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Utube videos of river barges crossing the English Channel

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  • Utube videos of river barges crossing the English Channel

    Tourists are crossing the English Channel in river barges identical to those that were to be used in Operation Sealion. They have filmed the trips and put them on Youtube. The barges in the videos seem to all be of the smaller type (A1 – Peniche, 38.5 metres long and carried 360 tons of cargo, 1,336 available September 1940)

    Watch these:

    http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=ubm4UuGJYyg – the Dutch barge Spica goes through Dutch canals and across the Channel to Portsmouth

    65ft barge towed through heavy seas off Dover after engine failure http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kg_QweiLy0
    “50 ton of ballast would have helped the cavitation and steadyed her” This barge is about half the length of an invasion barge but despite the rough seas it doesn't sink and can still be towed.

    Dutch barge Anna at sea on a trip from Ely to Wisbeach in the Wash http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q6M1z6kS-U

    Spits Barge crossing the Channel from Belgium to Leigh on the Thames http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5X8FXTji5-g

    And http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGlgvpM-SUU

    “Motoring across the channel in our Belgian spits barge 'Madorcha', september 2007, at this point just going over the sandbanks leaving Nieuwpoort Belgium, next anchorage; Liegh small ships, on the Thames. The crossing took us 15 hours, and then another 5 hours to Barking.

    Our Belgian spits is standard gauge at 38m x 5.05m, with a 6-71 series detroit diesel/gray marine engine, we averaged 40l of diesel an hour on the sea at full throttle, compared to 20-25l p/h on the inland canals, thats pushing 65 tonnes of ship with 55 tonnes of ballast (125 tonnes gross), only just enough to avoid cavitation with the larger swells.

    From Bocholt in Limburg, Belgium to Barking London, we used 1,500l of diesel!.. maybe time to consider a more efficient propulsion system, but the detroit makes a lovely growling scream, with massive torque for 165hp engine.

    Proof it's possible to cross with safe precautions, to all the Belgians and Dutch who thought we'd never make it!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oj0GSuSUAJc and http://www.flickr.com/photos/simonco...7601768054705/ Sailing the Dutch barge Cosmos across the Channel

  • #2
    Thank you very much for that outstanding first hand point of what those barges could actually do.

    It in my opinion shows that those Belgian, Dutch and German barges could have made it across and in pretty decent swells.

    However as i watched it i imagine just about every German soldier hanging over the side and chucking up their collective lunches and feedng the fishies.

    I would say they would be in pretty bad shape to fight once landed, but at least they would have arrived and puts pay to the often overstated that they could have been sunk by destroyer wash.

    Again thank you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Roddoss72 View Post
      I would say they would be in pretty bad shape to fight once landed, but at least they would have arrived and puts pay to the often overstated that they could have been sunk by destroyer wash.
      No it doesn't. The 'destroyer wash' point refers to the ships passing close by.
      Signing out.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by FMAlanbrooke View Post
        “Motoring across the channel in our Belgian spits barge 'Madorcha', september 2007, at this point just going over the sandbanks leaving Nieuwpoort Belgium, next anchorage; Liegh small ships, on the Thames. The crossing took us 15 hours, and then another 5 hours to Barking.
        I don't think anyone seriously doubted that the barges could have made the crossing. The only issue with this part of things would be that most had their bows cut down and doors of dubious watertightness installed to allow for the landing ramp.
        On the other hand, the above quote shows the real problem: The crossing for the invasion force would have taken 2 to 4 days to make. That's just the time for the first wave to form up and cross!
        Then they have another day or two unloading on the beaches.
        Then the Germans would have had to try their best to unbeach any salvagable barges and tow them back to France to get another landing wave and supplies.
        So, a second wave makes it across about two weeks after the first wave lands!

        Worse, given a 2 to 4 day crossing time the invasion force is going to get attacked not just by the RAF but by the RN. The later could actually operate at night to avoid aerial retaliation. Some starshells or using searchlights an RN destroyer would have had zero problem shooting up barge after barge.
        I figure one or two hits that cause flooding would be sufficent to sink a barge as they are not exactly well compartmented.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          I don't think anyone seriously doubted that the barges could have made the crossing.
          Yes they did - they said they could not overcome the tides and currents and would get swamped because they were river barges with too low a freeboard!

          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          On the other hand, the above quote shows the real problem: The crossing for the invasion force would have taken 2 to 4 days to make.
          Leigh is in Essex. That's much further than the barges were supposed to go. However it would have taken some time to get everything organised (some say 20 hours) so they organised it so the ones furthest away left first, etc. The British high command had trouble distinguishing normal coastal traffic from invasion movements and believed until only a week before the invasion date that the invasion was coming on the east coast - so I would expect that the actual invasion might be noticed somewhere between 12 and 6 hours before the landing, still plenty of warning!

          Yeah, I get pretty seasick just watching one of those videos but troops getting off ships seasick is nothing new and don't forget the troops landing in Normandy had boarded their ships up to a few days before (for the June 5 landing) and many also had to cross in flat bottomed boats (landing craft) so they were seasick, too.

          Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
          Worse, given a 2 to 4 day crossing time the invasion force is going to get attacked not just by the RAF but by the RN. The later could actually operate at night to avoid aerial retaliation. Some starshells or using searchlights an RN destroyer would have had zero problem shooting up barge after barge.
          I figure one or two hits that cause flooding would be sufficent to sink a barge as they are not exactly well compartmented.
          All true - probably 40 destroyers and light cruisers plus 1 battleship and around 200 smaller boats were within six hours of the invasion beaches. But only true if an attempt was made to cross without (a) gaining at least local air superiority and (b) attacking the RN in its harbours prior to the attempted crossings and (c) the hundreds of escort ships in the German fleet were unable to intervene. By the way, R V Jones in Most Secret War says that at the start of the war the RAF had something called "Project 79" which he found out to be an attempt to bomb a fake stationary battleship - it remained unscathed! So despite being British it seems the RAF may have been as inaccurate as your German bombers, especially at night .

          Comment


          • #6
            Careful, debating Seelowe is still out of bounds here. I'm sure that isn't your intent so I'm just offering a little advice.
            Signing out.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by FMAlanbrooke View Post
              Yes they did - they said they could not overcome the tides and currents and would get swamped because they were river barges with too low a freeboard!
              And they said that with good reason.

              I looked at the video of the barge towed by the RNLI. I suspect the towing boat would be in the power class of a tugboat, while part of the non-motorized barges, in the German plan, would be towed by other barges, underpowered for the task.

              But that's trivial.
              What happens when the waves get over its low free board?
              Well, water flows away because the barge's top is... closed.
              The first-wave landing barges carrying soldiers and tanks and vehicles would be open topped.
              They would embark water and sink fast in such waves.

              Equipment and supply could be sent in a closed barge. In that case, the danger would come from the cargo itself. Some ballast is good, overloading is bad. Also, one thing is a barge hold filled with coal; another thing is a cargo of things that may break links and crash around in the hold. If you add that the whole thing was very much makeshift, with badly trained crews, hurried loading and so on, the chances of cargo moving around, unbalancing the barge and capsizing it are considerable.

              Youtube videos may be impressive, of course. Knowing things is another issue.
              Michele

              Comment


              • #8
                Wake me up when they beach under machine-gun fire.

                Remember, the Home Guard would've been shooting as the barges tried to unload, and runners would've been sent inland as soon as the barges were sighted. The regular army, with armour and artillery support, would've arrived by the time the Home Guard ran out of ammo.
                Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Please, All Highest, don't let Leandros see this. I've been good, really I have, so I beseech thee to grant my most humble prayer!
                  Signing out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Were these tourists under fire?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      For those interested in looking at a contemporary use of barges in crossing the Channel, looking at the barges used by the Allies for D-day makes for good reading.

                      THAMES LIGHTERS at WAR IN TIME for D-DAY, 6th JUNE 1944
                      Part 1 of 2

                      THAMES LIGHTERS at WAR IN TIME for D-DAY, 6th JUNE 1944
                      Part 2 of 2


                      The first link describes the fabrication of the barges, the second details their usage on D-day.
                      Note that they were not used in the assault phase but in support and trans shipping. It's also interesting to compare the level of planning and support the Allies put into a seaborne assault compared to the plans for Sealion. Lessons were definitely learned. Planning to have barges stationed as bakeries (Landing Barge Kitchens) off shore to feed the crews of the other landing ships. That's attention to detail, even if appetites might not have been the greatest

                      Some interesting quotes from the pages:
                      1. For the passage to Normandy, June 1944, some barges were towed over, most sailed under their own power, some broke down and were towed the rest of way. Barges were seen drifting and in some cases abandoned. The main problem was engine failure due to shipping water, but also loss of rudder (WB).
                      2. On the passage over, west to north-westerly winds were Force 5 to 4, waves up to 6ft. Barges were wallowing/rolling and shipping water. Some were swamped and sank, including one unidentified LBV south from the Isle of Wight. Only one barge heading for Utah was lost in the rough seas. In summary, what were "London river barges (doing) crossing the English Channel in that weather?" (BS.39/WB)
                      8. By the end of 1944, landing barge losses since January totalled approximately 58 from all causes – around 35 LBV’s, 10 LBO’s, 4 LBW’s, 7 LBE, 3 LBR (ramped) (HMSO).
                      Further information can be found in WD Jarman's "Those Wallowing Beauties: The Story of Landing Barges in World War II"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        One formerly commandeered German river barge is preserved at Henrichenburg. Built in 1929, the Franz Christian has a 200hp diesel engine and capacity of 289 tonnes. After conversion into landing craft B 8 Pmot she stood-by in Boulogne for the invasion of England, before seeing active service in the Baltic from 1942 to 1945 (Schenk, 1990). It could carry three medium tanks The Germans used this and other barges in opposed landings in the Baltic yet this one at least didn't sink due to having ramps or being shot at or being uncovered. The barges were covered over after loading, you can see this in some of the practice loading pictures.

                        Regarding the British barges - Landing Barge Vehicle (LBV).37, formerly the barge Zulu, even crossed to Normandy using sweeps (oars) and an improvised sail, following an engine failure.

                        Barges were also used for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 (Operation Dynamo). 40 Dutch Schuits (shallow-draft powered barges of 200-500 tons) evacuated 22,698 men from Dunkirk. At the same time, 48 British lighters/barges evacuated 4,726 men see: Geoff Hewitt, Hitler’s Armada, (Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books, 2008), page 126.

                        I wouldn't call tourists "trained crews" yet they seem to be able to get across OK. So evidence isn't enough, it has to be "real evidence"? OK how about we organise a re-enactment event for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Get a barge, modify it, and sail it across the Channel. Pay for it by using crowd funding and by getting a re-enactment documentary production company to film it, reality style (they would also tell the whole story -British fortifications, channel guns etc). We could get some UK WW2 German re-enactors to board it -say, at Dover- then land at Folkestone or Dungeness to be greeted by the (jeers/cheers) of some other UK WW2 British re-enactors.
                        Last edited by FMAlanbrooke; 18 Nov 13, 17:17.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by FMAlanbrooke View Post
                          Barges were also used for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 (Operation Dynamo). 40 Dutch Schuits (shallow-draft powered barges of 200-500 tons) evacuated 22,698 men from Dunkirk. At the same time, 48 British lighters/barges evacuated 4,726 men see: Geoff Hewitt, Hitler’s Armada, (Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books, 2008), page 126.
                          You need to read the first page I linked too as you're discussing two different craft with similar names. The vessels used on D-day are not the same vessels that were used at Dunkirk.

                          From the start of that page:

                          It has taken me 10 years to get the title right. The subjects of this page are not Thames barges, but Thames lighters or dumb (non-self-propelled) barges, converted into naval landing barges - with thanks to John Wylson. The original Thames barges are the lovely sailing vessels still to be seen around the British East coast, right - Harwich in 2003. One of them was left stranded on the Dunkirk beaches in 1940.
                          Illustrations in the article also highlight the differences.

                          Schuyts have more in common with the original Thames barges, both being similarly designed self propelled sailing vessels.
                          Here is a picture of a schuyt, the Pascholl , that served at Dunkirk:


                          It is described as "flat-bottomed sailboat, broad in the beam, with a square stern; usually equipped with leeboards to serve for a keel"

                          Here is a picture of a Thames barge:



                          Both are different beasts to the Thames lighters/dumb barges in many aspects of design, including hull shape.

                          The centre vessel above is a Thames lighter/dumb barge.
                          Notice the differences to the schuyt/Thames barge and the lighter/dumb barge. You are conflating two types of vessels with similar names but different designs and capabilities.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Your source ...

                            Originally posted by FMAlanbrooke View Post
                            One formerly commandeered German river barge is preserved at Henrichenburg. Built in 1929, the Franz Christian has a 200hp diesel engine and capacity of 289 tonnes. After conversion into landing craft B 8 Pmot she stood-by in Boulogne for the invasion of England, before seeing active service in the Baltic from 1942 to 1945 (Schenk, 1990). It could carry three medium tanks The Germans used this and other barges in opposed landings in the Baltic yet this one at least didn't sink due to having ramps or being shot at or being uncovered. The barges were covered over after loading, you can see this in some of the practice loading pictures.

                            Regarding the British barges - Landing Barge Vehicle (LBV).37, formerly the barge Zulu, even crossed to Normandy using sweeps (oars) and an improvised sail, following an engine failure.

                            Barges were also used for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 (Operation Dynamo). 40 Dutch Schuits (shallow-draft powered barges of 200-500 tons) evacuated 22,698 men from Dunkirk. At the same time, 48 British lighters/barges evacuated 4,726 men see: Geoff Hewitt, Hitler’s Armada, (Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books, 2008), page 126.

                            I wouldn't call tourists "trained crews" yet they seem to be able to get across OK. So evidence isn't enough, it has to be "real evidence"? OK how about we organise a re-enactment event for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. Get a barge, modify it, and sail it across the Channel. Pay for it by using crowd funding and by getting a re-enactment documentary production company to film it, reality style (they would also tell the whole story -British fortifications, channel guns etc). We could get some UK WW2 German re-enactors to board it -say, at Dover- then land at Folkestone or Dungeness to be greeted by the (jeers/cheers) of some other UK WW2 British re-enactors.
                            ... does not bear up to scrutiny, it doesn't support your contention, nor is a re-enactment required. While 48 Lighter/Barge vessels indeed attended Dunkerque, you neglected to mention that 4 were "Lost to Enemy Action", 8 more "Lost through Other Causes", which amounts to a loss rate of 25%, in evacuation friendly weather, without any opposition by enemy surface naval forces. For a combat force intending on landing, defeating an entrenched enemy, before initiating a campaign of maneuver, all the while requiring resupply, that's simply abysmal.

                            Now, if you go back to Hewitt, pages 60-61 or so you'll note:

                            How to get these barges across the Channel was a further problem.
                            Most of them were not powered, and the majority of those that
                            were lacked sufficient power to enable them to navigate the Channel
                            unaided. Consequently, the planners determined that each tug
                            would tow two barges, one unpowered and one powered, in line.
                            These little formations would then form up in columns three or four
                            abreast, with thirty or even more tug/barge combinations in each
                            column. As the crews of the various vessels would in most cases
                            have had little experience of towing at sea, and even less of towing
                            at sea in convoy, it is safe to assume that they would have left as
                            much space as possible between themselves and the vessels around
                            them - the resultant formations would not only have covered a
                            considerable area of sea, but would, given the shortage of power of
                            most of the vessels concerned, have been unwieldy in the extreme,
                            and probably only capable of moving at a brisk walking pace at best.
                            Even with a calm sea (and the barges could not have coped with
                            much more) and clear moonlight, one or two parted towlines or
                            mechanical breakdowns could have thrown the whole formation
                            into chaos. The numbers of tugs, barges and motor boats allocated
                            to each area of the proposed landing will be explained in greater
                            detail later, but the actual method of getting the troops ashore from
                            the barges is worth describing, if only to give some idea of the
                            improbability of the whole operation.

                            The method was, in fact, quite simple. The lines of tugs and
                            barges would approach their target beaches by steaming parallel to
                            the coast, in a swept channel (assuming of course that this channel
                            had been properly swept, which assumption the German planners
                            had to make), and once the commander of the escort, such as it was,
                            believed that the transports had reached their intended landing
                            area, each tug would be ordered to turn towards the beach. Next, the
                            tugs would tow their barges towards the shore and would then, to
                            avoid grounding, release them to make their own way to the beach.
                            This would have been difficult enough for the powered barges, but
                            the unpowered ones would have been in a desperate state, presumably
                            being helped by small motor craft or, if really fortunate, by
                            a powered barge.


                            This of course would occur in the face of the mayhem caused by the RN's light forces.

                            Note: I'm not debating Seelöwe, rather I'm dealing with the suitability of a source in that regard.
                            "I am Groot"
                            - Groot

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              “does not bear up to scrutiny, it doesn't support your contention, nor is a re-enactment required.” A hypothesis has been suggested, (with a new wrinkle regarding the ramps) why are you afraid for it to be tested?

                              Could it be that any discussion of this topic breaks the two great laws of AH and Sealam:

                              1. Thou shalt not deny the Great Prophetess Alison Brooks, she is infallible and all has been revealed. Sealam is a religion, and not open for discussion. Dogma and supposition shall triumph! Experiment and evidence are not necessary!.
                              2. Anybody else (but especially the Germans) need(s) to be superhuman, but the British need only be British, for anything to change in the historical timeline. This is especially true of anything to do with anything that floats and is remotely connected with the Royal Navy (yeah, I’m British and even saying “Royal Navy” brings tingles down my spine).

                              “While 48 Lighter/Barge vessels indeed attended Dunkerque… “ CarpeDiem said “You are conflating two types of vessels with similar names but different designs and capabilities.” You can’t have it both ways, either the fact that these vessels did carry troops across the Channel is relevant or it isn’t. I’m sure that if it was the Germans using those vessels you would say it was ASB or impossible for them to get across the North Sea (they had to do that for Dynamo) or to be used in an opposed landing or that putting ramps on them made they unseaworthy and leaky….

                              “This of course would occur in the face of the mayhem caused by the RN's light forces.” Well I don’t expect that the mines, channel guns, naval radar, air attacks, darkness, and German escorts will be able to stop all the British boats from getting through, either, but nevertheless the RN isn’t the only fleet to have light forces and the opposing light forces were similar in number, so the mayhem may not have been as bad as you suggest – more like an opposed landing with continuous naval skirmishing.

                              “Note: I'm not debating Seelöwe, rather I'm dealing with the suitability of a source in that regard.” Yes, I noticed a number of things wrong with Hewitt’s book, things he left out completely and obviously didn’t know about, though overall it’s pretty good. Are you saying that that book is suitable for you to quote from but nobody else, or that it is an unsuitable source?

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