The Marines' Most Wicked Looking Armored Vehicle Looks Even Scarier Making A Beach Landing

The "Shredder" is a critical piece of heavy armor that allows Marines to safely get from point A to point B in a combat zone. 

24th MEU exercises command and control of amphibious forces
24th Marine Expeditionary Unit—Public Domain

The M1150 'Shredder' Assault Breacher Vehicle is one nasty looking weapon system. Designers leveraged the M1 Abrams main battle tank's design and adapted it into one of the world's most capable combat mine clearing vehicles. It is bristling with attachments and specialized gear required for its unique mission, making it look downright evil in its own right. This is especially true when seen wading into the surf during a beach landing. 

You can read all about the Shredder in this past piece of mine, but suffice it to say that between its plows, explosive line charges, and other modifications, the meaning of its whole existence is to get Marines from point A to point B without being devastated by mines. With that in mind, you can imagine how important the Shredder is to Marines trying to take an enemy beach and establish a beachhead. Getting the vehicle, which weighs more than 60 tons, from ship to shore is done by the Navy's heaviest amphibious haulers, the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) and the Landing Craft Utility (LCU).

Staff Sgt. Mark E Morrow Jr
Staff Sgt. Mark E Morrow Jr
Staff Sgt. Mark E Morrow Jr
Staff Sgt. Mark E Morrow Jr

An M1150 next to an M88 Armored Recovery Vehicle, both belonging to the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division.

In the images above, the Shredder is being brought ashore by a U.S. Navy Landing Craft Utility (LCU) boat (1610/1646 class), which can accommodate the mass and width of the brutish vehicle. The LCUs can run ship-to-shore logistics from the well decks of the 'Gator Navy's' amphibious assault ships, which can include transporting the Shredder.

Practicing for just such a beach landing and, in particular, the command and control complexities surrounding them, is what is being seen in the photos, which were taken at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, as part of a recurring exercise dubbed Type Commander Amphibious Training (TCAT).

Although the USMC is slowly pivoting away from focusing so heavily on large-scale beach landing operations, being able to push very heavy combat vehicles ashore from over-the-horizon remains a critical capability. Maybe the most important of which is getting Marines ashore the protection that the Shredder provides.

Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com