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Type 271 Utility Landing Craft

This one is a puzzle.

According to Chinese Defence Today "The Type 271 utility landing craft was developed by 708 Institute in 1967, with the first ship launched in 1968. The improved Type 271-II was introduced in 1974. Several hundred boats of this class were built between the 1960s and the 1980s, and they are still the backbone of the PLA Navy's amphibious lift capability today."

There is distressing diversity in the nomenclature associated with these small craft, and the classification used here by Chinese Defence Today is at variance with that of the United States Navy. US Navy Landing Craft, Mechanized [LCM] feature a bow ramp for onload and offload. The larger US Navy Landing Craft, Utility [LCU] have both bow and stern ramps for onload/offload at either end.

The main problem is that no other source makes any mention of of this class, nor does any other source allow for such a large number of craft of this type. All other sources are in general agreement on the numbers and types of Landing Craft, Mechanized [LCM] in China's Navy, and the claimed "several hundred boats" is roughly equal to the total of all other LCM classes combined.

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