Check out this unique perspective of the recent joint U.S and South Korean beach landing drills. This one comes from one of the U.S. Marine Corps’ amphibious assault vehicles as it dives out the back of the amphibious assault ship USS Harpers Ferry and wades ashore.
The vehicle you are “riding ashore in” is the AAV-7, which has been in service for many decades within the USMC, even after multiple tries to replace it. Both the US and South Korea use the type, making cooperative training operations like the one above a bit easier.
In actual combat in an amphibious environment, having commonality between the two countries’ inventories could actually be life saving as normal supply chains that standard ground forces use will likely be totally cut off from a very new beach head.
The fact that both the U.S. and South Korea use the AAV-7 is something of a rare situation. Although many of the South Korea’s military aircraft have commonality with American types, their ground vehicles are now largely of indigenous design.
Although some argue that beach landings are a thing of the past, and amphibious operations in general are not as strategically imperative as they once were, they may be an essential element of a potential war on the Korean Peninsula. The ability to go around the defenses along the highly fortified demilitarized zone opens up a range of possibilities for allied commanders and an equal amount of vulnerabilities for North Korean war planners. Because North Korea lacks the advanced anti-access capabilities that are evolving in other potential foes’ arsenals, a beach landing may not just be plausible, but essential.
Like everything North Korea-related, any level of sustained conflict will likely be very bloody, but going where the enemy is the least is a strategy as old as warfare and amphibious operations allow this to happen.
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