“The Man Who Won the War”

Back to Blog
Leaders in Innovation

“The Man Who Won the War”

Meet 2019 NIHF Inductee Andrew J. Higgins!

We are honored to have Andrew Higgins join the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF).

The Invention

Andrew Higgins invented the Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP), also known as the Higgins Boat. This was the landing craft used during World War II for island hopping through Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and to land American troops on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.  

The LCVP could hold 36 combat-equipped infantry men, a jeep and 12 troops, or 8,100 pounds of cargo, with the ability to float in 3 feet of water.

The Inventor

Higgins was a New Orleans-based boat builder and inventor who developed and manufactured landing craft critical to the success of the U.S. during World War II.

Higgins not only built innovative boats, but he also demonstrated a progressive approach to business. Higgins Industries was the first company in New Orleans to become racially integrated, and Higgins paid all his employees equal wages for equal work, regardless of their race or gender.

At the height of the company’s success, Higgins Industries had seven plants employing roughly 25,000 workers.  

While Higgins created a series of landing craft and high-speed Patrol Torpedo (PT) boats, the LCVP was his most well-known contribution to the American military during World War II. It played a major role in the D-Day victory and was also used in North Africa, Italy and across the Pacific, and allowed the U.S. Army to cross the Rhine River into Germany in March 1945.

Higgins Industries also won a contract from the U.S. government to build components for the Manhattan Project, the secret research and development effort that produced the atomic bomb.

The Impact

Andrew Higgins remained the president of Higgins Industries until his death in 1952, and his influence on the outcome of World War II, is undeniable. You can find the National WWII Museum in New Orleans on Andrew Higgins Drive — a fitting tribute for an inventor who played a key role in our nation’s path to victory.

He was once called, “The Man Who Won the War,” by President Dwight Eisenhower and has been honored by the U.S. military with an award in his name: the Andrew J. Higgins Award, presented to a Marine Corps officer for excellence and/or innovation in pursuit of acquisition, fielding, and/or support of systems and equipment to the operating forces.

Higgins will join the ranks of other global innovators in the National Inventors Hall of Fame during the 2019 Induction Ceremony on May 2. 

Related Articles