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.....