Adapting Civilian Designs to Wartime Missions: The “Eureka,” the “Alligator,” and the U.S. Marine Corps

The Second World War saw some incredible new technologies applied to war making. American needs spurred wartime research and development like the atomic bomb and radar. Others such as aircraft and armor flourished in combat operation only after decades of confusion about the capabilities and missions for airplanes and tanks in war. How did the military take existing civilian design technologies and adapt them to specific wartime needs? This webinar will examine the unique selections and improvements of two amphibious assault craft by the U.S. Marine Corps: Andrew Jackson Higgins' "Eureka" boat and Daniel Roebling's "Alligator" amphibian tractor. Variations of the two craft still exist in the twenty-first century. They remain fixtures in assault operations, yet they have also been used much more frequently in Marine-supported humanitarian relief operations that benefit civilians in the United States and across the globe, thus coming full circle to the roles for which Higgins and Roebling designed their original craft in the 1930s.