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Subject: Over the beach logistics.
Herald1234    9/17/2006 12:57:34 PM
While racking my brains about the Normandy operation, trying to answer a question recently, I suddenly realized that with rollon rolloff and container ships, replacing the old break bulk cargo ships used as freighters and transports, I had no clue as to how you would unload those types of vessels directly over the beach if you had to make a forced entry into a country in expeditionary division/corps strength without a port immediately available and no friendly neighbor to offer you a land access approach. The only thing I could imagine was that the Army and/or the Navy had some plan, where you have some kind of floating crane(A seagoing barge crane?) that could pluck containers off a container ship, and deposit those containers on some kind of truck loaded aboard an LCAC or pontoon ferry. That same LCAC or pontoon ferry would be configured to accept ro-ro ramping so that you could drive truck-loaded cargo straight off the ro-ro to the LCAC/ferry. It chugs to the beach, and then the trucks drive ashore. Am I nuts or is this kind of operation as I imagined it even remotely feasable? Herald
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Carl S       9/17/2006 2:43:03 PM
naw you are not nuts.  I dont know if the barge cranes are still around.  I recall seeing one in the Navy Yards at San Diego back in the 1970s.  They may be entirely gone now.

Back in 1984 I witnessed an attempt to offload vehicals from a cargo ship at sea, into Mike boats.  It would have worked in sheltered anchorage.  That day a five foot swell came up and the result was two wrecked trucks.  The crane operators simply could not control the load & one truck landed atop the other.  We were lucky no one got killed. 

Keeping a LCAC mated like you describe is not practical.  With the engines running to maintain psoition the cargo deck is to hot and windy for human presence.  It actually a little dangerous to be there.

Off loading a ship by crane to LCM or other small craft is practical if you have a sheltered water.  There may some circumstances where a simple anchorage is prefeable.  But, in most cases you really want to sieze a port with the amphibs & vertical envelopment combination.
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Carl S       9/17/2006 2:50:59 PM
Note that the old LST was the original military RoRo.  The first four (?) the British built were converted merchant ships.  They were not suitable for beaching as I understand, but had a ferry boat type ramp built onto the bow.  Four more were built of this sort from scratch using a modification of a existing cargo ship design with the extendable ferry ranp.  As I understand these were used to run head onto any suitable shore side and anchor there, but they could not actually beach.  The third design the British produced was the basis for the common WWII LST we know from the books & these were designed to beach and drop ramp.  The bulk of this last type were built in the US. 
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leesea       10/25/2006 12:47:28 PM
Rather than go into a long discourse on what has happened over the last 50 years! I suggest you google "LOTS" aka Logisitics over the Shore and read up some.  BTW the idea that we needed to offload modern container ships at sea came up about 1980.  And no the Navy isn't talking about floating cranes they have T-ACS, and yes the Navy have just come up with a new Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS google that).
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wjr1       6/14/2007 11:45:44 PM

Take a look at one of the sites that list USN assets. You will see a number of LASH (lighter aboard ship) hulls. These are used commercially for less than optimum unloading conditions -- at least as I understand it. Further, you will see dedicated crane hulls for unloading in more protected waters.

OTOH, I don't think that anyone contemplates a serious across the beach sort of operation today.


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