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Torpedo boats of World War Two


By Sakhal

MTB

Class: Vosper 70, 10 units (numbers 31 to 40)

Authorized in 1938 and built in Vosper Portsmouth in 1939-40. Four units were sunk in 1940; the numbers 31, 32, 33 and 34 were rebaptized as CT 21, CT 22, CT 23 and CT 24 in 1943 to be used as towed targets. Retired from service in 1945.

Class: Vosper 73, 16 units (numbers 380 to 395)

Authorized in 1944 and built in Vosper Portsmouth in 1944. Retired from service in 1945. The numbers 381 and 383 were reassigned as towed targets in 1946.

Class: Fairmile Type D, 200 units (numbers 601 to 800)

Authorized in 1942 and built in diverse shipyards. 38 units sunk in 1942-45 and a certain number transferred. Retired from service from 1945.

Albeit in the First World War the British Navy used numerous coastal boats Thornycroft CMB, the monetary difficulties and the absence of tactical demands for torpedo boats prevented subsequent developments until the mid 1930s. In 1935, it was ordered to the British Power Boat Company the construction of prototypes for torpedo boats, and albeit they constituted the base of the British MGB (Motor Gun Boat) and the American PT, the majority of British torpedo boats were built following projects from Vosper. Their size and armament were increasing along the war. The last models had radar and reinforced hull. The Fairmile Type D was a larger boat with the combined armament of an MTB (Motor Torpedo Boat) and an MGB. There were no British engines that were adequate for these boats so until Italy entered the war engines Isotta Fraschini were used. Eventually a normalized engine Packard was installed when the problems with the transmission were solved. The gasoline engines made the British boats more vulnerable to fires than the German counterparts, propelled by Diesel engines. A normalized hull was used for the majority of the boats built during the war to allow the placement of disembarkment cables. The primitive MGB were the result of the modification of the MA/SB (Motor Anti/Submarine Boat), to which heavy artillery was installed to face the German S-Boats. On the other hand, they lacked torpedo tubes.

Torpedo boats of World War Two

Torpedo boat Vosper 70 armed with two 533-millimeter torpedo tubes and one machine gun mounting.

Specifications for Vosper 70

Displacement (standard): 40.4 tonnes

Displacement (full load): 47.8 tonnes

Length (total): 21.4 meters

Beam: 4.5 meters

Draught (maximum): 1.5 meters

Armament: Two 533-millimeter torpedo tubes, two 12.7-millimeter machine guns and four 7.7-millimeter machine guns

Propulsion: Three gasoline engines Isotta Fraschini (in numbers 31-34) or Hall Scott (in numbers 35-40); three propellers

Power (total): 3600 shaft horsepower

Fuel: 10000 liters

Speed (projected): 25 knots with engine Hall Scott

Complement: 12



Specifications for Vosper 73

Displacement (standard): 45.2 tonnes

Displacement (full load): 47.4 tonnes

Length (total): 22.3 meters

Beam: 6 meters

Draught (maximum): 1.7 meters

Armament: Four 457-millimeter torpedo tubes, two 20-millimeter cannons and four 7.7-millimeter machine guns

Propulsion: Three gasoline engines Packard; three propellers

Power (total): 4050 shaft horsepower

Fuel: 9091 liters

Speed (projected): 39.5 knots

Complement: 13



Specifications for Fairmile Type D (numbers 601-804 in 1945)

Displacement (standard): 106.7 tonnes

Length (waterline): 33.6 meters

Length (total): 35.1 meters

Beam: 6.5 meters

Draught (maximum): 1.5 meters

Armament: Four 457-millimeter torpedo tubes, two 57-millimeter cannons, two 20-millimeter cannons, four 12.7-millimeter machine guns and four 7.7-millimeter machine guns

Propulsion: Four gasoline engines Packard; four propellers

Power (total): 5000 shaft horsepower

Fuel: 18182 liters (plus 11564 liters in deck deposits)

Speed (projected): 29 knots

Operational range: 1200 nautical miles at 10 knots

Complement: 30



Torpednijkater G5

When the Soviet Union was attacked by Germany in the summer of 1941, the situation of its Navy was not the most pleasing. In the time of the October Revolution, the elite of the revolutionary soldiers had been constituted exactly by mariners. The rutless repression in the revolt of Kronstadt, happened in 1921 by action of the commander of the 7th Army, Tukachevski, had not nullified the interest of the new regime for the weapon that during centuries had been the preferred one of the Tsars. The Russian rulers had tried since ever to empower the then Imperial Navy, and they had achieved to raise it to a good level, but after the clamorous defeat in Tsushima in 1905, the First World War and the October Revolution, what remained in the hands of the bolsheviks was little thing. Because of that it was immediately launched a plan for reconstruction and empowerment, but in 1941 the largest part of the units were old or, apart from a small number of modern units, built following rules dictated by really outdated canons. The situation improved only in respect of light vessels or torpedo boats, very important for Russia, which had to control and police along a truly impressive coastal surface (in both external and internal waters).

The Russian fast boats were in part integrated in several flotillas and in part placed under the command of the main fleets. So, some units formed part of the fleets in the Baltic, the North Sea, the Pacific, the Black Sea and the Caspian, whereas others were integrated in the flotillas operating in the lakes Peipus, Ilmen, Ladoga, Onega, Segozero (Seesjarvi), Pyaozero (Paasyarvi) and in the rivers Voljov, northern Dvina, Dnieper, Yuzhny Bug, Danube, Volga and Amur. Also were the units assigned to the flotilla of Pinsk, city bathed by the waters of the Dnieper, Vistula and Niemen. Some of these units (there were a total of 269 in that fatidic 22nd June, which at the end of the war had increased to 459) were of foreign construction, others were derivatives of these and others were of national project. Among these achieved good results the ones of the G5 class (depicted in the illustration). This class was developed in several models which gave origin to five series: the 7th, the 8th, the 9th, the 10th and the 11th. The units served in the fleets on the Baltic, the Black Sea and the Pacific, and albeit in small number, also in the flotilla of the Danube. Some units were sent to Spain in 1938 in occasion of the Spanish Civil War.

The hull was built in one piece and totally made of duralumin. This technical approach, if very good from a certain standpoint, was harmful from another, because the problems of corrosion that appeared in many units used in marine waters were such that forced to retire a good number of units even before the end of the war. The engines were initially GAM 34 of gasoline, of Russian manufacture, this is, Isotta Fraschini built under Italian licence. Soon it was used the American engine Packard 4M, obtained from the Lend and Lease Law. The offensive armament comprised one or two torpedo tubes, plus a certain number of depth charges or mines. The defensive one was based in two or three anti-aircraft machine guns. The torpedo launchers were of axial type and rear expulsion. In this system the torpedo was launched through a port astern, in such a way that when falling on the sea, the torpedo followed by its own means the route in the direction that the course of the boat had marked.

Torpedo boats of World War Two


Specifications for G5 class

Production: 295 exemplars built in the shipyards Rybinsk and Zelyenodolsk in the Volga, and in the shipyards Marti and Sudomerk in Leningrad

Displacement: 14.03 tonnes

Length: 19.10 meters

Beam: 3.33 meters

Draught: 0.65 meters

Propulsion: Two gasoline engines GAM 34 of 675 horsepower each

Speed (maximum): 45 knots

Operational range: 330 kilometers at cruising speed and 460 kilometers at reduced speed

Armament: Two 12.7 millimeters DShK machine guns plus one 7.62-millimeter machine gun plus two 533-millimeter torpedo tubes /or/ one 533-millimeter torpedo tube plus twelve 36-kilogram depth charges /or/ twenty-four 36-kilogram depth charges /or/ four seabed mines

Complement: Six or seven, depending on armament



MAS 522

It was 11 o'clock the 18th September 1943. The two engines Isotta Fraschini "Asso 1000" of the MAS 522, destined in the Aegean, vibrated the bridge of the torpedo boat while impulsing her towards the open sea. The commander of the unit, Lieutenant Carlo Beghi, traced mentally the chart of operations that he should perform during the day trip. He was thoughtful and not without reason. When the events of the 8th September he was destined in Vazi, in the isle of Samos, in the Aegean. This island, as the surrounding terrain, was under control of the British, the Italian division "Cuneo" and, in some areas, of the Greek partisans. The "Cuneo", led by General Soldarelli, had immediately accepted the Armistice and put itself under the command of the monarchical goverment. The 12th September Beghi had brought to Leros General Gaudioso, High Staff Deputy of the "Cuneo", and two British liaison officers. The day 17 he had accomplished a mission with his MAS 522 by transporting General Arnold, British military aggregate in Turkey.

Now, the day 18, he had to transport a delegation comprised by General Pejrolo, Deputy of the "Cuneo", Colonel Pawsen and Commander Parish, British, and Admiral Levidis, of the Greek Royal Navy. The purpose of the mission was to clarify things between the Greek partisans and the Italian Black Shirts garrisoned in the isle of Ikaria, for their relations were rather tense. Accomplished the mission, the MAS 522 headed towards Furni, where she arrived at 18:15 hours to promptly depart towards Samos at 18:30 hours. Everything seemed to run smoothly, but the delegation did not know that Beghi had no intention to return to Samos. Following his own conviction, after the Armistice he wanted to continue the war on the German side, or at least against the Allies. The crew, on mutual agreement, had joined him.

Thus he waited the occasion to cross the lines, but since he had the opportunity of transporting high officers he decided to wait for the best moment to transport some very important personage, to better serve his cause. The 18th September, in collusion with the crew, he decided the "now or never". So, around 19:00 hours, in the proximity of Cape Fanari, he inverted the course and, pistol in hand, forced the passengers to surrender as prisoners. Only Parish tried to react, with the result of being scratched by a bullet. The attempts to convince Beghi to desist were useless. That same night the MAS 522 entered the port of Zira, in German hands, where she was welcomed with the expected honors. The MAS 522 remained with the Germans during some days until the 25th September, when she was delivered to the Navy of the Italian Social Republic on which she operated under the command of Lieutenant Mistrangelo. In the spring of 1944, also in Aegean waters, she was hit and sunk by a fighter of the Royal Air Force.

Torpedo boats of World War Two


Specifications for MAS 522

Production: Built in the shipyards CELLI of Venice, she entered service the 21st August 1937

Displacement (full load): 24 tonnes

Length: 17 meters

Beam: 4.4 meters

Draught: 1.25 meters

Propulsion: Two gasoline engines Isotta Fraschini "Asso 1000" of 1000 horsepower each; two auxiliary engines Carraro D8M of 40 horsepower each; two propellers

Speed (maximum): 44 knots when empty, 42 knots at full load and 6 knots with auxiliary engines

Operational range: 750 kilometers with main engines and 1850 kilometers with auxiliary engines

Armament: One 13.2 millimeters Breda RM31 machine gun, two 450-millimeter torpedo tubes of side impulse and a hopper with six 50-kilogram depth charges

Complement: Nine (eleven with war complement)



Schnellboote

These excellent boats that the Allies called E-Boats (Enemy Boats) had a "paunchy" hull that granted a good navegability. They were developed by Lurssen, who had a considerable experience in the construction of high-speed leisure yachts. The first S-Boat (Fast Boat), the S-1, had highly flammable gasoline engines, and the much safer Diesel engines were not installed until the S-6. The S- Boats from S-18 to S-25 were the first ones fitted with the Daimler-Benz Diesel engine, and the subsequent boats had the forecastle raised above the torpedo tubes, with the reloads placed astern. The armament increased along the war. The last models carried 30-millimeter anti-aircraft cannons and the series S-100 introduced an armored wheelhouse. Widely used in the North Sea, the S-Boats were more than a challenge for the first British torpedo boats. However, albeit they sank a certain number of Allied ships, they were not so effective as the British counterparts, possibly due to a lack of agressivity in the command. After the war were built for several foreign navies some more of these boats following the same general project. The Lurssen boats resulted very reliable and they were complemented with the R-Boats (Raumboote), slower but of even better navigability.

Torpedo boats of World War Two

Fast boat S-80 showing the camouflage pattern used by the 1st Flotilla on the Baltic. The complementary pictures show the armored wheelhouse of new design introduced in the series S-100 to better protect the personnel on the bridge.

Specifications for series S-1

Built: 1929-30, Lurssen Vegesack

Fate: The primitive UZ(S)-16 rebaptized W-1 on 31 March 1931 and S-1 on 16 March 1932

Displacement (standard): 40 tonnes

Displacement (full load): 52 tonnes

Length (total): 27 meters

Beam: 4.2 meters

Draught: 1.1 meters

Armament: Two 500-millimeter torpedo tubes and one 20-millimeter cannon

Propulsion: Three Daimler-Benz gasoline engines; three propellers

Power (total): 3300 shaft horsepower

Fuel: 10.2 tonnes

Speed (projected): 34 knots

Operational range: 489 nautical miles at 22 knots

Complement: 18



Specifications for series S-18

Built: 1938-39, Lurssen Vegesack

Fate: Sunk, scrapped or surrendered in 1939-45

Displacement (standard): 94 tonnes

Displacement (full load): 106 tonnes

Length (total): 34.7 meters

Beam: 5.1 meters

Draught: 1.4 meters

Armament: Two 533-millimeter torpedo tubes and two 20-millimeter cannons

Propulsion: Three Daimler-Benz Diesel engines; three propellers

Power (total): 6600 shaft horsepower

Fuel: 16.8 tonnes

Speed (projected): 38.5 knots

Operational range: 588 nautical miles at 35 knots

Complement: 21



Specifications for series S-38

Built: 1942-43, Lurssen Vegesack and Schlichting Travemunde

Fate: Two transferred to Spain in 1943. The survivors of the war surrendered in May 1945. Two returned to Germany in 1957 by United Kingdom

Displacement (standard): 94 tonnes

Displacement (full load): 106 tonnes

Length (total): 35 meters

Beam: 5.1 meters

Draught: 1.5 meters

Armament: Two 533-millimeter torpedo tubes, three 20-millimeter cannons and one 37 or 40-millimeter cannon

Propulsion: Three Daimler-Benz Diesel engines; three propellers

Power (total): 6600 shaft horsepower

Fuel: 17 tonnes

Speed (projected): 39 knots

Operational range: 588 nautical miles at 35 knots

Complement: 21



Specifications for series S-100

Built: 1943-45, Lurssen Vegesack and Schlichting Travemunde

Fate: Four transferred to Spain in 1943. The survivors of the war surrendered in May 1945. Two transferred to Norway

Displacement (standard): 94 tonnes

Displacement (full load): 107 tonnes

Length (total): 35.1 meters

Beam: 5.1 meters

Draught: 1.4 meters

Armament: Two 533-millimeter torpedo tubes and two 30-millimeter cannons

Propulsion: Three Daimler-Benz Diesel engines; three propellers

Power (total): 7500 shaft horsepower

Fuel: 17 tonnes

Speed (projected): 41 knots

Operational range: 588 nautical miles at 35 knots

Complement: N/A



Categories: Ships - World War Two - 20th Century - [General] - [General]

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Website: Military History

Article submitted: 2015-10-13


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