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Daihatsu Class Landing Craft

A Daihatsu class landing craft with its crew during the war.

The Daihatsu class was a type of assault landing craft that was used by Japan during World War II. It had a diesel powered engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 8 knots. The total weight of the Daihatsu was 19,050 kilograms while its total length was 14 meters.[1] The beam was 3 meters while the draught was 0.7 meters.

The ship itself was very reliable and was seaworthy. This coupled with its ability to carry up to 9,000 kilograms worth of cargo meant that it was very capable of carrying out supply runs in the South Pacific and indeed it did. It required a crew of at least 12 men in order to operate effectively and had a defensive armament of either two 25 mm anti-aircraft guns or two heavy machine guns.

To protect against oncoming fire, the ship was often given up to 40 mm of armor protection usually improvised, though some models were given this standard.[2] A solid steel plate was located directly in front of the pilot while the bow was designed specifically for ease of landing.

History

The Daihatsu class was initially developed in 1924 with prototypes and trials continuing for several years. In 1932, the first finished Daihatsu was produced having many of the features that earlier prototypes did not, such as the ability to load on board a fully armed tank. After it was put into mass production, the Daihatsu became the most successful landing craft of the Japanese military with around 6,000 being produced during the war.

One of the keys to its success was its maneuverability and protection which allowed it to surivive even the most intense attacks carried out by American ships. These landing craft were oftentimes the only things that could keep fortified Japanese island bases supplied during blockades. 

References

  1. http://www3.plala.or.jp/takihome/daihatsu.html
  2. http://pwencycl.kgbudge.com/D/a/Daihatsu_class.htm

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