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Volume l0 Issue I I ?

Published by
Orbrs Publlshrnq Ltd
@ Aerospace P-ub ist^ing Ltd 1985

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Artists: Jeremy Moore KCB OBE MC, Comman-
Tony Gibbons
John Ridyard/Dave Etchell der of British Land Forces during the
Falklands campaign.

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of lffo
htttingto seainsome of the fastest andmostdashing
warchips of the time, the coastal naval forces saw much
fierce fighting in locations as diverse as the North Sea and the
ll{arllCompleted in 1939, and seen very
early in thewar,S22was one of a
clas s of G erman tor pe do bo ats
'Slot' in the Solomon Islands, Young, inextrteienced crews known to theAllies as'E-Boats'.
took their fragile and inllammahle craft into action, and often Capable of nearly 40 kts, they were
soon to become a deadly menace to
paid the highest pice for their courage coastal shipping.

It is rn the nature of things that in times of peace 'blue water' fleets tend to ereat ln a material sense but, measured in psychological and disrup:i;:
devote their limited resources to meetrng the problems of ocean war- terms, it was a major nuisance, requiring a large expendrture of scarce
fare; coastal warfare may or may not be required in some emergency in war effort to counter.
the future and, lacking urgency, inevitably lacks funds, Therefore, it is Likewise, the geography of the central Mediterranean favoured ,;:e
hardly surprising to discover that between the wars, Britlsh expertise Itahan use of such craft, They had seen major successes from them -:
was kept alive mainly through the dedication of private firms who were World War I and had every intention of keeping abreast of develcp-
prepared to risk casting effort and funds into the bottomless well of ment, Like the Germans they evolved reliabie, high-speed machilier-_,-
official disinterest. Thrs was doubly fortunate, for the USA had srmilarly which stood them in good stead,
underinvested and ovred much to Scott-Paine's British Power Boat Com- Finally, it was radar-controlled gnrnflre from the would-be targets b.,-
pany in the eventual successfui story of the PT boat, night and air power by day that constrained the torpedo-boat's potentia-
Smaller fleets, however, with limrted objectives and even more li- Wlth the comparatively recent introduction of the surface-to-surface
mited funds, tend to look harder at promlsingly cost-effective solutions to missile the wheel has once again turned, putting a large measure ci
counterlng possible hostile sea-powers. The submarine, the rarder and advantage back wrth the cheap, high-speed minor warship, the midge:
mine warfare are three such solutions, and the high-speed coastal craft is with the big clout,
a fourth if geography permits, Germany, therefore, put much effort and
ingenuity during the 1930s into producing the S-boat, one of her major lhe \!9r-war years saw little in the way of coastal force development by the
Rgfal Naw. Wartime requirements, however, were soon to giie rise toThe
successes mainly because there had been sufficient development time. classic Motor Torpedo Boat, and by J 943 yessels sucl as MTB 426 razere
Taken out ol context, the effect of the S-boat on World War II was not carrying as much gun armamentas possible in addition to torpedoes.

.. t ..




> a--

il Houi"t coastal craft
There were strong influences working requued the incorporation of Amer- trougrhs aft for the stem launchnq of formidable craft both offshore and-::
on the post-revolutronary Soviet nalry ican petrol engines, but the reliability torpedoes that had been rncreased rn rivers.
tci develop a powerful and effective of these and the sound hull shape size to 533 mm (21 rn), For this crai the
force of coastal craft. The fleet itself made for a very high trials speed, Sovlets built a successfi:1 petro1 engnne Specification
had been relegated to the stah-rs of a approaching 50 kts, though corsider- that was tolerably reliable and cap- GS type (late production)
mears of guaranteeing the seaward ably diminlshed by a load of two 457- able of being upQEaded. The fault vrrth Displacement: 16 tons
flanks ofthe primary service, the army, mm (18-in) torpedoes or anything but the GS was rts early use of alumtnium Dirnensions: leng,th 19. i m (62.66 ft);
These seaward flanks were all ofshal- calm conditions. About 60 S4s were alioy for both shell and frames, so that it beam3,4 m (11.15 ft); draught LO m
low and sheltered water, and dis- butlt, givrng the Sonets considerable was plagnred with corrosion problerns, (3 28 ft)
tances involved were small. Further, expenence, For thrs reason, the follow-on 21.6-m Fropulsion: two petrol engines
the successful attacks by British CMBs The Tsarrst navy had been known (70,9-ft) D3 cralt were wooden-bult, dehvering 1491 kW(2,000 bhp)totwc
in 19 19 had shown the potential of even for rts innovatron and readiness to differing further in having side- shafts
a few such boats in the right hands, and adopt ideas, and this policy continued launching gear for theu torpedoes, Speed:48 kts
a couple of unserviceable and dam- rvtth the purchase oftechnology in hull Numerous GS and D3 types sewed Endurance: about 370 kn (230 mlles) a:
aqed Thornycroft 5S-footers were design and machinery fuom France, during the war, supplemented by over 48 kts
available as exemplars. From these Germany and Italy as available, With 200 boats from the USA and UK. Also Armament: two 533-mm (2 ]-in)
beginnings the Soviets had produced this as a baseline the Sovlets produced produced in large numbers were torpedoes, and two I2. 7-mm (0, S-in)
by 1928 a reasonably successful l8-m a 19-m (62,3-ft) GS type, which was still armoured craft of many types, compa- machine-gnrns
(59.06-ft) craft known as an 54, The in- heavily influenced by the British CMB ratively slow but armed with gn-urs and Complement: 7
different Sovret technologry of the trme in having a stepped hull and two cannon in tank turrets, They proved

T he ex tremely fas t G 5 torpedo boat

was ultimately derived from a series
of desigms by a team under the
leadership of the noted aircraft
designer A.N. T upolev. N early 300
were built, with 7 3 being lost during
thewar, and dozens remained in
commissionafter 1945.


_!l ffi"r,"re coastal craft

Ltke the majority of major fleets, the of whrch influenced subsequent de- lengith, gave them a poor performance 27.5kts and, like others, could be
Japanese nalry had largely iqnored signs, All were driven by petrol en- in anythingr but sheltered waters, De- armed as an MGB rather than with two
coastal craft between the world wars, gines, but the Japanese had no capac- siqns were rn both wood and steel and 457-mm (18-in) torpedoes. A 32.4-m
As a type it did not fit into ocean war- ity to build either these or small high- were such as to permit constructton by (106.3-ft) Li-rssen type was also copred
fare and, though the acquisition of a speed marine diesels in any quantity. undertakings unskilled in boatbuitd- as the Type 5I, but these proved a
many-islanded emprre was accepted Though engines were copred, they jng. And Lhough aero engrnes were disappointment and the l8-boat prog-
strategy, prolonged supply problems were low-powered and always in de- tried as prime movers, they proved ramme was never completed.
the face of an actively hostile fleet sperately short supply; as multi- unsatisfactory rn a marine environ-
not. Even as a redeployment of engined layouts were thus out of the ment, Specification
-:elr submarine forces to assault the question, boats themselves had to be Most numerous of the many Type 14
US Navy's fleet train would have small to attain any speed. The larqest Japanese varieties were the l5-m Displacement: 15tons
senously a-ffected that navy's ability to Japanese MTBs were, therefore, of (49 2-ft) singTle-screwed 49-strong Dimensions: lenqlh 15.0 m (49.2 ft);
:perate, so would a powerful force of only about 1B m (59.06 ft) overall Type 14 and the IB-m (59.06-ft) twin- beam 3,66 m (12.0 ft); beam 0,85 m
_-lpanese coastal craft have been able length. All were of hard-chine design screwed Type 38. Although the smal- (28ft)
i:cth to assist in the garrison supply to get over the low power problem and ler boat could make 33 kts in good con- Propulsion: one petrol engdne
:ask and to drspute the American's aim this, combined with their lack of ditrons, the larger was gtood for only delivering 686 kW (920 bhp) to one
:: disrupt it, shaft
vVrth their overrunrung of China and Speed:33 kts
:ar East imperial possessions, the Endwance: not known
--ilaxese acqurred a vadety of foreign Armament: tvrro 457-mm (18-in)
::s:al craft in various states of repair torpedoes, and one 25-mm cannon
--::ch. British, German and ]talian), all Complement:7

Apart from their small torpedo craft, the ImperialJapanese Navy operated a
limited num ber of TYpe 5 I boats. These, bas ed on the G erman S - bo at
concept, were much larger than was usual in a J apanese design, and were
intended as division boats for their sma/Jersrsiers. Armament could include
eight depth charges as well as the usual 4 57 - mm ( I I -in) tor pedoes.
Fasf craft
proved their worth during World War I, with
F ast coastal craft
betweenthe wcrs
the ltalians achieving the greatest successes, including the
sinking of several battleships. In the inter-war years the larger
fleets concentrated on major units and igmored coastalcraft,
but Ger many and I taly continued their development, giving
them a substantial lead by I 939.
Although the development of the automotive torpedo in the late 1gth century
promised to realize the dream of the small warship with the killer punch, the
need for this 'torpedo boat' to work with and against f leets at sea stimulated too
large an increase in size. a trend aggravated by the contemporary technology of
steam machinery in displacement hulls. The development of the fast planing hull
and the internal combustion engine began the cycle afresh, with progress
before 1914 owing much to the commercial prospects of high-speed boating. lt
was but a small step to mount torpedoes on such craft, and the same specialist
yards have tended to remain in the business to this day.
Much effort was put into the production of torpedo-carrying coastal craft
during World War l, but only the ltalians in the Adriatic and the British in the
English Channel and the Baltic ever demonstrated their true potentlal. Neither *ffi.-::-i{t
employed massed attack. preferring to work singly or in small groups to capital-
'"e#9;$iPP._-- -*
ize on the advantages of agility, surprise and good planning. The ltalians were
particularly imaginative, evolving craft and tactics to assault an Austro-
Hungarian fleet snug in well-defended harbours. The British had to contend with Seeninthe early J930s, R4 wasbuiltas amotor minesweeper, buthet size
poorer weather conditions and soon learned the value of larger and stronger allowed thetitting of anumber of lightautomaticweapons and hence her
hulls. They also discovered the threat posed by aircraft and fire from ashore, employment as a coastal escort. Slower than ffierrS-Boot con temporaries. ::e
suffering losses from both despite small size and manoeuvrability. Experience R-boatsweremore akin to theBritishMotor Launch, orML.
did not turn the British away from hard-chine designs; they accepted a drop in
performance rn heavy weather in exchange for the benef it of really high speed in Aconsiderableincreaseinefficiencyresultedintheabandontngo.ic'::::-.=
calmer water. for purpose-designed reduction gearboxes and propellers, though irars- ss :-
After World War I the British totally lost interest in coastal craft, being problems and structural failures proliferated with small hulls that'wc:(:: - ,
occupied with deep-sea imperial matters. The ltalians went on initially to be joint seaway. Wood had the necessary resilience and ease of repairwher .3: :-::
front runners with the Germans, who saw in the smalltorpedo boat a means of ,
timber or light alloy frames. All-aluminium alloy hulls corroded drsas:r:,> -
constructing useful naval tonnage outside treaty restrictions. Beneath the lax .'.::::-
salt-water conditions. As in the pre-transitional navy, lt was found ina:
gaze of the regulating authorities they built and evaluated nurnerous hulls under hulls could not exceed a certain length and, for instance in the Br: s- S::-
sporting-club colours and, over a decade, ldentified what were to be the major steel had to be used. A great British innovation was to abandor -.'.:-- -'.
S-boat characteristics: displacement hull, wood on light alloy construction, boat-building methods for mass production, using pre{abricated :e:-- :-=:
stability reserves for 533-mm (21-in) torpedoes and, finally, the small marine Once certain weaknesses had been rectified, this system realizec g'=.-.- ---
diesel. This type of engine required careful development and, once perfected, bers of craft.
remained peculiar to German practice, with foreign navies never producing a Hard-used fast coastal craft have a short operational life and den a": : : - . - - :
satisfactory competitor despite the fire risks associated with petrol engines, for attention. Specialized depot ships. or tenders, enabled squadrons :. :::-:::
which they treated effect rather than cause by inlroducing self-sealing tanks and successfully 'up-front'. The Americans particularly made greai ,s: := .-:-
improved f ire-extinguishing systems. offeringoff-dutycrewsaccommodationandfacilitieswhileunderra<..:-l:::
The ltalian lsotta-Fraschini was an excellent petrol engine, used widely abroad hull and machinery repairs, and servicing armament.
until 1 940; it was probably its very availability that inhibited comparable develop-
ment elsewhere. During World War I the ltalians found the small planing hull The Britishhard-chinedCoastalMototBoats ofWorldWar I were very !as:
adequate for their Adriatlc operations. Translated into the open-sea war of butrequired constant attention to trim in order to get the best pertormance.
1940-3 it proved unsatisfactory and was dropped in favour of a German type of I 9 I 9 s aw them in us e in a little- known cam paign on the C as p ian, du ring i, e
round-bilge form. intervention by the Western powers in Russia.

::.,.:t#;:;,:-:,: .
Fast craft between the wars

: rad been assumed between the wars that coastal craft would be needed in
^srore ASW role, a belief that hung on until the British SDBs of the 950s. ln
.-: :\.'ent, submarines generally operated further offshore and those which

=': Cestroyed by small craft were despatched by torpedo while navigating on
.^: s:rface. Speciaiist AS boats were, therefore, rapidly re-armed as gunboats,
- ' lepth charges removed. lt remained the practice, however, ior rnany boats
.: '::a,n a pair of charges for the deterrence of close pursu t.
S-ai torpeCoes of up to 457-mm (18-in) calibre proved to have insufficient
.- :-siopping capacrty, but the size and weight of two or four 533-mm (21-in)
..::3cns tended to dictate the parameters of the boats themselves, to the
=,.=^r ihat the Americans developed a special 'short' version. To save the
.... ;^: of tubes, dropping gear was introduced, though this left the torpedoes
.-:-seives vulnerable to damage. The Germans preferred to retain their two
--: :sed tubes forward, with a reload for each stowed safely behind a bulwark.
l :se- n fighting was typically brief and bloody. involv ng large volumes of
:'' * -'t i,on from light automatic weapons. Armour was gradually introduced as
: '=s-: the Germans going as far as an armoured wheelhouse. Initially the
l- s- ivere at a disadvantage with only machine-guns to match the German
-, : :aaed:annon, whose explosive or incendiary shells were lethal to wooden
wrth petrol and ammunitron.
:. e:, armament developed to suit the need. American PT boats, involved
last against the eternal and apparently unstoppable Japanese barge
-." : =..
sied some or all of their torpedoes in favour of weapons such as racked
.---..- 5-in) rockets and B1-mm (3.2-in) mortars. British boats faced similar
-'-: r='a: the German MFPs, or'F'lrghters, in such areas as the Aegean
.^: c. Iike the Japanese, these craft were of a draught too shallow to be
- . io torpedoes and could take aboard a varlable armament which often
-,-, ='.a :.e mucn-respected
-::r much-respected 88-mm (3.46-in) gun. British
8B-mm (3.4b-rn) Bntrsn MUBs
MGBs respondel
:::"::'::eiy, 161ing guns as large as the short-barrelled 114-mm (4.5-in) gun
:r'ce available to small craft, was a boon ln the vicious nocturnal
:-::--:.'s,.vnereopponentscouldusuallybeseenonlyfleetinglyandforvery Tftrs 8rjfish MTB was one of a series of experimental light torpedo boats built
: ::' :cs Paradoxically, it was radar-controlled gunfire on the part of larger in 1940 to test the inter-war concept of small torpedo boats carried aboard
= .^:- o':set the torpedo boat's advantages by effectively outranging its mother ships. The 44-ft no. 107 carried her torpedoes in stern troughs, an
arrangement which did not prove satisfa.ctory.
:--: .-3 peace there was no sentrment, the boats being deleted in hun-
:: -alv destroyed by burning and many surviving a swords-to- S12 and S13 were partof thefirstbatchof Germanmotor torpedo boats,
l-:-i-es transfiguratron to become houseboats of surprising durabilrty. completed in I 934. Displacing 78 tons, they were 32.3-m (l 06-ft) boats armed
.:':,r: ^ small craft lapsed again on the part of the larger navies until that day withtwo 533-mm (21-in) torpedoes and a single 20-mm (0.78-in)gunintended
]:- ,. -.. rne Etlat became the f irst maior SSM casualty. for an AA role.


/:F aatla:, :::r)l::::v


MAS boat Coastal Craft of World War II

During World War I the Italians oper- ment and capacity for punishment, ln
ated a large number of small torpedo April 1941 the Itahans captured sx 28-
craft their lack ofsize and endurance m (91.9{t) non-operational Yugroslav
betng offsel by the facl lhat the princrp- boats, built in Germany in 1936-7 alonq
al enemy was neighbouring Austrra- starrdard S-boat lines. These were pet-
Hungary, Their speed also appealed rol-engined and were made sewice-
greatly to the Italian character. The able with no co-operation at all from
craft were used with boldness and rm- Italy's axis partners. They immediately
agination, their mqor successes being showed the advantages ofstze and the
ihe sinking of the battleships Wien and displacement hull form, The MAS was
Szent Istvan. Unlike the larger fleets summarily abandoned as a type in
that lost tnterest in such craft after favour of an S-boat 'Chinese copy'
World War i, the ltalian narry pursued known as Motosiluranti, or MS boats,
MAS development, but the results of whrch 36 were completed, Accus-
were not particularly good because of tomed to speed as a protectlon, the
the lack of suitable engines. To save Itaiians tended to over-arm their MS
both space and weight, the ltalians craft without armounnq them. Their
favoured dropping gear for their 450- petrol enQdnes proved a liability and,
mm (17.7-in) torpedoes to the more finally, when the Germans at last
usual troughs or tubes, Only with agreed to provide Daimler-Benz
quantity production of the excelient dresels and drawings for the later S-38
isotta-Fraschrni petrol engrne in the type, it was too late to be of use and
mid- 1930s could the Italians field a reli- none had been even launched by the
able and fast craft. These were of the armistice in September 1943.
MAS 500 series, early boats being 17 m
(55.Bft) long and later ones lB,7m
(61 35 ft) Iong with a hard-chine dou- The great success oI her torpedo Above: Italy completed 36 MS Specification
b1e-stepped huil. Between 1937 and boats in World War I led I taly to boats, whichwere similar to MAS boat (late production model)
194 1, 75 of these craft were completed, continue work on such craft after the German S-boats after Displacement: 24 to 28 tons
:.vo-thirds of whrch were operational I 9 I 8. The MAS 50 I series retained testing six G erman-built S - Dimensions:lenqth 18.7 m (61.35 ft);
r Jure 1940. Iightweigh t 450 -mm ( I 7.7 -in) boats captured from beam4.7 m(15.42 ft); draught 1.4 m
In the scope of a Mediteranean war torpedoes and carried only a single Yugos I av ia. E ar lier I talian (4 6 ft)
re MAS left much to be desired rn the machine-gun, but were capable of boats were impressively fast Propulsion: two petrol engines
ry oi seavrorthjness, defensive arma- 42 kts. but lacked adequate delivenngr 1640 kW (2,200 bhp) to two
armament. shafts
Speed:42 kts
Endurance:650 km (404 miles) at
42 kts
Armament: two 450-mm ( 17. 7-rn)
torpedoes, and one machine-gun
Complement: 10

VAS boat
-:= VAS (edette Antisommergibili) quiet manoeuvring, Although capable the yard's own design, These were Specification
: -:= ::ughly the same relationship to of just under 20 kts flat out, the VAS much larger 34-m (111.55-ft) craft of VAS boat (2nd series)
-- = 1.1:-S as drd the R-boat to the S-boat were equipped with a parr of 450-mm all-steel construction. They shouid Displacement:69 tons
--. ,--- i:rman fleet. Lrttle attention had (17.7 rn) torpedoes in dropping gear. have been diesel-propelled but the Dimensions:lenqth 28,0 m (91 86 ft)
: ==-, :-d before World War il to the As the boats carried only light automa- Italian-designed engines proved un- beam4,7 m(15.42 ft); drausht i.4 m
: . .. - " .-es of havinQl to counter a sub- tic gmns, the function of the torpedoes satisfactory, the boats taking the same (4,6 fr)
- --:.= :iensrve, an area that lacked was to destroy any submarine forced machinery as the second series, Only Propulsion: one petrol engine
. :-:-:-l ic naval planners bent on to surface by the boat s 30 depth half the class was ever to complete tn delivering 857 kW ( 1, 150 bhp) and two
-:-:,,,r a fleet appropriate to the charges, time to see sewice under the ltalian petrol engines each delivering
, - . :,:: and aspirations of their lead- A second gnoup of 18 boats (74,S flag, the remainder being captured by 224 kW (300 bhp) to three shafts
;, - ::::plement a crash program- 231-248) was ordered in 1942, slightly the Germans at the caprtulation, Most Speed:20 kts
-- :--:"-ettes were the VAS b,oats, increased in beam but diffdring fun- were sunk or scuttled, and few served Endurance: not known
: n : l-: r :: work inshore With British damentally in havingr the better part of for any time in their desrgned function Armament: two 450-mm (17 7-in)
. ---::-:-: activity taking a while to their propulsive power on the centre- torpedoes, two 20-mm cannon, two 6 5-
. = - ;:ak. progress was slow and line shaft and cruise enelnes on the 1.
mm (0.256-in) machine-gnrns, and
; - ..::r:re end of 1941 before the wing shafts. Though again ostensrbly $, depth charges
.-'.' .=-,:s :i 30 boats(VAs 201-230) AS craft, thrs series was f,tted with Complement: 26
high-speed sweep gear, wrth an ob- t:'
vious changre in priority,
There existed also a further and un-
iii The VAS boats were designed
for inshore ASW work.
related group of VAS craft, a i2-boat However, there proved little
series (7AS 301-312) from Ansaldo to need for their desigrned
function and they were used
.1 *!_,- as supp/emenla ry flotilla
, ia --= cratt.
. llt_tL

t10 tr

LS and KM
Paralleling the carriage of small torpe-
do craft by major units in the Victorian
era, the pre-war German navy rnvesti-
gated two possibilities of stowage for a
small Scfinellboof. TWo 12.5-m (41-ft)
LS type prototypes were built in the
late 1930s, light enough to be handled
by heavy deck gear yet able to carry
two 457-mm (18-in) torpedoes. Only
one of these, built of light alloy, met the
weight limit and was put into service as
IS2 (LS for Leicht SchnelJbool). The
torpedo gear was not standard in the
German nar,ry and was not available in
time, so the boat was modified to lay
three mines through apertures in the
broad transom. Though this reduced
the direct usefulness of the craft, she
was shipped as an auxiliary aboard the
raiderKomet. The boat was a failure as
the aero engines fltted in place ofthe
planned diesels (also not available)
failed with vibration and transmission
lS3 and.LS4 both received their de-
signed pair of Daimler-Benz diesels, { t.. .!tr;ri-,r'
an interesting feature beinq that a
gearbox was added to increase en-
gine speed by 50 per cent to drive the ,'@,'
propellers at a supercavitanng
3,300rpm, Of these two craft the for-
mer was a minelayer attached to the charges but no sonar, In practice, they proved too small for the job and were LS4 was fitted with an atcrcft gun
raider Kormoran, and the latter (the acted as high-speed inter-island expended in theatres with sheltered turret and two 533-mm torpedoes.
first torpedo-fitted boat) was attached vedettes, waters, N amed'Esau', it was carried by the
to the raider Micfie], Another innovative little craft was German commerce raider
Official policy reqardrng the use of the l6-m (52,5{t) KM type coastal Specification Michef rvhicft sailed from Flushing in
these interesting little craft, which mrnelayer (KM for Ktstenminenle- LS type (as designed) March I 942 and met its end at the
were armed also with a 15-mm or 20- ger). Equipped with twin 4lO-kW (550- Displacement: I 1,5 tons hand s of the Ametic an su bm arine
mm gmn in an aircraft turret, seemed to hp) aero engine drive, these 36 craJt Dimensions:lenqth 12,5 m (41,0 ft); USS Tarpon off Yokohama in I 943.
be lacking. Of the remainingr eigrht that had sufflcient speed to reach the Brit- beam3,3 m(10.83 ft); draught0,76 m
were completed, most went overland ish coat with four mines and return dur- (2 5 ft) Armament: tvro 45O-mm ( I 7. 7-in)
to the Aegean to be used, ineffectually, ing dark hours, having placed them far Speed:42.5 lxs torpedoes, and one 20-mm cannon
for AS duties, carryinq 11 depth more accurately than aircraft. They Endurance:555 km (345 miles) at 30 kts Complement:9


Raumen rs the German verb 'to clear Above: The German R-boats were
or remove', hence the Raumboot 01
1o pressedinlo service as minelayers
R-boat type of coastal minesweeper. and convoy escorts. Although they
These craft were of such a useful srze, r eceive d incre asing Iy p owerfu I
hcwever, that they also did duty as diesels they couldrarely manage
mneiayers and, suitably rearmed, as much more than hall the maximum
escofis to convoys, in which guise they speed of an S-boat.
',vere involved in frequent brushes
-,nth Bdtish craft, tn the minesweepinq for which the
The origdnal gnoup, R/-/6, was con- type had been designed, was em-
siructed in the early 1930s. Like the ployed defensively. The exceptions
S-boats, they were built of wood on were the dozen so-called GR-Boote (G
netal framing with round bilges. They for Geleit, or escort), R30l-3J2, built to
,';ere, however, of only 60{on dis- a stretched 4l-m (134,S-ft) desrgn dis-
placement and 26-m (85.3-ft) length. placing 175 tons. They had triple-
?lcpulsion was by twin-screw diesels screw propulsion for 24 kts and were
-:: 'ras
a modest 17 kts although one unit, fitted with a pair of torpedoes, Thouqh
--i fltted with Voith-Schnider cyc- used in something like the role for
-:-Cal propellers, whrch made for whtch the British emplol'ed MGBs,
I:at manoeuvrability at the cost of their flrepower was little enhanced,
s:ne speed. Thrs experiment was and BB more projected craft were can-
i:emed successful, and over 100 R- celled,
::as were eventually so fitted. Their construction did suqqest the
:rom Ri7 onwards dimensions need for a true multi-purpose escort
,',':re very similar to those of the S- for the many coastal convoys that the
::a-s though with extra beam, and in- Germans ran around North European
::=ased draught by virtue of their waters, The result was the hybrid, An R- boat is shown ofI the N otwegian coas t, whe re the G ermans ran so J? ar.;
;:aier drsplacement, Even with prog- steel-built MZ-Boot design (Mz for convoys that they constructed a purpose-built convoy escort based on the
::ss-i'ely rmproved diesels, the aver- Mefuzweck, or multi-purpose) which, R-boat design. By 1 944 R-boats bristled with guns, carrying a 37-mm ( l.45-::
=;: R-boat never much exceeded while having a heavy surface arma- cannon and up to six 20-mm mounts. Many were fitted withVoithScinejde:
: - <s and when not actually rnvolved ment including two BB-mm (3,46-in) propellers , which increased manoeuvrability at the expense of som e spee:
R-Boot (continued) Coastal Craft of World War II
gn-ms and two torpedo tubes, were of
only singrle-shaft propulsion, OnIy Mzl
was ever completed, not proving suf-
flcrently satisfactory to warrant further
priority being given for completion of
the remaining 11.

R-boat 140-tontype
Displacement: 140 tons standard
Dimensions: Iength 40,0 m (131,23 ft);
beam 5,6 m (18,37 ft); draught 1.45 m
(4 7s ft)
Propulsion: lwo diesels delivering
1901 kW (2,550 bhp) to hvo shafts
Speed:20,5 kts
Endurance: 2040 km ( 1,268 miles) at
15 k1s
Armament: one 37-mm cannon and up
to srx 20-mm cannon

T he R - bo a ts w ere originally 6 0 - ton

craft armed with a couple of 20-mm
cannon plus depth charges or mines,
as appropriate. FromRTT on they
grre,ar to S-boat size, and mounted an
increased armament - necessary on
the vitalNorwegian iron ore route.


Known to the British for some ill- until 1945, in stark contrast to the varie-
defined reason as an E-boat, the Ger- ty of boats under the Brrtish flag.
man Scinellboot, or S-Boot, differed Because of their grreater length the
qreatly from its Royal Navy counter- S-boats carried their two torpedo
parts, From its origins in a lrirrssen civil tubes forward of the wheelhouse. giv-
desiqn of the early 1930s, the S-boat ing space for hvo skid-mounted re-
was built of wood on alloy frames and loads abaft them, It was then a small
had a round-bilged hull form whrch, design step from 526 onwards to raise
while possessing a lower maximum the forecastle by 1m (3,28ft), so en-
speed than the hard-chined British closinq the tubes and leaving a for-
equivalents, was very much more sea- ward gmn-pit between them and, im-
kindly, In the event, the S-boat was portantly, raising the freeboard to qive
able to sustain its maximum speed in the cra-ft an enviable dryness.
sea states that forced the British to Always quieter than British equiva-
rhrollle back to avoid excessive lents, the S-boats also had a profile that
pomding. was hard to spot \ffrthout radar, Gun Specification SI, theprototype S-boat, here seen in
Diesel drive was specified from the armament had continually to be in- 'S26'class theKiel canal, had tomake dowith a
outset, though the prototype S/ of 1930 creased to march that of their oppo- Displacement: 93 tons standard and petrol engine while a diesel unit was
and the follow-onS2-^S5 of 1931-2 had to nents, the extra weight being offset to a I 15 tons ful]]oad perfected. The round-bilged hull
take petrol engines whrle Daimler- great extent by improved weight- Dimensions: lenqth 34.95 m (1 14.67 ft); enabled theS-boats to maintain high
Benz and MAN developed a suitable savinq techniques in hull construction beamS.I m(16.73 ft); draught 1,4 m speeds even r'n a rough sea.
unit, Only with the 56-/3 of 1934-5 did and engines of higher power. Protec- (4 6 ft)
the three-shaft dresel layout become tion was improved by the adoption of Propulsion: three diesels delivering
estabhshed, These craft were 32,4 m the armoured'Kalotte' type bridge. By 4474 kW (6,000 bhp) to three shafts The 10?-tonSSl works up to her full
(106,3 ft) in length and powered for 1945 speeds had been pushed (by ex- Speed:39.5 kts speed of39 kts. Note the difference
35 kts. This speed was considered in- tremely unrehable engines) to a max- Endurance: 1390 lcn (864miles) at made by raising the forecastle I m
suff,cient, so in the next group the imum 42 kts and, whrle no longer, the 35 kls (3.28 ft), enclosing the torpedo tubes
seven-cylinder diesels were ex- 5700 IWe introduced two extra, aft- Armament: two 533-m (21-in) torpedo and leaving space for a forward 20-
changed for 1l-cy[nder units, impro- facing torpedo tubes, Over 200 S-boats tubes with four torpedoes, and two 20- mm (0.78-in) Wn-pit. The low profile
'nng speed but necessitdting an in- were built, of which about half sur- mmcannon of theS-boats was a considerable
crease in lengrth to 34.7m (113,8ft), vrved the war, Complement:upto 21 advantage in the nocturnal mel6es
'.vhich remained remarkably constant along the Channel coast.

From their bases in the Low Countries, German torpedo craft attacked the Tfiarnes
estuary so frequently that itwas dubbed'E-boatAlley'. Publicly, thegovernment.
played down the problem, but soon ernbarked on a progyamme of motar gwn-boafs
to beat theenemy athisowngame"

The UK's war effort depended on electrical the bhoney wa/ beloved oi journalists, the
power lrom the national erid, and the power traffic suffered only sporadicaliy from air
statrons that fed it were coal-fued. Those re- attack, but more seriousiy from mines. Aircraft
moved from the coal fields were, lbr the most and submarine 'lays' were unsatrsfaciory to the
part, situated on the ioast, where their unen- Germans on the grounds oi both quantrly and
ding appetite couid be satisfled directly by accuracy, so destroyers (carrying 60 mines
colliers. Most of these were small, between apiece) undertook a serles of nocturnal forays,
1 0C0 and 2,000 deadweight tons, sized to pene- placing 11 fields oll the T\7ne, the Humber, the
irale 10 a hundred obscure quays. Simllar:sized East Anqlian coast and the Thames. These
coasters moved a host ofother cargoes, many alone were to claim 76 known victims and ihe
to and lrom the major ports that serviced the siqht of masls and iunnels proirudino lrom the
ccean-going ships. silt-laden waters began to be depressingiy 'E-Isaats' in theirlair.They were in fact German
At any time literally hundreds oiships were familiar. S-boafs, andissued forth from their concrete pens
in iransit coastwise, many of them large deep- to attack the regular coastal convoys off the
sea vessels on passaqe between ports. Their Straggling convoys English coast. Eombing the pens was aften tried
convoying had been planned before the war but flr.r'sseJdom destroyed them;anly air
Sheer numbers ofships saw convoys up to 60 superiarity and improved gun-boatswith radar
and began immediately on the outbreak of hos- stronq in the early days. Narrow oifshore chan- ended tr1e S-bo ats' career.
:ilities. Most threatened were the east and nels often resulted in these convoys being
south coasts that directly faced the continent. strung out over 32 km (20 mites), rmpossrble for
So, between the Thames Estuary and the Tyne/ their few escorts to cover adequately and a soft suspected, Durin$ the Dunkirk operation a iev.
iorth ran, every couple ofdays, the FN (north- tarqet lor the Luftwaffe. weeks 1ater. three Bntrsh and French des-
ccund) and FS (southbound) convoys whrle, Some ships received a measure of defensive troyers were sunk and lwo heavily damagei
between the Thames and the SolenVFalmouth, armament, and some carried naval parties with Working singly or in small Qiroups, the S-boai:
ran the CE anci CW convoys (eastbound and Lewrs guns who took passage, returning with combined boldness with a low and rather non-
-,.,,estbound). Complicating the iatters' cycle another convoy; most had nothing. Hit and run descript appearance in attacks that provec
-.,vere the ocean-bound OA convoys, aiso aerial attacks were often effective and very highly effective and which earned them some-
:ormed rn the Thames. hard to counter as the RAIr had too lew fishters thtng ol a 'bogey' image, Their first mo.;e
to mounl conij.nuous cover, and to respond to a against a coasiai convoy, offDungeness on the
Navigation hazards call lor assistance was usually to i:e too late nietht of 19120 june 1940, claimed one ship.
Trafhc heading north from the Thames has, April 1940 saw the greai German offensive in Wlth the lall of Europe, the battle for aerial
::r centuries, respected the hazards of navigat- the West, starting wilh the Scandinavran cam- superiority ovet the UK beqan in earnes:
:rg around the buige of Easl Angha. Channels paign. In Mav, even before Dunkirk, the Dutch Coastal convoys were bombed remorselessl,
are restnctecl. shallow and unstable, hemmed ports were taken and, wtth iherr availability, by Cay Lo lure 'he underslrengLh RAf fiqn'
.: i:etween endless banks of hard, unyielding came the S-boats, known universally to the Brlt-
sa:rd and a flat and largely featureless coast. ish as 'E-boats', Barely 160 km (100 miles) - a
-.; annel i n I I 4 0, a periad w hen th e
fi -,boa fs rn th e C h
iih war the naviqating marks were dimmed three-hour passage - lrom the Enqlish East German flotilla had little warry about air attack
:r extlnguished, moved or removed, and a Coast, they rapidly made themselves known, and could cancentrate anBritish shipping.
:=ce of sturdily rndependent skippers was On the nrqht of 9/10 May, the Britlsh destroyer Minelaying R-I>oais were a/gru ably mare effective
:criged to accept the group diseipline of the HMS Ke,t]y was al1 but destroyed by a eroup of l&an lfremore EJamorous$-boafs with theiy high-
r::roy. For the first erght months of the war, lour boats whose Dresence had nol even been speed lorpedo a f facks.

Coastal Craft of World Wa-r II

squadrons out to,.thejr:,defeace; The, ploy, dtd. ,.ably.'have':had even rnore,':resul-ts ifr therCe-rr British countermea'uies fo.t tes,-boats involved e
noi work; the'serviee gavinq it6edior the qrea'. rnans' had, concentrated' on tainelayinq'', This, "pletltarq sf caaslell cta, these'being Fairmile'C's
:er battle yet to come, but the convoys suflered, . {brm 'warfare' lacked lhe giamoE of: dire-ct:,, (conuetted from Fairllr.ile lAl minelayers) o{ the
'of Dover Patrol Large$ manned byRNVR personne;
Fu1ly aware' of thejr'mpolla8ce, tlrg'Germaris .qornbat; , but : was : €xtremely 'disruptivp ' and. iiiith gfeaf
experleriEe of shoa!,waters, tlze MGB s
allcwedthemho respitg using also theS,boats cost.'effeclrve,Wjth their,-shallow draughl, lhe 'could.gain,tke edge ina gun"dael as they were
:v r-rght . S.-boats," wete' able' 1o, thread the. qats,and,, uttencwrlbered bi mines or jarpedoes.
.rswatchways offshore.t6 lay th€ir mines w-here it.,
Destroyer escorts . hllrt mos|' In doinq. so,: however,: thelf :began lo'l three of his four Dutch-based flotillas ',-,'::=
\4ounting r losses forced rlhe,.Br.itlsh :'to run ,r,un foul of a new,British anlidote, the Motor Gun', withdrawn to ihe :Braltic pendtng the openi::g : -
sraller, more."managdable and',nro:re -easily Boar (MGB) These in the form of re-armed the wEr,againslthe USSR; The respite was cr:=-
j=iended co:rvoys and:.lo-{e-.rquter the OAs . as more enemy boats soon came inro ser,'-::
"Masby' boats;.were- int{oduced,ln March,194i , ,-Mosl boats,, sf .btth,er petsuasion, s-;
:-,r:habout; Trawlers. and Mls'acted, as. rtr ip. 'and, .under' the leadership. of such:as,Rohert'i
.'.:es', ballosR, p11s ships kept the,would- 'Hichen, began to cfrailerge the direet:,' plemented. their offieial armament. Bul ',.;iE::
:= sira-fers hlgther "t6 ahd, ijest'of ail,: the'Huhtl 1y. 'The, big ,Fairmilq.l10, footers,. whictr fo.l., the Gerr.nans:werg'laden with mines or icry=-
:-,.ss escort destroyers were. becoming avail- lowed; were capable o.f .raakrngthe Germansr
.lives,really uncomfoJtabls Most oi the Brjtisli: MTB30 #aF a llosp er. 7q-ft: craf t lost during i 94 2.
=: -:, fur a lop these Could alinQstrpac€,an S:boat boats vrere poweled by three petrol
.:.: =eir l0 l, 6:mm (4-in)' guns'had an_ unqom:: boals wefe . RNVR:manned;,r lHos!11itieo...O4iv' these engines' that enabled them tQ ieach 4A kls, but &et'
.. : lv hrgh rate ol fue, They also had radar .sailors drawn ir.orn the ranks,of pre:war.yashls::. w€ie znuch iaisier'than the S'.b6als - a d:sf.incf
6 Z:pdr,liofl{orward il11191n h3t men whose enlhustasm for the task was match. disadiip be tot e radar' b e came w i d e Iy

::_.:.=n ed by their experience oi shoal waters, As it .availabl6': Early madels weie lightly armed, the
-:. :erms oi slrlppinq| sunk,ralher :than-offen. ,happened 'their errlviil eoincided wjih a tem- ': fdtward drrnament of'this,boat being two pinll+
. .'.'= efect, the S:boat cbrhpaign .would,prob:. .poraiy:slackeninq of, the enerny op.siaught,, as'' motntedLewjsgiznF:l:. ..', :

: .=2.bttilt in I943" mounted a 40-mm (1.57-in) AA

a{t and a 30-mm gun in firc forward
-;un Q.?9-in)
:..t;on.Disp/acingover 100 tons. Sl42was
::.ncng the largest S-boats built and could carry six
: : * j1;* l,-nines :n s tead af spare torpedoes.

f;6.J5" =a

T:i;l.?n$if :Fffi{ il.+Efr "€i*iis


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--l-- r:. .

:i-. - -r'**S&:.i:' : !_{


. v#:3.1

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eo*stal e,raft nf Vlc' ,.:

: ..ra;ir rr.q {oilsx.rNJt:1eg ajie;" sff $ f,eaeur*ri a:l

:r ilt.r:red {:c}t't:t.lnq' l:rare,l" es a r:'rdence ag:arnsf iJt*
.'.:,:,'r,:i,:r;irltJ#,p.-;g',tu,:,ttl.:J.gil;t gi:lno:-nej:i cal'vicel f:-lr
ji:.i,;e .{r l;gf,j. iriesei,J !rr$.g1luisr'i:: i; s-i:er',1#ed.{ier:
-. : ...... ,,.,". .,i,..,.r
" - -{i,r,,,,i
't;,i: a {ju ee".shel'? iarirr:i {,hui r"he :,'eizs;n-
:r'r'.rrrd*:.r r.fjesejs ril*jd snj-r,r*f;re "'e 35 ,{ts. J?e-
., .:;:i r,rrif.h J I fi.'fi::r,ler r*r:ri:l*f;', Ji"r:*e l.r g'rer,'a j-n
"r-,rj.ti:i'r {o l:riar-jj,'3,5 ir.r i:'ul t-r:fJ l*,ri 40 }r:s" {,La fi,i
. r;,..:
-,t L,t, .t ntt r 'ra."..J1d,s
- . rr" -J?.,.... a 8,.,;".."--._ .;' ,j, :. F;t '.i"!.s
''.i, r':i icnra.r sr.ll';nl le*ifu:s.

:1- :

'' iir++;i '

. ., j!: i. !,i

'- :'j .:l-l'::a
' :;'i"i:-':r':';" ..!3-i:

) ti:

-:-"*: ;];-,,
,;-s';i'!'f,: _
d],.i-,'"=-;;. '-' L '
€d$;€+'ffi;!* '

does to carry out their primary mission, the

Eritish were not and haci the edge, particularly
rn calm conditions, Their onginal machine-gun
:utflts were, however, at a disadvantage com-
cared with the Oermans' 20-mm cannon, which
ered explosrve shells that posed a grave lhreat
rc fraii petrol-enqined hulls. Boats lay station-
ary ior hours, awaitinqr the deep throb that
announced therr enemy's arrival. A careful plot
oy ear then preceded a crash start and in- a6b- 3
ffi\ 't;
.erception, followed by a confused melee, a*;;aTi#;
criel and bloody, lhat often found as many J
boats victim of collision as ol gunfire.
Noi until 1943 was the S-boat threat con-
:ained. Aircrafl increasingiy attacked them as
:ney 1eft or returned to their bases in daylight,
ccniining their activities more to the longer
rights. Radar began to appear on Bntish coas-
:aI craft as well eis the larqer escoris. Wilh
]lnfire proving ever more darnaginq, the Ger-
:-ians adopted armoured bridges for therr craft,
:::'"ving them further.
ln contrast with eariler rapier-thrusts by a
:andfui of boats, the Germans began to resort
.: ihe bludgeon of mass strikes. For instance,
:Z S-boats hit the northbound FN I160 convoy
:-r Cromer on the niqht ot24/25 October 1943,
-ievltably, so large an attack lost cohesion.
: -',-e destroyers in the close escoit fought them
- - ior the ioss of one small straggler while six
I,l3Bs fel1 on them as they withdrew
:- ::emeal. T\mo S-boats were sunk,
lnroughout 1944 the Germans were in- Ab ove : K o n terad m ir a I. K a:rl I rfintngr say'uf es
:::asingly lortunate to survtve at all. No prior C ommander D.H.E. M cC owan after surrendering
:..-.::nnaissance was available to them, and dls- his cemmand at Felixstowe. H is S-n'oats were the
tirst Gerrnan surface craft tocapitulate in May Eelaw: Arnajor reason lbr ffie iontainment of the
=--gaqrement needed to be ultra-rapid to avoid I 945. boat threat was lfie advenf of sr.lcJ'rAJJied crafl as
.:.: ,r iath of the escorts, By the end of the year S-
the Fairrnile'D' series af MGB/MTB. Big; fast and
r: :any S-boats were being lost as colliers, but taineC the evii reputation oi'E-Boat Alley'to the heavily armed, these powerlulboafs were a/so
:":r as late as IB/19 March 1945 they suc- end, but they eventually lost their cause by fitled with radar, ne€ralrngr f}re njeri?t-filrfitr$g
::: jed in srnkrng two olFS 1759 by torpedo off having to battle alone against an incteasingly acivantage given ta the Germans by their baats'
-: ,-, estoft, Fightrng long and hard they main- eilective and co ordinated opposition. lawprofiles.
Coastal Craft of World War II
DK tritish Power Boats 60-ft types
-:-: a result marnly of lack of funds the prone to pounding in a head sea The
BPB 60-footer proved seaworthy and
-iLsh did not develop the CMB con-
::pt firrther until 1935, when British capable of staging as far as Malta; the
i:wer Boats interested the Admiralty flrst type to be termed a motor torpedo
: an 18.3-m (60-ft) boat developed as a boat, rt rekindled interest on the part of
lnvate venture. It was wooden-hulled the Admiralty,
'.'-th, initially, aluminium deckingr and Eighteen were built in the initial
-l contrast to the CMB, was hard batches between 1936 and 1939
:hrned without a step, T\,ryo 457-mm (MTBI-12 and MTB14-I9), BPB then
.iE-rn) torpedoes were carried; producing a two-enErined versron
.rough launched over the stern as in whose torpedoes were exchangred for
:arlier boats the arrangement was depth charges. Known as MA/SB
iifferent. The torpedoes protruded ('Masby') craft, they found little em-
:erough ports in the transom and had pioyment in their initial form and most
.reir outboard halves supported on lat- were later refitted as early MGB types
..ce outriggers that could be hinged to supporl MTBs in therr operallons
l:ack on deck when not required, The For this they carried, usually a single
room crew had to work with the 2-pdr and four 12,7-mm (0 5-1n)
=ngine machine-guns, but many armament
c'..siness ends of the torpedoes sup-
,.orted on overhead runways over the variations existed. Interestingly, depth
';rng' shafts Launching rnvolved run- charges were silll often carried: set
::ng the torpedoes up, removinq their shallow, these could be used to detbr
:estraints and suddenly accelerating pursuit or, hair-rarsLnqly, to drop
.:e boat, With the torpedoes having to alongsrdeaLdrger :"^
.ijmt in the disturbed water of the
aoat's wake aiminq was somewhat I Specification B ritis h power bo ats w er e
:.:phazard {" BPB 60-fttype instrumental in the revival of Ro;'a.
A strong paper defence was I Dispiacement: 22 tons Navy interest in coastal craft n tie
- orded by no less than eight Lewis ti
Dimensions: Ienqth 18.36 m (60.25 ft); l930s.Their designs sold abroac,
;:ns but these, being arrangTed in two beam 4, I m ( 13 4 ft); draught 0,86 m these 70-ft MGB s originally beitg
t:adruple mountings set in pits at the 'i',
(2 83 ft) built as stretched MNSBs for ti,e
:,:irerr€ ends of the boat, proved un- Propulsion: three petrol enqdnes Frcnch until taken over anci
...sfactory The hull design, though ,".
delivenng 1342 kW (1,800 hp) to three completed for the Royal Nara'.
.,:-,'rer than that of the CMB, proved l:',1 \ shafts
:.-re seakindly il like all of its kind, Speed:33 kts Armament: two 457-mm (-: -:.
Endurance: 652 km (4OS miles) at 33 kts torpedoes. andeLght 7.1-:::. . ...-
.:'tas discoveredvery soon that the machine-guns
j ?B armament of quad Lewis guns at
Complement: 9
zotv and stemwas inadequate, and a larger designwould be
-.=:essary to handle the increased
.i aaponry.

ffi torp", ?0-ft type

.-:::ssrul Vosper 70-ft type orr
=- -' ,:e single 20.7-m (68-ft) boat
: i:el as a privare venlure rn
: -,=.: :ventually commissioned
- .-:',-.-',';:od
as MTB 102. Built com-
:- she was driven by
.- =-:laschrni petrol engdnes
i:,-..Im output of 2573 kW
: -r.
: rese drove the boat at a
-- .::ed of nearly 44kts in
:: :r-:1 \\ere chosen as no
' :,-- :;_lvaient existed, Lrke
" - l-::s ihey were extremely
, . = -'.'.'-p i.,rrer Ford engtne was
' ': . :lurch rnto rhe wing
. )4I
,: . -:-,',-speed but silent !
.-- l=:-:rehne torpedo tubes .i
. -,--:ciuded, one forward .l
-: :he nai,ry did not ltke
::','eloped the sided
-:.=:--: aropted thereafter. MTB
.. . . - -=:le also for beinq the first
r -*

: .:: '.'.'ere invoived in

:: ::.: Leitteen Genoa and La
: :.' : .-:.: .',!ay 1944, and achieved
: ;-' ::. e succes s h arrying
:": ::=p)y convoys.
Vosper 70-ft type (continued)

Royal Navy vessel fitted wrth the later

udversal 2O-mm Oerlikon cannon.
Desprte a further strong challenge
by BPB with an alternative 21,34-m (70-
ft) pnvate-venture boat, the Admiralty
chose the Vosper design as being the
stronger in heavy seas, (Actually
keeping these fast wooden hulls
together rn poor conditions was a
probiem that was never satisfactorily
solved,) Four Vosper and two similar
Thornycroft boats were ordered in
1938 and provided the basis for the war
programme, with little design changre
except a nominal increase in lengrth to
improve seakeepingt and cater for the
lrowing load of topweight. Alternative
engines were a problem; a few con-
;erted Merlins were coaxed from the
Au Minrstry but manyboats hadto take
low-powered Hall-Scotts until the
powerful American Packard became
available, Oerhkons were virtually un-
cbtarnable, and the alternatle 7,7-mm
iC.303-in) machine-gn:ns proved of lit-
:le use against E-boats runnrng as
MGBs Eventually 12,7-mm (0,5-in)
nachine-gmns and 6-pdr quns were
lrted which, with radar, made for an
ejicient night-f,ghtlnq boat, Stronger Specification Speed:40 kts MTB 80 was on e of the first of
but hghter hulls, together with uprated Vosper 72.S-fttype Endurance: 463 km (2BB miles) at 40 kts Vosper's 72.2-footers. The class was
3i1gtnes, meant that boats were car- Displacement: 36 to 49 tons Armament: two 533-mm (2 ]-in) to give excellent sewice when fitted
ring a 7O-per cent increased equip- Dimensions: Ien qth 22, I m (72,5 ft); torpedoes, and varrous combinations with 6 pdrs and 20-mm cannon, but
::ent load by 1944 little speed beam5,94 m(19.5 ft); draught i.6B m of 6-pdr gmn, 20-mm cannon, and 12,7 - the original armament of two I 2.7-
penaity, Orders for 193 boatswere met (5 s ft) mm (0.5-rn) and 7.7-mm (0 303-in) mm (0.5-in) and four7.7-mm (0.303-
l:elween 1939 and 1945 with the ex- Propulsion: three petrol engTines machine-gnrrs in) MGs was not adequate (as was
:eption of a few late boats which were deliverins 2983 kW (4,000 bhp) to Complement: 12 or 13 unfortu na tely p r ov en w he n MTB B 0
:rncelled. three shafts was lostin l94l).

>K fairmile 'D'type

-actical pre-war experience demon- where this decreased the draught as a Because of their size (and endur- misery heaped on the Afrika Korps'
srated that MTBs would probably find result of smaller-diameter propellers, ance when fitted with auxiliary tanks) supply convoys, Aqainst the low-
riculty in penetrating a determined it was due more to the power of avail- Shetland-based 'D' types were able to
proflle E-boats, they possessed the
:sccrt to reach a target, particularly if able engines than design requlre- worktheNorwegiancoastand,operat- great advantage of radar,
-i.a: escofi was of 'E-boats', What was ments. Early craft had direct drive but inq out of Malta and B6ne, to add to the
::qurred was a more heavily armed, etearboxes were later introduced, im-
::: still fast craft to occupy the latter's provinq both efficrency and speed.
i.:entions, to defend the MTBs and Hard drivingr exposed the weaknesses Fairmile'D'MTB 1944 cutaway drawing key
.'-3-r,/ them to concentrate on the main of mass-producrng an all-wood craft of
::'ectives, A further requirement was this size, and repairs and strengthen- 1 Chemical smoke dlspenser 15 Seaman'swashroom
:-: need to defend convoys aqainst
:-bcats in the absence of a destroyer
inq were frequent. Some 200 'D' TYpe 2
I6 Aft magazine
7 Fueltanks (foMard tanks
craft were produced between 1942 compadment

hold3,240ga; afttanks
:s3rr1. As aheady related, a few of the and 1944, Towing eye hold 1 ,820 gal)
'lB Torpedobastscreen
r','a,jable BPB 'Masby' boats were Armaments, official and otherwlse, B udder
Screw 19 lSlntorpedotube
::::rned to sewe temporarily but, for varied considerably, the boats sewing Shaft 20 Oer ikon twin 20-mm Mk
.:-: lcng term, the Fairmile'D'type and as MGBs (90{on displacement), MTBs IX

-.--3 siearn Crunboat were developed, (95-ton displacement) or combination 21 Spllnterscreentogun

--:alf as long again as the average MGI',4/MTBs ( 105{on displacement), 22 20-mm ready use
l.::B the 'D' type was of unique form in In the last role the armament was for- ammunition
flattlsh vee sections aft merqing
--.r', -:rg midable, with four 457-mm (18-in) tor- 23 Mastcrutch
24 Flag locker
:-:: a round-bilge form forward, the pedo tubes, two 6-pdr guns, and four 25 Handgrenade ocker
r::=irilon taking the form of a pro- 12.7-mm (0.S-in) and four 7,7-mm 26 Ventllatorshaft
---:':::ced hard knuckle that acted use- (0.303-1n) machine-gnrns, The speed,
----; as a spray deflector. This com-
::::::rse hull and the extra length
inevitably, was reduced to about
29 kts. A short-barrelled 114.3-in (4,5'
" :;,-ed them to operate in more se-
',-::3 sea states wrthout the usual heavy
in) gnrn was fitted forward on some,
::::-iinqr. The wide transom pemit-
=: ;aadruple shaft propulsion but,

Coastal Craft of World War II
>K fairmile'A' and'G' types
So well associated with the construc-
:ion of coastal craft did the name of
Fairmile become that it is, perhaps,
suprising to discover that it began op-
erations as late as 1939, It convinced
'Jre Admiralty of the need for a motor
launch (ML) along the lines of those
iat served during World War I, These
nad been built in the USA and, mainly
Jrough lack of lenqth, were not totally
satrsfactory in sewice. Fairmile prop-
:sed to increase length substantially
' -: 22.85-24,37 m (75-80 ft) to 33,53 m
.. r0 ft) and to qear up to an extended
progrramme by prefabrrcatton. Thus, in
place of a yard framinq up a boat,
planking it and fitting it out in the tradr
tronal (and slow) manner a variety of
wood-workinq companies, not neces-
sarily connected with boat buildinq,
would be involved ln the series con-
sffdction of component parts. These, ttffi"t-u"r"'*
made from standard jigs, would then
be assembled rapidly in the actual
',vaterside yard, even the planking way and throw spray. More seriously, charged engflnes and better laid out A Fairmile 'C' MGB with the originat
being supplied in ready{o-assemble the bunker capacity for the three Hall topsides, MTB-style, with an enhanced armamentof two2-pdrs and two
:umbered sets, Scott petrol engines was far too small, armament of two 2-pdr gmns and two pairs of 12.7-mm (0.5-in) MGs makes
To test the system, the Admiralty For the long warlime producLion runs, twin 12.7-mm (0.S-in) machine-gmns. herway atclose toher maximum
rrdered 12 Fairmile 'A' type craft, therefore, a new desiqn known as the speed of 25 kts. Slower but larger
rumbered ML.l 00- I I L They were, in- Fairmile 'B' type was produced. Specification than s tandar d MG B s, the F airmil es
ieed, produced rapidly in 1940, but The initial 12 'A' type boats were Fairmile'A type were also up-gunned, with up to siz
ire design rtself was found to be less later converted into inshore mine- Displacement:58 tons 20-mm cannon being shipped.
ran ideal, It had been developed for Iayers, with a capaclty of up lo nine Dimensions: length 33.53 m (110,0 ft);
general inshore patrol and auxiliary mines each, Durtng the invasion scare beam 5,31 m(17.42 ft); draught 1,83 m Speed:22 kts
iuties, an asdic (sonar) set and 12 of 1940, motor gun boats (MGBs) were (6 0 fr) Endurance: notknown
iepth chargtes being carried as stan- needed urgently and the 'A' type jigs Propulsioir: three petrol engines Armament:one 3-pdr qun. ani:.';: - . -
iard. In practice, the desrgn's hard- were used to construct 24, known as deliverinq 1342 kW(1,800 bhp)to mm (0. 303-in) machine-qun-s
:irLne form tended to pound in a sea- the Fairmile'C'type. These had super- three shafts Complement: 16

Specification Endurance: not known Below: Considerably larger than Bottom : A F airmile'D' enters
Fairmile'D'type Armament: two single 6-pdr gpns, preceding MTB types, the Fairmile harbour atAlgiers during theNor:.
Displacement: 90 tons one twin 2O-mm cannon, two twin 'D'wasof similar dimensions toits African cam p aigm, whe n the b i g
Dimensions: lenqth 33, 53 m (1 10.0 ft); 12, 7-mm (0, 5-in) machine-guns, and m ain oppone nt, the S - boat. boatswere mucft used rn ftarass:-:g
:eam 6.4 m (2 1.0 ft); drauqht 1.58 m (optional) four 457-mm (18-in) Rommel's supply routes toTunis.
torpedoes Being such capable boats they were
Propulsion: four petrol engnnes Complement:up to 30 used where the fighting was thickes'-
:ehvering 3728 kW (5,000 bhp) to four

Speed:29 kls
ry )-
which explains the loss of nearly +, ai
the class in action.


:_: .e room 35 Loud hai er 45 i\,4achine-gun ammunition

:::<ard petrol
1 2 cylinder 36 TWl2aerlal locker
-l:l-hpengine(four) 37 TCSaerial 46 Twin Vickers 0.303-ln
-:::do tube support 38 Bridge machine-guns (each side
39 Whee house of bridge)
'.:-< benches 40 Radaroffice 47 Powermounting
: :::im 41 Pattern23liferaft 48 2-in rocketf ares
- :-::ss platform 42 Freshwatertank(five) 49 Catwa k
43 Windscreen 50 Ollskin locker
We291ot242 44 Wind def lector 51 Mast aerlal
52 Open six-pdr MkVll
53 Wardroom
54 Outer hull frames to hard
chine hul
55 Lobby
56 CO's cabin
57 FoMardmagazlne/shel
58 Recessed scoop in hul
59 TypeTlSAhydrophone
60 Pitometer log
61 Stemeye
62 Crew'sWC
63 Forepeak
64 Waterllne
65 Electric heater
66 Aftmachinestores
67 Anchorwindlass
68 Exploslonchamberto
torpedo tube

Fairmile 'B'type
Cne of the most versatile types ol on their own bottoms to the West In-
-,-iarship ever to see sewice, the Fair- dies, West Africa and the Mediterra-
mije 'B" type motor launch (ML) was nean. Hulls were supplied with stan-
:lso one of the most numerous, some d-ard fittings to allow rapid chanqe of
370 being bullt in all between 1940 and armament or the shipprng of auxiliary
-944 The lines, in contrast with those of fuel tanks,
::e 'A' type, were of a seakindly round- Probably the best-known involve-
brlge form and were of Admiralty de- ment of MI:s rn an operation was that of
s,qm berng turned over to Fairmile for 16 in the raid on St itJazaire tn March preparation of construciional 1942, the situation of the port insrde a
drawinqs to suit a mass production weil-defended estuary demanding
prograrnme, A largre numb,er of yards shoal-draught vessels. In fighting their
',','ere rnvolved in :he construction way both in and out, landing and re-
:anging rn the UK from Sheerness coverinq the commandos they carried,
?.cyal Navai Dockyard to Southampton 12 were destroyed, some needing to
S:eam Joinery, and all over the Com- be scuttled durrng the retirement for
:rcnwealth from Vancouver Shipyard damage received,
.r ihe Anglo-American Nile Tourist
3:mpany at Cairo, Specification
The initial requirement was ior a tri- Fairmile'B't1pe
pie-screwed craft, but the Hali Scott Displacement: 67 to 85 tons
le'rrol engdnes specifled were tn short Dimensions:lenqrth 34. 14 m (l I2.0 ft);
s:cply and only two were ever frtted, beam5.56 m(18.25 ft); draught 1.52 m
-::urring a speed penalty of 4 to 5 kls, (50ft)
-ler legend armament was a 3-pdr Propulsion: two petrol engines
;-r- rwo 7.7-mm (0 303-rn) Lewrs gn-rns delivering 895 kW ( 1,200 bhp) to two
-d a dozen depth charges (supported
:-.' an asdic set) but in practrce they
Speed:20 kts
:::k a bewilderrng variety of flts. Tor- Endurance: I I 12 km (691 miles) at Above: ML I 36 rs seen on p atrol aff the
;:jo tubes were removed from the 20 kts
^Scotrsl coasl e arly in her career.
-::se-Lend flush-deck destroyers Armament: (as desiqned) one 3-pdr
gun tvuo 7, 7-mm (0,303-in) machine-
Armedwith a Hotchkiss 3-pdr
-j fitted
to some, makrng them the
only 20-kt MTBs, a measure of gnrns, and depth charges
fotward and two twinlewis guns
abaft the funnel, the class had room
.::: ciesperate stop gaps adopted in Complement:16 for more weaponry, and indeed six
, :i, They sewed as gmnboats, air-sea of the usual fit of I 2 depth charges
::s:ue boats, AS patrol boats inshore It was perhaps inevitable that such a can be seen at the stern.
: l]lretic and acoustic minesweepers, versatile class built in some numbers
:::-:kelayers, hospital boats and con- woulC see considerable variatian in
',-,'.- 3scorts, for which weaponfit.
duty they sailed

Harbour Defence Motor Launch

which required a hiqher level ofcrafts-
manship in construction than did the
Fairmiles. Some had to make do with
inferior timber as a result of shortages,
and were consequently short-lled,
Despite ther greater complexity they
were built widely, not only in the UK
but also in the USA and all over the
Commonwealth. Pendants ran from
1001 to 1600 but it is by no means cer-
tarn that all of these were actually
issued, They were lovely craft to hand-
le, seakindly and responsive with their
double rudders, Employed rn large
numbers in every theatre, they
travelled on therr own bottoms as far
afleld as lceland. One flotilla, required
for use in the West Indies, was fitted
wtth temporary sailinq riq to assist fuel
economy on the long transatlantic leg;
though saiiing was demonstrably feasr-
ble, the craft were re-allocated to the
North African landrng forces. They Dimensions:lenQrth 21.95 m (72,0 ft); HDML 1383 leave s H arwich harbour
worked also as inshore mrnesweep- beam4.B2 m(15,83 ft); drausht l,68 m pastHMS Crxzon(formerly the US
ers, despatch boats and (radar-fltted) (5sft) destroyer escort DE-84). This
as nangation markers for major amphi- Propulsion: two dresels delivering example is armedwith a20-mm
bious operations. 239 kW (320 bhp) to two shafts Oerlikonfore and aft and twinlewis
Speed: 12 kts guns on each side of the bridge.
Specification Endurance: not known
Harbour Defence Motor Launch Armament: one 3-pdr gnrn, one 20-mm machine-qnrns
Displacement: 54 tons cannon, andtwo 7.7-mm (0,303-in) Complement:10
Coastal Craft of World War II
Steam Gun Boat
-=-,':-:ped in parallel with the Fair- coastal forces, and the SGB thus com- mediately, an SGB had to rematn ln Specification
:-: i s type was the Steam Gun Boat peted for berths in yards hard put to steam, usrng a considerable amount of SteamGunBoat
SGB) a type which at over 44-m produce urgently requrred convoy fuei and man hours in the process, Displacement: 165 tons
l-n) lenqth was vrewed as virtual escofis, Ofthe 60 planned, therefore it In action, however, the E-boat com- Dimensions: Ieng|h44,42 m 1-i: -:
l--::n Marys' by the coastal forces is not surprsing that oirly nine were manders respected the SGBs only a beam 6. I m (20.0 fr): draughr - :i :. -
---: 1st of class commenced trtals in ordered, and ofthese but seven com- little less than destroyers, as they (5 5 ft)
l':-.'ember 1941, some three months pleted, in 1941-2, could pounce unexpectedly and hold Propulsion: wo sets of gea-rec --:-=jr.
- --::iof the frst 'D' type, The concept In practrce the steam plant proved their speed rn a seaway. They proved turbines deliverinq 5965 kW
=,'-:ed at all only as a typically British complex and lulnerable, with inttial excesslely lulnerable to actron dam- (8,000 shp) to two shafts
-,-::cn to a problem that should not troubles concentrated on insufficient age in the machinery spaces, and the Speed:35 kts
:-',': existed in the first place, r,e. the energy beinq delivered by the boiler necessary addition of l8-mm (0.7-in) Endurance: not knornm
oi a suitable indigrenous small
-=:-< and heavily-cavitating propellers, protectrve plate added much weight, Armament: (flnal arrangene::l ::--:
-:se1 engine, Steam plant had the Even when these problems were More armament and crew increased 76.2-mm (3-in) gun, rwo surgl: :-::--
:r;antagte of quietness but, even wtth cured, fuel consumption remained displacement further and service guns. and nvo rwrn 20-mm ca::.- :
-:3 most compact twrn-screw plant heavy with the added disadvantagre speed was eventually reduced to only Complement:27
:ra;anE steam from a sinqle boiler, it that where a petrol-engined boat 30 kts.
:;:-randed a large hull which while could starl from cold and get away im- Veritable battleshrps of Lhe coas:e-
---:-,rng the drsadvantage of being a lar- forces, the Steam Gun Boats 'ttere -'=:-:
l::r tarqet was a positive factor for sea- and heavily- armed yessels. arJthci;,q-:
.::eping, in which the E-boat was ack- vulnerable to damage in the
---:-vledged to be excellent. machinery rooms. Nonetieiess. Jie;-
iVooden hulls of this stze were not were warily respected by their
::-ible for mass productron and steel opponents across lfteNorth sea.
;as used, Unfortunately this meant that
:cih hulls and machinery were now
:eyond the scope of the small yards
:rgaged in the rapid expansion ofthe


: Elco 80-ft type

)-aring World War I the Electric Boat
3cmpany (Elco) had built a large num-
:er of small craft for the US Narry, but
:3d lost design continuity with the
:-ary's post-war lack of interest, When
:: official competition was announced
:. the late 1930s, therefore, Elco ac-
:-rired from the British Power Boat
Jompany a state-ofthe-art European
:rat in a 21 34-m (70-ft) private ven-
:-re, armed with four 457-mm (18-rn)
:rpedoes, Elco succeeded rn getting
:e US Nalry not only to purchase the
:rat but also to order 23 more based
::: the Cesign, 12 of them fitted with
r:pth charges rather than torpedoes,
-:e PT versrons began to enter ser-
'.-:e rn November 1940, They were
'.::wed as experimental and, though
:e:sfactory, it was recommended that
-::ther boats incorporate standard
i::kard petrol engines and 533-mm
:--in) torpedo tubes. This necessi- war and EIco had already constructed lengrth, being bought up by additional EIco PT Boatswere expanciec
::ed an increase in length to 23.47 m four squadrons of 77-footers which still equipment, Thrs was partially offset by versions of the origin al H aJ.,- S cs ::
,- ft), Five were thus constructed for carried the non-preferred 457-mm ( 1B- the Packard engine beingr progres- desrpn, with room for four toise::€r-
':-: competition in 1941, and the 70- in) torpedoes. All told, 358 Elco B0- sively uprated in power. and awidevariety of gruns.
-^::ers were transferred to the UK footers were constructed, the three
-:-:er Lend-Lease terms, Packard engines gdvinq them an edge Specification Propulsion: three peu:i -:-;--.=.
-: the play-off the Elco boats did in speed over their similarly-powered Elco 80-ft type dehvering3020 kW ( c--: ::
'':::-1. returning high speeds with good Higgins runmng mates, Of the hvo, the Displacement: 38 tons three shafts
:,=oeuwability, On the other hand, Elco was the preferred desrgn but suf- Dimensions: length 24, 38 m (80, 0 ft); Speed:40 kts
::_,' slammed worse than the others fered as a result of its extra reserve beam 6,32 m (20.75 ft); draugrht 1.52 m Endurance: notkron'n
.:-: suffered minor structural failures drsplacement, resulting from its (5,0 ft) Armament: (typical; t :: :: :-:-:. -. -
required design modiflcation, Ex- in) torpedoes. one 40-r:;. ;-:- ::-: -. -
::-=--engtlr was also recommended for A 1944 experiment saw an Elco boat mm cannon, and fow lZ --::-: - : -- .

' seaworthrness and habita- painted in this startling dazzle machine-gnrns
: :_; as the speciflcation put the max- scfieme, i Complement: 14
-:-'-:r at 25 m (82 ft), Elco went to i
,= :: m (80-ft), By then the USA was at ./,.
,//t' '\
The Battle oI the
Surigco Strait toward the midget vessels and uslng sear-
chlights and raprd-fire medium-cahbre gmns in
textbook fashron, The Americans were young
and inexperienced, and therr attack wilted
under this riposte, PT-152 had her forecastle
SurigaoStraitis rememberedas the lastbattleship-versus-battleship actionin peppered by a contact burst that blew forward
history, as well as being one partof the titanic clash known as the Battle of LeyteGulf. gun and gunner into oblivlon, Her running
What is less well l<nown is the valuable contribution to the destruction of male, PT-130, rushed in with smoke only to be
Nishimura's force that was made by the PT boats of the US Navy. pierced herself by a projectile that did not
explode, None of the section gained an attack-
ing position; nerther, more importantly, dld
On 20 October 1944 the Americans started a This is to anticipate, for the Japanese South- they make a contact report, Worse, the Moga-
major landrng on the island of Leyte. It had two ern Force, similarly attacked over rts long ml group had passed the second section wrth-
major objectives: to launch the reconquest of approach, was shaping up to burst through the out either side being aware of the other. Not
ihe Philippines and to provoke the still- Surigao Strait, It was an oddly divided com- until two hours after first contact did Oldendorf
powerful Imperial Japanese Navy (lJN) lnto a mand in two separate groups. Vice Admiral hear of the enemy's approach, the message
final showdown on ground of the Americans' Shojl Nlshimura led wlth the elderly battleships having passed by several relays. Fortunately it
choosrng, Intelligence had given the US forces Yamashiro.and fuso, the heavy crurser Moga- confirmed hls dispositions.
a good idea of how the Japanese counterplan, ml and four destroyers, The third PT section, meanwhile, took on the
i<:lown as SHO-I, would work and they were Trarling it by about two hours was Vice Mogami group near Limasawa Island just be-
:on-f,dent of defeating it. Admirai Kiyohide Shlma's force of two heavy fore midnight, TWo boats, PT-146 and PT-l1l,
Arrcraft-carriers had so dominated the cruisers, one light cruiser and seven des- each managed to get a torpedo away, but with-
Pacrfic war that no chance of their destruction troyers, The two groups appeared to have an out effect, Again they were obliged to hrghtail
,';as ever lost by either side, Through thelr independent existence, whiie Kinkard had en- it, pursued in their snaking paths by a hail of fire
reckless squandering of trained aircrew, the joyed adequate time to plan their interception laced by arcs of tracer and blue white beams of
japanese had already much degraded the per- and discomfiture, They were to be harried searchlights.
:crmance of their own carriers, and the 'SHO' throughout their approach by PT boats, then by Again no contact reports got through,
cian hrnged upon using their remainrnAr flight- destroyers, each using the night torpedo Nishimura now re-concentrated his group
iecks as an rrresistible lure to the Americans attacks practised so well by the Japanese the better to meet this scattered opposition. At
ho, having left their landing denuded of cover themselves, Any enemy that penetrated this this point he held the initiatlve and sent a con-
:1; their pursuit, wouid have it destroyed by a gauntlet-run would find itself met by the fident progress report to Kurita who was head-
I,nchronized attack by surface lorces covered armoured wail of Rear Admrral Jesse Olden- ing for the San Bernardino Strait to the north,
:-; Japanese land-based arr power, dorfs six veteran battleships, backed by three though much delayed by air attacks in the
ln the event Leyte, the chosen site, suited the heavy and flve light cruisers, plus 29 des- Sibuyan Sea, Shortly before 02.00 he was pas-
p-an's purpose admirably, the sheltered wa- troyers, sing the narrows between Pananon and the
:ers ol its gulf being approachable from the No less than 42 PT boats warted in the area, northern tip of Mindanao, beyond whlch he
;;est by lwo major waterways, the San Bernar- newly-arrived and chafing through earlier would turn northward up the strait, In this 16-
jic Strait to the north and the Surigao Strart to underemployment. Wlth little night air recon- km (10-mr1e) wide chokepoint no less than five
-:-e south, The series of acttons consequent naissance available, their task was to flnd, sections of PTs were concentrated. These suc-
:pcn Japanese efforts to wipe out the landing track, report and to attack on opportunity. The ceeded in closing piecemeal to the point
iecame known collectively as the Battle of 39 boats available on the day were organized where about a dozen torpedoes were ex-
,/,-e !,ull. into 13 three-boat sections covering 1 13 km (70 pended, again wlthout result. It was in this daz-
miles) from Bohol Island, across the eastern zling, deafening confusion that the PTs suffered
Simultaneous attacks Mindanao Sea and up the southern half of the their first real casualty, PT-490 belng badly hlt
tsnefly, the SHO-1 plan inrtrated on I0 Octo- crucial Surigao Strait, while pressing in to deliver a pair of torpedoes.
:e: -.r,ras to use Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's PT-493 saw her predicament and closed to
:rrrier group to seduce Vice Admiral William ThreeJapanese groups assist and lay smoke, As she did she received a
: --ialsey's 3rd fleet from its offshore station and With nlghtfall, Nishimura prudently pushed salvo of three medium-calibre shells which
:-e:: to attack the gmlf srmultaneously from both Ihe Mogami and three destroyers ahead to
and south, overcoming resistance irom
-,--:e reconnoitre while his heavy units kept closer
Admiral Thomas S, Krnkard's weaker 7th under Bohol, which lay to port. This put the
-eet by a combination of surprise and sheer Japanese rn three qroups, Shima being about
.:: The Japanese San Bernardino group 64 km (40 miles) astern. It was perfect PT
Northern Force) under Vrce Admrral Takeo weather: a dark, calm night wrth a quarter
I'::ria, including the world's mightiest bat- moon due to set shortly after midnight. Sure
-esnips, Musashi and Yamato, was sighted and enough, at 22.36 the first PT sectron picked up
:a-,-aged by Halsey's seaborne air power the Japanese admiral's big ships on radar. They
:::ughout 23 and24 October during its transit then closed at moderate speed to avoid exce-
:: re Sibuyan Sea. At 17,00 on 24 October, sive noise and giveaway bow-waves but, even
::-,rever, Ozawa's carriers (the Strike Force) so, the cat-eyed Japanese sighted them
','.-ere sighted, The impetuous Halsey took the promptly, Nishrmura acted vigorously, turnlng
','.-:oie 3rd Fleet north in pursuit, leaving a
',',':'.nded but resolute Kurita stili coming and
:= S'rait ungmarded, Already delayed, the lat-
:er:arsitted the Strait but ran into an American
:s:crt carrier group which, by 'bold face' tac-
::s and conspicuous bravery, turned Kurita
:a:k rr the wild action off Samar,
The PT boats formed the first line of the US
defence. Thirty-nine boats were deployed in 13
three- boat sections tasked with locating and
trackingJapanese heavy units and engaging them
as appropriate. The PT boats detected the
approach of the enemy by radar and delivered a
series ofatfacks , but it took two hours for them to
inlorm Rear Admiral Oldendorf, commander of
the US battleship squadron.

,rfii€:?' :' :.
Coastal Craft of World War II
caused severe casualties, removed most of her This, somewhat discomforted by 'friendly' for the destroyer attack, became separa:ed
upperworks and badly holed the hull, She fire, succeeded in putting tvvo more torpedoes from her sectlon during the night ald car:e
oeached successfully but later slid off and into the doomed Yamashiro, at the cost of one across a burning wreck at first light, Standr:f
oundered. destroyer heavily damaged, The Japanese by was the damaged destroyer Asaga;r:
Triumphantly, Nishimura held course, hav- flagship was dismembered within nine minutes which took the PT under hot fire, frustra--::
ng proved again that torpedo attack by small by the American heavies, but the Mogamr and three attempts to attack, The PT's final cause:::
:raft needs the advantage of surprse. OnJy two the destroyer Shigure hrrned about and ran frustratlon was the arrival of an Americal cr-:-
sections of PT boats were now left alead of back down the strait, only to run (literally) into sier/destroyer force which promptly fintsrei
rim, and both these were ordered to stand Shima: the Mogamj collided with the cruiser off both Japanese! PT-150 and P7-194 ursr::-
:lear lor the planned destroyer attacks. The .l/achi but proceeded, At this ponl PT-137, cessfuliy took on the heavy cruiser Nachi --ie
jme was 02. 15 on 25 October; Shima was clos- whlch had hung around after fruitlessly ex- latter boat taking a 203-mm (8-in) shell tir:
ing astern and Kurita had passed the un- pending two torpedoes after an advancing The surface action was now finished, it be::-g
gnrarded San Bernardino Strait almost two Nrshimura, saw the enemy returning and left to American aircralt to pick off the ene=-.-
hours before, At this point Leyte Gulf was in loosed a further torpedo at a destroyer. It mis- straggiers, only two cruisers and flve des-
dire danger. sed but went on to disable the liQrht cruiser troyers surviving out of the combtned Souiher-
Though the little ships had enjoyed scant Ab*uma beyond. Shima was also now in full Force, The PTs had come through ihe.:
reward for their efiort so far, they had marked and sensible retreat. With a new day dawning gEeatest test with much credit but few scalps
ihe Japanese onward progress to the yard and, the PTs returned to harry their withdrawal. Interestingly, they had been repulsed mair
paradoxically, engendered a measure ofover- by that very combination of searchlights ari
confidence in thelr enemy. At 03.30, however,
Mogamipursued quick-firing gmns adopted by the Vtctonar
from the dark cover ofland on each side, Nishl- The doggedMogam; was trackedby PT-49l navy to defeat its own torpedo-boat bogey
mwa was attacked by destroyers. There was for 20 minutes, the boat eventually misslngwith
no warnlng before 27 torpedoes were away two torpedoes while under 203-mm (8-in) salvo It has never been easy to apportion credit as to
flre at close range. PT-137 made a further whotorpedoedwhom in a nightaction, and
and, seemingly paralysed by indecisison, the whether itwas a PT boat or a destroyer that
Japanese took little evasive action. Both bat- attempt, but the damaged cruiser and her sole achieved the first hit on the lapanesebafllesfupsrs
'Jeships and three destroyers were hit, one remaining destroyer saw her ofi P?-/90 at the open to question.ThePT b6ais certainly keptihe
blowing up, A second wave of six destroyers same time enthusiastically but unwisely Japanese busy, but the fact remains that itwas the
followed immediately. The Yamashiro was hit approached Shlma's main force andwasfortun- destroyers and finally Oldendorf s bat4e-line that
again but pressed on; the already stricken ate to escape, nearly in one ptece. PT-323, smashed theJapanese squadron to oblivion.
Fuso blew into two separate halves which re- earlier cheated of action by being kept clear
nained afloat for a while, A further destroyer
lisinteqrated. Nishimura's force was already
shattered, only the flagship, the heavy cruiser
)4ogamt and one destroyer proceeding but
'r;avering. They were already coming under
-e from Oldendorfs main body at the head of
re strart when the third and last destroyer
-:tack was made,
The PT boats approached their quarry at :r:l:.4.:i1-n i::' t::i.'a
.: ,l;i lli ll: i
rroderafe speed to avoid excessive noise and teL[- ,1i:

!a|e bow waves, but the J apanese quickly spotted

them. Powerful searchlights picked out the PT
boats and tft e b attleships' quick-fire gung poured
out a hailsf fire through tfte darkness.

liil .1
.! ii-


Higgins 78-ft type

1e Hiqgihs 78-ft type had its origins rn teriorated further as more and more Specification The Higgins boats (alongwith the
: series of trials held by the US Narry in armament and equipment were Higgdns 78-fttype EIco desigm) bore thebrunt of theUS
-341 to determine the boat best suited added, To assist matters a new light- Displacement:35 tons PT boat war At 78 ft (23.77 m), it was
:: :'s purposes from a series of conten- weiqht torpedo was developed. This Dimensions:length 23,77 m (78,0 ft); also large enough to carry four
:ers. Higglrs entered a 25, I 5-m (82, 5- had a heavrer warhead and a hrQlher beam 6,32 m (20,75 ft); draught 1,52 m torpedoes although some were
:i pnvate-venture boat derived from speed, but only a short range, It could (s.0 ft) landed Later in the war in favour of
= earlier
Sparknan and Stevens de-
Six boats of various types were
be Iaunched by dropping gear, obnat-
ing the need for torpedo tubes. Gun
Propulsion: three petrol engnnes
deliverins 3356 kW (4,500 bhp) to
er:aushveiy evaluated in a range of armament varied consrderably and three shafts While the activities oIthePT boats in
:::ditions. From this experience a unofficially. Most later craft had a 40- Speed:41 ks the Solomons and the Philippines are
s::3n Lst of three was selected for mass mm weapon aft, a 20-mm cannon for- Endurance: 555 km (345 miles) at 4 I kts well known, it should be
p::duction against a light specifica- ward and up to flve 12,7-mm (0,5-in) Armament: four 533-mm (21-in) remembered that they contributed
::: One of these was the Higgins, machine-guns, Some landed their tor- torpedoes, one 4O-mm gmn, and two to campaigns as fat apatt as those of
T:::cn was to be 'suitably reduced in pedoes in favour of more guns for use 20-mmcannon the Adriatic or (as seen here) around
s.:e to carry such ordnance loads as in an MGB role against the Japanese, Complement: 17 the Aleutians in theNorthern Pacific.
-e :equred by our Nalry',
tose boats chosen were of hard-
::::.e rvooden construction and prop-
:'-ed by three Packard petrol engines,
;t::-:b had emerged as the most reli-
-re and economical for the job, Each
n-:Jd carry four 533-mm (21-in) torpe-
j:es and four 12,7-mm (0.S-in)
Fully laden they would
:e capable of40 kts for one hour. From
;::.:ally notlung the Americans cre-
a:=d in a space of three years, the
:::le'.s of a powerful force of PT boats.
l;r-c dozen (two squadrons) ofHiggins'
:.3's. now 23.77 m (78 ft) in lenqth,
,rere intialiy ordered, but these dld
::: start to enter service until the
half of 1942 and, of these, slx
,re:e trarsferred to the British and four
:: te Soviets, Eventually over 2OO
itere consfructed which, with the Elco
2-i 3€-m (80-ft) type, were to be the US
lia-,-ys standard choices, The third
1pe successfirl rn the pre-war play-ofl
-'e Huchrs 23.77-m (78-lt) type, was
':sed. ir: the traimng role,
Service speed, always heavily de-
pe:Cent upon weather conditions, de- Initially the secondary armamenton
PTB s waslimited to I 2.7 -mm (0. S-in)
MGs, but before long heavier
weapons, such as stern-mounted 20-
mm cannon, began to be fitted.

Armed Forces of the World

Part 2
The lndian Army
--: lndian Armyretains manyof ther::o : :-si^:. -
' :r ted from the Br tish arrywhe' '.':'?.'. ' : z:
--?rVWasformed in 1947. Perhapsi"e -:s: -aaL
.- o'these s that tne army rema rs; : ."':* .-=
:: t cal involvernent that has beder' ea s: T3^\'
: -^er nations after emancipation fror- 3' .:^ :- e.
- -rough the army has a policing role r'i :i : -tr : ls
--: n task is to defend the borders arc : ^as icne
.- s on several occasions since 1947, :ibe:,'vith
. degrees of success. In the years s rce I 947
indian Army has passed througn a oer'od oi
-: aiive neglect, reorganization and re-eqripment
.^at has resulted in its now be ng an eiiicient and
:elanced force, but one still reflecting tne precarious
-.:ate of the lndian economy and the fierce socialand
-:liqious divisions that continue to preva l in modern
rdia. The lndian Army has two armoured drvrsrons, cur- Thelndian army remains heavily influenced by
The lndian Army has seen action since 1947 in a rently being organized on a brigade basis. Most of British practice, especially in dress and
,.eries of 'test matches'with Pakrstan and a number the tanks used by these armoured divisions com- organization, and since partition has been
involved inwars with Pakistan and various borcier
:' border clashes with China to the north. Internal prise 700 Soviet T-54s and T-55s with 300 T 72s in
clashes with China. Here two soldiers in familiarl'r
.- bal campaigns and internal rnsurrections still con service and more on order. ln numerical terms the British kit use Indian-built LlAi rifles.
. rue, and United Nations peace-keeping duties will most widely-used Indlan Army tank s the locally-
^c doubt keep a part of the army in some form or '1
built Vijayanta, of which over ,900 are in use, but
,rcther of active duty for some time to come, so the many of these are in the single mechanized divislon howrtzers and 94-mm (3.7-in) anti-arrcraft g--s .'=
:'my's strength of nearly one million volunteers out and the five independent arr,noured brigades. There still in use; anti-tank guns still in service lnc -:: .-=
-'a total populatron of over 745 million ls not exces- are 1B infantry divisions, some of them using 750 ex-British 6-pdr (57 mm12.244-tn) f rom Wor c ,',.-
: Ve. examples of a wide variety of armoured personnel However, a re-equipment prog amme S c--':-'
The army is organized into five regional com- carriers of Soviet origins (BMP-1 , BIVP-2, BTR 60 under way to replace much of this elderly ra.=- '
'--ands. One (the Northern Command) has a head etc.), and foliowing the debacle of the 1962 Hima- 'nclud'nq an inler'lal:onal conpelitior Io :: - -. -:

:-arters location that has never been disclosed, laya clash with China 10 new mountain divisions new '1 55-mm (6.1-in) howitzer.
:':sumably for security reasons. but the other com- have been organized. The infantry formations in- lndia has a thrrving armannent industn' -.'.'. '=.
-'-and locatrons are as foilows: Southern (Poona), clude a Brigade of Guards and a number of Gurkha produced much of the army's current ec- :^ =-
,',esteTn (Chandi Mandir), Central (Lucknow), and regiments. There is also a m jxed parachute brigade. most of it licence produced ln origrn. T" s =:,:-
:-stern (Calcutta). Formations are still orqanized Seven independent infantry brigades are in being. ment ranges in scope from the lshapore-r' ':= . =-
: :ng British lines with divisions, brigades etc., Reserves amount to some 200,000. sion of the British/Belgian LIAl/FAL 1 62 ^'* - :-
: -rouqh the caste and social system is still main- The lndian Army artillery is organized lnto 17 inde rn) rif le up to modern 105-mm (4.13- n) ari :-.
-'red to provide a mixture of 'pure' regiments re pendent artillery brigades that include 20 air
.. rng recruitment from the 'martlal races' of lndta defence regiments. The equipment used by these Udaygiri rs one of India's six British 'Leander' c.a::
:-ln as the Jats, Sikhs and so on. There are a brigades is a very wide mrx that ranges f rom Yugo- frigates, the first maior warships to be built i
--^,lber of regrments where social and religious slav 76-mm (3-in) mountain guns to Sovret S-23 I ndian yards. Similar to the broad- be am
- -.: nctlons are retained at company levels and
BO-mm (7.087-in) long-range guns. Some of the 'Leanders', their hangars are enlarged to car..; .::
='e are a few regiments where a mix of races and
artillery is getting rather old, for ex-British 25-pdr A6rospatiale Alouette III helicopter, and Dutci
: i tjllS CX 51. (87.9-mm/3.46-in) gun-howitzers, '1 39.7-mm (5 5-in) radar is fitted.

' - itF-
- 'a -.' -J-


:'s tanks have been locally-produced to form the vessels. mainly f rom British origins with some built APT-76 Model2 amphibious lighttankof the
" 'a-yanta MBT with its 'l 05-mm main gun, and this in lndian yards. The latter includes the six'Godavari' Indian army is seeninBangladesh during the
::s c vehicle has been further locally converted to class frigates that are a local variation on the Britlsh Indian invasion of 197I.ln addition to her own
,:'1,, tne Soviet M-46 '130-mm (5.12-in) long range 'Leander' class design, of which there are six. The Vij ayanta MBT,.lndja uses Sovjet T - 54/ 55 s and,
remainder of the frigate force is made up of ex- now, theT-72.
I -.. Some work has been carried out to produce the
-:':.on anti-tank missile, but the costs involved British designs, sorne of which are used only for
-:,.e resulted in the purchase of 3,700 Milan mis- tra i ni nq.

= :s. Set against this acqulsition must be seen the The remainder of the Indian Navy is made up of Coast Guard Air Wing has now been set up. lt has
'::- rnat many lndian Army soldiers are still equip- small craft such as the ex-Soviet 'Osa' class fast already received some Chetaks, and will also oper-
:=: ivith the old No. 1 Mk lll Lee Enfield f .-l-mm attack (missile) and patrol craft. There are 16 of ate some of the HAL-produced Dornier 228s.
- 3!3-in) bolt-action rifle. these along with a force of vessels such as small
-re Indian Army encompasses a number of para- minesweepers, various auxiliary craft and suppiy
- iary formations such as the Border Security vessels. Orders of battle
=:-:e tabout B5,O0O strong), and a number of re- The main western naval base is at Goa, the south-
lndian Army
::"al police forces are organized and equipped ern base is at Cochin, and Vishakapatnam and Port 2 armoured divisions \f -12,f -54, T-55 and Viiayanta)
: :-g army lines and even have a combat iunction in Blair are used in the east.
1 mechanized division (BMP-1 , BIVIP-2, Bl\lD, OT-
.:-e border areas..The Ministry of Home Affairs 62, 0r-64 and BTR-60)
-:s a 21 -battalion strong force known as the Assam lndian Navy air service 1B lnfantry divisions
= 'gs and recruited mainly f rom Gurkhas. The sole INAS aircraft-carrier, iNS Vtkrant. was '1
0 mountain divisions
^ ::1e years following Partition, the lndian Army refitted in 1983-4 with a ski-jump for the service's
-:-a ned its ex-British structure and traditions but 5 independent armoured brigades
new BAe Sea Harriers. Six sinqle-seat Sea Harrier 7 independent infantry brigades
::-cred them with a switch to the Soviet Union for FRS.Mk 51s and two Harrier T.Mk 60 trainers are 1 parachute brigade
:^: o-l< of its equipment. Receni years have seen a now in operation with No. 300 Squadron. A second 17 independent artillery brigades, includlng 20 air-
--'- ng away f rom this source of equipment supply squadron will be formed when the 10 more single- defence regirnents
- ::der to maintain supplies without too much re- seaters and two trainers of a supplementary order
:^3e on a single source. Thus French, Swedish and are delivered. lndian Navy
::^er sources have been tapped for equipment at The Sea Harrier squadron is shore-based at Goa Vi kra nt ai cr aft-carrier
,^c trne or another. and at present the United alongside No. 310 Squadron (eight Dassault- 3 'Kashin ll' class destroyers (3 more on orded
:.;:es s emerging as a leaoing contender [or lut.rre Breguet Aliz6s) and No. 315 Squadron (f ive llyushin 23 frigates (4 more on order)
.'.:3cons such as self propelled artillery and electro- ll-3Bs). Also here are a search and-rescue unit, No. 3 'Nanuchka' class corvettes (2 more on order)
- .s. The main problem for lndia is defence f inance. 321 squadron with Chetaks, and an OCU, No. 551 16'Osa'class fast attack craft (missile)
- .s attempt to remain unaligned between the main Squadron with Kirans. 7 large patrol craft
::,i,er blocs the nation cannot expect to receive the Until three new coastal bases are completed in 6 minesweepers (6 ocean. 4 coastal and 6 inshore)
- taryaidprovidedtoneighbourssuchasPakistan, the late 1980s, the only other INAS base is Cochin.
0landing craft (6 LCTs and 4 LCVs, plus 6 more
:-r consequently the national budget has to spend Nere, 12 Westland Sea King Mk42l42As serve with LCTs on order)
s:-e 20 per cent of lts expenditure on defence and Nos 330 and 336 Squadrons. They deploy to the B 'Foxtrot' class submarines (4 more on orded
:-e army obtains only a share of this. navy's 'Godavari' class missile frigates and two 4 'Type 209' class submarines (on order)
latest 'Leander' class trigates tor ASW operations. Naval Air Force
The lndian Navy Twelve new Sea King Mk 42Bs with Sea Eagle 1 attack squadron with B Sea Harrier \12 more on
lne lndian Navy is the smallest of the lndian de- anti-ship missiles willbe delivered in 'l 986 Torpedo- order)
=:rce forces and contains only some 47,000 men. lt carrying Chetaks from No. 331 Squadron deploy to '1
anti-submarine squadron with 5 Aliz6s
s. nowever, one of the most powerf ul in the region, the older 'Leander' class frigates, and the five 2 maritime reconnaissance squadrons with 4 Super
::r',ng as its main strike force eight Soviet 'Foxtrot' Kamov Ka-25 'Hormone' helicopters of No. 333 Constellations and 3 ll-38 'Mays' (3 more on
: ass submarines with four more on order. Also on Squadron are used aboard three Soviet-supplied order)
:rier are four 'Type 209' class submarines from 'Kashin' class heavy destroyers. The INAS is sche- 4 anti-submarine helicopter squadrons with 10 Sea
.'iest Germany. There is also an aircraft carrier, the duled to receive 1B Kamov Ka-27 'Helix' helicopters. Kings, 5 Ka-25 Hormones and B Alouette llls (12
', <rant (ex HMS Hercules) operating BAe Sea Har- Helicopter training is conducted by No. 562 more Sea Kings on order)
':rs and Dassault-Breguet Aliz6s. Squadron at Cochin with a few Hughes 300s and 1 communlcation squadron with 1B Defenders
The main surface force consists of three Soviet Chetaks. Coastal patrol duties have been under- 1 SAR/llaison helicopter squadron with 10 Alouette
(ashin' class destroyers, with three more on order. taken by No. 550 Squadron from Cochin with 16 llls
-ne frigate force is sizeable, being formed of 23 Britten-Norman BN-2B lslanders. However. a new 2 training squadrons with B aircraft and 7 helicopters

E=vc) € I