What is Gator Navy?

Navy gator at sea picture

The Gator Navy of the US Navy are ships designed to assault in a very fast way coasts, from a ship in the high sea, that is to say an amphibious fleet, are ships that have the capacity to carry out the transport of military material like tanks, armaments and troops to certain places, being able to carry out the disembarkation without the requirement of wharves, neither of ports, nor cranes.

Sailors on the deck of an aircraft carrier

The idea of the Gator Navy began to mature in the US Navy on the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. navy lacked ships with the capacity to quickly dismantle tanks and military hardware on coasts or shores without the aid of cranes, bridges and docks.

Since ancient times of sailing ships, ships have been required to land, in those times these were very simple boats and worked by rowing, although they were orthodox and very little efficiency, was what the naval forces had, in those times they did not have many incentives, or maximum requirements, because it was colonial times, where the opponents were the natives of those lands to be conquered, who lacked techniques for combat and did not represent a serious problem for the assault from the sea to those lands.

During the First World War, the troops had more versatile weapons and had to be mobilized massively, which meant that these ships were no longer used for imminent landings in coastal assaults.

The landing of troops by rowing boats made the island inoperative and vulnerable, as happened in Gallipoli. This type of experience and the economic crisis caused the manufacture and acquisition of better equipment for this type of amphibious attack to be delayed.

The United States in the times before the Second World War began to develop ships with better performance for the landing of troops and military vehicles, the idea of a ship with the ability to transport a significant number of troops and a sufficient number of vehicles, this idea matured by the British Royal Navy caused the emergence of a design of the first LST, a ship to land tanks.

The British Navy sent a delegation to the United States, with the idea of building these ships, being approved in this country the construction of the LST and other ships as escorts and the boats for the landing.

At first, 23 LST and 2,000 landing craft were built, with the capacity to land 15 LCM in only 30 minutes, and due to their smaller size, these vessels were not named, but were assigned a serial number.

With the introduction of the helicopters, these amphibious vehicles improved their assault capacity, a technique that the United States developed in the battles in Vietnam.

There are two types similar to aircraft carriers, the Tarawa and the Wasp, although amphibious assault vehicles have platforms for helicopters, not aircraft.


Gator Navy amphibian fleet

  •  LHA Tarawa Class
  • LHD Wasp class
  • LPH class Iwo Jima
  • LPD class San Antonio
  • LSD landing dock
  • LSI Landing craft
  • LSL Landing Vessel Logistics
  • LSM Landing Medium
  • LST Landing Tank
  • LCC Amphibious Command Vessel
  • AGF Auxiliary control unit
  • AKA LKA attack cargo ship
  • AP APALPA Assault on aux staff
  • ARL Achelous class boat repair


Image of navy gators


Facts about Gator Navy

  •  In June 1942 in Newport the keel of his first LST was placed
  • At the end of 1942 the first LSTs were launched on the dock
  •  August 7, 1942, landings in Guadalcanal
  • 50 LST participated in Vietnam

1 comment

  • Anne Benbow Timberlake

    My dad,John Robert Benbow,Bob,was on the first LST #1. HE WAS BOTN FEB 02 1924,A.ND JUST PASSED 01/31/2021 of Covid 19. HE PRODULY SERVED AND LOVED THAT SHIP AND HIS MATE SCV

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