The largest ship in the Army is the 4800 ton cargo vessel, John U.D. Page.?
The largest ship in the Army is the 4800 ton cargo vessel, John U.D. Page. The Page is 338 feet long, 65 feet in beam, and can carry up to 2000 tons of cargo. The Page's official designation is BDL 1-X, which stands for Beach Discharge Lighter, Number One, Experimental. She's one of a kind, and her ability to transport huge loads of ammunition and rolling stock on intra-coastal missions up and down the coast of Vietnam makes her an important part of the military effort there. For all her size, the Page can take on cargo or off-load on the beach. Currently, she loads at Cam Ranh Bay and sails from there to Phan Thiet, Phan Rang or Nha Trang, averaging one run every two days. Her eight warrant officers and 36 enlisted men live in the toadstool-like superstructure rising from her cargo deck. The quarters are roomy and air-conditioned, and assignments on the Page are coveted by all Army "sailors". One of the more noteworthy characteristics of the big flat-bottomed ship is her maneuverability. She is powered by two giant "eggbeater" blades which can be set at various angles. They're positioned side-by-side just aft of mid-ship. The resulting ability to thrust in any direction allows the ship to make a full circle within her won length. This design has been applied to some European vessels, but has never been used in the American Merchant Marine or the U.S. Navy.