These were the first amphibious infantry support vehicles built. They were built off of LVT-2 water Buffalos by adding armor and a turret. There was no cargo capacity as the turret and related armor and equipment took up the space and weight.
Built in response to the need for more fire power to deal with Japanese bunkers encountered in the Pacific, especially on Tarawa. Their first use was on Roi-Namur/Kwajalein in February 1944.
These were built by Food Machinery Corp in Riverside California and tested at the lake in Fairmount Park. The first period picture is a picture of one undergoing water testing in the lake before shipping out.
The turret was almost the same as that on an M3 Stuart light tank and used the same 37mm gun. In addition to that there was a .30 cal coaxial gun and two rear mounted M1919A4s on the rear. The 37mm would prove to be lacking again the heavier bunkers and would be replaced by a 75mm in the LVT(A)-4.
If you look closely you can see the small rectangular patches where the foot step holes were.
These things are surprisingly big. The deck is about 7′ high. I’m a little under 6 and my head doesn’t even come up to the top of the tracks.
Below is a shot that I am pretty sure is from the water testing in Lake Evans in Fairmount Park, Riverside California.
I pulled the info for this from LVT(A)1 Amtrack (tanks-encyclopedia.com). So head over there to read more. For some reason I can’t navigate to the page from the menus so if you lose it you will have to search the LVT and go in that way.