War Machine, Volume 7

Modem Amphibious and Oversnow Vehicles For centuries two of the many problems facing the practitioners of warfare have been water and winter. In this century of total war it is natural that efforts should have been made to overcome the difficulty. Amphibious vehicles of one type or another played a significant role with the Allies during World War II especially in the invasion of Italy the Normandy campaign the crossing of the Rhine and the recapture of the Netherlands. Moreover the countless amphibious operations in the Far East could not have been successfully carried out without the tracked amphibious vehicles commonly known as the Amtracks. In the post-war period the US Marine Corps kept the art of amphibious warfare alive and today the USA has the largest amphibious force of any country in the world. The modern US Marine is not only taken ashore in the latest LVTP7A1 but also by landing craft helicopters and air- cushion vehicles. This gives the commander many more options than in the pastas not only can he land troops and equipment on the beaches, but the helicopters also allow him to move men and supplies quickly inland. The 4x4 LARC (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo) carries the cargo from the ships offshore onto the beaches but in the future its role will be carried out much quicker by the hovercraft. Many other countries have small marine units normally under the operational control of the navy and some of these in the Western sphere have small numbers of the LVTP7 armoured amphibious vehicle. The Soviet marines have been receiving much new equipment in Typical of most of the amphibious cargo carriers currently in production thePegaso VAP3550/1 is based on a 4 x 4 truck to which has beenhttedaboat-shapedhull.lt is driven by waterjets at up to 5.5 kts while afloat and can climb a 60 percent gradient. recent years although with under 15000 men this Naval Infantry force does not yet have the same sustained power-projection role as the US Marine Corps The Soviets have however made far more use of hover­craft in recent years than the Americans and this vehicle type would prove to be very useful in the Baltic area in times of crisis. The Soviet army maintains many amphibious vehicles for operations in Europe. Oversnow vehicles are used mainly by the USA in Alaska the Scan­dinavian countries (Sweden Norway and Finland) and of course the Soviet Union. In the West the Swedish company Hagglund and Soner leads in the design development and production of tracked oversnow vehicles and its new Bv 206 has already been selected by the USA as its standard vehicle of this type Other NATO countries including the UK, maintain specialized units to reinforce Norway in time of war and these units have Bv 202 tracked oversnow vehicles to be replaced by Bv 206s in the future. Primary exponents of amphibious warfare the US Marine Corps may make an assault in helicopters air cushion vehicles landing craft orin theLVT7 (Landing Vehicle Tracked) series of armoured amphibians. No other nation has any comparable capability.
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