AKA-64 Tolland / LKA-103 Rankin
Tolland Class Amphibious Cargo Ship were based on the United States Maritime Commission type C2-S-AJ3 hull. The Attack Cargo Ship was designed to land weapons and supplies on enemy shores. he mission was to offload the cargo quickly and accurately into the boats, then to get them ashore precisely when they were needed, often in the face of darkness, heavy seas, and kamikaze attack. A total of 114 ships were eventually constructed for this purpose. Most were put in mothballs after World War II, and some were recommissioned during the Korean War.
They were 459 feet long, with a beam of 63 feet. Fully loaded, they displaced 11,000 tons, with a mean draft of about 20 feet. They had a maximum speed of 16.5 knots and a cruising range of 17,000 miles (imagine a 40-story building that could transport 1,500 Humvees from New York to Los Angeles in just over five days).
World War II in the Pacific involved many amphibious landings, where US forces would attack and occupy enemy-held islands. Similar landings were held in the Atlantic theater. These landings were the most complex activities ever performed by man, and they involved many specialized naval vessels, including newly-designed Attack Cargo Ships, the AKAs. An AKA carried thousands of tons of tanks, vehicles, and combat supplies, plus the drivers and other Marines responsible for the cargo.
The cargo was combat loaded onto the AKAs-loaded in accordance with a prearranged plan, so when it was offloaded in an amphibious assault, it would be placed ashore ready for combat and in the order required by the troops. The AKAs carried specialized boats, called landing craft, to take the cargo from the ship to the landing area. AKAs were also equipped with guns, primarily for defense from enemy air attack, and secondarily to assist in the shore bombardment that preceded the landing.
All AKAs in the Navy inventory on 1 January 1969 were redesignated LKAs.
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