ORIGINAL: teseo tesei
sorry for my ignorance, but what do you mean with lifeboat?
He's not talking about in-game, he's giving a real-life example. So he literally means a life boat, like ships carry for when they sink. his point is that the ships in the game have various capabilities built-in, that are not displayed separately. AP and AK ships have landing craft. APA, LSD, and AKA have landing craft and the ability to more quickly load/unload them. LST, LCI, etc. are beaching type ships that pull right up to the beach and lower ramps.
xAP, xAK, xAKL type ships have no landing craft and are not beaching type ships. They rely on facilities at the port to help them unload. They do have some boats (maybe not just life boats), but those are more like launches or ships' boats, not landing craft. So they have a limited ability to put troops and cargo directly ashore. When it comes to cargo, like those radar sets, each such 'device' (in game terms) has a size (in the scenario file) which is an abstraction of its weight, size, and shape. Its size influences how difficult it is to load and unload. Those radar sets are big and that makes them difficult to unload where there is not port or a small port. xAP, xAK, xAKL ships do not have the ability to do so without help.
Help comes in different forms.
1) Port size is the easiest. The larger a port is, the more docking facilities, cranes, barges, personnel, etc. are available to help load and unload cargo.
2) Naval Support are squads that provide various types of support, both to repair/resupply ships and to load/unload ships. Shore Party are certain types of squads that also help load/unload ships, but can not perform the other functions which Naval Support squads perform (they do not repair or resupply ships, for example). Naval Support and Shore Party types are 'devices' in the game, just like so many things are and they are abstractions that include the necessary men and equipment (rigging gear, launches, whatever). You should realize that Naval Support and Shore Party squads do have have to be called naval support or shore party. Those abilities are (in effect) check boxes in the scenario files. So, for example, there are some squads that do certain other things but also have Shore Party abilities. You might notice that when you look at a base display you see something like "30 Naval Support + 12 Shore Party". Also, the game abstracts Naval Support being spread out to ports that are close by for at least some cases.
3) Other ships in the TF. Ships that have built-in landing craft (like AP/AK, APA/LSD/AKA) or that are beaching types (LST, LCI, etc.) will provide assistance to unload other ships in the same TF after they have completely finished their own unloading. So, if you include one or more of those kind of ships in the same TF with your xAP/xAK/xAKL ships, they can often help with unloading at small ports or over the beach.