Seelöwe: Lets discuss:- German barges, sunk by fighters?

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Post by fredleander » 07 Mar 2007 23:05

T. A. Gardner wrote:Ok. So now we have a photo of a barge with a 3.7cm and what appears to be a 10.5cm with a very limited field of fire forward planted on the deck. This does little to show that these particular modifications - improvisations, which these definitely are, were common or widespread. If anything, it would appear that they were locally done modifications and very uncommon rather than the norm. There are just too many photos showing no such mountings to say otherwise, at least at this point in the discussion..
How hard have you looked.....?....... :) ........Schenk is describing the planned barge armaments. They were quite extensive. Have you considered that much of their (the barges') armaments might have been planned mounted after a go-ahead eventually was given...? .....which would explain the lack of such pictures as you describe. I have seen many. Also posted some, I believe. If not here.

The army group order gives instructions on how the tranport vessels were to be armed.
T. A. Gardner wrote:Oh, I'll put up more on British DD fire control systems in a bit along with a bit of an explaination on naval gunnery..
Please, also some information on what was actually in service Fall '40..... 8-) .....would you have any similar information on the German vessels..?
T. A. Gardner wrote:Suffice it to say that weapons like those pictured above are better than nothing but not by much. The 10.5 would be worthless in a naval action while the 3.7 would have some definite value as an AA gun but little as a surface defense weapon.
I would still contend that that an automatic cannon like the 37 mm could be very effective within its designed range. Am I correct in that the RN destroyers at that time all had open gun positions. Main gun towers with open rear ends....?

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Post by fredleander » 07 Mar 2007 23:16

T. A. Gardner wrote:Machineguns that the troops on board are carrying would be all but useless as AA weapons. Navies at the time were already discarding .50 machineguns because they proved nearly worthless as AA weapons on ships. I for one, would dismiss claims that somehow the troops could provide their own useful AA defense against anything.).
Against low-flying fighters...?....which I believe is still the subject. If the .303 could shoot down enemy fighters why couldn't the German 7.92 mm shoot down British fighters...?
T. A. Gardner wrote:Aside from that, using up what ammunition they had on AA defense is going to hurt a lot more later if they indeed do manage to get ashore.)
A very valid point.
T. A. Gardner wrote:So, the question I have is the claim these vessels had some useful heavier armament even valid?).
Meaning what....?
T. A. Gardner wrote:On other related issues:

The barges also come in a wide variety of types. Some have covered holds while others are very open with low gunwales. A number of the originally unpowered barges received two or three old aircraft engines mounted in a very exposed rack at the stern for propulsion. The combination of exposed engines and aviation gasoline makes for a dangerous mix if strafing did occur. Such a barge would be very vulnerable to a gasoline fire that would very likely be unextinguishable, particularly if the passengers and crew panicked (a virtual certainty if a fire did erupt...been in enought shipboard fires in my naval career to know that even with training they are scary occurances).
Those boats were quite few. And they were not originally unpowered. The aircraft engines were in addition to give them more flexibility. In the end the procedures were to use the aircraft engines only during landing maneuvering as they used too much fuel on normal cruise. Wouldn't low-flying fighters have the same "gasoline" problems...?

The barge fleet as such was much more homogenous than the way you describe it.

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DD fire control

Post by T. A. Gardner » 08 Mar 2007 04:35

I'm going to put this here even though it is not directly related to the subject at hand because it has come up in the discussion on Seelöwe, and because those posting to this particular thread seem to have the most interest. Feel free to move it if you feel it is necessary.

British destroyer fire control is pretty much the same across the board in 1940. While the A to C classes (early 1930's) had just the Destroyer Director Sight, a simple follow the pointer system with electric feed to the guns, starting with the C class about 1935 the system changed to the one virtually every fleet destroyer had in 1940.
This system consisted of three parts: The first was the DCT (Director Control Tower). This was the sighting system for the guns. It gave feeds for range, bearing, elevation, etc along with salvo control and shot fall spotting. The second part was the Mk II, III, IV or, III(w) 9 foot base 'three man' range finder. This odd arrangement of seperate rangefinder and director was a peculiarity of Admirality staff policy that no other navy followed. Why it was done this way really makes little sense, but that is how the RN destroyers were set up. Anyway, the rangefinder and DCT fed their data to a TS (Transmitting Station) within the hull of the ship. Depending on class the feeds were either mechanical or electrical. The TS included such things as a stable element (gyro), syncros that eliminated gun - director paralax and other aiming errors. Fire was interconnected by either a fire gong (with manual firing at the gun in earlier classes) or electrical circuit for fire at stable zero roll.
The H (Brazilian) and I (Turkish) classes had the DCT and rangefinder combined.
With the Tribal class and on the rangefinder was now the Mk VI model and later incorporated a Type 285M radar. But, that was post 1940 so not yet installed.
The J class reverted to the earlier standard for late A - I destroyers . Classes after the J's started to get the newer Mk I type K (commonly refered to as Kay's Folly for its poor reliability) or later the Mk II LA/HA director. These approach the US Mk 33 in performance...approach. They are cumbersome and quirky in operation.
A common fault on all of the British directors mentioned is that LA (Low Angle...ie surface) and HA (High Angle...ie AA fire) use two seperate systems run in parallel. The director crew must switch between the two for target engagement.
As far as surface performance goes, these systems are reasonably accurate to about 10,000 yards. At that distance the rangefinder resolution error is on the order of about 60 yards; well within a four gun salvo and definitely within a six or eight gun salvo. This would mark the outside limit of effective firing range with about 7,000 yards being a good maximum engagement range. Now, remember, to an observer using the Mk I eyeball a destroyer sized target at 10,000 yards is a little speck on the near horizon.

The question was asked on German fire controls. For their destroyers from what I have on them, they had a similar system in use to that of the British. The German system did have two sort of advantages. The first is the rangefinder and director are combined. The second is that the Germans did not include any capacity for AA fire intending their main batteries solely for surface action.

In both navies smaller vessels generally did not have any centralized fire control. Simple weight and complexity issues precluded it. As you can see from the above the destroyer system weighted about 20 to 30 tons installed with another 2 or 3 tons of cabling and other auxiliary systems added in. The director, rangefinder, and TS room took up alot of space on the bridge superstructure and in the hull.
Anyway, for these smaller ships they had to rely on simple local control for their gunnery. This sort of fire is accurate to about half the range the director systems allowed. Thus, a maximum useful engagement range might be about 5,000 yards with about 3,000 being fertile gound for regular hits.

What this means is that the smaller AA guns on barges are really near worthless as a surface defense weapon against a destroyer. They would be totally worthless at night when a destroyer was likely to use starshell or snowflake to illuminate its target (it could also use a searchlight but this would reveal its location) remaining largely hidden. Gunflashes alone are no useful aiming point for simple local control guns. Look at second Savo Island where the battleship S. Dakota in local control was unable to engage in a gunfight at just 5 to 7,000 yards as but one example.

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Post by Andy H » 08 Mar 2007 07:22

Hey there

I know its difficult but please keep within the framework of the thread. I know its very easy to be drawn off into other related area's.

I apologise for being away since I set this in motion but been to busy with work to post everywhere I normally frequent, sorry.

Given that some of the post have started discussing barge armaments I'l start that thread running and some others.

Regards

Andy H

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Post by fredleander » 08 Mar 2007 23:12

Andy H wrote:Hey there

I know its difficult but please keep within the framework of the thread. I know its very easy to be drawn off into other related area's.

I apologise for being away since I set this in motion but been to busy with work to post everywhere I normally frequent, sorry.

Given that some of the post have started discussing barge armaments I'l start that thread running and some others.

Regards

Andy H
So, barges sunk by fighters.....?...... :)

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Post by LWD » 09 Mar 2007 14:17

There seams to be a pretty general agreement that few or no Sea Lion barges would likely have been sunk as a direct immediate result of strafing by Hurricanes or Spitfires. If they did the most likely mechanism would probably be ignition of fuel, explosives, and/or ammo on the barge or reaction of the soldiers on board.

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Post by Andy H » 09 Mar 2007 16:02

So, barges sunk by fighters.....?......
As LWD has already stated, I think the chances of a MG armed fighter sinking a barge by puncturing its hull, so water can encroach are very slim. I would never say impossible and I don't think it would stop fighter pilots strafing them, when the occassion arose. The greater danger would be IMO opinion the secondary explosions caused by fuel or ammunition igniting from such an attack. Obviously any exposed helm positions could be negated, thus rendering the barge unmanouverable etc.

I'm not entirely convinced that the troops inside would be completly safe from attack from above. I've seen pictures where the covering was just a canvas awning, whilst others have had more substantial top coverings added.

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Andy H

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Fighters and Barges

Post by Gaijinaho » 10 Mar 2007 06:51

T. A. Gardner wrote:

The big question is; can a .303 round puncture the hull of a barge

Answer: Yes. The .303 AP round can penetrate 12MM armor plate (the barges will, if metal, be either iron or mild steel, NOT the much harder armor plate) from a short range. As most fighters will close to what will be considered “close range” (100 yds or less) then we can safely assume that they will penetrate the barge. This also calls into question the ammo mix of the aircraft, ie, how many are AP or regular Ball or Incendiary ammo? Ball will make flat ruin your day, and while it may not penetrate the hull, it will penetrate the passengers quite nicely. A single round also has the possibility of striking a number of individuals (these guys will be packed in there), and even if it misses the first, it won’t stop rattling around the inside of the barge until somebody or something causes it to loose enough energy.


I doubt that the .303 round will travel any useful distance under water

Quite true. Bullets loose their velocity very quickly in water. Some police departments utilize water tanks to retrieve bullets. However, it should be noted that even if it’s only a couple of inches below the waterline, your still going to get water in.


Leandros wrote:
“BTW, have you guys seen original takes of aircraft attacking surface vessels with machine guns.....?.....yes, most of the projectiles go into the drink”

Are you sure about this? After all, your only seeing the rounds that missed due to the splashes. When MG fire hits, you generally can’t tell it except by where the tracers are.

“I know nothing about this but "plugging" would have to be done from the outside when ashore.....Generally, I should think plugging would be quite effective. Wood expands when wet.”

Sinking wooden vessels with MG fire is very hard, especially something as sturdily built as these barges. When the high velocity rds from a machine gun pass through the wood, it distorts it temporarily, then as the water ingresses the wood swells until the hole is nearly closed. Unless the hole is plugged (more on that later) you will continue to have a slow small leak and eventually the vessels decks may be awash, or it might even sink if there is enough weight inside from engine or cargo. Burning wooden vessels, ahhh, now that’s the way to go.

Plugging is NOT done from outside, but inside. Wooden plugs of the appropriate size are wrapped in canvas or oakum and hammered into the hole. If the hole is large enough, use a box patch. For .303 rounds, dowels or corks will work.


Andy H wrote:
” As LWD has already stated, I think the chances of a MG armed fighter sinking a barge by puncturing its hull, so water can encroach are very slim. I would never say impossible and I don't think it would stop fighter pilots strafing them, when the occasion arose. The greater danger would be IMO opinion the secondary explosions caused by fuel or ammunition igniting from such an attack. Obviously any exposed helm positions could be negated, thus rendering the barge unmanouverable etc.

I'm not entirely convinced that the troops inside would be completely safe from attack from above. I've seen pictures where the covering was just a canvas awning, whilst others have had more substantial top coverings added.”

I must concur to a degree with the consensus that few barges will be sunk outright. However, I think they will suffer horrific casualties onboard, and while many are not sunk they will be damaged and taking water. The real danger for them is if the tug is sunk or disabled. These will be more vulnerable due to their being the prime targets (disable the tug, the barges aren’t going anywhere.) and the flammability of the craft.
Another area not addressed is what happens when ONE of the tows is sunk. This can set off a chain reaction, with successive vessels being pulled under. It is not uncommon for a tug to be sunk when her tow sinks and the lines aren’t cut quickly enough.

I also have to question the utility of the barges themselves. If you look at the pictures provided earlier, these barges are relatively deep draft vessels. Purpose built landing craft had a deeper draft astern than forward, allowing a few important feet to be gained closer to the beach. Can they get close enough to the beach that the poor soldiers aboard won’t drown when they step off the ramps? What is the beach like where they are to land, how quickly does it shelve? Personally, I have my doubts.

This is an interesting thread guys, thanks for starting it.
Later, gaijinaho

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Re: Fighters and Barges

Post by fredleander » 10 Mar 2007 11:57

Hi, Gaijinaho - welcome on the thread......
Gaijinaho wrote:T. A. Gardner wrote:

The big question is; can a .303 round puncture the hull of a barge

Answer: Yes. The .303 AP round can penetrate 12MM armor plate (the barges will, if metal, be either iron or mild steel, NOT the much harder armor plate) from a short range..
This does, for a large part, depend on range (remaining velocity/mass) and angle....
Gaijinaho wrote:As most fighters will close to what will be considered “close range” (100 yds or less) then we can safely assume that they will penetrate the barge..
Such close ranges would necessitate a rather shallow dive, with the onboard personell therefore behind "cover". Honestly, I think the vulnerable fighters would very quickly find that approaching the invasion tows to such short distances was very unhealthy.
Gaijinaho wrote:This also calls into question the ammo mix of the aircraft, ie, how many are AP or regular Ball or Incendiary ammo?.
Did the RAF use AP ammunition in their .303's...?
Gaijinaho wrote:Ball will make flat ruin your day, and while it may not penetrate the hull, it will penetrate the passengers quite nicely. A single round also has the possibility of striking a number of individuals (these guys will be packed in there), and even if it misses the first, it won’t stop rattling around the inside of the barge until somebody or something causes it to loose enough energy.
If you look at the pictures at page 2 you will see that there was also an inner "wall" in the barges. Actually, the load compartment.
Gaijinaho wrote:Ieandros wrote: “BTW, have you guys seen original takes of aircraft attacking surface vessels with machine guns.....?.....yes, most of the projectiles go into the drink”

Are you sure about this? After all, your only seeing the rounds that missed due to the splashes. When MG fire hits, you generally can’t tell it except by where the tracers are..
I can only refer to pictures from similar movies.....
Gaijinaho wrote:“I know nothing about this but "plugging" would have to be done from the outside when ashore.....Generally, I should think plugging would be quite effective. Wood expands when wet.”

Sinking wooden vessels with MG fire is very hard, especially something as sturdily built as these barges. When the high velocity rds from a machine gun pass through the wood, it distorts it temporarily, then as the water ingresses the wood swells until the hole is nearly closed. Unless the hole is plugged (more on that later) you will continue to have a slow small leak and eventually the vessels decks may be awash, or it might even sink if there is enough weight inside from engine or cargo. Burning wooden vessels, ahhh, now that’s the way to go..
I can quote an interesting example. When the Norwegian fishing vessel "Bergholm" (operating for the British SOE) was attacked by Ju88's (3) when returning from Norway after delivering supplies to the Resistance she held up for several hours. The vessel's crew defended themselves with their onboard Colt and Lewis machine guns. Even a Bren gun. The Junkers' were using their fixed and movable machine guns. Eventually, "Bergholm" sunk, their crew rowed pack to the Norwegian coast in a plastered lightboat. One was killed by the German bombers.
Gaijinaho wrote:Plugging is NOT done from outside, but inside. Wooden plugs of the appropriate size are wrapped in canvas or oakum and hammered into the hole. If the hole is large enough, use a box patch. For .303 rounds, dowels or corks will work..
Problem with the barges were their inboard cargo compartments. There might be possible to enter in-between the inner and outer hull but here are descriptions of sand and cement being filled in-between those..
Gaijinaho wrote:Andy H wrote:
” As LWD has already stated, I think the chances of a MG armed fighter sinking a barge by puncturing its hull, so water can encroach are very slim. I would never say impossible and I don't think it would stop fighter pilots strafing them, when the occasion arose. The greater danger would be IMO opinion the secondary explosions caused by fuel or ammunition igniting from such an attack. Obviously any exposed helm positions could be negated, thus rendering the barge unmanouverable etc. .
The open helm positions were sandbagged and the steering huts reinforced. The "passengers" were to mount a number of their MG's on prepared mounts.
Gaijinaho wrote:I'm not entirely convinced that the troops inside would be completely safe from attack from above. I've seen pictures where the covering was just a canvas awning, whilst others have had more substantial top coverings added.”.
Of course not. However, to damage the personell in the holds attacks would have to be performed in steep angles with corresponding vulnerability from many vessels. The German Railroads supplied roof covers from 4000 wagons for the invasion barges.
Gaijinaho wrote:The real danger for them is if the tug is sunk or disabled. These will be more vulnerable due to their being the prime targets (disable the tug, the barges aren’t going anywhere.) and the flammability of the craft..
Certainly, but these were even more solid than the barges....
Gaijinaho wrote:Another area not addressed is what happens when ONE of the tows is sunk. This can set off a chain reaction, with successive vessels being pulled under. It is not uncommon for a tug to be sunk when her tow sinks and the lines aren’t cut quickly enough.
In my opinion - very theoretical..... :)
Gaijinaho wrote:I also have to question the utility of the barges themselves. If you look at the pictures provided earlier, these barges are relatively deep draft vessels. Purpose built landing craft had a deeper draft astern than forward, allowing a few important feet to be gained closer to the beach. Can they get close enough to the beach that the poor soldiers aboard won’t drown when they step off the ramps? What is the beach like where they are to land, how quickly does it shelve? Personally, I have my doubts...
This one is always "funny". You should read Peter Schenk. He describes the barge conversions in detail. 2300 barges were converted with bow ramps. They worked. It has also come to light that the barges were much more seaworthy than has been generally acknowledged in earlier discussions. What matters, in my opinion, is that the Germans found them feasible. Who are we to judge better than those who were to use them..... 8-)

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Post by fredleander » 12 Mar 2007 15:34

How about it, Andy - should we move to next subject.....?...... :D

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Re: Fighters and Barges

Post by LWD » 12 Mar 2007 18:15

leandros wrote:...
Gaijinaho wrote:The real danger for them is if the tug is sunk or disabled. These will be more vulnerable due to their being the prime targets (disable the tug, the barges aren’t going anywhere.) and the flammability of the craft..
Certainly, but these were even more solid than the barges....
....
Are you sure about this? The tug neads a strong frame and it neads to suport a vert large engine in comparison to its size on the other hand the hull in general doesn't need to be all that strong. I wouldn't be at all surprised if .303 rounds could get to the enginge room or fuel tank on a tug.

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Re: Fighters and Barges

Post by fredleander » 12 Mar 2007 19:28

LWD wrote:
leandros wrote:...
Gaijinaho wrote:The real danger for them is if the tug is sunk or disabled. These will be more vulnerable due to their being the prime targets (disable the tug, the barges aren’t going anywhere.) and the flammability of the craft..
Certainly, but these were even more solid than the barges....
....
Are you sure about this? The tug neads a strong frame and it neads to suport a vert large engine in comparison to its size on the other hand the hull in general doesn't need to be all that strong. I wouldn't be at all surprised if .303 rounds could get to the enginge room or fuel tank on a tug.
OK, you have the last word now. The question was barges.....Should we switch subject...... :D .....:D

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Post by LWD » 13 Mar 2007 19:16

leandros wrote:.... It would be bad economy - and totally out of the Dowding spirit - to use the fighters for this purpose......... 8-) ...
If we are about to abandon this topic for a bit I think this is an important point to reiterate. Even if the fleets AA performance in terms of shooting down attacking fighters is in questions. I agree that strafing the barges would be far from the best use for British fighters.

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Post by fredleander » 16 Mar 2007 21:02

How about it, Andy - next subject.....?

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On fighters and barges

Post by Gaijinaho » 19 Apr 2007 04:14

Gaijinaho wrote:
As most fighters will close to what will be considered “close range” (100 yds or less) then we can safely assume that they will penetrate the barge..

”Such close ranges would necessitate a rather shallow dive, with the onboard personell therefore behind "cover". Honestly, I think the vulnerable fighters would very quickly find that approaching the invasion tows to such short distances was very unhealthy.”

Why would it necessitate a shallow dive angle? Couldn’t they dive steeply then level out to a degree?

Gaijinaho wrote:
This also calls into question the ammo mix of the aircraft, ie, how many are AP or regular Ball or Incendiary ammo?.

“Did the RAF use AP ammunition in their .303's...?”

AFAIK, yes.


Gaijinaho wrote:
Ball will make flat ruin your day, and while it may not penetrate the hull, it will penetrate the passengers quite nicely. A single round also has the possibility of striking a number of individuals (these guys will be packed in there), and even if it misses the first, it won’t stop rattling around the inside of the barge until somebody or something causes it to loose enough energy.

“If you look at the pictures at page 2 you will see that there was also an inner "wall" in the barges.

I saw it. The bullets will be coming from above (whether from a steep or shallow is irrelevant), the inside of the barge is still a much larger, slower target than what fighter pilots are used to shooting at, most of their rounds will impact inside


Gaijinaho wrote:
Ieandros wrote: “BTW, have you guys seen original takes of aircraft attacking surface vessels with machine guns.....?.....yes, most of the projectiles go into the drink”

Are you sure about this? After all, your only seeing the rounds that missed due to the splashes. When MG fire hits, you generally can’t tell it except by where the tracers are..

“I can only refer to pictures from similar movies.....”

I have fired a few tens of thousands of automatic weapons rounds, from 40mm to 5.56, afloat, ashore, at stationary and moving targets.

Gaijinaho wrote:
Plugging is NOT done from outside, but inside. Wooden plugs of the appropriate size are wrapped in canvas or oakum and hammered into the hole. If the hole is large enough, use a box patch. For .303 rounds, dowels or corks will work..

“Problem with the barges were their inboard cargo compartments. There might be possible to enter in-between the inner and outer hull but here are descriptions of sand and cement being filled in-between those.”

True. From what I have read from Schenk most of the reinforcing was done to the decks of the craft to strengthen them for the heavy loads. Some craft were purposely strengthened as assault vessels, with both the inner bulkheads and decks and the voids between inner and outer hulls strengthened.


Gaijinaho wrote:
I'm not entirely convinced that the troops inside would be completely safe from attack from above. I've seen pictures where the covering was just a canvas awning, whilst others have had more substantial top coverings added.”.

“Of course not. However, to damage the personell in the holds attacks would have to be performed in steep angles with corresponding vulnerability from many vessels. The German Railroads supplied roof covers from 4000 wagons for the invasion barges.”

The pictures in Schenks book are of wooden covers, thin ones at that. Pages 82,88,106,152, show wooden covers. Pages 38,39, and 78 are unknown, in other words I can’t tell. Page 64 has both wood and canvas. Were the covers you mentioned (manufactured by the Railways) of wood or metal?
In order for the crews to move steel covers they will need 4-6 men per cover, on the upper deck, with the hatchs/covers being lifted then moved aft in succession, a very slow process.

Gaijinaho wrote:
Another area not addressed is what happens when ONE of the tows is sunk. This can set off a chain reaction, with successive vessels being pulled under. It is not uncommon for a tug to be sunk when her tow sinks and the lines aren’t cut quickly enough.

In my opinion - very theoretical.....


Not so. We took this risk very seriously, and part of the towing detail was two seamen on the fantail, one of us had the sound-powered phones, the other kept an ax near at hand to cut the line if the tow foundered.

From “The Practice of Ocean Rescue”, R.E. Sanders, Brown, Son and Ferguson, Glasgow, 1977, P190.
“If the sinking takes place in deep water the sacrifice of the towing medium is obliged upon the tug if damage and possible serious risk of capsizing is not to result”


From “Tugs, Towboats and Towing, Edward M. Brady, Cornell Maritime Press, Cambridge, Maryland, 1967, P203.
“A sinking tow can sink a tug. Upon takins its final plunge, a sinking tow can pull the stern of a tug under water, or capsize the tug through girdling, in the event that the main tow hawser does not part, or before the hawser parts.”

Gaijinaho wrote:
I also have to question the utility of the barges themselves. If you look at the pictures provided earlier, these barges are relatively deep draft vessels. Purpose built landing craft had a deeper draft astern than forward, allowing a few important feet to be gained closer to the beach. Can they get close enough to the beach that the poor soldiers aboard won’t drown when they step off the ramps? What is the beach like where they are to land, how quickly does it shelve? Personally, I have my doubts...

“This one is always "funny". You should read Peter Schenk. He describes the barge conversions in detail. 2300 barges were converted with bow ramps. They worked. It has also come to light that the barges were much more seaworthy than has been generally acknowledged in earlier discussions. What matters, in my opinion, is that the Germans found them feasible. Who are we to judge better than those who were to use them..... ”

While I find the Nazi government detestable, the professionalism of the German military was of very high order. This however, is a case (IMO) of having to make a silk purse out of a sows ear for them. I will admit they were seaworthy, more so than has often been admitted. But this is still a very long journey over open water for them in their highly modified craft, a journey that the allies did not attempt with vessels that were purpose built for assault landings.
In this instance they did the best they could with what they had, which is NOT to say they found them suitable, but they could be made to work after a fashion. Do you really think they had an option to refuse Hitler’s order to attempt it? As to whether we should judge whether they were truly feasible or not, why shouldn’t we? That’s what a board like this can do, use our collective wits and knowledge to learn. For what its worth, I retired from the USCG after 21 years, and held an AB certificate in the merchant marine for awhile after that.

Later, Gaijinaho

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