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Commando carriers and assault ships

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HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid

The government commissioned the Landing Platform Docks HMS Fearless and HMS Intrepid in the mid 1960s specifically for Cold War Amphibious Warfare, raising the capabilities of the Corps considerably.

HMS Fearless was the Royal Navy’s first purpose-built amphibious assault ship. Along with sister ship HMS Intrepid, it provided the Royal Navy with the ability to carry out amphibious operations and to act as a command and control centre during the landing phase.

HMS Fearless during construction at Harland and Wolff Ltd. Belfast, 1962.
HMS Fearless during construction at Harland and Wolff Ltd. Belfast, 1962. (RMM)

The ships are classed as Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) and are used as a kind floating dock. They are especially useful to the Royal Navy following the fall of the British Empire and the closure of so many of its naval bases around the world.

The LPDs carry four large Landing Craft Utility (LCU) and four smaller Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP). In addition, the ships can carry land vehicles, 15 tanks, seven 3-ton and 20 quarter-ton trucks.

Strategists recognised the success of the first heliborne amphibious attack at Suez in 1956. As a consequence the upper open tank deck was converted to take on the role of helicopter landing deck during the design stage.

HMS Fearless could provide accommodation for up to 700 Commandos. The space could also be utilised to hold rescued civilians during disaster relief operations.

Inside HMS Intrepid, 1988. Photograph showing the sleeping arrangements for troops on the assault ship with the men of 42 Commando arranged on the tank deck during Exercise Teamwork, Norway, 1988. (RMM)
Inside HMS Intrepid showing the sleeping arrangements for troops on the assault ship with the men of 42 Commando arranged on the tank deck during Exercise Teamwork, Norway, 1988. (RMM)

Most famously, Fearless and Intrepid were both deployed for Operation Corporate during the Falklands War with HMS Fearless providing a command centre for HQ 3 Commando Brigade during the San Carlos landings in 1982.

HMS Intrepid was decommissioned in 1991 and her parts used to maintain sister ship HMS Fearless. The Royal Navy finally decommissioned Fearless in 2002.

Learn more about HMS Fearless in the Falklands War.

HMS Intrepid at sea about to enter Aruba, 1989. Stern view of HMS Intrepid showing flight deck and dock area. (RMM)
HMS Intrepid at sea about to enter Aruba, 1989. (RMM)



Follow the links to find out more about -

  • Commando carriers and assault ships - Fearless and Intrepid

  • The Korean War

  • Northern Flank

  • Southern Flank

  • Flying Marines - the Suez Canal Raid