Showcase: The LVT4 ‘Buffalo’

With the ‘Empires in Flames’ Theatre Book for Bolt Action now out, it’s time to mount up and head back to the beaches of the Pacific! Rich D of our Warlord Web team is looking at this ideal transport for his US Marines…


RichD: Around the Warlord premises, I’m quite regularly referred to as ‘The Buffalo Guy’ – due to something of an obsession with LVTs… my USMC army is supported by a fleet that’s comfortably into double-figures now…

These amphibious vehicles were known by a few different names – ‘LVT’ stands for ‘Landing Vehicle, Tracked’ – they were also known as ‘Amtracs’ – a shortening of ‘Amphibious Tractors.’ They were originally (up until the assault on Guadalcanal) used as amphibious transports to ferry vital cargo and equipment ashore from Landing Ships or simply across rivers. However the potential for the amphibious LVT chassis to be used as a troop transport soon became apparent…

LVT at sea

The Buffalo was the first LVT to be designed with its engine at the front and a large ramp door to the rear of the vehicle in order to allow troops, vehicles and supplies to be disembarked using the vehicle as cover. This gave it’s passengers a far higher chance of survival during their initial moments of contact with the enemy than other landing craft which had frontal door ramps.

Buffalo RearWe produce a fantastic LVT-4 Buffalo kit – probably the most widely fielded LVT variant, primarily used to carry troops, light vehicles and essential supplies ashore.

Historically, the Buffalo was used to ferry up-to 30 Marines to shore, but could also carry small vehicles such as jeeps, and would sometimes also tow an amphibious trailer packed with equipment as well.


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Unlike other amphibious fighting vehicles such as the Duplex Drive Sherman and the Ford GPA Amphibious Jeep, the LVT wasn’t fitted with a propeller or other form of separate drive system for ‘swimming.’ Instead, it was outfitted with special tracks, each link of which had a ‘scoop’ which meant that – when in water, the tracks acted like the wheels of a paddle steamer – scooping their way through the water, and driving the LVT forward. It steered in water exactly as it would on land – by speeding up and slowing down each track separately.

In Bolt Action – the LVT4 ‘Water Buffalo’ Landing Vehicle

Rules for the LVT ‘Water Buffalo’ can be found on page 52 of the ‘Armies of the United States‘ book.

The Buffalo was the LVT built in the largest numbers – and is therefor the one seen most often in
photographs of the campaign in northwest Europe and throughout the Pacific.

Principal service: 1944–45. Numbers manufactured: 8,351.

Cost: 112pts (Inexperienced), 140pts (Regular), 168pts (Veteran)
Weapons: 2 pintle-mounted MMGs with a 360° arc of fire
Damage Value: 7+ (armoured car)
Transport: 30 men, or a jeep or an artillery unit
Special Rules: – Open-topped (from page 98 of the Bolt Action Rulebook)
– Amphibious (from page 97 of the Bolt Action Rulebook)


The Buffalo – for me – is an absolute ‘Must have’ for any USMC army… it’s one of – if not THE must iconic piece of equipment associated with the campaign in the Pacific – ferrying troops from island to island under fire from Japanese artillery and machine guns, delivering the Marines into the very heart of arguably the most hostile environment of the war.

With a pair of MMGs, and the capacity to carry 30 men – it’s an extremely useful unit on the tabletop battlefield… I’ve had a great deal of fun with them, and if you’re thinking of picking some up to coincide with the ‘Empires in Flames’ release – I’m sure you will, too!

My obsession with LVTs doesn’t stop with the Buffalo, of course – I was lucky to pick-up a converted LVT(A)4 from Jason from our resin manufacturing team, and I also converted an LVT(A)1 Alligator – the Flamethrower-armed variant!


 Buffaloes from around the community

Well , you’ve seen some of mine, lets have a look at some of yours…!

Above – A fine example from the workbench of Alan Mander

Anthony-Grana-Priego Buffalo

Above – Another action-ready LVT – this time from Anthony Grana Priego

Daniele-Vigo Buffalo

Above – Some fantastic weather featured on Daniele Vigo’s Buffalo

Above – get into the action here with TemplarsCrusade01

Above – It’s not just US Marines as we can see with Paul Robins RM Commando Buffalos


Do you have an article within you? Are you itching to show your collection to the world of Bolt Action? Then drop us a line with a couple of pictures to


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