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Amphibious operations

PMN1

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US Amphibious Ships and Craft: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Friedman

Page 624

The British had actually considered converting merchant ships to carry tanks for a projected 1918 assault on Zeebrugge in Belgium. According to Lt. Comdr. The Hon. J. M. Kenworth, Sailors, Statesmen – And Others: An Autobiography, the Admiralty war staff proposed ‘to fit out old merchant ships too carry a dozen tanks each in their holds. The bows were to be reconstituted in such a way that they would run up on the beach in the known state of the tide….Slung up in the forepart of each vessel was to be a kind of drawbridge which would be lowered into the shallows and the tanks would trundle into the shallow water and ashore’. This proposal was ultimately rejected, but it was surely widely known within the war staff, and to the commander of the Zeebrugge attack, Adm. Sir Roger Keyes.


Anyone know if any designs were produced or was this just theoretical?
 

JFC Fuller

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I know that there were various plans for an amphibious assault to the North of the Hindenburg line. This included and effort to use floating tanks in support of the 1917 Ypres offensive. This 1918 concept fascinates me and I would love to know more. However my knowledge of Allied planning in 1918 suggests that such an assault would not have happened until 1919. The great offensives (Allied) of 1918 were all rather ad-hoc affairs. I would love to know more about this and it may link in with some of the plans for Agincourt post war.
 

JFC Fuller

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I have just remembered something, not specific to this case but certainly of interest:

In 'The Royal Navy 1930-2000: Innovation in defence'

There is mention that by 1926 there was a design for a Beach Motor Boat or Motor Landing Craft 1 that could carry troops, stores and guns ashore but not tanks. However by 1929 there was a design for a Motor Landing Craft 10 that he paragraph infers could at least carry a tankette or perhaps a light tank. Does anybody have any images or details of these two craft or any associated projects?
 

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sealordlawrence said:
I know that there were various plans for an amphibious assault to the North of the Hindenburg line. This included and effort to use floating tanks in support of the 1917 Ypres offensive. This 1918 concept fascinates me and I would love to know more. However my knowledge of Allied planning in 1918 suggests that such an assault would not have happened until 1919. The great offensives (Allied) of 1918 were all rather ad-hoc affairs. I would love to know more about this and it may link in with some of the plans for Agincourt post war.

There was Operation Hush (not a Blackadder scenario as the name suggests.) which was to use bloody great 540ft long pontoons (later called Bacon Lighters after the Admiral who thought of them), lashed to Monitors. Three tanks to a pntoon which also had gear for clearing the sea wall.

http://www.ijnhonline.org/volume1_number1_Apr02/pdf_april02/pdf_page.pdf

http://www.1914-1918.net/hush.htm

But this description is of proper tank landing ships so doesn't seem to be anything like that.
 

JFC Fuller

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the issue with Hush was the Sea Wall and getting the tanks over it, like you say this seems like a proper effort to land armoured forces. The real question, amongst others, is whether the plan was just a single raid or to be part of a wider offensive like Hush.
 

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From ‘Amphibious Operations: The Projection of Sea Power Ashore’ by Colonel M.H.H. Evans - one of the Brassey’s Sea Power series of books

Admiral fisher contemplated the establishment of a flotilla of suitable craft for landings, but few were built. There was no support for a proposal in 1905 that the Royal Marines should form a force in readiness, trained to disembark rapidly on a hostile shore.


Does anyone know what were the craft that were built and what ideas did Fisher have on what was needed?
 

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From John Terraine's 'Business in Great Waters'

'In September 1916, he (Sir Reginald Bacon) had been highly receptive to Haig's idea of 'special flat-bottomed boats for running ashore and landing a line of Tanks on the beach.'

Does anyone know what Bacon proposed, the use of the word 'boats' suggests something other than the pontoons that were built for Operation Hush.
 

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From ’The Watery Maze’ by Bernard Fergusson

The LSD was the brain-foster-child of Hussey’s, who had introduced it to an initially sceptical world at a meeting in the Admiralty in September. He handed round a photograph of a ‘Popper’ barge transporter, such as was used on the Danube. These flooded like a floating dock, and while so flooded shipped a barge on either side of their superstructure; they then pumped the water out, so that the barges were lifted clear of the water resting on sponsons on either side of the ship. Such a vessel had several advantages. She would be designed to carry two loaded LCTs in a hold, or dock, instead of on external sponsons, as in the Popper barge.

Does anyone have any pictures of these Popper barge ships?
 

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During the winter of 1941 the Admiralty Construction Department was working on a design for a mobile floating dock-ship that could take a single LCT on longer passages for possible raids beyond the LCT’s range. This requirement was outlined in September 1941 but the idea had been considered as far back as 1823 and noted in the transactions of the Institute of Naval Architects for a meeting in 1870. There were also Popper barges on the Danube which launched lighters from side decks when the barge flooded down. The Admiralty designs for this LSD were sent to America, where the Bureau of Ships and subsequently Gibbs & Cox of New York developed them for building in American yards.

Ladd, James D. Assault from the Sea 1939-1945 (p. 70). Lume Books. Kindle Edition.


Has anyone seen what was being thought of in the 1823 suggestion or what was noted in the the transactions of the Institute of Naval Architects for a meeting in 1870?
 

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