Canvas Assault Boats.

Discussion in 'NW Europe' started by sapper, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Anyone interested inthese bloody awful thingies?
  2. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Well; I clicked in here hoping to learn something about them ..... :unsure:
  3. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    I've got a picture of one in training somewhere?
  4. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    Are we talking about those very same canoes that featured on "A Bridge Too Far."

    If so they looked very flimsy and unsafe.

  5. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  7. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    [​IMG] Dear God! Is That them?!

    As Sapper said of deploying to one in action, on the other thread; ' Its "Character forming" '. (Nicely understated, I'm sure!)

    " Flimsy and unsafe ", says Tom. One could say that too .....

    I mean; Somehow, " Assault " ....? Roll the word around as I may, I just can't seem to make it stick to ..... well ... to That!

    I wonder if the official designation was " Forlorn Hope Unit Carrier ~ Disposable " :unsure:
  8. kewdos

    kewdos Junior Member

    Well; I clicked in here hoping to learn something about them ..... :unsure:


    Found this thread languishing in its own stew doing nothing particular and thought to inform. And before anyone moans on about promoting self/book.. its the only way you going to get the info on the guy in question (when i say its the only way I mean all the info thats avail and accurate).

    Some have said these are 'bloody awful' . etc etc.
    One has to take into consideration what they were used for. Its simple the military did not take on something that was not going to be useful. These were useful and the designer fought hard and at his own cost to have these accepted... at his own cost.

    These could be collapsed to about four inches therefore very easy to transport. These also saved many lives.

    the designer was Fred Goatley and he designed some of the most important 'items' in world war two.
    His name will soon be known more prominently due to a 'happening' which will be notified here in due course. This will be a very big event and will be a lasting one for his efforts which have not been formally recognised by HMG.:poppy:

    You will find his history and about his designs in the book
    'The Cockleshell Canoes' ISBN 9781848680654

    This book was first published in December 2008. The second reprint was MAY 2009! 320 pages and 143 + photos.
    YOU WILL NEED THE SECOND EDITION printed in MAY as I managed to secured a photo of the gent and a few more pieces of info than I had in the first edition.

    second edition has 7 mores pics... how to find the 2nd edition is ... cover is more B&W than 1st edition which was sepia. .. also second edition does not have the yellow 'bar' across. spine.

    Of the heavy weight REVIEWS on 'The Cockleshell Canoes' this one from Prof. Eric Grove - Review in Navy News May 2009, should be enough.

    ' this volume really is one of the most original, interesting and informative to have appeared recently'

    'an excellent and ground breaking work',

    'described in great detail'.

    If you 'enjoyed the Cockleshell heroes film then you need to read this it will tell you EVERYTHING about the subject matter FOR THE FIRST TIME accurately.
    The FILM is not very good or accurate.. there were no 'frogmen' and the canoes they used were not the type used on the raid. Its all in the book .!

    and just to add to the comments about the collapsible craft .... I have photos of the original trials during WW2 which include these craft carrying large bedford type trucks, ak ak gun on wheels etc etc, these were towed in the pics. also have these smaller types being rowed by the RMBPD inc some that went out on the Cockleshell 'Op Frankton raid.

    Its all very well to say certain things about the kit but you really need to evidence what you say, as I have done... but it did take a number of years..

    PS If you want to have a look at Goatleys most famous invention the 'Cockle' Mk 2 a very rare opportunity exists to see one for a while at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth.

    Once seen and you realise that with this clever craft there would not be the cockleshell heroes or the name... all due to Fred Goatley.

    So a little praise for this man of invention that is , for the moment, little appreciated.

    regards all.

    ps B4 you ask about pics.. saving for next book.!:lol::rolleyes:

    PPS where is the pic of the assault boat taken?
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer Pearl Harbor Myth Buster

    One of my favorite stories from Market-Garden involves a guy crossing a river in one of those. The crossing was met with small arms and mortar fire in a most enthusiastic fashion. All the way across he repeated the same phrase over and over again, "Hail Mary, full of grace." When they got to the other side one of the others asked him why he only said that one line?

    "Because that's the only bit of prayer I could remember!"

    "Well, padre, you will have to do better in the future."
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Played by Ryan O'Neil I believe in the Bridge Too Far
  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer Pearl Harbor Myth Buster

    Played by Ryan O'Neil I believe in the Bridge Too Far
    O'Neil played the commander of the unit, Brig. Gen. James M. Gavin.
  12. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    The FBE... Folding boat equipment... having taken part in an assault crossing defended by fanatics ...I can tell you. It is to say the least, something to steer clear of....For the ones I took part in made "Dante's Inferno" seem like a cake walk.

    A friend in Holland followed my trail up through Holland and photographed that area as it is now ...Peaceful with trees. were there was nothing.
    I have a full account of the Night crossing of the Escaut Canal on the Market Garden. Left behind some great comrades I will post it here at some time
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    O'Neil played the commander of the unit, Brig. Gen. James M. Gavin.

    Robert Redford then playing Maj. J. Cook ;)

    Brigadier General Gavin: What's the best way to take a bridge?

    Maj. Julian Cook: Both ends at once.

    Brigadier General Gavin: I'm sending two companies across the river by boat. I need a man with very special qualities to lead.
    Maj. Julian Cook: Go on, sir.

    Brigadier General Gavin: He's got to be tough enough to do it and he's got to be experienced enough to do it. Plus one more thing. He's got to be dumb enough to do it... Start getting ready.

    Junior Officer: what was all that about, Major?

    Maj. Julian Cook: Well someone's come up with a real nightmare. Real nightmare.

    Maj. Julian Cook: [reporting another delay to his officers] Ah, I suppose you're wondering why I called you here. I want to tell you that I've decided to cross the river like George Washington; standing in the prow of the boat.
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Here's the rest of the photo that was on the front cover of that book.
    Royal Engineers in assault boats embark for the opposite bank to repair the last two sections of the pontoon bridge knocked out by enemy fire.
  15. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    If any one wants some real excitement? try maneuvering a FBE up 12 foot of concrete wall, that sloped at 60" For a start, they are very heavy, and mind boggling cumbersome..Then to round the matter off. The enemy barrage is in full swing, with mortars dropping in and around the Canal, Augmented with a bomb raid right over us. On the other side, the enemy had a "Bofors" type piece, that let go a rapid salvo of explosive shells on the concrete rim of the canal, every time someone showed theirself.
    Yet some how, the infantry wre got across, and somehow, we made a path across on top of the FBE boats.
    A light FBE assault bridge. That was the night of the 18/19 September....
  16. Stuart.tdb

    Stuart.tdb Member

    Hi Sapper
    Would the assault boat be the same as the sappers bridge building boat?
    I spent a week this summer with my uncle Bill Wass who was a sapper evacuated at Dunkirk. After being given the order of ‘everyman for himself’, he finally made it to the beaches alone where he met up with one of his oppos. They found a collapsible boat – he described it as a bridge building boat - which they assembled with the help of a few Pioneer Corps. Fully loaded with ‘knackered old boys‘ as he called the Pioneers – he’s 90 himself - they rowed out to one of the few large boats left only to be told to head back to pick up more men. On their way back they manned an oar each, Bill is 5ft 2 and his mate was over 6ft and they soon found themselves going round in circles drifting towards the Germans. Bill taller oppo took the oars and they made it back to the beach. In the end they made 5 trips.
    He doesn’t remember many details but thinks the evecuation boat was the Queen Maud and that it was the Holyhead - Dublin ferry…..
  17. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Hi Stuart. Yes they are the same. exactly. My old Corporal "Ginger" was in the group that set up the crossing of the Rhine. Later to take a dip from an assault boat. Got double pneumonia. But still found time to send me a full set of uniform insignia... when I was in hospital, so that I would not look like a rookie...never found him after. Lovely man.
  18. Stuart.tdb

    Stuart.tdb Member

    He was also at Normandy but I've had a few problems finding any info on his mob. He was with a small detachment of 1050 port maintenance coy RE. He remembers landing from a landingcraft under fire and rushing up the beach to take shelter in a small building...ring any bells? would that have been d-day? he's not sure....
  19. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Not necessarily on D day Stuart, the RE port Co.s were involved with the floating port but also with the existing places like Ouistreham. If he was on sword then he could have had to scuttle for his life at any time.
    Sword was abandoned for unloading purposes as it was under long rang fire from LE Havre.

    I am never quite sure why D day is held in such regard for there were many times when the battles were far far fiercer than those earlier.
  20. CommanderChuff

    CommanderChuff Senior Member


    Once seen and you realise that with this clever craft there would not be the cockleshell heroes or the name... all due to Fred Goatley.

    So a little praise for this man of invention that is , for the moment, little appreciated.

    Fred Goatley, a man of the times, British inventor and hidden gem, I remember and Salute you.

    Sailor and champion of the unsung,

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