533rd Amphibious Engineers, Camp Can Do It
CONFORMATION! We are very excited to announce that we will be aiding (swamping?, pun intended) The Cotuit Historical Society with this years display "CAMP CAN DO IT"! In the above photo you can see that two of the engineers are wearing "bloused" jump boots. The engineers wore jump boots because they gave better protection against water than standard U.S. Army boots. Here is the problem, Army paratroopers had to go through very very vigorous training in order to "earn" the right to wear bloused jump boots. There was paratrooper unit was training on Camp Edwards for the "invasion" of Martha's Vineyard. While on leave on Main Street Buzzards Bay they encountered members of Amphibious Engineers also on leave on Main Street. The Paratroopers demanded that the Engineers surrender their jump boots as they had not "earned" the right to wear them. The engineers who had been through their own different but very vigorous training (treading water with boots, helmet and 70 lbs pack on to name just one) refused. The Paratroopers decided to take the boots off the engineers by force. A huge brawl ensued. Overwhelmed Bourne Police just blocked the streets off till the MPs could come out from Came Edwards and restore order.
We will be providing photos, books, models, and uniforms for the Cotuit display. If any reader has or knows someone who has any items that we could use to augment and improve our Amphibious Corps display in Cotuit please contact me! I have a 1/35 Duckboat model to loan to the display. I am working on a Landing Craft Material( LCM-3) also in 1/35th scale to add to the display.
We picked up this photo of Coast Guardsmen learning to operate an early LCP (landing Craft Personnel). It is "somewhere" on the east coast. The Amphibious Corps drew Soldiers, Sailors and Coasties with small boat or engine experience to fill it's ranks.
The earliest LCPs did not have ramps on them. Troops had to disembark by jumping over the side.
The next improvement was armored machine gun tubs to help provide covering fire for landing troops.
The next improvement was a small ramp allowing troops to hit the beach in a safer position.
Last in the evolution was a larger ramp with the machine guns moved to the rear of the boat.
landings were always a gamble. U.S. troops were used to gambling! Here is a shot of 532 E.A.C. (Engineer Amphibious Corps) shooting dice.
CAMP CAN DO IT COTUIT
The Engineer Amphibious Command was formed in mid-late 1942, at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts.
Three Camps were set up as satellites to Camp Edwards. These were Camp Can Do It (in Cotuit), Camp
Have Done It (in Osterville) and another in Popponessett.
These Camps were set up to train Army Personnel, develop training and Amphibious doctrine, utilizing
local Boat yards and local Citizens experienced with the building, maintenance and skills involved in
operating small boats under 100 feet in length.
From these Camps, there was an Invasion Launched. The Invasion was of Martha's Vineyard!
Those participating in Amphibious training were called "Cape Cod Commandos" the term command
was made famous by newsreels of the British special operations groups.
The Cape Cod Commandos had to entertain themselves and other units. They created plays, comedy
skits, variety shows, they had one show that drew over two thousand spectators!
There were so many landing craft using Cotuit harbor that locals complained to the Army that the boats
mudding up the waters!