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A dock landing ship (also called Landing Ship, Dock or LSD) is an amphibious warfare ship with a well dock to transport and launch landing craft and amphibious vehicles.[1] Some ships with well decks, such as the Soviet Ivan Rogov class, also have bow doors to enable them to deliver vehicles directly onto a beach (like a Landing Ship, Tank [LST]). Modern dock landing ships also operate helicopters.

A ship with a well deck (docking well) can transfer cargo to landing craft in rougher seas than a ship that has to use cranes or a stern ramp.[2] The US Navy hull classification symbol for a ship with a well deck depends on its facilities for aircraft - a (modern) LSD has a helicopter deck, a LPD also has a hangar, and a LHD or LHA has a full-length flight deck.[2]


The LSD (US Navy hull classification for Landing Ship, Dock) came as a result of a British requirement during the Second World War for a vessel that could carry large landing craft across the seas at speed.

The first LSD came from a design by Sir Roland Baker who had designed the British Landing Craft, Tank. It was an answer to the problem of launching small craft rapidly. The "Landing Ship Stern Chute", which was a converted train ferry, was an early attempt. Thirteen Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) could be launched from these ships down the chute. The Landing Ship Gantry was a converted tanker with a crane to transfer its cargo of landing craft from deck to sea - 15 LCM in a little over half an hour.[3]

The design was developed and built in the US for the USN and the Royal Navy. The LSD could carry 36 LCM at 16 knots. It took one and a half hours for the dock to be flooded down and two and half to pump it out. When flooded they could also be used as docks for repairs to small craft.

Amphibious vehicles inside a US LSD

Vessels of the LSD hull classification[edit]

In the United States Navy, two related groups of vessels classified as LSDs are in service as of 2011, the Whidbey Island and Harpers Ferry classes, mainly used to carry hovercraft (LCACs), operate helicopters, and carry Marines.[4]

The Dutch and Spanish collaborated on the "Enforcer" design which entered service as the Rotterdam-class amphibious transport dock and Galicia-class landing platform dock.

The British Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) operates three Bay-class landing ships - related to the Enforcer design - in support of the Royal Navy's operations while a fourth ship of the class, previously in RFA service, is now operated by the Royal Australian Navy.

Former US LSDs include: Ashland class, Casa Grande class, Thomaston class and Anchorage class.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mother of Minesweepers". Popular Mechanics: 97–104, see drawings pp. 98–99. February 1952. 
  2. ^ a b "World Wide Landing Ship Dock/Landing Platform Dock". Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  3. ^ Brown 2006, p. 145
  4. ^ US Navy Office of Information Fact File - LSD

Cited literature[edit]

  • Brown, D. K. (November 2006). Nelson to Vanguard. Annapolis, Maryland: US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-602-X. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dock_landing_ship — Please support Wikipedia.
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62 news items

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 03:07:30 -0700

It comprises the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, the amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock, the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. The group brings with it a variety of aircraft: ...
Wed, 03 Sep 2014 10:39:13 -0700

U.S. Marines and sailors with the amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) load supplies from the dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6) on Aug. 23 during a replenishment-at-sea. (Sgt. Austin Hazard / Marine Corps).

Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes
Sat, 30 Aug 2014 16:11:01 -0700

Sailors applauded when Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, commander of the Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, gave Leach command of the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship in May 2013, after the departure of the previous captain, Cmdr. Carol McKenzie, ...

The Virginian-Pilot

The Virginian-Pilot
Fri, 12 Sep 2014 08:40:07 -0700

The Bataan amphibious ready group, which also includes the amphibious transport dock Mesa Verde and the dock landing ship Gunston Hall, departed from Norfolk on Feb. 8 for an eight month deployment to the Middle East. It has been operating in the ...
DVIDS (press release) (registration)
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 13:03:45 -0700

U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships participating in this years Star-Spangled Spectacular include the amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), joint high-speed vessel USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2) ...
DVIDS (press release) (registration)
Fri, 12 Sep 2014 06:52:30 -0700

U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY – More than 4,000 Sailors and Marines with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR), ...
Marine Corps Times
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 10:23:54 -0700

... of mishaps. The 31st MEU is preparing for its fall patrol. On Wednesday, the big-deck amphibious ship Peleliu arrived in Okinawa to embark Marines for their upcoming patrol. The amphibious ready group will also include the dock landing ship Germantown.
The Pike County Courier
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:18:45 -0700

... it transports cargo to the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) during a connected and vertical replenishment at sea with fleet eplenishment oiler USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187) and amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45).

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