During World War II, few groups within the Royal Navy fought a harder, more intense war than the men of Coastal Forces. Their job was to operate the Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs), Motor Launches (MLs) and Motor Gun Boats (MGBs) that protected coastal convoys, attacked enemy ones, and performed a myriad of duties, which include the dropping of agents and commandos on a hostile shore, raids on enemy ports, and near-suicidal attacks on larger enemy warships. While the MTBs were the "bombers", delivering their payload of high explosive torpedoes, the crew of the MGBs used their machine guns and small-calibre guns to sink, burn or destroy their enemy counterparts. For that reason they saw their frail, sleek craft as the "Spitfire of the Seas".
Motor Gun Boats were similar to Motor Torpedo Boats, only their decks were crammed with as many guns as they could carry - and to man these weapons, they required a larger crew. During the early years of the war, they were used to counter the threat posed by German E-Boats in the English Channel, but by 1941 they were in use offensively, conducting sweeps along the enemy coast in search of prey. By 1942 British MGBs were seen in the Mediterranean, interdicting Axis supply routes to North Africa, and later supporting the Allied invasion forces as they landed in Sicily, Italy and the South of France.
The majority of these small wooden craft were built in Britain by the British Power Boat Company or Fairmile Marine. They came in a variety of shapes and sizes, but in late 1942 the Fairmile "D" MGB made its appearance - a boat which would come to dominate coastal operations during the last years of the war. Known as "Dog Boats" by their crew, they were fast, powerful and versatile. By the end of the war, over 200 of these small boats had been built and they represented the pinnacle of wartime British motor boat design.
This New Vanguard title tells the story of these fragile but deadly little warships.
About the Author
Angus Konstam is an acclaimed military and naval historian, and one of Osprey's most experienced and respected authors with over 35 titles in print. These Osprey titles include British Battlecruisers 1939-45, British Motor Torpedo Boats 1939-45, and the forthcoming two volume study; British Battleships 1939-45, all of which form part of the New Vanguard list. Other titles include Spanish Armada 1588, Pirates, British Forts in the Age of Arthur and Piracy: The Complete History. He has also written over two dozen larger book for other publishers.
A former naval officer, underwater archaeologist and maritime museum curator, Angus has a long and passionate love affair with the sea, maritime history and warships. He makes regular television and radio appearances, and has held events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Angus is now a full-time writer and historian, as well as being a board member of the Society of Authors, and Publishing Scotland.
For more details visit the author's website at www.anguskonstam.com The author lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Table of Contents
British Power Boat MGBs
Early Fairmile M/Ls
Fairmile C MGBs
Denny Steam Gun Boats (SGBs)
Fairmile D MGBs
Construction and Weaponry 26
MGBS in Action 34
Vessel Listings 38
ML and MGB Specifications
MGB and SGB Losses
MGBs listed by Pennant Number
What People are Saying About This
"The more I see of Osprey’s New Vanguard series of books the more I like them... The text of this book is so readable and the photos and artwork complement the text so well that I have no hesitation at all in recommending this volume to anyone interested." - Glen Porter, hyperscale.com