Friday, 22 July 2016

Tarawa - LVT Allocation

I thought it time to go back and look at detail on the structure of assault waves.

We know that the LVT-2 only joined up with the rest of the invasion force as the assault began so were allocated to the second and third waves (a back up plan of how to go without the additional vehicles had been made)

A range of sources state that:
42 LVT-1s comprised the first wave;
24 LVT-2s, the second;
21 LVT-2s, the third.

Divide that between the thee assault battalions and we get something like
14 LVT-1 in wave 1
8 LVT-2 in wave 2
7 LVT-2 in wave 3

As to the loading plan, the three assault battalions appear to have had the same tactical loading plan based on the E Series organisations;
Four reinforced rifle platoons in the first wave
Two reinforced rifle platoons in the second wave
Two Company HQ and supports in the third wave
The rest of the battalion would follow in LCVP

Each wave was meant to have been separated by 3 minutes but in war nothing goes to plan and there is plenty of evidence documenting the intermingling of the boat teams on the way in.
The three waves carried the lead companies from the three Landing teams onto Beach Red-1, Beach Red-2 and Beach Red-3.

Looking at the landing plan at company level in more detail we have:
Two rifle platoons with the Company weapons platoon 60mm and .30 Cal Sections in the first wave
one rifle platoon in the second wave
Company HQ and a Platoon from the Bn MG platoon in the third wave.

The assault rifle platoons are stated as comprising 42 men.  This is three 12 man sections and a 6 men in the Platoon HQ.

If each assault platoon has 3 LVT-1s that makes 6 per company and 12 per LT or 36 in the first wave. So what went in the other 6?  It is reasonable to assume that the other 6 are split two to each LT, one per company and could have carried the balance of the Company weapons platoon if we assume that the 60mm and .30cal teams are dispersed in the rifle platoon vehicles (Platoon HQ, SNCOs, ammo carriers etc).  If we accept this model that gives us a combat loading of 18 men per vehicle (rifle platoon LVT) and 15 men in the Weapons platoon LVT.

Wave 2 then has a similar loading plan
3 LVT-2 carrying the third platoon of each company
1 LVT-2 carrying an undisclosed load possibly combat engineers (noting there isn't any more company support elements or battalion weapons mentioned in the first two waves in the available accounts)

Wave 3
Company HQ

No comments:

Post a Comment