The LCM-8 ("Mike Boat") is a river boat and mechanized landing craft used by the United States Navy and Army during the Vietnam War and subsequent operations. They are currently used by governments and private organizations throughout the world. The acronym stands for "Landing Craft Mechanized, Mark 8". (The "Mike Boat" term refers to the military phonetic alphabet, LCM being "Lima Charlie Mike".)

The vessel weighs 135,000 pounds (61,200 kg) and has a crew of four: a Boatswain's Mate petty officer, an Engineman petty officer, a non-rated fireman, and a seaman. US Army specifications call for a crew of six: two coxswains, two seamen and two enginemen. The LCM-8s are constructed from welded steel and powered by four 6V71 or two 12V71 diesel engines, twin propellers, and rudders. The ship can carry 60 short tons of cargo. It was designed by Marinett Marine Corp Dimensions. It has a range of 190 miles at 9kts with a full load.

LCM-8 in March 1972
LCM-8 in March 1972
Class overview
Name: LCM-8
In service: 1959 to present
General characteristics
Type: Mechanized landing craft
  • 57.8 long tons (58.7 t) light
  • 111.4 long tons (113.2 t) loaded
Length: 73 ft 712 in (22.265 m)
Beam: 21 ft 0 in (6.4 m)
  • 4 ft 712 in (1.234 m) light
  • 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m) loaded
Propulsion: (original) 4, 2-twin-pak GMC 6-71 or Gray Marine 6-71 diesel paired to 2 hydrostatic transmissions Detroit 12V-71 diesel engines, twin screws
  • 12 knots (22 km/h) light
  • 9 knots (17 km/h) loaded
Capacity: 53.5 long tons (54.4 t) of cargo
Complement: 4–6
Armament: 2 × .50 caliber M2 Browning machine guns


A modified version, the Zippo boat, carries flamethrowers.[1][2] Another modified version, the LCM-8 Mod 2, was used to fulfill command, personnel, salvage, and firefighting functions. There is also another version with an aluminum hull. This version was carried aboard all of the Charleston class LKA ships, as the steel version was too heavy to be lifted by the ship's 40 ton fore and aft booms, preventing more than two from being lowered (via the two 70 ton fore and aft cargo booms) at one time. They are now mostly carried by pre-positioned ships.

A third modification was as a transport for PBRs (patrol boat, river) from repair stations at Da Nang (YR-71) and Tan My (PBR Mobile Base 1) to outlying points at Cua Viet, and the Cua Dai rivers. PBR main propulsion jet pumps were easily damaged by ocean salt water which necessitated the boats being carried by another craft to their duty stations. These transport LCMs were classed as mini-docks and each had a boat ramp in the well deck. The voids (built-in float chambers under the well deck) would be systematically flooded, allowing the front end of the craft to sink, so a PBR could be floated in or out of the well deck. The pumping mechanism would then be reversed to clear the water out of the voids, restoring the craft to normal floating position.

A fourth modification was the Army Version for Vietnam Rivers Logistic with a live aboard cabin and crewed by 6 men consisting of Coxswain, Assist. Coxswain, Engineer and assistant and two deckhands. All crew could handle the two 50 Caliber Machine gun turrets and other small arms and were frequently engaged by the Vietcong on the rivers and canals of the Mekong Delta. One unit, an Army Reserve Unit out of St. Petersburg, FL was called to active duty and received a Unit Commendation of merit for delivering record tonnage in their 12-month tour. Army 231st on Mission Vietnam

U.S. usage

They were used by the United States Navy and Army during the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War, there were two new aluminum LCM-8s on Johnston Island, which carried trucks and cargo between islands, and one being used as a rescue boat. They had the newer fluid shift transmissions, and 2-671's paired up to two props.

In I Corps (the northernmost military district in Vietnam) boats based at Da Nang, Tan My and Cửa Việt had three man crews of various rates and ranks. On U.S. Navy boats, the senior rate was usually a third class petty officer or above, and the two crewmen could be E-2, E-3 or E-4 ranks (i.e. seaman apprentice, seaman, or petty officer third class). One of the two crewmen was almost always an Engineman, and could be an ENFA, ENFN, or an EN3 in rank. The LCM-8s there all had two sets of the twin 6-71 Detroits paired up to a hydro transmission. Two air compressors, port and starboard of the engine sets, provided air pressure to operate the air cylinders that raised and lowered the bow ramp. The air cylinders were below deck in the eighth void from the bow and stretched cables attached to the ramp to raise it. Lowering the ramp was accomplished by releasing the air and allowing gravity to bring the ramp down.

They also saw use during Operation Just Cause in Panama as well as Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Three Army LCM-8s served in the 1992–1993 US mission to Somalia (fictionalized in Christian Bauman's 2002 novel The Ice Beneath You, which is set in part on a US Army LCM-8 near Kismaayo, Somalia), and a platoon of LCM-8s from the 1098th Trans Co. deployed to Port-au-Prince for the Haitian invasion (1994). The United States Army Reserve's 464th Transportation Company assisted the United States Coast Guard in patrolling the Potomac River after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Some are currently deployed aboard Maritime Prepositioning ships to facilitate their mission of being able to unload all their cargo while still offshore with no outside assistance.


Main article: Maneuver Support Vessel (Light)

The U.S. Army plans to replace the LCM-8 with the Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) (MSV(L)). Two dozen boats are planned that will be larger and faster, with a longer range and twice the capacity over Mike Boats. The MSV(L) will be roughly 100 feet (30 m) long, with a draft of less than four feet, a speed of 18 knots and the capacity to carry either an M1 Abrams tank, two Strykers with add-on armor, or four Joint Light Tactical Vehicles. It also may be used in defended waters, being fitted with a subsurface surveillance device, protection from small arms fire, two Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations, and mitigated detection through reduction of thermal and acoustic signature. Testing of the new vessel is to take place until 2019.[3] In September 2017, Vigor Shipyards was awarded a nearly $1 billion contract for the MSV(L), which is planned for completion in 2027.[4]

Australian service

Aust. Army LCM-8
Australian Army LCM-8 showing the extended wheelhouse of the Australian vessels, off Palm Island, Queensland in 2005

The LCM-8 was constructed in Australia for the Australian Army from 1965 to 1967 and again in 1972 using a heavily modified design, crewed (four) and administered by the Royal Australian Corps of Transport and one engineer from the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME). The modification of the vessels included an extended enclosed wheelhouse with full galley facilities, chart table and storage space to aid in extended operations beyond the original design parameters. A water purification system allows the vessels to be somewhat independent for longer periods of time. A fully functioning toilet (head) and shower are also installed as part of the wheelhouse extensions; external provision for bedding is also included for the full crew complement.

The extension of the wheelhouse increased rigidity of the craft leading to excessive vibration and cavitation with the original three-blade propeller. Further development included a more balanced and expensive five-blade propeller, negating the vibration and cavitation of the original. The prop change found a few negative effects in the beaching performance of the vessel but over time tactics have been changed to suit the new system.

The vessels are also installed with a full suite of electronics allowing the craft to navigate in all weather, day or night in military operations anywhere in the world with little to no special training requirements for an indefinite period.

During the mid-1990s, the Army LCM-8 received a life of type extension with a re-engine program. The original twin-pac 6-71 two-stroke Detroit Diesel engines and Allison mechanical transmissions were replaced with 8v-92 Silver Series Detroit Diesel engines and Allison Hydraulic Transmissions thus extending the life of the craft for another 20 years.

Two craft were utilized during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, patrolling the shallow waters of the Khawr Abd Allah estuary using HMAS Kanimbla as their base of operations. They were extensively used in East Timor for logistic operations in direct support of multinational peace keepers. Other deployments include peacekeeping and peace monitoring operations in Bougainville and the Solomon Islands.

The LCM-8 fleet of fifteen was to be replaced by six Australian designed type LCM2000 waterjet propelled craft, however these craft were scrapped, after not meeting the required in-service specifications and being deemed not fit for use for the intended Kanimbla-class.[5][6][7] The Army will now continue to operate the LCM-8 until 2027.[8][7]



  1. ^ "Tango - Zippo Conversion". Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015. The first Zippo boats were ATCs carrying an M132A1 flame-throwing armored personnel carrier
  2. ^ "Letters". Smithsonian Magazine. February 1999. Archived from the original on 2006-11-29. Another type of boat carried a flamethrower that could shoot a stream of burning liquid several hundred yards. These boats ... were called "Zippo" boats
  3. ^ US Army To Choose New Landing Craft Next Year -, 27 August 2015
  4. ^ Army awards billion-dollar contract for 100-foot landing ships -, 29 September 2017
  5. ^ Williams, Adam (March 2006). "Design and Construction of the Army Watercraft" (PDF). Navy Engineering Bulletin. Royal Australian Navy (10): 56–58. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-02-24. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  6. ^ Toune, Rachel (29 July 2010). "Million dollar craft lay idle". Townsville Bulletin. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012.
  7. ^ a b Cole, Captain G.S. (2014). "Will JP2048 provide Army with an amphibious capability for independent coastal and riverine operations?" (PDF). Australian Army Transport Journal (46): 83–87. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  8. ^ Morley, Sgt Dave (12 February 2015). "Specialists rest easy" (PDF). Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1344 ed.). Canberra, Australia: Department of Defence. ISSN 0729-5685. Retrieved 26 November 2016.

External links

10th Force Support Battalion (Australia)

The 10th Force Support Battalion (10 FSB) is an Australian Army logistics battalion and is part of the 17th Combat Service Support Brigade. Its role is to provide third line or 'general' support within an area of operations.10FSB is located at Lavarack Barracks and Ross Island Barracks in Townsville, Queensland, and a Troop is also located in Darwin.10FSB was formed on 1 March 1998, following the amalgamation of the 10th Terminal Regiment, 2nd Field

Logistics Battalion and the 1st Division Postal Unit.The battalion was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation for operations in East Timor during INTERFET in 1999–2000, the first logistics unit to win such an award.

1988 European Cup Winners' Cup Final

The 1988 European Cup Winners' Cup Final was a football match contested between Mechelen of Belgium and the defending champions, Ajax of Netherlands. It was the final match of the 1987–88 European Cup Winners' Cup and the 28th European Cup Winners' Cup final. The final was held at Stade de la Meinau in Strasbourg, France. Mechelen won the match 1–0 thanks to a goal by Piet den Boer.

In the United Kingdom, the match was not televised live but highlights were shown on ITV's Midweek Sports Special with Brian Moore commentating; this was later shown on the British version of ESPN Classic.

1989 European Cup Winners' Cup Final

The 1989 European Cup Winners' Cup Final was a football match contested between Barcelona of Spain and Sampdoria of Italy. It was the final match of the 1988–89 European Cup Winners' Cup and the 29th European Cup Winners' Cup final. The final was held at Wankdorf Stadium in Bern, Switzerland, on 10 May 1989. Barcelona won the match 2–0 thanks to goals by Julio Salinas and Luis López Rekarte.

Amphibious warfare ships of Australia

The Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army have operated 24 amphibious warfare ships. These ships have been used to transport Army units and supplies during exercises and operational deployments.

Assault Craft Unit TWO

Assault Craft Unit TWO , (ACU-2) is an Atlantic Ocean Maritime Prepositioning Force in the United States Navy operated under Naval Beach Group TWO out of Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia. ACU-2's force consists of Landing Craft Utility boats (LCU), Landing Craft Mechanized, Mark 8 boats (LCM), and Maritime Prepositioning Force Utility Boats (MPFUB). The sister unit of ACU-2 is Assault Craft Unit 1 in Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.

Australian contribution to the 2003 invasion of Iraq

The Howard Government supported the disarmament of Iraq during the Iraq disarmament crisis. Australia later provided one of the four most substantial combat force contingents during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, under the operational codename Operation Falconer. Part of its contingent were among the first forces to enter Iraq after the official "execute" order. The initial Australian force consisted of three Royal Australian Navy ships, a 500-strong special forces task group, two AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, two B707 Air-to-Air refuelling aircraft, C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and No. 75 Squadron RAAF (which included 14 F/A-18 Hornet fighters). Combat forces committed to Operation Falconer for the 2003 Invasion were withdrawn during 2003. Under the name Operation Catalyst, Australian combat troops were redeployed to Iraq in 2005, however, and assumed responsibility for supporting Iraqi security forces in one of Iraq's southern provinces. These troops began withdrawing from Iraq on 1 June 2008 and were completely withdrawn by 28 July 2009.

HMAS Choules

HMAS Choules (L100) is a Bay-class landing ship that served with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) from 2006 to 2011, before being transferred to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The vessel was built as RFA Largs Bay by Swan Hunter in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear. She was named after Largs Bay in Ayrshire, Scotland, and entered service in November 2006. During her career with the RFA, Largs Bay served as the British ship assigned to patrol the Falkland Islands in 2008, and delivered relief supplies following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

At the end of 2010, Largs Bay was marked as one of the vessels to be removed from service under the Strategic Defence and Security Review. She was offered for sale, with the RAN announced as the successful bidder in April 2011. After modifications to make her more suited for Australian operating conditions, the vessel was commissioned in December 2011 as HMAS Choules, named after Chief Petty Officer Claude Choules. A propulsion transformer failure kept the ship out of service between July 2012 and April 2013.

HMAS Kanimbla (L 51)

HMAS Kanimbla (L 51) was a Kanimbla-class landing platform amphibious ship operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Originally built for the United States Navy (USN) as the Newport-class tank landing ship USS Saginaw (LST-1188), the ship was decommissioned in 1994 and sold to the RAN.

After entering service with the RAN in 1999, Kanimbla participated in numerous worldwide deployments, including the Iraq War, the response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, and in response to the 2006 Fijian coup d'état. During the ship's career, two helicopters were lost in crashes. After a fire broke out aboard Kanimbla in late 2010, she and sister ship Manoora were removed from active service because of extensive problems found aboard both ships. The intention was to repair Kanimbla and return her to service by 2012, but this was deemed uneconomical. The ship was decommissioned in 2011, and sold for breaking in 2013.

LCVP (Australia)

Since 1993, the Royal Australian Navy has operated four Australian-designed and built Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel (similar in size and concept to the World War II LCVP) from the landing ship, heavy ex-HMAS Tobruk, replenishment oiler HMAS Success and LSD HMAS Choules. These aluminum craft were built by Geraldton Boat Builders and can carry up to 36 personnel or a Land Rover with a half-ton trailer. They are maintained for the RAN by the firm DMS Maritime. As of 2018, T4 and T6 were held in reserve at the naval base HMAS Cairns, T5 and T7 were carried by Choules . The craft remained in service as of 2018.

Landing Craft Mechanized

The landing craft mechanized (LCM) also landing craft mechanical is a landing craft designed for carrying vehicles. They came to prominence during the Second World War when they were used to land troops or tanks during Allied amphibious assaults.

List of amphibious warfare vessels of the Turkish Navy

This is a list of Turkish Navy amphibious warfare vessels that have served past and present, from 10 July 1920 to present.

List of currently active United States military watercraft

The United States military has numerous types of watercraft, operated by the Navy, including Naval Special Warfare Command and Military Sealift Command, as well as the Coast Guard, Army and Air Force

Maneuver Support Vessel (Light)

Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) or MSV(L) is the US Army’s replacement for the Landing Craft Mechanized 8 (LCM-8 or “Mike Boat”) that had been in service since 1959.

Maritime Prepositioning Force Utility Boat

The Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) Utility Boat (MPFUB) is a commercially designed utility craft used primarily to move personnel and light equipment during MPF offload operations. The 41 foot long, high-speed landing craft are replacing the Navy’s existing LCM-8 craft as part of the United States Navy's Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) in support of pre-positioned Marine Amphibious assault missions. Additional missions include supporting waterborne force protection, transportation of personnel and materials, medical evacuation, salvage, damage control, and repair operations.The MPFUB's power bow ramp facilitates embarking and discharging personnel over an INLS, low pier, or quay. Cargo capacity is ten tons, or up to 30 personnel with 150 lbs of equipment at speeds up to 25 knots fully loaded. It can reach speeds around 40 knots when empty.The MPFUB weighs about 44,000 pounds (19,950 kg). Propulsion is provided by twin Cummins QSM11 engines rated for 660 hp at 2300 rpm and Hamilton 364 water jets (for beach deployments). The MPFUB has three weapon mounts for M2 Browning, Mk 19 grenade launcher, or M240 machine guns. It was designed by Kvichak Marine Industries, Incorporated.Procurement of the MPFUB is managed by the Naval Facilities Expeditionary Logistics Center (NFELC). The first MPFUB was delivered to the Navy's Assault Craft Unit ONE in 2006.

Miura-class landing ship tank

The Miura-class landing ship tank (LST) (みうら型輸送艦) is a class of Japanese tank landing ships that was also be used to carry heavy construction equipment such as trenchers.

Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship

The Tarawa class is a ship class of Landing Helicopter Assault (LHA) type amphibious assault ships operated by the United States Navy (USN). Five ships were built by Ingalls Shipbuilding between 1971 and 1980; another four ships were planned, but later canceled. As of March 2015, all vessels have been decommissioned. The class was replaced by the America-class amphibious assault ships from 2014 onward.

Thomaston-class dock landing ship

The Thomaston class was a class of eight dock landing ships built for the United States Navy in the 1950s.

The class is named after a town of Thomaston, Maine, which was the home of General Henry Knox, the first Secretary of War to serve under the United States Constitution.

USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE-2)

USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE-2), a Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship, is the third ship operated by the United States Navy to be named for Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who acted as guide and interpreter for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and one of the few United States Navy ships named for women.

The contract to build her was awarded to National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) of San Diego, California, on 18 October 2001. Construction began in September 2004 for a scheduled delivery in early 2007.

She was launched in June 2006. Two of Sacagawea's descendants, Lucy Diaz and Rachel Ariwite, were the ship's sponsors. USNS Sacagawea is one of 14 Lewis and Clark class dry cargo ship and is part of the 14 ships that comprise the United States Marine Corps Maritime Prepositioning Program.

In January 2013, USNS Sacagawea was transferred to the Maritime Prepositioning Squadron Three (MPSRON-3) in Saipan. Within days of her arrival, she participated in Exercise Freedom Banner in the Republic of the Philippines. Freedom Banner is the only annually funded Maritime Prepositioning Force exercise in the Marine Corps and continues to be a proving ground for concept validation.

During Freedom Banner 13, the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) used both vertical connectors in the form of MV-22 Osprey aircraft, and surface connectors in the form of landing craft, utility (LCU), and landing craft, mechanized, “Mike 8” (LCM-8) boats loaded aboard USNS 1st Lt. Jack Lummus. These dedicated ship-to-shore connectors not only enabled the standup of the MAGTF, but also provided sustainment to exercise forces ashore during the conduct of the exercise.This vessel is the only USNS Sacagawea. However, other U.S. Navy vessels have been named USS Sacagawea.

USS Mobile (LKA-115)

USS Mobile (AKA-115/LKA-115) was a Charleston class amphibious cargo ship named after the city of Mobile, Alabama. She was the fourth U.S. Navy ship to bear that name. She served as a commissioned ship for 24 years and 4 months. LKAs had the distinction of being the only ships in the "Gator Navy" that were not flat bottom. They would drop anchor several hundred yards offshore and use their Mike 8's (LCM-8) and Mike 6's (LCM-6) to ferry in the Marines and their equipment.

The name was assigned on 6 November 1967, and the ship was laid down at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, VA, 15 January 1968 as AKA-115. As of the date of her article in DANFS, she was still under construction, and was scheduled to be completed in early spring 1969.

Mobile was extensively involved in the Vietnam War.

In April 1975, Mobile participated in Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon, Vietnam.Mobile took part in WestPac 84 and was involved in numerous operations. In the Gulf War, she was part of an 18-ship amphibious task force that was the largest such force since the Korean War. The task force arrived on station in the North Arabian Sea on 12 January 1991.

The ship was decommissioned on 4 February 1994 at Long Beach, CA. She is berthed at the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility in Philadelphia, PA.

Mobile earned 15 awards and campaign ribbons for her service.

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