This German pneumatic boat is 31 1/2 feet long. It is similar to their
18-foot type, except that both ends are prow-shaped, and have a rake. The
weight is approximately 800 pounds. (See accompanying sketch).
When deflated the boat rolls up into a cylinder 8 feet 6 inches long, and
2 feet 9 inches in diameter. The floor boards fold into a square
bundle 2 1/2 by 2 by 3 1/2 feet.
The boat contained the following equipment: a number of plugs for temporary
repair; 4 paddles, each 5 feet 3 inches long; two bellows-type footpumps
for inflating; and wooden gratings for stiffening the floor.
The method of inflation is by using footpumps attached to the two inflation
valves, one of which is located at each end of the boat. It is possible,
however, to inflate the boat by using only one of the valves. The boat has eight
compartments, each of which is fitted with a valve to permit passage of air from
the adjacent compartment. During inflation all valves are open, but upon
completion of inflation these valves are closed, thereby separating the boat
into compartments. Should one compartment become damaged, the hole can be
repaired, and a balanced pressure obtained by opening all valves.
As a result of trials, the boat was found to have a capacity of 26 men. Estimated
capacity for men with full pack was 24.
Using 10 paddles, the boat made 2 knots in calm water, with 24 men
aboard. An additional paddle was used for steering.
The boat was towed with 24 men aboard, one operating a steering paddle,
at various speeds up to 9 knots. Above that speed, the boat had a pronounced
tendency to buckle and was no longer safe.
Comment: The design of the boat, with tapered prow and rake, does not
lend itself to the attachment of an outboard motor as easily as does
the flat-bottomed 18-foot German boat. The rake undoubtedly helps in
The skids under the bottom seem to provide a definite advantage in
beaching, under conditions when the boat is used either in assault crossings or
landing operations. These skids are made of ordinary garden hose, seated in a
rubber base so that they will fit flush against the bottom of the boat. The base
and hose, after attachment to the bottom of the boat, are covered with a strip
of fabric about 6 inches wide, which effectively seals the skid to the bottom of
It was not possible to determine if the material from which the boat was
made was rubber or synthetic rubber. It was repaired, however, with ordinary
rubber patches. There were no cementing troubles. The boat is not vulcanized.