"The Boat that Won the War"

By National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

June marks the 75th anniversary of the historic D-Day landings on the beaches of Normandy during World War II. To honor this historic moment, the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Museum "landed" a restored Higgins Boat in Dulany Gardens — just outside the NIHF Museum — at the United States Patent and Trademark Office headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

Andrew J. HigginsNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Who Invented the Higgins Boat?

2019 National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee Andrew Higgins was born in Columbus, Nebraska, in 1886.

After dropping out of high school, Higgins joined the Nebraska National Guard, where he learned much of his boat building knowledge before moving into the lumber industry on the Gulf Coast.

Higgins Industries_WWII MuseumNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Creating Higgins Industries

Inspired by his work in the lumber industry, Higgins designed a small, shallow-water boat to remove logs from the bayous and swamps. While improving his designs, Higgins bought a small boatyard in New Orleans and founded Higgins Industries.



At Higgins Industries, he renamed his improved, timber-moving boat the “Eureka.” This boat was designed for both lumber removal and oil and gas exploration in shallow waters, and it would form the foundation for the Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP).

Photo courtesy of the National WWII Museum

U.S. Patent No. 2,144, 111National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Pre-War

Before World War II, the U.S. Marine Corps was testing an improved shallow-water landing craft, and the U.S. Navy invited boat manufacturers to submit designs for an improved craft.

Andrew Higgins was not notified of the trials, so he did not submit his designs. However, once the military tested the submitted designs and found they were all failures, Higgins’ Eureka boat was tested.

Successful in the trials, the Navy gave Higgins Industries the contract to build their landing craft.

Higgins further developed the Eureka into a series of boats to fit the military’s specifications. This included the Landing Craft, Personnel (LCP) and Landing Craft, Personnel (Large) or LCP(L). A deficiency of the LCP(L) was that it required troops to climb over its sides to disembark and unload supplies, exposing them to enemy fire.

The unique hull design that allowed the craft to land in shallow waters was protected by U.S. Patent No. 2,144,111.

U.S. Patent No. 2,341,866National Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Ramping Up Warfare

After learning that Marine Lieutenant Victor Krulak had observed a Japanese landing craft with a retractable bow ramp during Japan’s 1937 invasion of China, Higgins modified his craft to include this ramp feature, providing the military with the LCVP — a craft that offered easy access on and off the boat.

The ramp was a key feature of this boat, and it received U.S. Patent No. 2,341,866 in 1944.

D-Day Higgins Boat _WWII Museum by Photo courtesy of the National WWII MuseumNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

World War II Impact

In addition to playing a major role in the D-Day landings, the LCVP was used in North Africa, Italy and across the Pacific, and it allowed the U.S. Army to cross the Rhine River into Germany in March 1945.

The LCVP provided a way for the U.S. military to efficiently move troops and equipment from sea to shore and enabled landing on an open beach, “The Boat that Won the War” allowed amphibious operations to be successful in all three theaters of the war.

Photo courtesy of the National WWII Museum

Higgins Boat ExhibitNational Inventors Hall of Fame Museum

Honoring the LCVP and Andrew Higgins

In May 2019, Andrew Higgins was officially Inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF).

Recognized for his contributions to the war effort, the NIHF Museum also commemorated his Induction with a limited-time exhibit.

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