posted on Jul, 23 2005 @ 07:10 AM
The most obvious way to go about it would be to seize a port as it’s very difficult to transfer heavy armour from ship to shore, and movement of
such heavy equipment off shore would be dictated by the weather and sea-state. That is why forces such as the US Marine Corps is relatively light on
MBTs and instead relies on lighter armoured vehicles during the initial landing.
The LHA class and LPD class of amphibious vessels are capable of landing small numbers of MBTs to the shore using air cushion landing craft, but the
number of tanks would be very small. They usually deploy APCs and other lighter vehicles instead.
The only country that has a good sealift capability is the US Navy, they have ships like the Bob Hope class, that can transport a fairly large number
of vehicles and supplies, I am not sure if these shops can offload equipment on beaches, but I would expect them to need a port to do so. I guess it
would be possible for them offload equipment offshore using mexi-floats, but it would be slow work and such operations would need calm seas. These
classes of ships have a roll-on roll-off capability.
As to the use of submergible landing craft; I don’t think that is very practable way to go about it as combustion engines don’t work very well
under water. The tanks would also be very susceptible to corrosion. Using snorkels is impractable as the water density would knock them off if
transported at anything above one or two knots.
Besides, I doubt you would find many tank crews willing to endure such conditions.
Also, most tanks use overpressure systems to keep biological and chemical contamination out of the crew compartment. I am not sure that tanks such as
the Abrams and Challanger are designed to be able to ford rivers totally submerged, even using snorkels. I do know that the Leopard-1 and Leopard-2
(as can all modern tanks of Russian design) can do this, but I don’t think the capability is used much as it takes a long time to prepare the tanks
for such operations. It’s easier to build bridges instead.
Also, tanks are limited to certain river/ocean bed conditions, it needs to be very compact if the tanks are to be able to operate and move
If tanks where to be offloaded totally submerged close to the beach, the traction of its tracks would practically be nil.
During WW2 the tanks used during the Dieppe raid (Churchill tanks) didn’t manage to get of the beach as the traction was too poor, the beach was
mostly gravel. Rubber pads on the tracks help a bit, but not very much. Technology has obviously moved on since then so I may be underestimating the
ability for modern tanks to move through the types of sand found on beaches.
During an amphibious operation, the invading forces will try to find a beach/coastline with compact seabed, but these beaches would be more heavily
guarded and I would expect soldiers to be waiting for them with anti-tank missiles at the ready and artillery zeroed in. It would also be likely that
such beaches would be mined.
Obviously if the coastline is very extensive it’s more likely that the invading force would not face any resistance, but air attacks on the beach
used for the landings would be very likely, and if the attacking aircraft use cluster munitions with armour penetrating bomblets the armoured vehicles
could be knocked out.
I am quite sure that the feasibility of a submersible landing craft has been thought about but has not been considered to be practicable.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the best way to invade a hostile nation from the sea is to capture a port as quickly as possible.