Book Review – ‘The Boat that Won the War: An illustrated history of the Higgins LCVP’ by John T. Kuehn
This book by Charles C. Roberts Jr. reminds one of a hard-copy, technical version of one of the Men-at-Arms series of books by Osprey, except that the hero here is not a man, but rather a small vessel, the Landing Craft Vehicle-Personnel, otherwise known to history as the ‘Higgins Boat’.
This book is not an operational history. It is a design history of a niche technology, one of the ‘secret weapons’ of the Second World War, although it was not really that secret. The overall structure of the book is very simple, it follows a chronological trajectory of concept, design, construction (including propulsion and seaworthiness), and then performance in war. The wartime component is only ten pages long and littered with photos and figures, but gives an introduction to the actual use of the LCVPs in the war. The appendices are worthwhile as well, especially for mechanical engineers or those wishing to build their own Higgins boat.
This work is primarily for specialists and military history buffs; as much for design engineers of watercraft as it is for Second World War groupies. That said, the prose is clear and the collection of photographs and illustrations is worth the price of the book.