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Thread: War kayak used by Royal Marine commandos

  1. #1
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    Default War kayak used by Royal Marine commandos

    Hi all, I stumbled on this on a turkish museum web page.
    Can't find any other mention of this craft. I e-mailed Grumman to see if they had any confirmation, but none so far... I also e-mailed the museum to see if there was a manufactures plate with date, etc. but nope.

    "This rare and important craft was made in about 1941 by the Grumman Aircraft Corporation of America. (not so sure about that, since I can't find anyone who has a record of it)
    *** EDIT *** Grumman Corporation has nothing to do with this craft -

    It is made of aluminium, and breaks down into three sections. The bow and stern compartments are watertight, with a locking hatch so they can store weapons and/or explosives. The centre section has two openings for the crewmen to sit in and the boat would either be paddled (outriggers retracted) or sailed (outriggers extended). The rudder was foot-operated via cables within the hull. These boats were used in WWII by special forces such as the Royal Marine Commandos, and Special Boat Section: they would be launched from submarines some distance from the target, and then, after the raiding party had returned to rendezvous with the submarine at sea, they would be scuttled."
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    Last edited by windrider; 10-02-2008 at 04:51 PM. Reason: wrong information about manufacturer

  2. #2
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    Not sure if they were ever used being of aluminium construction.

    See here for use of other types....

    http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk...es_of_1942.htm

    http://www.specialoperations.com/His...ockleshell.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Commandos

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Frankton

    The cockles were all of fabric construction, perhaps the aluminium would be used later or for longer jobs?

    cockle canoes.
    http://people.brunel.ac.uk/~acsrrrm/kayak/cockle.html

    I beleivbe that it is possible to fire a mortar from a cockle, or at least the ones currently in use by teh SBS, read it in a book somewhere. And they split down in to two parts.

    Could you tell us the page you found it on?
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  3. #3
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    Been on the grumman pages, there

    is some info of construction of aluminium canles but only at the end of the war.

    http://www.newsday.com/community/gui...ory-navigation

    http://www.2neatmagazines.com/life/1943.html
    Last edited by 1000ydstare; 03-24-2007 at 04:29 AM.
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1000ydstare View Post
    I beleivbe that it is possible to fire a mortar from a cockle, or at least the ones currently in use by teh SBS, read it in a book somewhere. And they split down in to two parts.
    Do they split into two parts normally, or just moments after the mortar fires?

    Even a Japanese type so called "Knee mortar" http://www.thedonovan.com/archives/001248.html (about halfway down page) had a kick, but a canoe or kayak isn't likely to survive a 60mm or 81mm mortar discharge.

    Apart from anything else, to get anything approaching vaguely accurate fire how do they have the necesary distance for the aiming stakes? http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita.../23-90/ch5.htm

    Having spent a bit of time in small boats, unless the firing platform is equipped with some pretty sophisticated gyros etc there is no prospect that any round will be placed by reference to an earlier round. It seems to me that it's a totally useless firing platform for any gun as the first round can't be placed accurately, and neither can the rest.

    I can't imagine why they'd have mortars on folboats and the like when a PIAT type round in WWII and much more sophisticated rounds nowadays would make more sense.

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    The claim was about a recent boat, around 1970-80s. They could have been used for illumination, or smoke, likewise they could have just been used to fire once beached. Like I say, never used the boats for mortar, although I have paddled them.

    I am guessing the aluminium canoe may never have actually been used. ALuminium would have been better used for aircraft than a throwaway (essentially) canoe.
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

    Here endth the lesson.




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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1000ydstare View Post
    The claim was about a recent boat, around 1970-80s. They could have been used for illumination, or smoke, likewise they could have just been used to fire once beached. Like I say, never used the boats for mortar, although I have paddled them.
    Fair enough!

    I was thinking only of WWII wood - canvas folboats

    Quite possible as a base for a very light mortar for non-directional fire, which I didn't think about in the context you mention.

    They'd still need a solid base, which I suspect might be more than a bit of thin plywood in the base of a WWII expendable canvas folding boat.

    Modern stuff might overcome the problem. Water is fluid but incompressible and with a decent surface area above it on a steady surface might hold repeated mortar charges. An aluminium boat with a relatively rigid hull might distribute the force much better than a canvas folboat.

    There's still a huge problem with registering fire.

    At best they're a base for non-directional or random gun fire.

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    Hi all, here's the site where I found this,
    http://www.rmk-museum.org.tr/english...it/marine.html
    They removed the kayak from the page
    (probably too much inquiries about it, he he)
    I was aware of the links you guys kindly posted, that's exactly as far as it gets for now. Still a mystery boat, and that's understandable, given the nature of the missions it was involved with. I doubt they took the time to take pictures during missions, and if they did, it was probably classified. But maybe in training?
    Thanks for trying !

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    Quote Originally Posted by windrider View Post
    Hi all, here's the site where I found this,
    http://www.rmk-museum.org.tr/english...it/marine.html
    They removed the kayak from the page
    (probably too much inquiries about it, he he)
    I was aware of the links you guys kindly posted, that's exactly as far as it gets for now. Still a mystery boat, and that's understandable, given the nature of the missions it was involved with. I doubt they took the time to take pictures during missions, and if they did, it was probably classified. But maybe in training?
    Thanks for trying !
    Maybe you should look at post-war stuff.

    Grumann, like many war manufacturers, played with a lot of stuff after the war when aluminium was perhaps the most plentiful and cheap material. We wouldn't have the Land Rover without it.

    The museum tag might not be accurate.

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    If used during the war then the pics must be out by now. 50 year rule and all that. Highly likely that they have pulled it because they do not know for sure if it was a WW2 design. The Grumann sites I have been on all seem to point to Aluminium canoes being manufactured after the war, or very late on.

    Admittedly these may have been developed from an early war time design, ie this picture. But can't see why this would be so secret. Likewise if it had been a secretive unit, why did the boat survive?

    For the mortars, I beleive the boats are still wood and canvas, but are fitted with a sort of board in the bottom for the mortar. It is probably the British 51 mm light mortar that is used. The book I read this in was about the SBS, by a member of that group. Can't remember it's title.

    More here on the 51mm mortar.

    http://www.army.mod.uk/equipment/pw/pw_lm.htm

    Here is another canoe used during world war 2 by the SOE (Special Operations Executive).

    The Sleeping beauty, submersible and electric powered.



    More here

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwa...llery_11.shtml

    Another picture here, I don't know why it is described as "semi-submersible" in the other link if able to do this...

    It would come to the surface for navigation purposes.

    Last edited by 1000ydstare; 03-24-2007 at 10:01 AM.
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

    Here endth the lesson.




    Have you seen any combat?

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    You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?



  10. #10
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    More on the SBS kayak here....

    Two-man kayak-type canoes are used by the SBS due to their stealth capability, portability and reliability. The latest model known to be in service is the Klepper Aeres Mark 13.
    From http://www.specialoperations.com/For...BS_Profile.htm

    More here including the following (just to prove I am not talking rubbish!!! )

    http://www.falmouthpacket.co.uk/what...on_display.php

    Klepper invented the boat to respond to the soaring popularity of canoeing in Europe. Seeing a gap in the market for a highly portable boat he designed a canoe with a collapsible wooden frame and waterproof skin, which is still used today.

    Even the military recognised the genius of Klepper's design and the canoes are still used by the Special Boat Service for covert operations. The canoe's small size means they are light enough to carry and be hidden easily. They can also be dropped to the water from helicopters or surfaced by divers and some are even designed to fit a machine gun or mortar.

    Ben Lumby, Exhibition Manager, said: "These are just such ingenious boats and their 100 year old design still holds in today's high-tech world. The SBS still use them for operations and I'd quite like one for the back of my car!"

    Showing the strength of the design.
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

    Here endth the lesson.




    Have you seen any combat?

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    You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?



  11. #11
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    Mil style Klepper.

    More on the SBS.

    http://www.specialboatservice.co.uk/sbs-operations.htm

    In this age of high-tech warfare, it may seem strange that the SBS are still using canoes, equipment that hasn't essentially changed much since World War 2 but the reality is that these non-metallic canoes still provide an effective, stealthy method of moving small teams of men around enemy coastlines and waterways.

    The Klepper canoes can be broken down into 2 parts so that the 2 man crew can carry them on their backs across country or hide them effectively. A GPMG or mortar(!) can be fitted and crew members may carry anti-tank rockets to deal with enemy surface craft.

    The Kleppers are also versatile in the way they can be deployed. They can be launched from other boats and surfaced submarines or carried to the surface by divers. Kleppers can be parachuted from C130s into the ocean or dropped out the back of RAF Chinooks.


    see http://www.specialboatservice.co.uk/klepper-canoes.htm
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

    Here endth the lesson.




    Have you seen any combat?

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    You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?



  12. #12
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    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

    Here endth the lesson.




    Have you seen any combat?

    Seen a little on TV.

    You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?



  13. #13
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    If I remember correctly, the guy who answered my e-mail at the museum said that it has been recovered at the bottom by divers in the meditenanean. As to where and when, no details...
    As for the aluminium, compared to canvas, the added strenght surely gave more sea-worthy and loading capacity than canvas folding boats. Even if aluminium was a strategic material, it doesn't take too much to make one.
    Does anyone know of a Royal Marine veterans association web site?
    Thanks for keepin diggin' !

  14. #14
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    It could be a post war kayak, used by day trippers, and sunk by them!!!

    Unlike the wood and canvas, it would stay together quite well.

    Google RM vets or RM association, I am sure something will come up.
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

    Here endth the lesson.




    Have you seen any combat?

    Seen a little on TV.

    You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?



  15. #15
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    Also strange is the fact that this was on Turkish museum's web page...
    Turkey was not involved in ww2?
    And if it was sunk, it was intentional. These boats don't sink easily, having air-tight compartments like all modern fiberglass kayaks.

    I guess I'll have to go there and examine it myself!

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