a class of surface warships designed to transport and land naval landing forces.
The forerunners of modern landing ships included the el’pidifory, small general-purpose transport-landing and unloading vessels, and bolindery, transport-loading vessels, which were first used in the Russian Black Sea Fleet during World War I. Landing ships were developed significantly during World War II and especially in the postwar period. Depending on the objective there are large, medium-sized, and small landing ships and craft. In the navies of the United States, Great Britain, France, and other countries, landing ships are divided into general-purpose landing ships, infantry-landing and tank-landing ships, transport docks, helicopter carriers and helicopter transport docks, troop and cargo landing craft (transports), and landing craft. Modern landing ships have small drafts and large capacities (landing decks and inside areas); they can take on and unload landing parties where the coast has been prepared (docks and ports) or where it has not (such as beaches and reaches); and they can cover great distances in stormy weather.
The tactical and technical characteristics of landing ships depend on their designation. For example, the American medium tank-landing ships (LSM) have a displacement of up to 1,000 tons and take up to ten tanks and 100 marines on board. Large tank-landing ships (LST) have a displacement of 4,000 to 8,000 tons, travel at 12-20 knots (22-37 km/hr), and can carry four landing craft, 30 tanks, and 500-700 marines. Landing ship docks (LSD) have displacements of 8,000 to 14,000 tons, travel at 22-27 knots (41-50 km/hr), and hold 18-20 landing craft, eight helicopters, and 300-400 marines. All landing ships have artillery (primarily antiaircraft artillery) for self-defense. During landing operations they have cover from warships and naval aviation.
B. F. BALEV