There seems to be some confusion about this very common piece of equipment and a deal of preconceived and erroneous ideas about them, so I will now attempt to put matters right. Below we have a photo of the County Class Cruiser HMS Kent. Her scrambling nets are clearly on visible, one farthest out to port is for ready use and the inboard one is secured as a spare. To illustrate some of the confusion surrounding these mysterious pieces of equipment I quote from what a Mr Waddingham had to say in another thread;
Firstly. the photo I used in the original post actually came from Man O' War, so I am afraid there can be no distinction. In the RN we used cats (floating steel boxes with wooden interface) or basket fenders and not baulks of timber as has been suggested. The fact is, those "baulks of timber" in the photo are booms or spreaders, spaced at regular intervals on the net's length to stop it wrapping itself up and drowning those attempting to use it. Below we can see the scrambling nets being deployed on HMAS Kanimbla, a Landing Support ship; As can be seen, the nets can be deployed from ships with very high free board and I suspect that Kanimbla has the same free board as a County. Even vessels such as HMS Maidstone, the submarine depot ship shown below, with a free board twice that of a County Class Cruiser carried her own compliment of scrambling nets. Misconceptions about scrambling nets extend even to the post war years, because although HMS Albion a Commando Carrier on which I served, carried scrambling nets they were never used for transferring men into the LCAs, when on active service around Borneo. The post-war Commando Carriers were fitted with electric parallel-lift winches and the Green Jackets of 42 Commando and others, would disembark from the flight deck, into an LCA stowed in the 'over-on' position above the LCA sponson and would then be winched down directly into the water below. The lesson had been learned in WWII, that getting armed troops with all their equipment into boats waiting on the choppy waters perhaps forty feet below was slow, inefficient and quite dangerous, as many men fell when negotiating their way down the cumbersome scrambling nets. I only ever saw scrambling nets used when the ship piped "Hands To bathe!" in the Mediterranean and then I learned first hand just how difficult it is to climb up one when naked and wet, let alone climb down one when weighed down with many pounds of equipment plus a rifle.The picture of the afterdeck of HMS Kent is printed much larger in the “Man O’ War” series book County Class cruisers, and clearly shows that the bundles on the after superstructures are composed of round baulks of timber lashed together. Each baulk is about 20cm diameter, and therefore appear to be fenders rather than scrambling nets. Many aerial photos exist in this book but none show similar bundles aboard sister ships. There is no evidence whatsoever that a high freeboard vessel like a County would deploy scrambling nets.
In the entertaining anecdote about HMS Albion and the scrambling nets , Vic forgot to mention she was a commando carrier from 1962 onwards, and needed nets to put her troops into the landing craft deployed from davits on her sides. Accidentally, Vic may have given the misleading impression that large vessels habitually deployed scrambling nets.
The only possible time these nets would be used for disembarking troops would be in the event of power failure in the mother ship. It may be that disembarkation was exercised this way at some time, though I never witnessed such an evolution.