Beetles


"Beetle" was the nickname given to armoured motor-landing barges ordered by Admiral Fisher for his pet project, amphibious operations in the Baltic, which fortunately were never attempted. Hamilton asked for them for the 25th April landings, but was told that they were not available. He was not given a reason, but it was probably because Fisher, with his eyes fixed on the Baltic, would not release them. By May 1915, Fisher had resigned, and the craft were sent out to the Dardanelles. Known officially as X Lighters, they weighed 135 tons, were 32.3 metres (105 ft 6 inches) long, 6.4 metres (21 ft) wide, and drew 2.3 metres (7 ft 6 inches). Fitted with single screw and diesel engines, giving a speed of between nine and 13 km/h (five and seven knots), they could carry 500 troops. Painted black for use at night, with twin arms in the bow for hoisting out the ramp, they looked like beetles, hence the name.


The Gallipoli Campaign



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