Opposed river crossing 1940

Apr 2014
206
Liverpool, England
#1
I am just reading a British newspaper - 14 June 1940. A war correspondent writes: "The story of the first crossing of the Seine was told to me today by a French artillery officer." It started with a smoke-screen an hour before dawn on Monday morning (10 June) and heavy artillery fire was directed at the general area. "Then came reports that flat-bottomed motor-boats carrying tanks were moving across the river. These were shelled effectively. “Five times the Germans sent out a dozen or so of these ungainly craft, and each time we got them.” Three tanks got across only to be dealt with by anti-tank guns. Unfortunately, the Germans had been building a pontoon bridge under cover of the smoke and the French were compelled to retreat when this was brought into use. The scene of this action was between Rouen and Mantes. Rommel had arrived at Rouen just in time to see the bridges blown and then turned away to St-Valery, so he was not involved in the actual crossing of the Seine.

I have no problem with the pontoon bridge, but the story of the tank landing craft sounds unlikely. Perhaps something of the sort might have been improvised using pontoons. Can anyone advise as to the credibility of this story?
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,446
South of the barcodes
#2
It may well be the same answer.

German pioneer units were equipped with flat bottomed pontoons. They can be set together to make pontoon bridges but if you take a couple of pontoons, set the bridge section across it and set an outboard motor at the back you have either a bridge section that can be floated into place or an improvised ferry.

Its also worth considering that a Panzer 1 is barely larger than a family car so not that difficult to float, unlike say a Tiger.
 
Last edited:
Likes: Tulius
Apr 2014
206
Liverpool, England
#4
Thank you. That looks like something that could have been done again.

Incidentally, in referring to the smoke-screen I should have noted the possibility that the smoke was from some of the many oil tanks along the Seine fired as the Germans approached.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,446
South of the barcodes
#6
Pioneers are also a possibility again or at least Nebeltruppen

Nebelwerfer - Wikipedia

Its a bit early for the classic 6 barrel nebelwerfer but they had a few for experimental tests and they had older systems for laying down smoke, rockets or chemical weapons.