LCP(Sy) versus LCN

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by reinaart, May 25, 2023.

  1. reinaart

    reinaart Active Member

    I wonder if these two types of landing craft served the same purpose. The former, Landing Craft Personnel Survey, was used to survey the invasion beaches of Normandy and Walcheren well ahead of the actual invasion date. Did the Landing Craft Navigation with its American style radar mast serve the same purpose (perhaps just a more refined post war development of the former) or was it used to guide the Landing Craft heading for the invasion beaches. In any case, both were conversions of the LCP(L) Higgins design.

    LCP(Sy) :


    LCN :


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  2. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    Must admit I've never heard of the LCP (Survey ), filling the role you note, before now.

    But the LCN was a wartime creation. "The Design and Construction of British Warships. Volume 3 Amphibious Warfare Vessels and Auxiliaries. The Official Record" edited by D K Brown, notes that in Nov 1943 the Director of Naval Construction at the Admiralty received requirements for a navigational leader for landing craft. It was also to be capable of carrying out offshore hydrographic reconnaissance off the beaches AFTER the initial assault.

    40 US type LCP(L) were converted to the role. Sketch design by the DNC. Detailed drawings and prototype by Thornycroft.

    Equipment included standard and steering compasses, echo sounding, taut wire measuring gear (9 miles), bottom log, trainable A/S oscillator for detection, LORAN or Decca receiver, chart work facilities, and radar with PPI.

    The book did not have a complete listing of all craft but there was a note

    "There were many other conversions some listed in Ref 4. Others were converted locally for special jobs...."

    Ref 4 was a reference to the wartime recognition book "Allied Landing Craft of World War Two" republished in 1985. It notes that it included some craft that the DNC and Chief Constructor had never heard of!!!
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  3. reinaart

    reinaart Active Member

    Thanks a lot for your detailed reply Ewen, interesting stuff !


  4. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron


    LCP(Sy) on Juno.

    In the initial assault the LCP(Sy) followed the DD tanks to check their navigation.

    After the initial assault one LCP(Sy) was transferred to Sword. The remainder carried surveying tasks on the Juno beaches. On the morning of D Day they examined the beaches in the Juno area in general. They were then to find the most suitable places for beaching LSTs at or near high water so they could discharge without drying out. They then reported to Naval Officer In Charge and Principal Beach Master.

    It had been hoped that the LCP(Sy) would find areas of beach suitable for beaching LSTs at high water. Such sites would have a steeper slope than was usual on the Normandy beaches so that the LST could remain afloat and have its ramp either on dry land, which was unlikely, or in three foot of water. The only site found likely to be suitable was at the western end of Mike, to the west of Mike 2 exit.

    In the afternoon of D Day they were to locate the off lying areas of rocky ledge and buoy the following.

    - Mike Channel. Between Roches de la Margueritte and Roches de la Valette.

    - Nan Channel. Close to the west of Les Essarts de Langrune.

    - Gooseberry Anchorage. To the south of the Gooseberry position.

    - DUKW Channel. Across Les Essarts de Langrune where there is most water from Nan White to the Coaster Anchorage.

    Channels were to be two cables wide and two fathoms deep.

    On the morning of D+1 they surveyed and marked positions for Gooseberry 4 as required by the officer responsible for planting the ships. He arrived with the Corncob tugs at 0500. They then surveyed and marked out positions for the Coaster Hauling Off Buoys. Two trots of buoys, parallel to the shore and as close to it as possible, were to be marked with 400 feet between buoys.

    In the afternoon of D+1 they surveyed and marked the channel into Courseulles. It was hoped that the harbour could be used for unloading coasters and other craft.

    In addition the LCP(Sy) were available to locate and mark dangerous wrecks which they could reach while remaining afloat (those aground were the Beach Groups responsibility). If necessary they assisted in marking beach obstructions which had not been cleared.

    The LCP(Sy) remained responsible for the maintenance of all buoys, day and night, until the Naval Officer In Charge decided that they were no longer required.

    In much of the work they were assisted by LCP(L) which carried buoys and other equipment so that the survey craft need not interrupt their work. A reserve of buoys was carried on headquarters ships and warships.

    From a piece I wrote ten years ago.

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  5. reinaart

    reinaart Active Member

    Much obliged Mike, also very interesting !

    I first learned of the existence of the LCP(Sy) "In Battle for Antwerp" by J.L. Moulton. There is a footnote in which it is explained that two LCP(Sy)'s were used for the initial reconnaissance of Uncle Beach in Flushing (early morning of 1 November). These craft were used by the Tarbrush party whose own dory had been destroyed in a bombardment of Breskens harbour the previous evening.

    What I failed to notice until an hour ago is that in appendix 2 Moulton also explains the difference between the LCP(Sy) and LCN :blush:. On page 202 he writes (after having described the basic LCP(L)) :

    "Landing Craft Personnel Survey-LCP(Sy)

    The same design as above fitted with an additional compass, chart table and a QH2 type radar as navigational leader to other landing craft. A much more elaborate outfit converted the LCP(L) to the LCN, which appeared too late for operational employment. The names are confusing; normally "Survey" would indicate the more fully equipped craft. The explanation may be that there appears to have been a seldom seen variant of the LCP(L) in which the "N" stood for nesting i.e. packing one above another. "

    So, if I get this right the LCN's in the IWM pics I posted were never used operationally. The date given of these pics is July 1945 :



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  6. idler

    idler GeneralList

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  7. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    Once the war in Europe ended there was a big push to ready all types of Landing Ship / Craft for operations in the Far East. A lot of that preparation occurred at the Combined Operations bases in various parts of Scotland. I’ve previously come across photos of LCI(L) being refitted.

    Depending on the exact timing of these conversions it is just possible that some may have made it to Ceylon in time to participate in Operation Zipper, the landings in Malaya, on 9 & 12 Sept 1945. The information I have doesn’t go down to vessels that small.

    The LST(3) completions were early enough (the first completed 30 Dec 1944 with another 16 completed March to June 1945 in Britain & Canada in time to participate in Zipper), but LCT(8) completions were too late for them to reach the Far East in time.
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  8. Rob Crane

    Rob Crane Active Member

    It's not exactly helped by the fact that during the war people often referred to the LCP(SY) as LCP(N).

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