Sunday, May 16, 2021

German Marinefährprahm

The Marinefährprahm (MFP) or naval ferry barge, was the largest landing craft operated by Germany's Kriegsmarine during World War II. These vessels were originally developed for the planned invasion of England. But once the invasion was cancelled, they found uses in other areas. MFPs served as transports, minelayers, escorts, and gunboats in the Mediterranean, Baltic and Black Seas as well as the English Channel and Norwegian coastal waters.

German Marinefährprahm (MFP) barges

There were four basic types, A, B, C, and D, with sub-variants for each of those. The size and cargo capacity increased with each type. Around 700 these vessels were completed by the war's end.
Most of the vessels were armed with 20mm and 37mm anti-aircraft guns, and some had a 75mm or 88mm gun. Those that were converted for escort and gunboat duty were more heavily armed with multiple 88mm or 105mm guns and heavier anti-aircraft guns. The Germans referred to these as Artilleriefährprahm (AFP), while Allied sources sometimes refer to this class of vessel as a "Flak Lighter" or "F-lighter." In addition to escort duties, these heavily armed versions were also used for shore bombardments, especially in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea.

MFP and AFP from a different angle

For the next installment in my Black Sea/Baltic Sea project, I put together some German MFPs and an AFP. Like my previous KFK project, these are not very sexy vessels, but they are useful and served everywhere. The MFPs are 3D printed (thanks to David Manley for pointing out the STL files). I decided to go with an unarmed print and then add guns from Warlords Games Cruel Seas Germans. My MFPs are lightly armed with only a twin 20mm on the gun platform. Looking back on it, I probably should have added a couple more weapons here and there. But these are mainly meant to be transports, so they will need an escort.

The lightly armed MFPs

The AFP started out as an Italian F-Lighter that I found cheap online. Since I already had the German weapons pack, I just substituted German guns for the Italian ones (I’m not positive, but I think the hulls for the German and Italian versions are exactly the same). My AFP is armed with 2 88mm guns, 2 quad-20mm guns, a twin 20mm, and a single 20mm. All of which should provide some nice firepower in the games.

The heavier AFP

I painted up all the barges in mid-gray, did some pin-washing to bring out a few details, and added some rust stains for weathering. The MFPs each got a little different color on the aft boat to make them easier to ID during games. 

MFP and AFP size comparison with the KFK (front left) and S-boat (front right)

Convoy run
Overall, I think these turned out fine and will look good on the tabletop. While they are slow (max speed of 10 knots), their shallow draft should make them tough targets for Soviets MTBs and the AFP has the firepower to help protect the group.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work as always on these ships, Dave. Impressive detailing.