Friday, July 5, 2013

Eisenhower's "Man Who Won the War For Us" Had New Orleans Ties

From the July 20th, 2011, Appeal-Democrat "Bruce's History Lessons: Boatmaker who won World War II" by Bruce Kauffman.

Why is New Orleans the host city of the National World War II Museum?  Easy answer, it was the home of the man General Eisenhower once said "won the war for us."

Andrew Jackson Higgins died August 1, 1952, and was the founder of Higgins Industries in New Orleans, who specialized in shipbuilding.  He built the famous LCVP, Landing Craft Vehicle, Personnel, a shallow-draft craft that carried troops and equipment from offshore ships to the shoreline.

According to Eisenhower, "If Higgins hadn't designed and built those LCVPs, we never could have landed men on an open beach.  The whole strategy of the war would have been different."

The LCVP, also called Higgins Boats, evolved from the earlier Eureka boat that helped oil drillers.  They featured a recessed propeller and a hull that could maneuver in shallow water.  With their flat bows, they could run right up onto the beach.

In 1938 construction of Higgins Boats began, originally intended for use by the Marines who were not happy with the Navy-designed landing craft.  The only drawback was that soldiers and equipment origianally unloaded over the sides.  This was slow and very dangerous when under fire.  A ramp was added to the bow.  The famous scene of one at D-Day on "Saving Private Ryan" was of a Higgins Boat.

Hitler referred to Higgins as "The New Noah."

Stuff You Might Not Have Known. --GreGen

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