This page is still in fairly rough draft, but "landing craft" was high on the "redlink" list of "wanted pages". This article will serve as an introduction to the specific kinds of historic landing craft. It does not attempt to replace the evolving article on amphibious warfare, which is no longer limited to landing craft for getting troops and supplies ashore, and no longer limited to a traditional beach. Howard C. Berkowitz 00:51, 6 June 2008 (CDT)
First, a CZ search question, then questions.
To start with, I searched under "Landing craft" before creating this article, and got a list of miscellaneous articles on specific landing craft. Unfortunately, I didn't save it, and now, when I search on "landing craft", I get directed to this articles and don't get a list including such things as the LCI, LCM, LCVP, LCU, etc.
How rigorously should "craft" be interpreted, at least with U.S. and U.K. designations? There are "Landing ships" of various types (e.g., Landing Ship Tank (LST) or Landing Ship Infantry (LSI)). There are landing "vehicles" such as the LVT, LAAV, etc. There are a changing series of names for modern and developmental air cushion vehicles. There's a designation structure for Logistics-Over-The-Shore, related to but not identical to combat landings.
We probably need some naming conventions; LCVP seems to have acquired several text versions. Should a Landing Craft Infantry modified for gunfire support be a LCI(G), which I think is the more common Navy designation, or LCIG?
I do want to keep this article in an overall structure, in which it is subordinate to amphibious warfare. Amphibious warfare goes back, with varying success, at least to WWI if not before (William the Conqueror, anyone? Cortez?), but recognizable landing craft are mostly Higgins developments -- although, IIRC, Winston Churchill drew a sketch of one in the First World War.
In modern amphibious warfare, there is less emphasis on classic landing craft that can beach themselves and then retract, in favor of air movement with helicopters, Ospreys, and even paratroops; longer-ranged and faster air-cushion vehicles and other vehicles that can drive beyond the beach; and the landing craft only after a beach is somewhat secure -- arguably followed by LOTS after the beach is thoroughly secured.
Howard C. Berkowitz 06:50, 7 June 2008 (CDT)
- You sure you hit "Search" and not "Go"? I just tried a search on "Landing craft" and got a couple of hits in the "page title" section, and many more in "text matches".
- I would say keep "Landing craft" as a general page on all beach-capable displacement-supported vessels (i.e. no air-cushion), although we should mention (with appropriate links) that i) water-capable vehicles were developed as early as WWII (such as the Sherman DD) to supplement LCs in the assault phase, and ii) the role once exclusive to LCs (in terms of carrying non-water-capable entities) has now been supplemented by air-cushion, VTOL, etc. So LST's would be covered here - they are just larger 'landing craft'.
- Is a division into 'assault phase' and 'exploitation phase' LCs something worth doing? J. Noel Chiappa 05:35, 8 June 2008 (CDT)
- The current division would be landing/amphibious/assault and Logistics-Over-The-Shore.
- Modern "amphibious" doctrine starts with air assault (airborne, helicopter-borne, Ospreys), coming in from perhaps s 100-mile radius of the landing force (much longer range possible with land-based air assault with air refueling), then the air-cushions from a 50-mile or so radius, then the traditional landing craft bringing tanks/heavy engineer gear, until the beach is stable or a port secured. Assuming a secure beachhead, then the maritime prepositioning ships (i.e., not amphibs) move in, and causeways, lighters, barges, etc., set up high-volume resupply for what could be called exploitation. I propose that at least the first part, and the LOTS, be under amphibious warfare rather than landing craft.
- By no means is this US-specific. The Soviets/Russians actually pioneered a lot of the air-cushion work, and have some extremely large ones unique to them. Britain and France, at the very least, have a team of helicopter carriers and transports for landing craft.
- One of the problems of placing exploitation is that it doesn't depend on amphibious operations as the assault. As a current example, in 2003, a tank force moved ahead of the main body, and, for all practical purposes, did an old-style cavalry raid through Baghdad and then returned. There were attempts to do the same thing with attack helicopters; the first failed but a better-balanced force succeeded. Some of the pure air theorists claim you don't need exploitation at all, and (see air warfare planning), there's a constant argument between close air support and battlefield air interdiction, separate from SEAD and deep strike. The Israelis, for example, tend to emphasize BAI over CAS. Howard C. Berkowitz 09:17, 8 June 2008 (CDT)