Dragon DRA60500 USMC LVT-(A)4 Amtank Amphibious Vehicle - 3rd Armored Amphibian Battalion, Peleliu, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"The bitterest battle of the war for the Marines."
- The National Museum of the Marine Corps portrayal of the Battle of Peleliu
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.
The LVT 1 could carry 18 fully equipped men or 4,500 pounds (2,041 kg) of cargo. Originally intended to carry replenishments from ships ashore, they lacked armor protection and their tracks and suspension were unreliable when used on hard terrain. However, the Marines soon recognized the potential of the LVT as an assault vehicle. Armored versions were introduced as well as fire support versions, dubbed Amtanks, which were fitted with turrets from Stuart series light tanks (LVT(A)-1) and Howitzer Motor Carriage M8s (LVT(A)-4). Among other upgrades were a new powerpack, also borrowed from the Stuarts, and a torsilastic suspension which significantly improved performance on land.
Production continued throughout the war, resulting in 18,621 LVTs delivered. In late 1940s a series of prototypes were built and tested, but none reached production stage due to lack of funding. Realizing that acquisition of new vehicles was unlikely, the Marines modernized some of the LVT-3s and LVT(A)-5s and kept them in service until late 1950s.
Dragon Armor has released a 1/72 scale model of one of the vehicles that participated in the assault of this island. It is an American LVT(A)-4. Introduced in March 1944 as a modification of the LVT(A)-1, the LVT(A)-4 featured a complete turret and M2 or M3 75mm howitzer taken directly from the M8 Gun Motor Carriage (GMC). A total of 1,890 LVT(A)-4 vehicles were manufactured, its 75mm weapon proving effective in attacking Japanese fortifications during amphibious assaults.
The Dragon Armor model is from the 3rd Armored Amphibian Battalion of the US Marine Corps (USMC). The LVT wears a new olive drab paint finish. The tactical number D12 is painted prominently in white on the turret sides, although such markings often proved inviting targets for Japanese gunners! This amtrac has been christened Lady Luck. The detail on this LVT(A)-4 is quite stunning, including the open-topped turret and a .50-cal machine gun mounted on it. This lucky LVT is the perfect companion to the Iwo Jima LVT(A)-4 released earlier by Dragon Armor. Now in stock!
Length: 4-1/4 inches
Width: 1-3/4 inches
Release Date: August 2011
Historical Account: "Operation Stalemate II" - The Battle of Peleliu, codenamed Operation Stalemate II, was fought between the United States and the Empire of Japan in the Pacific Theater of World War II, from September-November 1944 on the island of Peleliu, present-day Palau. U.S. forces (originally consisting of only the 1st Marine Division, but later relieved by the Army's 81st Infantry Division), fought to capture an airstrip on the small coral island.
Major General William Rupertus - commander of 1st Marine - Division predicted the island would be secured within four days. However, due to Japan's well-crafted fortifications and stiff resistance, the battle lasted over two months. It remains one of the war's most controversial command decisions because of the island's questionable strategic value and the very high death toll. Considering the number of men involved, Peleliu had the highest casualty rate of any battle in the Pacific War. The National Museum of the Marine Corps called it "the bitterest battle of the war for the Marines".