Introduced in 1941, the Higgins boat was a critical part in the Allies winning WWII. Made from plywood, it was a shallow, barge-like boat that could ferry an entire platoon from a ship to a beach. The Higgins boat was 36 feet long and just under 11 feet wide. It could carry 36 men, a jeep and 12 men, or 8,000 lbs of cargo and equipment. It was powered with a 225 horsepower diesel engine that allowed travel speeds of up to 12 knots.
The ramp was one of the most important parts of the boat because it allowed for a quick unloading. This meant that men were on the ground faster than with other boats. Additionally, the Higgins boat was designed to have a quick turnaround time – meaning it could carry more loads in a shorter amount of time.
The Higgins boat was used in almost every amphibious landing during WWII. In fact, it was so instrumental that Dwight Eisenhower said the whole strategy of the war would have been different without the Higgins boat.
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