WATCH NOW: Amphibious military vehicles land on Ocean City beach | Local News

OCEAN CITY — It was not an invasion, but the landing of two enormous amphibious military craft on the beach near 53rd Street Friday evening drew a great deal of attention from beachgoers and passersby.

The two huge vehicles — about 100 feet long and 30 feet wide — may not have been the largest ships in the water, but standing next to the wheels, they seemed enormous.

The boats were being transported from Staten Island, New York, to the Chesapeake Bay, where they are used in heavy construction. According to John Hennage, the captain of one of the vessels, he left Brigantine that morning and was making for Cape May but decided to land because of a heavy fog advisory.

He was about to get some sandwiches for his crew, he said.

Similar vessels were used in the D-Day landing on the beach at Normandy in 1944, but these two are far larger than what was used in World War II. They saw use during the Vietnam War, Hennage said, before the Army decommissioned all of the craft a few years ago.

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They are called LARC, which stands for Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo. But they are hardly light, weighing about 100 tons with no cargo.

“They’re better known as duck boats,” Hennage said. “They were used by the Army to transport heavy equipment and personnel.”

On land, they can move about 20 mph, although few streets could handle them. In the water, the speed is about 6 knots, Hennage said. That would be close to 7 mph on land, making the trip to Virginia a long haul.

Hennage said his sister Carole Hennage owns the boats, which bore the names “Wild Sally” and “Big Jack” on their bows. At the front of each were heavily armored ramps that could be lowered, allowing access to a cargo bay designed to carry 60 tons of gear, supplies and soldiers.

A small crowd had gathered on the beach, with kids leaning on treaded tires that were twice their height. Some at the scene said they looked like something from the deserts of Tatooine in “Star Wars” rather than something that would be on an Ocean City beach on a holiday weekend.