Alternative Cold War History 1994

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Amphibious Ships

Amphibious ships

The core capability of an amphibious force, that of delivering combat power to contested shores falls on its ships. Once on land the ground and air elements take over the heavy fighting, but they need to get ashore in a coherent combat ready fashion to have the effect needed.

The US Navy (USN) has the largest and most modern collection of amphibious ships on the planet (The Gator Navy). Although not enough of these ships exist to satisfy the strategic requirement, they are very impressive ships an together form a formidable force. The Gator Navy consists of a multitude of ship types and capabilities. Some of which are listed here:

LHD: Landing Helicopter Dock. These extremely capable ships of the Wasp Class are the largest and most capable Amphibious ships in the world. Capable of hosting AV-8B Harriers, helicopters and having a docking bay for landing craft or the LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushioned) or hovercraft, one of these ships is capable of carrying 1800 Marines and a full Battalion worth of equipment. At 40,000 tons, these exceptionally flexible ships displace as much or more then most World War Two Battleships and all war era aircraft carriers except the IJN Shinano (which only survived a few days).

Historically only three of these ships were commissioned by 1994, however due to increased tensions in Northern Fury the original schedule was maintained and there were two additional hulls available – LHD-5 Bataan joining the fleet at the end of Jan 1994, only two weeks old at war start. The next ship of this class to joint the fleet will be in mid 1995.

LHD-1 USS Wasp

Pennant Name Date Fleet Home Port Task
LHD-1 Wasp Jul-89 Atlantic Norfolk 6th Mar Regt
LHD-2 Essex Oct-92 Pacific San Diego
LHD-3 Kearsarge Jun-93 Atlantic Norfolk Med 22 MEU
LHD-4 Boxer Oct-93 Pacific San Diego
LHD-5 Bataan Jan-94 Atlantic Norfolk 8th Mar Regt

LHA: Landing Helicopter Assault. The predecessors to the Wasp class are the Tarawa Class LHA. These ships, while almost as capable as the LHD, but are 10 years older both in design and in technology, each is capable of conducting the same operations but the LHA has a few more limitations. These are still very fine ships and among the best in the world. Of the nine ships originally planned only five were built.

LHA-1 USS Tarawa

Pennant Name Fleet Home Port Task
LHA-1 Tarawa Pacific San Diego
LHA-2 Saipan Atlantic Norfolk 8th Mar Regt
LHA-3 Belleau Wood Pacific Sesebo Japan
LHA-4 Nassau Atlantic Norfolk 6th Mar Regt
LHA-5 Peleliu Pacific San Diego Indian Ocean 13 MEU

LPH: Landing Platform Helicopter. The first dedicated post World War Two large Amphibious Assault ships were the Iwo Jima Class LPH. Only half the displacement of the Tarawa class, these ships have the same task of carrying up to 1800 Marines, however they can only carry a small fraction of the cargo, and do not have a well deck, therefore cannot deploy an LCAC and can only host about half the air group of the larger ships. These ships are approaching retirement age, having been launched in the 60’s but were maintained in the fleet due to the heightened threat. The seven ships in this class are not sequentially numbered.

LPH-2 USS Iwo Jima

Pennant Name Fleet Home Port Task
LPH-2 Iwo Jima Atlantic Norfolk 6th Mar Regt
LPH-3 Okinawa Pacific San Diego Refit
LPH-7 Guadalcanal Atlantic Norfolk 2 MEF
LPH-9 Guam Atlantic Norfolk 2 MEF
LPH-10 Tripoli Pacific Persian Gulf MCMG
LPH-11 New Orleans Pacific San Diego
LPH-12 Inchon Atlantic Norfolk 8th Mar Regt

LPD: Landing Platform Dock. There are two main classes of these smaller amphibious ships. The Raleigh class of two ships was due to retire in the early 90’s but were retained. The Austin class of eleven, with three sub classes, the Cleveland sub-class (7 ships) with an additional space and communications to be a Flagship and the Trenton sub-class (2 ships) with updated systems, all are effectively the same. These ships house about 850 Marines and good amount of heavy equipment, and are often used to carry heavy loads such as the tanks with landing craft Mechanized (LCM) to unload them. They are capable of independent operations and when part of an ARG/ESG will often be detached to conduct separate duties. It is worth noting that one Raleigh class and one Austin class were modified to be command ships (AGF-3 La Salle, and AGF-11 Coronado).

LPD 6 USS Duluth

Pennant Name Fleet Home Port Task
LPD-1 Raleigh Atlantic Norfolk 6th Mar Regt
LPD-2 Vancouver Pacific San Diego
LPD-4 Austin Atlantic Norfolk 8th Mar Regt
LPD-5 Ogden Pacific San Diego
LPD-6 Duluth Pacific San Diego
LPD-7 Cleveland Pacific San Diego Indian Ocean 13 MEU
LPD-8 Dubuque Pacific San Diego
LPD-9 Denver Pacific San Diego
LPD-10 Juneau Pacific Sasebo Japan
LPD-12 Shreveport Atlantic Norfolk 6th Mar Regt
LPD-13 Nashville Atlantic Norfolk Med 22 MEU
LPD-14 Trenton Atlantic Norfolk 6th Mar Regt
LPD-15 Ponce Atlantic Norfolk 8th Mar Regt

LSD: Landing Ship Dock. Although very similar in appearance and size to the LPD; the LSD’s primary purpose is to transport landing craft and LCACs, it only holds half the Marines of an LPD and much less heavy equipment and cargo. An enormous docking bay enables them to house up to 4 LCACs. Of the three classes in service, LSD-36 Anchorage (5 ships) is the smallest, holding 3x LCACs, LSD-41 Whidbey Island (8 ships) can hold 4x LCAC, while the newest class being rushed into service, LSD-49 Harpers Ferry can only hold 2x LCACs but 10 times the cargo of the others.

LSD-41 Whidbey Island

Pennant Name Fleet Home Port Task
LSD-36 USS Anchorage Pacific San Diego
LSD-37 USS Portland Atlantic Little Creek 8th Mar Regt
LSD-38 USS Pensacola Atlantic Little Creek 8th Mar Regt
LSD-39 USS Mount Vernon Pacific San Diego Indian Ocean 13 MEU
LSD-40 USS Fort Fisher Pacific San Diego
LSD-41 Whidbey Island Atlantic Little Creek 6th Mar Regt
LSD-42 Germantown Pacific Japan
LSD-43 Fort McHenry Atlantic Little Creek 6th Mar Regt
LSD-44 Gunston Hall Atlantic Little Creek 6th Mar Regt
LSD-45 Comstock Pacific San Diego
LSD-46 Tortuga Atlantic Little Creek Med 22 MEU
LSD-47 Rushmore Pacific San Diego
LSD-48 Ashland Pacific Japan
LSD-49 Harpers Ferry Pacific San Diego
LSD-50 Carter Hall Atlantic Little Creek 8th Mar Regt

LST: Landing Ship Tank. The smallest amphibious ship in the USN, these are much improved decedents of the famous LSTs that landed on the beaches of Normandy and virtually every other beach assaulted by the Allies in World War Two. These ships carry up to 29 tanks and 350 Marines, they’re the only ships that approach the shore and are able to lay down a ramp to unload over its bow directly onto the beach or dock, or open a loading gate in the stern of the ship, allowing a chain of LSTs to form a floating causeway for larger ships unloading by ramp into the stern and driving through the LST onto the beach. Unloading by helicopter or crane onto a dock or small boats is also workable.

LST 1182 USS Fresno

Pennant Name Fleet Home Port Task
LST-1179 Newport Atlantic Little Creek 8th Mar Regt
LST-1180 Manitowoc Atlantic Little Creek 8th Mar Regt
LST-1181 Sumter Atlantic Little Creek Mediterranean
LST-1182 Fresno Pacific San Diego
LST-1183 Peoria Pacific San Diego Philippines
LST-1184 Frederick Pacific Pearl Hbr
LST-1185 Schenectady Pacific San Diego
LST-1186 Cayuga Pacific San Diego Standby off Mogadishu
LST-1187 Tuscaloosa Pacific San Diego Australia
LST-1188 Saginaw Pacific San Diego
LST-1189 San Bernardino Pacific San Diego Philippines
LST-1190 Boulder County Atlantic Little Creek 8th Mar Regt
LST-1191 Racine Atlantic Little Creek 8th Mar Regt
LST-1192 Spartanburg County Atlantic Little Creek 6th Mar Regt
LST-1193 Fairfax County Atlantic Little Creek 6th Mar Regt
LST-1194 La Moure County Atlantic Little Creek 6th Mar Regt
LST-1195 Barbour County Pacific San Diego Transit to Mogadishu
LST-1196 Harlan County Atlantic Little Creek 6th Mar Regt
LST-1197 Barnstable County Atlantic Little Creek Caribbean
LST-1198 Bristol County Pacific San Diego Mediterranean