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Landing Craft
Length: 45 meters
Mass: 180 tons
  Powers/Weapons: 20mm cannon
First Appearance: Godzilla Raids Again (1955)
Other Appearances: Varan
Series:  Showa  


While seaborne invasions have occurred throughout history, up until the mid-twentieth century the invasion forces usually had to jump out of the boats and make their way ashore through enemy fire. In the run up to World War II, several countries made attempts to develop specialized craft to transport troops from their ships directly to the shore and allow them to charge right down the ramp and fight. While Japan did have some impressive ideas on landing crafts, it would be its World War II foes, the United States and Britain, who would eventually take the lead in development of specialized ships to use when invading hostile shores. The US military developed several types of landing crafts with each designed to deliver specialized cargo, whether they would be men or heavy weapons and vehicles. In addition, some had the capabilities and endurance to travel over large bodies of water. As they would be conducting operations under hostile fire, landing craft were equipped mainly with anti-aircraft guns that featured the standard armament being 20mm anti-aircraft guns.

Scores of landing craft, bearing US as well as troops from other Western Allied nations, would play a pivotal role in the crushing of Japan and more importantly in the liberation of Europe.

When the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) came into being in 1952, the United States gave it several ships to help strengthen the force. These included landing crafts which the US military did not need. Though still capable of carrying men and vehicles off to war, the landing craft at the disposal of the JMSDF participate in disaster relief operations if a natural disaster struck the four main islands of Japan.

In the mid 1950's, though, the landing craft in the hands of the JMSDF would see combat action as the Japanese military dealt with the threat of Godzilla. After spotting the nuclear saurian landing on Kamiko Island, the military moved into action with three landing crafts transporting men and large numbers of gasoline barrels to the island. Once there, they constructed a fire barrier with the barrels and 20mm machine gun fire to hold Godzilla at bay until the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) returned to finally deal with Godzilla.

Some time later, another threat appeared in the form of an amphibious monster called Varan. After devastating a Japanese village in the mountains, the monster flew towards the sea and remained hidden before swimming towards Tokyo. To add more firepower to defend Tokyo, the JSDF brought in several landing craft and then drove in Missile Launcher Trucks onto their cargo decks with one truck going to each craft. As Varan began to close in on the shore near Haneda Airport, the landing craft quickly raced ahead of the kaiju to deposit the Missile Launcher Trucks onto the shore so that the trucks could continue to participate in the battle against Varan.