An amphibious assault is a military operation that involves deploying combat troops from ships at sea onto land, usually on a beach, despite enemy opposition (if the land is undefended, it's just an "amphibious landing"). The area where the troops land is referred to as a beachhead. The best known amphibious landing was the D-Day landing at Normandy in WWII, but there were many such actions in the Pacific theater of the war. Because amphibious assaults always involve naval forces, these assaults are usually supported by naval gunfire and aircraft.
"Amphibious" Landings in Science Fiction
- "We have to hold them until all transports are away. Prepare for ground assault!"
- —General Rieekan
In science fiction, this type of military operation is scaled up to the planetary level, and starships insert troops into battle against ground forces defending a planet. In most science fiction, attackers use shuttles, dropships, or even starships capable of landing to deploy troops and equipment. Star Trek factions usually make use of transporters to insert troops during planetary assault operations, unless they are somehow blocked.