LVT-4 Water Buffalo, British designation Buffalo IV
The LVT-4 Water Buffalo is an Amphibious vehicle, LVT is Landing Vehicle Tracked. The L in this designation is selected for the Amphibious vehicle group, also called the “L-class”.
The modified LVT-2 rolled out of the factories in 1943. By moving the engine forward and added a large ramp door in the rear which provided easy access for troops and gear. Troop capacity went up from 16 to 30. More than 8.300 LVT-4’s were made during the war. The first Water Buffalo saw action in Saipan in 1944.
Most of them were outfitted with a 20mm Polsten Cannon and two 30 calibre Browning Machine Guns.
Recovery and restoration
After the Battle of the Bulge this LVT-4 Buffalo and its unit arrived in Kotem Belgium and wanted to cross the river Meuse into the Netherlands. The engine of the Water Buffalo failed when the crew tried to exit the river on the other side. Sliding back into the river the bottom of the Buffalo ripped open and the crew had to bail out. John Shearer and Jimmy (last name is unknown) reached the river bank on the Dutch side. The body of Philip Harding was found three weeks later, he drowned in the river Meuse, the body of Stanley Clark was never found again.
In 1977 the LVT-4 was recovered from the river bed and has been restored more than once. It is put on display next tot the Meuse River. A little memorial for the crew has been added.
The LVT-4 Water Buffalo is in the open besides a road near the rives Meuse. Free to visit when you like. The photos are from 2012.