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"German Single-Seater Inflatable Dinghy" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report on the WWII German rescue dinghy was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 9, Oct. 8, 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


A German equipment handbook furnishes a description, with instructions for use and maintenance, of this rescue apparatus. It is employed by the crews of fighter and bomber aircraft when parachute descent is preferred to an emergency landing on the water. In the present brief treatment of the subject, only a general description of the appliance is given.

This dinghy is contained in an outer pack, which serves as the rear apron of the parachute, is attached to the person by two straps, and remains in place after the parachute has been jettisoned. It must be worn with backless types of life-jackets.

The accompanying sketch shows the dinghy, which is made of balloon fabric painted yellow for better visibility on the water.

[German Single-Seater Inflatable Rescue Dinghy]

When inflated the dinghy is about 5 1/4 feet long and 2 3/4 feet wide. The diameter of the tube is about 9 inches. When packed, the weight of the dinghy, including the CO2 bottle, sea-anchor, and bailer, is 10 and 1/2 pounds.

Further emergency sea equipment for use with the dinghy consists of:

1 backless life-jacket
1 pair of leggings with pockets for recognition signals
2 bags of dye (to color water for attracting attention of aircraft)
1 single-barrel signalling pistol
10 marine-type (5 red, 5 white) signalling cartridges
1 distress signalling lamp
1 signal flag
1 clasp knife.

Emergency rations and "pervitin" (see Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 5, p. 32) are also supplied.

The principal parts are: rubber tube (1) with inflating valve (2), floor (3), and pocket (4) for sea anchor (5), and pocket (6) for bailer (7).

The rubber tube (1) has a volume of about 47 1/2 gallons, and is immersed to half its depth when loaded with one person and equipment. The liquid carbon dioxide, when released from the flask in the outer pack; inflates the tube and pushes it out of the pack. The capacity of the flask is such as to produce about 26 gallons of gas. This is only enough to inflate the boat partially, as otherwise (i.e. if fully inflated) it is very difficult to board. After boarding inflation is completed by the mouth.

The CO2 flask is connected with an inflating pipe (2) on the dinghy tube. A non-return valve prevents escape of the gas from the dinghy. The inflating valve is provided with a cap (10) for use when inflating is completed.

In the bow of the dinghy are two handles (8) for boarding. Two other handles (9) at the middle of the dinghy serve for holding on in a heavy sea.

The equipment consists of a sea anchor (5) and bailer (7). The anchor is attached by a line to the stern of the dinghy. When thrown overboard, this anchor keeps the boat stern to wind. The bailer of impregnated fabric is used to empty the dinghy of water. Both are stowed in separate pockets (4 and 6) in the bottom of the dinghy.


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