This information concerning tank-landing craft, called "F" boats, is
based on the examination of a vessel wrecked in Salum, and on
observation of others passing through the Dardanelles.
Width of hold is 13 feet, but the width of the ramp is 11 1/2 feet and
immediately forward of this, the passage is only 10 1/2 feet wide. This will
permit a free passage of tanks up to at least the Pz Kw IV (22 to 24 tons). The
superstructure is about 8 feet above the deck. The bows rise clear of the water
about 17 feet.
The front opening is covered with thick corrugated iron sheeting on
strongbacks and held down by fore and aft securing strips on each side.
The bridge is of 1/2-inch plating about 5 feet high in front and on both
sides; the aft side is of wood, possibly enclosing about 4 inches of concrete. There
is no top to the bridge.
The top and sides of the hold are not armored; the plating is about 1/8 inch thick.
There is no navigational or communication equipment on the bridge. The wheel is on the
bridge and works the tiller through gears and chains. There is no steering engine. Two
hauling-off kedges worked by hand winches are fitted on each quarter.
There are no watertight doors in the hold.
Provision is made for the carrying of troops; there are five large doors on
each side from the upper deck to the hold, and there are folding benches in the
hold along the side.
No armament was found in the wrecked craft; however, there was some
evidence suggesting that the craft was probably armed with one 75-mm gun
forward of the bridge, and two machine guns, one forward and one aft.
The craft displaces possibly 320 tons and has a carrying capacity of about
120 tons. It is able to carry from four to seven tanks, according to size.
Power is believed to be furnished by three Diesels developing 130 hp each. Estimates
of speed range from 7 to 12 knots. It is known that passage through the
Dardanelles was made at roughly 8 knots. The range is unknown.
Four of these craft are reported to have traveled under their own power
from Sicily to Benghazi by easy stages, stopping at Tropani, Pantellaria,
Lampedusa, and Tripoli. One was reported to have been wrecked by rough
weather. They have also gone through the Dardanelles, probably from Varna to
(6) Building Yards
Most of these craft are being built in the Low Countries from standard
parts, and it is believed that sections can be transported by rail and