Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Spitfires of the Sea, Jun 18, 2019.
It looks more like a piece of railway track in that last one.
Might there be a correlation between when the LCTs were built and when the extensions came into service?
Earlier LCTs with retrofitted extensions - no masts; later LCT's built with extensions - masts?
Against that, there don't appear to be any eyes added to the extensions for easy cinnection of the cables.
I've tried to find such correlations without success. The only meaningful correlation seems to be that only the LCT(3) of "V" & "H" Sqns (hull numbers between 7034 & 7102) have had the masts fitted.
The fitting of Mulock extensions does not appear to be a factor, because all D Day LCT of all Marks were planned to be fitted with them as early as mid-March 1944 (see below).
LCT(3) joining "V" or "H" Sqns after D Day apparently also had the masts fitted (see pic of LCT 7093 in post #15 above), whereas those commissioned after D Day but not part of these two Sqns did not, in spite of the fact that they are "Mulock extension ready". See for example LCT 7119, 7120 & 7121 below, visibly photographed after they had seen some service, and which have the hinge lugs for the Mulock welded to their ramp, but show no trace of a mast having been fitted:
COMBINED OPERATION BASES IN SCOTLAND. JULY 1945, VARIOUS COMBINED OPERATIONS BASES IN SCOTLAND SHOWING LAY-OUTS OF THE CAMPS AND TYPES OF CRAFT.. © IWM (A 29889)
COMBINED OPERATION BASES IN SCOTLAND. JULY 1945, VARIOUS COMBINED OPERATIONS BASES IN SCOTLAND SHOWING LAY-OUTS OF THE CAMPS AND TYPES OF CRAFT.. © IWM (A 29890)
COMBINED OPERATION BASES IN SCOTLAND. JULY 1945, VARIOUS COMBINED OPERATIONS BASES IN SCOTLAND SHOWING LAY-OUTS OF THE CAMPS AND TYPES OF CRAFT.. © IWM (A 29891)
As an aside, note also the rod running along the tops of the hinge lugs. This certainly would prevent the extensions from being fitted. There is another, shorter rod on each side of the ramp between the end extension lug and the top front end of the bows. My interpretation of these is that the craft are being prepared for voyage to the Far East, and that these rods are for fastening an extra piece of tarpaulin to cover the normally open hold space between the ramp and the watertight doors (see pic of 7081 in post #19 above). After arrival at destination, if and when the Mulock extensions are needed, the rods must be easy to unweld.
Another additional fitting as compared with D Day craft is the short chain between an added eye on the inside bow top cheek and (probably) the ramp, possibly as an extra means of securing the ramp in its closed position.
Back to the D Day craft, an Admiralty Fleet Order dated 16 Mar. 1944 (attached) states that "Various ramp extensions for L.C.T. and L.S.T. are now being distributed." with slightly different models of the "Mulock Type Ramp Extension" for LCT(3) & (4) on the one hand, and LCT(5) & (6) on the other. This AFO was later amended on 27 Apr 44 (also attached). Regrettably I could not find a source for the corresponding AFO Diagrams which must provide the dimensions etc. of the extension.
Note the paragraph saying "Certain stores, e.g, blocks and tackles, will be supplied to assist in the operation of the ramps. Meantime, the anchor davit purchase may be used."
These blocks and tackles are maybe those seen hanging from the masts, the masts themselves not being part of the "Certain stores" supplied, but for some reason fitted only to the LCT(3) of Force "L".
Thanks all (especially Michel) for the further replies. I'm starting to come round to the Mulock extensions connection and the masts being a means to open them before the ramp is lowered.
The reference to blocks and tackles in the above attachments is telling. It reminds me of this image: http://www.desertrats.org.uk/images/Pictures/22ndABLCTFelixstoweDminus2.jpg. Although there are no extension fitted here, it's reasonable to assume that they were eventually. The picture (taken by a Desert Rat) looks to be taken at Harwich rather than Felixstowe and 7073 is possibly waiting to have her extensions fitted here. What's interesting is the arrangement of ropes across the top of the bow door. I'd previously assumed that this was just some untidy stowing of the ropes, but perhaps they formed a simple mechanism that, when hoisted, pulled the Mulock arms up and into place? A number of other images do show cables form these masts crossing from one side of the LCT to the other (here for instance: http://www.desertrats.org.uk/images/Pictures/22ndABTACHQLCTD_Day.jpg).
On the other hand, I might expect to see the mechanism more clearly in other photos. Here's LCT 7067 (IWM 1977) on the morning of 7 June and with her Mulocks deployed, but no evidence of cross ropes. The same is true of 7035 at the top of this thread, so perhaps this isn't exactly how they worked... But nonetheless, the reference Michel has provided above does make it seem that they're involved with the Mulock somehow.
The photos from Sunderland Museum are lovely, thanks for finding those!
The second photo from the Desert Rats website is I think the final proof! Thanks for posting it!
It shows how the masts/blocks and tackles combinations were supposed to operate in my view. On this photo they are shown ready to lift the tip of the (folded) starboard Mulock extension, with the port blocks & tackles connected, probably via a simple hook, to the port lower corner of the extension and the starboard blocks & tackles to its starboard corner. Pulling the ropes on both sides at the same time would lift the tip of the extension, until the outside (fore) part of the extension (under the ramp in its unfolded position) outweighs that on the inside, and the extension falls into its unfolded position:
The hooks are then attached to the corners of the next extension, and when the job is done the blocks and tackles are secured in any such way that keeps the ropes out of the way, hence the variety of how they look on different craft.
That does look to be the clincher. And the need to use both lines goes a long way to explaining why they weren't left connected (and photographed) during loading/unloading.
That does look pretty convincing Michel, thank you!
I didn't know these photos from the Desert Rats website, although I thought I had browsed it in its entirety! Any more LCT gems hidden there?
Those, and the ones from Bombardier Archer, are the only ones I'm familiar with I'm afraid.
Separate names with a comma.