Operation Appian

This was a British programme to transfer large amphibious warfare vessels from the UK to the Far East (late 1944/early 1945).

After 'Overlord', the need for such vessels lay more in the Far East than Europe, and preparations were put in hand for the Combined Training Centre Middle East, at Kabret on the Little Bitter Lake on the Suez Canal, to provide the accommodation, supplies, maintenance and repair support needed to facilitate the passage of these vessels to India and beyond.

Trials had demonstrated that merchant ships could successfully tow landing craft tank from Suez to India, and the first flotilla of craft reached Port Said from the UK on 31 December 1944 in 'Appian I'.

Once this first undertaking had been completed, preparation began for 'Appian II'. A total of some 80 landing craft passed through the Suez Canal, as did 18 older landing craft tank sent from Messina for training recently established flotillas of the Royal Indian Navy. The collapse of Japan rendered superfluous the presence of these landing craft in the Far East theatre and, with the exception of a few landing craft tank transferred to the British army or used for other purposes, the craft were all placed in a state of preservation under Austrian prisoner of war caretakers and put up for local sale.