Prior to reading Landing Craft, Infantry and Fire Support by Gordon L. Rottman, I did not know the differences between the landing craft, infantry, landing ship, tank, and landing ship, medium used during World War II. Rottman does an excellent job of describing the differences between landing craft, infantry (LCI) and landing craft, medium (LSM) (infantry obviously used for personnel and medium used for vehicles). These craft were normally used to bring men and equipment to a beachhead that was secured in previous assault waves. In addition, the hulls of the LCI and LSM were used for new types of craft that had more firepower – gun, mortar, and rocket craft.
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).
As with most Osprey books on military equipment, there is a fair amount of technical information. For example, Rottman includes the specifiecs about the types of rockets and how many were fired from LCI (Rocket). I am not interested in that much detail on the LCI, but there are plenty of people, such as modelers, who are interested in the details.
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.