Described by one soldier as "a metal box designed by a sadist to move soldiers across the water," the Landing Craft, Infantry was a large beaching craft intended to transport and deliver an infantry rifle company to a hostile shore, once the beachhead was secured. The LCI, or as it was more commonly known, "Elsie Item," and its vehicle-delivery counterpart, the Landing Ship, Medium (LSM), were widely used by the allies during amphibious operations during World War II. They were mid-sized beaching craft filling the gap between the much larger LST and the many types of smaller bow-ramped, open cargo compartment landing craft. The LCI and LSM were the smallest landing ships assigned a Bureau of Ships hull number.
In 1943 the hulls of the LCI and LSM were used as the basis for a new type of gunboat. These specialized fire-support crafts were intended to place suppressive fire on the landing beaches using automatic cannons, rockets, and mortars. While LCI and LSM were phased out after the Korean War, some fire support craft remained in use throughout the Vietnam War.
Written by the author of Osprey's popular book on Landing Ship, Tanks, this book tells the developmental and operational history of this important tool of American amphibious military strategy that spanned three wars.
"Rottman tells the developmental and operational history of these important amphibious craft. Although the British requested the initial craft from American shipbuilders for use in the European Theater, the Americans used them to great effect in the Pacific Theater (of course, the Americans also used them in the European Theater). Rottman explores the transition of the use of the craft from a purely transport of men and equipment to a platform of significant firepower (they were used as close-in support where larger naval vessels could not go because the water depth was too shallow)... Finally, the illustrations by Peter Bull in the book are excellent. They are full of detail and provide the color schemes of the craft that black and white photographs obviously can’t provide." -Jeff Grim, Collected Miscellany (www.collectedmiscellany.com)
"Expanding of their ever growing range of fine reference books, Osprey Publishing has announced the latest release in their Vanguard range - Landing Craft, Infantry and Fire Support... Written by Gordon L. Rottman this book within its 48 pages tells the developmental and operational history of this important tool of American amphibious military strategy that spanned three wars. Illustrated by Peter Bull this promises to be a fine addition to any reference library." -Sean Ford, www.modelshipwrights.com (May 2009)
"Author Gordon Rottman covers the full story of the LCI and its many different variants. This is further enhanced by a superb choice of period photos as well as cut-aways of the craft and the outstanding illustrations of Peter Bull... All of this and more are contained within the pages of this excellent reference book that is also a great read. It is one of those that your editor found to be particularly engaging and I give it my highest recommendation." -Scott Van Aken, Modeling Madness www.modelingmadness.com (July 2009)
"Mr. Rottman does an excellent job covering a very large class of unheralded auxiliary warships that contributed more to winning World War 2 than big-gun ships....This book is very highly recommended for modelers of landing craft, and makes for an interesting read on how a class of ships developed during wartime." - Luke R. Bucci, IMPS/USA (September 2009)