The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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Landing craft depot ships were a category of Japanese ships built to transport and deploy landing craft. American and British observers of the landings in Shanghai in 1937 recognized the importance of this new type of vessel, and the Allied LSDs likely drew on the concept. Most were able to launch landing craft out of stern doors or off stern rollers.
Shinshu Maru was the world's first amphibious assault ship designed as such. Completed in 1935, she was built in great secrecy, and generally sailed under a false name (Ryujo Maru or Fuso Maru.) No other landing craft depot ship was completed in time to participate in the Centrifugal Offensive, and the Japanese carried out no significant opposed landing operations thereafter. The ships were therefore employed as transports or cargo ships, of which Japan never had a sufficient number.
Kibitsu Maru class
Mayasan Maru class
CombinedFleet.com (accessed 2011-7-20)
Jentschura, Jung, and Mickel (1977)
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