- Plate anchors are embedded into the ocean floor to provide holding capacity for offshore structures. Anchor holding capacity is a function of both the anchor and soil properties. Although plate anchors have been widely studied experimentally and numerically, there is still no universally agreed-upon design approach, indicating that the problem physics remain elusive. In this work, discrete-element method (DEM) simulations were used to investigate the behavior of plate anchors during pullout in an effort to elucidate some of the microscale physical processes that influence overall system behavior. Macroscale assembly response was compared to published experimental results and empirical solutions. The influence of embedment ratio, anchor roughness, soil density, and anchor size on holding capacity was investigated, and system-scale results reasonably agreed with previously published work. Thus, observations of the simulated contact force network and particle velocity during uplift were used to provide insight into anchor failure mechanisms. Finally, the model was used to briefly explore the response of a cyclically loaded plate anchor embedded in a granular assembly.