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Canal and Fluvial Armed Barges and Gunboats

Catalogue number 127056

Heavy gun on the barge "Marcelle"

During the First World War, the extensive network of canals and rivers open to fluvial navigation in northern and eastern France meant that guns could be mounted on canal barges to fire into enemy-held territory. Here a 19cm gun has been mounted in the hold of the canal barge “Marcelle”. In June 1918, she was hit and destroyed by a German shell.

Verso: “19cm gun on the barge “Marcelle” Marne canal at Aisne” in French and in light pencil

13cm x 8.2cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 125027

Pedestal-mounted heavy gun on barge

A close-up view of a French gun (100mm?) mounted on a pedestal. When the gun fired, I wonder what the effect of recoil was on the barge and the canal water !

Recto: “A naval gun mounted on a barge” in French

14.2cm x 6.8cm Stereo-photograph


Catalogue number 104084

Large French barge mounting a heavy gun

A good example of a gun-mounted barge. The shallow draft of the barges enabled them to navigate along the canal network and fluvial waterways. As opposed to a fixed gun emplacement, the barges could bombard and then change position before the enemy got a good fix on them.

Verso: “120 long (sic) on a gunboat” in French and in black ink

13cm x 8.3cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 127031

Moving up heavy naval guns

The French Navy brought two 14-inch guns on barges up to Ambly sur Meuse to the south of Verdun.

Verso: “Naval gun on a barge at Ambly Meuse” in French and in heavy pencil

10.4cm x 7.9cm Matt gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 128024

River barge gunboat on the Eastern front, 1916

Sept-Saulx is on the Marne to Aisne canal, south of Reims. This gunboat looks like one of the first series (A, B, C, D, F, G,H, I types) which had two 47mm anti-aircraft guns aft. On the foredeck was a 14cm gun which we cannot see in this photograph.

Verso: “River gunboat Sept Saulx/Champagne 1916”

10.7cm x 6.3cm Matt gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 127032

Large canal gunboat at Rethondes

This photograph appears to show one of the first series of canal gunboats with two gun turrets on the quarter deck. The gunboat is on the river Aisne at Rethondes, near Compiègne.

Verso: “Rethondes” in pencil

6.1cm x 4.1 Matt gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 122047

Italian armed barge guns

During the First World War, the Italian Navy used heavy guns mounted on barges to bombard Austrian position from rivers and shallow coastal waters. The barge is listed to give the guns more elevation and hence a greater range. A sloped platform on the deck corrected the inclination and gave a flat surface for serving the guns.

Verso: “Italian Navy in the European War. Mobile heavy guns in the Navy.

13.4cm x 8.2cm Printed image


Catalogue number 129011

Italian canal barge with cannon

This photograph shows an Italian canal barge gunboat of which there were several in operation during war. “T100” is marked on the stern.

13.6cm x 8.7cm Printed image


Catalogue number 29016

German armed steam barge

This series of three photographs shows a German steam barge with two heavy guns on mountings and the bridge is protected with armour plate. Such vessels were used in bombardment from coastal and fluvial waterways.

Verso: “Feldpost Waser Osflasftryiff (sic) !

10.7 cm x 7.4cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 29016

Leaving port, probably Zeebrugge, 1917

The steam barge seems to be leaving the outer harbour of Zeebrugge with the breakwater in the background. We can see the armour plate protecting the bridge.

Recto: “1917” in pencil

11cm x 7,7cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 29016

German barge

The vessel is tied up alongside and officers are onboard – note the staff car. A sailor guards access to the ship whilst a crowd of men, women and children – some wearing military-like peaked caps.

Recto: “1917” in pencil

11cm x 7,7cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 129042

German motor launch

A proud German officer is taking his motor launch down a tree-lined canal, note the powerful searchlight to starboard.

7.4cm x 9.6cm Matt gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 30001

Polish motor launch

A Polish light motor launch armed with a Maxim machine gun, note the flash shield on the muzzle, the light metal gun shield and the two-handed grip. The officer seems to be in front of another type of machine gun. This photograph came from a series of Second World War photographs of the Polish Navy although the brightly painted number 29 suggests that it is pre-war.

8.3cm x 5.4cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 126014

River monitor Bodrog, renamed Sava

Bodrog was a river monitor in the Danube Flotilla of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, in service in 1904. We can see the two 120mm guns forward of the bridge, aft of the bridge is a 120mm howitzer, we can see the barrel to port. The crow’s nest high up on a pole mast would be a good observation post. The ship is moored up on the Sava river in 1914.

Verso: Message in German from Leopold Bloch of Vienna to R. Duby living in Lausanne.

8cm x 143cm Gelatin silver print


Catalogue number 112110

Hotchkiss quick firing guns on French gunboat

This small river gunboat was part of the Seine Flotilla during the First World War. It was armed with four 37mm quick firing Hotchkiss 1885 model guns on the foredeck and a 47 mm quick firing Hotchkiss gun on the quarter deck.

13.9cm x 8.8cm Printed image


Catalogue number 116023

French motor launch on reconnaissance, 1916

This French steam launch has a light gun in a stern turret. The sailor standing by the searchlight has headphones on, maybe for radio contact although no aerial can be seen.

Verso: “10 September 1916 A motor launch from the Navy on reconnaissance on the S… canal. How are you? I hope that it is better in Brittany than here. Rain, mud, snow. We have our share of it all. Much love to both of you. Henry. Note that the path by the canal is camouflaged with branches." in French and black ink

14.7cm x 9cm Gelatin silver print

Catalogue number 70101

1930s French river monitor

This photograph from the 1930s shows a French river monitor with a small calibre howitzer on the foredeck and an armoured conning tower.

Verso: “….Here is a river gunboat moored alongside the quay by the Cours Alber 1er. 26.6.3...” in French

17.3cm x 12.3cm Gelatin silver print