New Orleans was home to Higgins Industries, a small boat company owned by entrepreneur Andrew J. Higgins. Higgins designed and produced a unique assembly of amphibious boats capable of delivering multitudes of troops and equipment safely and efficiently from ship to shore, which eliminated the need for conventional harbors. His vessels included amphibious LCTs (landing, craft, tank), LCPLs (landing, craft personnel, large), and LCMs (landing, craft, mechanized) along with motor torpedo boats (PTs), supply vessels, and other specialized watercraft. He was best known for designing and manufacturing thousands of LCVPs (Land Craft, Vehicle, Personnel), which was a special craft designed to carry infantry troops and jeeps to shore. Higgins boats were used in most of the American amphibious operations in the Pacific and European theaters during World War II.
Higgins initially had difficulty getting the military’s attention, but with persistence and a superior product—compared to what the Navy had at the time—he was soon competing with the larger, more established shipyards. Higgins’ designs garnered his small company huge government contracts, and his business expanded dramatically. In 1938, he operated a single boatyard with less than 75 employees. Towards the end of 1943, his seven manufacturing plants employed more than 25,000 people. The workers broke many production records, constructing more than 20,000 boats—12,500 of them LCVPs—by the end of the war. Higgins’ name became synonymous with the landing craft. Soldiers and Marines did not come ashore in LCVPs, they were transported to the fight in “Higgins boats.” Higgins held about 30 patents pertinent to amphibious landing craft and vehicles before his death in August 1952.
Naval History and Heritage Command DANFS entry. "Andrew J. Higgins". Retrieved 8 June 2020.
National World War II Museum. “New Orleans: Home of the Higgins Boats"(128 KB pdf download). Retrieved 8 June 2020.
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