US Amphibious Forces Support Ships

Landing an army from the sea to operate inland is the most complex military operation there is. The USN during World War Two became experts at this type of power projection and as such developed and continued to develop highly specialized naval vessels to enable amphibious assaults and maintain forces on a foreign and hostile shore with a sustainment system stretching back to US ports. What follows is a partial list of the types of ships involved. Not all of these ships are represented in scenarios but this will serve as background to describe many of the 'non-combat' elements that are required to conduct a landing. For more detailed study this is a link to the 1996 Sealift doctrine - note that this is not the latest publication but the one most applicable to Northern Fury.

LKA: Amphibious Cargo Ships. The Charleston class are the last in a long line of ships bearing the World War Two designation AKA (Attack Cargo Ship). While there were over 120 AKAs in the 40's, the five Charleston class, commissioned between '68 and '70 have been put in reserve several times but remain active as a testament to their versatility and capability to help Marines stay ashore. Equipped with a flight deck, cargo elevators, hoists and cranes, she can carry 8x LCM, 4x LCVP and over 5000 Tons of cargo up to light vehicles. These ships will generally deploy with the lead elements of an Amphibious Force but remain in safe waters, once their LCMs are deployed they will remain in the landing area as the LKA returns to port for further supplies.

LKA 117 USS El Paso

PennantNameFleetHome PortTask
LKA-113USS Charleston AtlanticNorfolk6th Mar Regt
LKA-114USS Durham PacificPersian GulfPersian Gulf
LKA-115USS Mobile AtlanticNorfolk8th Mar Regt
LKA-116USS St. Louis AtlanticNorfolkPhilippines
LKA-117USS El Paso PacificSan Diego2 MEF

ACS: Auxiliary Crane Ship. The primary purpose of these ships is to provide heavy lift cranes in the landing area, they are much more effective once a port is available but can operate their equipment at sea. These large ships have the additional capability to transport 711 standard sized containers of stores and supplies to the landing area.

T-ACS 1 USNS Keystone State unloading a freighter

ClassPennantNameFleetHome PortTask
Keystone StateT-ACS 1Keystone State RRFAlameda CA1 MEF
T-ACS 2Gem State RRFAlameda CA1 MEF
T-ACS 3Grand Canyon State RRFAlameda CA1 MEF
Gopher StateT-ACS 4Gopher State Army MPSGuamI Corps
T-ACS 5Flickertail State MPS Sqn 3Cheatham Anx3 MEF
T-ACS 6Cornhusker State MPS Sqn 3Cheatham Anx3 MEF
T-ACS 7Diamond State MPS Sqn 1Houston2 MEF
T-ACS 8Equality State MPS Sqn 1Houston2 MEF
T-ACS 9Green Mountain StateMPS Sqn 2VancouverDiego G
T-ACS 10Beaver State RRFPortlandI Corps

AVB: Auxiliary Aviation Repair. The primary purpose of these ships is to deliver fixed an rotary wing repair and maintenance equipment supplies and workshops to the Marine Air Wing to a secure port facility. The maintenance facility can either operate from on board the ship, at a nearby base or a combination of both configurations. These two ships are unique to the USMC.

T-AVB-3 USNS Wright

ClassPennantNameFleetHome PortTask
WriteT-AVB 3WrightAtlanticBaltimore2 MEF
T-AVB 4CurtissPacificOakland3 MEF

AH: Hospital Ship. These two hospital ships are designed to provide rapid and effective medial treatment facilities close to the focus of operation. These ships are not specifically designed to support the Marines but that is an obvious task for them. Each ship has 12 operating theaters and a 1000 bed holding facility with a wide range of medical capabilities.

T-AH-19 USNS Mercy

ClassPennantNameFleetHome PortTask

AOT: Tankers. These tankers have limited 'At Sea' refueling capability, and have the ability to conduct 'Logistics Over Shore' delivering fuel by pipeline to holding facilities ashore over a beach, this system is called OPDS (Offshore Petroleum Discharge System). In peacetime these ships keep far flung bases such as those in Antarctica and Tule Greenland replenished. In wartime they would first keep amphibious forces fueled and then pump various petroleum types (Diesel, Aviation fuel, Gasoline) ashore before returning to port for replenishment. These ships are not tied to home ports or generally assigned to fleets.


T-AOT 1122 USNS Paul Buck delivering fuel to Antarctica

SealiftT-AOT-168Sealift Pacific
T-AOT-169Sealift Arabian Sea 8th Mar Regt
T-AOT-170Sealift China Sea
T-AOT-171Sealift Indian Ocean
T-AOT-172Sealift Atlantic6th Mar Regt
T-AOT-173Sealift Mediterranean
T-AOT-174Sealift Caribbean
T-AOT-175Sealift Arctic
T-AOT-176Sealift Antarctic
T-AOT-181Potomac Diego Garcia
ChampionT-AOT-1121MV Gus W. Darnell 2 MEF
T-AOT-1122USNS Paul Buck
T-AOT-1123USNS Samuel L. Cobb
T-AOT-1124Richard G. Matthiesen
T-AOT-1125Lawrence H. Gianella
American OspreyT-AOT-5074American Osprey
TontiT-AOG 82ChattahoocheeGasoline only

AK: Cargo. There are a wide range of cargo ships employed, several with noteworthy delivery systems, for simplicity they will be listed in one section with notes and several phots will help explain the more interesting ships. To compensate for long distances and shortage of military infrastructure or facilities in certain areas many of these ships are positions in Maritime Prepositioning Squadrons (MPS). MPS 1 is responsible for the Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, MPS 2 is in Diego Garcia and MPS 3 is located in Guam and Saipan. Those noted as RRF are in the Ready Reserve Force. The RRF ships must be ready to sail and receive cargo within 5-10 days, those at 5 days' readiness maintain a skeleton crew.

MCDS: Cargo. Mechanized Cargo Delivery System allows a dry cargo merchant ship to provide limited Underway Replenishment of naval vessels.

MCDS: Mechanized Cargo Delivery System

LASH: Lighter Aboard Ship. These ships hold a large number of standard sized barges or Lighters which can be quickly unloaded and dispatched to a holding area for later unloading or moved with a tug to a different area (smaller port or upriver) allowing the ship to depart the landing area quickly or to load empty barges before departing.

T-AK 1005 USNS Austral Rainbow with 75 LASH barges and two pusher boats

Heavy Cargo: Although most heavy lift ships are contracted for specific jobs, AK-9204 Strong Virginian is part of MPS Sqn 2. Normally transporting a 500 bed containerized hospital, as this photo shows, it is quite versatile.

AK-9204 Strong Virginian

RO-RO: Roll On - Roll Off ships for rapid loading and unloading of vehicles such as the six 'Cape' Class ships shown here as part of the RRF in Charleston South Carolina:

Container ships of various types some are also RO-RO such as T-AK 9301 Buffalo Soldier

T-AK 9301 Buffalo Soldier

Fast RO-RO: These eight ships of the Algol class will cruise at 27 knots a full 10 knots faster than other RO-RO ships; they have a maximum speed of 33 knots. Their speed and capacity make them invaluable for the rapid movement of equipment to Europe. During the Gulf War each of these ships delivered an equivalent of the cargo 116 World War Two Liberty ships would contain in an equivalent time.

T-AKR 287 Algol

Flo-Flo: Float On - Float Off. T-AK 2062 American Cormorant is used in MPS 2 at Diego Garcia to deliver small boats and LCUs as well as a floating crane to a landing area.

T-AK 2062 American Cormorant unloading.

Cargo Ship List:

Cargo CrossT-AK-285 Southern Cross AtlanticJames RiverRRF
VegaT-AK-286 Vega AtlanticJames RiverRRF
ClevelandAK-851 Cleveland PacificAlameda CARRF, MCDS
Ammo Austral RainbowAK 1005 Austral Rainbow USAF MPSDiego Garcia75 LASH, 2 Pusher Bts
Cargo Cape NAK-1014 Cape Nome AtlanticJames RiverRRF
PioneerAK-2016 Pioneer Commander AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF
AK-2018 Pioneer Contractor AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF
AK-2019 Pioneer Crusader AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF
AK-2033 Buyer AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF, MCDS
GulfAK-2035 Gulf Shipper AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF, MCDS
AK-2036 Gulf Trader AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF, MCDS
Green ValleyAK-2050 Green Wave AtlanticEast CoastNot LASH
LASH Green ValleyT-AK 2049 Green Valley Army MPSDiego Garcia88 Barges
T-AK 2064 Green Harbour Army MPSDiego Garcia88 Barges
T-AK 9204 Jeb Stuart Army MPSDiego Garcia88 Barges
FloFlo American CormorantT-AK 2062 American Cormorant Army MPSDiego Garcia
USMC PP Cpl. Louis J. Haube, Jr.T-AK 3000 CPL L. Hauge, Jr MPS Sqn 2Diego Garcia
T-AK 3001 PFC William B. Baugh MPS Sqn 2Diego Garcia
T-AK 3002 PFC J. Anderson, Jr MPS Sqn 2Diego Garcia
T-AK 3003 1ST LT A. Bonnyman MPS Sqn 2Diego Garcia
T-AK 3004 PVT Franklin J. Phillips MPS Sqn 2Diego Garcia
Sgt. Matej KocakT-AK 3005 SGT Matej Kocak MPS Sqn 1Europe
T-AK 3006 PFC E. A. Obregon MPS Sqn 1Europe
T-AK 3007 MAJ S. W. Pless MPS Sqn 1Europe
2nd Lt. John P. BoboT-AK 3008 2ND LT John P. Bobo MPS Sqn 1Europe
T-AK 3009 PFC D.T. Williams MPS Sqn 3Guam
T-AK 3010 1ST LT B. Lopez MPS Sqn 3Guam
T-AK 3011 1ST LT Jack Lummus MPS Sqn 3Guam
T-AK 3012 SGT W. R. Button MPS Sqn 3GuamIn PG
BulkCape AT-AK-5005 Adventurer AtlanticJames RiverRRF
T-AK-5006 Aide PacificAlameda CARRF
T-AK-5007 Ambassador AtlanticJames RiverRRF
T-AK-5009 Cape Ann AtlanticJames RiverRRF
T-AK 5010 Cape Alexander AtlanticJames RiverRRF
T-AK 5011 Cape Archway AtlanticJames RiverRRF
T-AK 5012 Cape Alava AtlanticJames RiverRRF
T-AK 5013 Cape Avinof AtlanticJames RiverRRF
AK-5015 Agent PacificAlameda CARRF
MCDSCape JT-AK 5022 Cape John Beaumont TxRRF
T-AK 5029 Cape Jacob MPS Sqn 3Guam
T-AK 5075 Cape Johnson James RiverRRF, MCDS
T-AK 5077 Cape Juby James RiverRRF, MCDS
Cape CT-AK 5036 Cape Chalmers CharlestonRRF, MCDS
T-AK 5037 Cape Canso James RiverRRF, MCDS
T-AK 5038 Cape Charles CharlestonRRF, MCDS
T-AK 5039 Cape Clear CharlestonRRF, MCDS
T-AK 5040 Cape Canaveral James RiverRRF, MCDS
T-AK 5041 Cape Cod CharlestonRRF, MCDS
T-AK 5042 Cape Carthage James RiverRRF, MCDS
T-AK 5043 Cape Catoche NorfolkRRF, MCDS
Cape BT-AK 5056 Cape Breton Alameda CARRF, MCDS
T-AK 5057 Cape Bover Alameda CARRF, MCDS
T-AK 5058 Cape Borda Alameda CARRF, MCDS
T-AK 5059 Cape Bon Alameda CARRF, MCDS
T-AK 5060 Cape Blanco Alameda CARRF, MCDS
LASHCape FT-AK 5061 Cape Fear Alameda CARRF, 89 Barges
T-AK 5070 Cape Flattery Beaumont TxRRF, 89 Barges
T-AK 5071 Cape Florida Beaumont TxRRF, 89 Barges
T-AK 5073 Cape Farewell Beaumont TxRRF, 89 Barges
AK-9651 American Kestrel MPS Sqn 2Diego Garcia77 Barges
BulkNorthern LightAK-5074 Cape Catawba NorfolkRRF
AK-5008 Banner Alameda CARRF
AK-5016 Lake AtlanticJames RiverRRF
AK-5017 Pride AtlanticJames RiverRRF
AK-5018 Scan AtlanticJames RiverRRF
AK-5019 Courier AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF
Class DAK-5026 Del Viento AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF
T-AK-5049 Del Monte AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF
AK-5050 Del Valle AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF
GulfAK-5044 Gulf Banker AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF
AK-5045 Gulf Farmer AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF
AK-5046 Gulf Merchant AtlanticBeaumont TxRRF
Cape GT-AK-2039 Cape Girardeau PacificAlameda CARRF
T-AK-5051 Cape Gibson PacificAlameda CARRF
Hy CargoStrongAK-9205 Strong Virginian MPS Sqn 2Diego Garcia500 bed Hosp + Hy lift
ContainerBuffalo SoldierT-AK 9301 Buffalo Soldier USAF MPS2Diego Garcia
MerlinAK-9302 American MerlinMPS Sqn 2Diego GarciaContainer RoRo
CargoNoble StarAK-9653 Noble Star MPS Sqn 2Diego Garcia
Green RidgeT-AK 9655 Green Ridge MPS Sqn 2Diego Garcia500 bed Hosp + med supl
AdvantageT-AK-9682 Advantage MPS Sqn 2Diego Garcia
Fast ROROALGOLT-AKR 287 Algol New Orleans
T-AKR 288 Bellatrix New Orleans
T-AKR 289 Denebola Bayonne NJ
T-AKR 290 Pollux New Orleans
T-AKR 291 Altair Norfolk
T-AKR 292 Regulus New Orleans
T-AKR 293 Capella Baltimore
T-AKR 294 Antares Baltimore
ShughartT-AKR-295 Shughart AtlanticBaltimore
T-AKR-297 Yano AtlanticNewport News
T-AKR-299 Soderman AtlanticBaltimore
GordonT-AKR-296 Gordon AtlanticNorfolk
T-AKR-298 Gilliland AtlanticNorfolk
ROROCape DucatoT-AKR-5051 Cape Ducato Army APACharlestonRRF
T-AKR-5052 Cape Douglas Army APACharlestonRRF
T-AKR-5053 Cape Domingo Army APACharlestonRRF
T-AKR-5054 Cape Diamond Army APACharlestonRRF
T-AKR-5055 Cape DecisionArmy APACharlestonRRF
CometT-AKR-7 Comet PacificWest coastRRF
MeteorT-AKR-9 Meteor PacificWest coastRRF
Cape IT-AKR-10 Cape Island AtlanticJacksonville
T-AKR-11 Cape Intrepid AtlanticJacksonville
T-AKR-5062 Cape Isabel AtlanticJacksonville
T-AKR-5076 Cape Inscription AtlanticJacksonville
Cape TT-AKR-112 Cape Texas AtlanticHouston
T-AKR-113 Cape Taylor AtlanticHouston
T-AKR-9711 Cape Trinity AtlanticHouston
Wm. M. CallaghanT-AKR-1001 Wm. M. Callaghan PacificAlameda CARRF
Cape OT-AKR-2044 Cape Orlando PacificAlameda CA
Hy Barge LftCape MT-AKR-5063 Cape May AtlanticNorfolk38 barges
T-AKR-5064 Cape Mendocino AtlanticNorfolk38 barges
T-AKR-5065 Cape Mohican PacificAlameda CA38 barges
ROROCape HT-AKR-5066 Cape hudson PacificSan Francisco
T-AKR-5067 Cape henry PacificAlameda CA
T-AKR-5068 Cape horn PacificSan Francisco
Cape ET-AKR-5069 Cape Edmont AtlanticCharleston
Cape LT-AKR-5077 Cape Lambert AtlanticBeaumont Tx
T-AKR-5078 Cape Lobos AtlanticBeaumont Tx
Cape KT-AKR-5082 Cape Knox AtlanticNew Orleans
T-AKR-5083 Cape Kennedy AtlanticNew Orleans
Cape VT-AKR-9666 Cape Vincent AtlanticBeaumont Tx
T-AKR-9701 Cape Victory AtlanticBeaumont Tx
Cape RT-AKR-9678 Cape Rise AtlanticPortsmouth VA
T-AKR-9679 Cape Ray AtlanticPortsmouth VA
T-AKR-9680 Cape Race AtlanticPortsmouth VA
Cape WT-AKR-9961 Cape Washington AtlanticBaltimore
T-AKR-9962 Cape Wrath AtlanticBaltimore