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Karsten

horse-boats in Mesopotamia, armed with 4.7 inch-guns

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Karsten

Hello to everybody!

In some books about the war in Mesopotamia and even on page 16 of the "Report of the commission appointed by act of Parliament to enquire into the operations of war in Mesopotamia" (online here: http://menadoc.bibliothek.uni-halle.de/landau/content/structure/188193 ) can be read, that some horse-boats (a type of landing craft which had no engine), armed with 4.7 inch-guns, saw action on Tigris and Euphrat.

Does anybody have more information on this or even pictures of these horse-boats?

Kind regards,

Karsten

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centurion

Some steel horse boats were turned into shallow draught gun boats by adding a 4.7 in gun and then used on the Flanders coast. These did have an engine though (there may be some confusion with canal horse boats). Presumably the same conversion was applied in Mesopotamia

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Karsten

Thank you very much for your reply.

Some steel horse boats were turned into shallow draught gun boats by adding a 4.7 in gun and then used on the Flanders coast.

Yes, I know. I wrote an article on that topic for Issue No. 9 of the Marine-Nachrichtenblatt on pages 28 - 36 (see here: http://www.mnb.seekr...009_II-2012.htm ). The article is based on TNA ADM 1/8418/94.

These did have an engine though.

Sorry, but no, they didn't. The armed horse-boats in Flandres were towed by steam-boats.

I doubt wether you could fit a 4.7 inch-gun AND an engine in a horse-boat which is about 36 ft. long. So I am not sure wether these boats had engines in Mesopotamia. But anyway - I would be very interested in pictures of them ...

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michaeldr

There seems to have been a very varied assortment of craft used here

see page 789 here http://www.naval-review.co.uk/issues/1932-4.pdf#Page=158&View=Fit

The Tigris was in flood, and the area mostly under water- "too much for the soldier, and not enough for the sailor." The methods employed were probably unique. The troops were in canoes which they pushed or paddled; machine guns and ambulances were on rafts; small guns on double canoes; bigger guns on barges; while moving in the actual river were sloops, launches, armed horse-boats, tugs and river-steamers. The risks to the sloops was considerable; they were unarmoured, the enemy guns hard to locate the river was mined; movement was difficult.

The Naval History Net suggests that the armed horse-boats were towed (by the 'Shushan') - see http://www.naval-his...Mesopotamia.htm

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michaeldr

It is probably worth having a glimpse at the Official History, Naval Operations, Vol. III

There is mention there of (p. 183) "Three small stern-wheelers, the Shushan, Mesoudieh and Muzarffri, all crazy with age, formed the strength of it [the flotilla]. Besides two horse-boats armed with 4.7-inch guns, an armed launch, the Sumana, a convoy of mahailas with two tugs to tow them and a number of bellums, some of them in pairs, carrying the mountain guns..."

then see also (p. 185) "The enemy had evidently been reinforced; their outer flanks rested on the marshes with a Thornycroft launch at the bend of the river and their artillery was numerous and well emplaced. On such a position the flotilla could make no impression. The decks of the old stern-wheelers were already giving way under the recoil of the guns, and the 4.7-inch guns in the horse-boats were too low down for direct firing, so that in spite of the higher calibre of our guns, we had no real superiority over the enemy.”

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bushfighter

Karsten

Greetings

If you can obtain a copy of the classic history The Neglected War by A.J. Barker you will find several index entries about horse boats.

Apparently they came from Egypt but in Mesopotamia they were towed by launches.

Harry

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SiegeGunner

Yes, I know. I wrote an article on that topic for Issue No. 9 of the Marine-Nachrichtenblatt on pages 28 - 36 (see here: http://www.mnb.seekr...009_II-2012.htm ). The article is based on TNA ADM 1/8418/94.

The British horse-boats were commanded by Commander Henry Halahan RN, later CO of the RN Siege Guns on the Belgian coast (my avatar). Could you possibly PM or e-mail me a copy of your article, Karsten, as I would be very interested to read it (I speak German).

Vielen Dank im voraus ...!

Mick

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Karsten

@ michaeldr and Harry: Thank you very much for your hints which are helpful. But unfortunately in none of this sources are photos of these little boats ....

@ Mick: You have a PM.

Regards,

Karsten

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Griffner

A few passages from....

Desert Hell: The british invasion of mesopotamia (Charles Townshend):

(1915) The surrender of Amara was even more extraordinary than that of Qurna. The commander of the victorious force was at least on the spot ; but his force was not - and he had only a vague idea where it was. Nunn had a small battery of naval artillery, and the three 4.7-inch guns on horse-barges which had clearly made a big impression on the Turks, and even more on the Arabs, during the fighting.(...) p.105

The Shushan and two other boats, the Muzaffri and the Massoudieh, were armed with 12-pounder, 3-pounder and Maxim guns taken from the rest of the flotilla. The armed tug Sumana also went along, with the two horse-barge mounted 4.7-inch guns. p. 110

But no pictures. Perhaps these links could help ?

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/TIGRIS-GUNBOATS-NARRATIVE-ROYAL-NAVY%C2%92S-CO-OPERATION/2123108500/bd

http://www.naval-history.net/WW1Book-NavyinMespotamia00.htm#IV

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Karsten

@ Griffner: Thanks a lot for that hints. Unfortunately there are no phoos of horse-boats in Nunn's book. But the text give some details at least.

Greetings,

Karsten

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Karsten

Hello Michael, sorry for answering so late. Thank you very much for this very interesting link. But no, I don't think that photo #20 shows a horse-boat. The shape of the hull (as far as it can be seen) seems not to fit. I assume the photo shows an "ordinary" gun-barge. Greetings, Karsten.

Edited by Karsten

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Karsten
On 04/05/2013 at 19:56, michaeldr said:

Have a look at the photograph in post No.20 (page 4) here http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php/topic,645563.30.html

Could these be the horse boats and their 4.7-inch guns?

 

On 07/08/2013 at 22:57, Karsten said:

Hello Michael, sorry for answering so late. Thank you very much for this very interesting link. But no, I don't think that photo #20 shows a horse-boat. The shape of the hull (as far as it can be seen) seems not to fit. I assume the photo shows an "ordinary" gun-barge. Greetings, Karsten.

I have to correct myself. In the meanwhile I have compared the photo to other photos showing horse-boats - and yes, I am sure, that this is one of the horse-boats in Mesopotamia with its 4.7 inch-gun.

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michaeldr
On 17/06/2019 at 20:20, Karsten said:

 

I have to correct myself. In the meanwhile I have compared the photo to other photos showing horse-boats - and yes, I am sure, that this is one of the horse-boats in Mesopotamia with its 4.7 inch-gun.

A correction after six years

Sir, you are an exmple to us all 

Thank you

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Karsten
On 19/06/2019 at 12:52, michaeldr said:

A correction after six years

Sir, you are an exmple to us all 

Thank you

Better late than never ...

:innocent:

 

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michaeldr

Well said

Thanks again

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charlie962
Posted (edited)

A great advantage of this forum is that the thread remains live, aiding those searching years later.

 

On the subject of narratives on Horseboats, I think that this book, A Sailor in the Desert, has a fair bit about them because Phillip Gunn had to tow them at some stage late 1915, about the time of Ctesiphon .

 

They do also get mentioned in some of the narratives on the defence of Kut (eg Sandes' account) but I would be interested to read of other accounts (any firsthand ?) in this theatre.

 

Charlie

 

edit- I did post a bit on this thread

Edited by charlie962

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Karsten
Posted (edited)
On 21/06/2019 at 14:12, charlie962 said:

A great advantage of this forum is that the thread remains live, aiding those searching years later.

 

Yes, indeed, you are right. The forum allows a kind of evolution of research which is very help- and useful.

 

I did the comparison with the boat's bow with this photo: https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C999943?image=1 You will find that the form and details are identical.

 

They are also mentioned in the Mesopotamia Commission Report (as already mentioned in my opening post) and in the Naval Review 1915, p. 679.

S. 01.png

S. 16.png

Edited by Karsten

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charlie962
3 minutes ago, Karsten said:

mentioned in the Mesopotamia Commission Report and in the Naval Review 1915, p. 679.

Thanks, I think I've seen both those. I was looking particularly for individual stories of crew members, if they exist.

Charlie

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Karsten

Ok, understood. I would be interested in detailed reports, war diaries etc. as well but I haven't found any yet.

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charlie962

Thanks.

 

That is the reference I made in post 17 above to Sandes' account and I expanded on that in the thread I linked in that post !

 

Charlie

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Karsten

Sorry for that, it seems that I am a bit unprofessional this evening.

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charlie962

Please, keep going because I know I've missed a lot!

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