the troops inside to small arms fire. The amtracs were responsible for transporting troops ashore where they could continue the assault. The amtanks, on the hand, led the way, firing at the enemy positions the moment naval gunfire and air strikes lifted.
Based on the LVT-2, the LVT(A)-1 fire support version had an armored (6 to 12 mm) hull. It was fitted with a turret nearly identical to that of the Light Tank M3, with a 37 mm Gun M6 in an M44 mount, and also carried two rear-mounted machine guns. 510 units produced.
Dragon has already successfully recreated the LVT(A)-1 in 1/72 scale as a plastic kit. This highly accurate kit forms the basis for Dragon Armors new fully built-up version of this vehicle. The miniature model boasts a complicated suspension system, as well as a well-detailed deck upon which even the weld seams are visible. The turret is also well constructed, and it boasts a hollowed-out gun muzzle. Painted in realistic colors and with a suitable amount of weathering, this LVT(A)-1 comes in the markings of the 708th Amphibious Tank Battalion. It represents an actual vehicle that participated in the capture of the Ryukyu Islands in 1945. This is a fine replica of an interesting American amphibious fire support vehicle, and it constitutes a welcome addition to the Dragon Armor collection. Now in stock!
Length: 4-1/4 inches
Width: 1-3/4 inches
Release Date: May 2011
Historical Account: "Typhoon of Steel" - The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June, 1945. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were approaching Japan, and planned to use Okinawa, a large island only 340 miles away from mainland Japan, as a base for air operations on the planned invasion of Japanese mainland (coded Operation Downfall). Five divisions of the U.S. Tenth Army, the 7th, 27th, 77th, 81st, and 96th, and two Marine Divisions, the 1st and 6th, fought on the island while the 2nd Marine Division remained as an amphibious reserve and was never brought ashore. The invasion was supported by naval, amphibious, and tactical air forces.
The battle has been referred to as the "Typhoon of Steel" in English, and tetsu no ame ("rain of steel"); ("violent wind of steel") in Japanese. The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of Kamikaze suicide attacks from the Japanese defenders, and to the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle resulted in one of the highest number of casualties of any World War II engagement. Japan lost over 100,000 troops killed or captured, and the Allies suffered more than 50,000 casualties of all kinds. Simultaneously, tens of thousands of local civilians were killed, wounded, or committed suicide. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki caused Japan to surrender just weeks after the end of the fighting at Okinawa.