Sealion & Barbarossa
Operation Sea Lion
It Happened Here
Barges in Operation Sealion
Unlike the British and American Navies, the German Navy, the Kriegsmarine, had no special purpose-built amphibious landing craft. Therefore, they were forced to improvise for Operation Sealion, and they planned to do so by adapting barges (principally used on Europe's inland waterways) into landing craft.
The obvious problem of course is such barges are not really suitable for use at sea - they are lacking in seaworthiness (so much so that they could be sank by the wake of a destroyer simply passing nearby even in good weather). Moreover many of the barges lacked engines, and so would have to be pulled by tugs.
Additionally, the Germans planned to build rafts, and pull these behind the barges - with their horses standing on the rafts! In testing, the rafts tended to fall to pieces, and it is unclear how the horses would have reacted.
Finally, as if this were not enough problems to contend with, the Germans also discovered they simply lacked enough personnel with nautical experience to sail all these barges. Ideally they, needed 20,000 men with suitable experience, but even after pulling away men from the fighting vessels of the Kriegsmarine, and looking everywhere they could find, they still only could find 16,000. This would have been that many of the barges would have had to sail without even one experienced sailor aboard!
In terms of the barges that they Germans collected, they classified them into two main types:
The barges were then modified as follows:
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