Torpedo Boats

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by renrich, Jun 24, 2009.

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Best Torpedo Boat

  1. S-Boot (Germany)

    10 vote(s)
    71.4%
  2. Elco PT Boat (USA)

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  3. Higgins PT Boat (USA)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Vosper MTB (UK)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. British Power Boat MTB (UK)

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
  6. Fairmile D MTB (UK)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. MAS (Italy)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. Other:

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
  1. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I was reflecting on how the destroyer got it's name while posting in the best destroyer thread and thought as a follow on we could discuss which torpedo boat deployed by the different navies in WW2 was the all around best. Originally DDs were known as Torpedo Boat Destroyers, which with the development of torpedoes, gave heavy ship commanders nightmares. The torpedo boats in WW2 played many roles and their crews were often a villainous lot. Have at it!
     
  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    For me it would be a toss up between Germans S-Boats and the US Higgins. I'll go with the S-Boats.
     
  3. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I agree with VB and will go with the S-Boat. Bigger, more rugged, and better suited for duty in the open sea.
     
  4. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    There are really two classes of torpedo boats. There are what the English refer to as MTBs, the American PT Boats, the italians call them MAS Boats, and the Germans S-Boats (or E-Boats). These are small, generally less than 120 tons in size, often with planing hulls and speeds in excess of 40 knots

    Then ther are a larger class of "Torpedo Boat" generally under 600 T (to get around treaty limits). These were ocean going vessels and usually carried a small surface armment (or arounfd 4in calibre) some AA, ASW and torpedoes. Examples of this type of craft might include Hunt Class (UK), Ciclone (Italy) Mowe (Germany) Uragan (SU), and Matsu (Japan).

    The US never really fielded this type of craft, however a variqant of the "Torpedo Boat" concept can be found in the numerous Destroyer Escorts fielded by the combatants. These were generally slower craft, but longer ranged with greater emphasis paid to Anti-Submarine capability.

    So for me, having considered their various roles I would consider the best in each ategory to be

    "PT" Boats: German "S" Boats
    Torpedo Boats: Japanese "Matsu" Class
    Destroyer Escort: USN "Rudderow" Class
     
  5. Stitch

    Stitch Banned

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    I have to go with the German S-boots, also; even some of the vets who served on US Elco-class PT boats wish they'd had boats like the S-boots. They may have been bigger than the Vosper-class and Elco-class boats, but they were considerably faster and more heavily armed.
     
  6. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #6 renrich, Jun 26, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
    I have a friend who served in PT Boats in WW2. He served on a Huckins type boat and indicated that the Huckins was finished out better than the other types because Huckins was a yacht builder before the war. He was stationed at Midway but this was after June, 1942.
     
  7. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    My old man was RN in small craft and had a few mates on MTB's they hated having to go head to head with E-Boats as they were very much out gunned. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong but off the top of my head I believe The US PT boats basic design (i think designated PT 8 or 9) came from a British designer Hubert or was it Herbert, Pain who designed and raced power boats. Of the various navies vessels i would pick the E Boat not that they had a much higher top speed but that they could do it in rougher seas so it gave them a huge advantage plus they had a pretty impressive array of weaponry for such a small boat
    The hard chine of the PT and MTB hulls plained well but gave a much rougher ride in poor sea states.
     
  8. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    Since my grandfather served on e-boats, my vote is biased.
    Back to the larger torpedoboats, I would vote for the dutch buildt FTB 40 class. It´s larger and faster (35 kts!!!) than the german build FTB 39 class ships. I don´t rate the US DE´s that high, they are to slow (21 to 26 kts).
     
  9. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    I don't think DEs can really be discussed in the same terms as the large TBs built by the Germans, The DE was, as the name implies, intended for a defensive role from the outset, with convoys and slower surface forces like CVEs, hence the low speed. The German TBs were, in effect, small destroyers, with speed and firepower to match.

    Thinking about it, the DEs seem to be a bit mis-named. To my mind, they are much more like large corvettes or frigates than small destroyers.
     
  10. delcyros

    delcyros Well-Known Member

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    After ww2, all US DE´s were reclassified as frigates, so You really have a point with it...
     
  11. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    #11 Juha, Jun 26, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
    No oppinion on which was the best torpedo boat class but the best MTB were IMHO the later S-boats. Not that they were much better armed than later Vospers when those got 20mm cannon, typical gun armament for S-boat in Autumn 43 was 2*20mm and 2*MG34, it was neither much faster but a few experimental boats which achieved 45 knots they were 39-42knts boats.
    But like Trackend noted they worked much better on rough sea than hard-chine Allied boats. And their powerful diesel engines made them less vulnerable. I liked especially those with armoured cabin a la S100.

    Juha
     
  12. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Generally speaking I think its fair to say that the best torpedo boat design was the S Boat, however they were not always the best equipped. Radar was rare on these vessels and was often second hand modified airborne interception radar taken off nightfighters as they became outdated.
    From 1942 onwards they started to lose their advantage of firepower as the RN introduced the 6pd onto their MTB's and towards the end of the war the USN started to introduce a quad 20mm mounting nicknamed if I recall the lightning.

    That said, overall the S Boat has the nod as they had a clear advantage in the first 2 -3 years of the war when the gap started to close.

    I would give the Fairmile D class known as the Dog Boats a close second. They were a fair bit slower than most but were good sea boats sometimes operating as far away as off the coast of Norway and were very heavily armed.
     
  13. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    The DEs( destroyer escorts) were designed as escorts and I don't believe they could be considered as torpedo boats or MTBs. They were much larger and many were armed with no torpedos. The USN MTBs were rated at 40 knots but I doubt seriously that they could reach those speeds except in a perfectly calm sea.
     
  14. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    #14 Glider, Jun 26, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
    I admit to getting confused and was thinking about Motor Torpedo Boats such as the S Class and PT boats as opposed to Torpedo Boats which tended to be used by the German, Italian and French navies.
    Torpedo Boats were often lightly armed with guns normally 1 or 2 4in and a heavy torpedo load of around 6 x TT on a displacement of approx 650 tons and a max speed of 30+ knots.

    Escorts such as the USN Destroyer Escorts, RN Hunt class and other sloops, Frigates etc were armed for defending convoys and had good A/S and AA capabilities at the expense of speed which tended to be in the 20-25 Kts band. They may or may not have a set of torpedo tube but RN ones that did ,didn't use them for torpedo's, they fired a particually large depth charge out of the tube.

    Is the objective to discuss MTB's or Torpedo Boats?
     
  15. Watanbe

    Watanbe Member

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    From what I have read and heard from Veterans the E-Boats were the most fearsome opponents. They were besides the U-Boats in the most part the most important vessels in the German Navy. They were to scared to use their capital ships in open combat and the RN kept close watch of them and held strict blockades. The E-Boats saw the most combat, were the fastest thing in the Atlantic and were able to escape danger, they were excellent vessels and weren't restricted to coastal work like many of the other Torpedo boats.
     
  16. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I am just finishing a memoir by a fellow that served on MTBs in WW2 in 1944, 45 in the PTO. He commanded a PT Boat squadron, twelve boats in a squadron. They were the ELCO-Higgins type, 80 feet long, 60 tons, three 1500 HP Packards, carried 3000 gallons of gasoline and could make 40-50 MPH. With mufflers closed at ten knots they were very quiet. The crew was two officers and twelve EM and get this! The armament was one 37MM and two 20mms on the bow, the two twin mount 50BMGs amidships, a 40 MM on the stern, two depth charges and four 21 inch torpedoes. Wow, I never knew they carried that much armament. Wonder where they stowed all the ammo?
     
  17. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    The PT boats were at this stage normally used for shore bombardment and tackling barges imune to torpedo's hence the heavy guns. The 37mm normally came from the P39.
     
  18. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Glider, you are exactly right as that type of action was what the author described. There was a photo of a 37 MM mounted on the bow of a PTB and it had a weird looking circular magazine perhaps two to three feet in diameter which the gunner peered through when sighting the gun. Kind of like a halo sitting on edge. That armament was massive for a boat that size. I am surprised that it was practical.
     
  19. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    These little boats could carry a quite a load. In 1944/5 it was quite common for a British MTB to carry a semi automatic 6pd derived from the one carried on the Mossie, a twin 20mm various mgs plus torpedo's and the larger Dog boats could carry 2 x 6pd, 4 x 20mm plus the torpedo's.
    It has to be said that when carrying all these guns the torps were normally limited to two for obvious reasons. The daddy of them all were the British steam gunboats which ended the war with 1 x 3in, 2 x 6pd, 6 x 20mm and 2 x 21in TT.
     
  20. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Two books I recommend on Allied boats are:

    [​IMG]

    Synopsis: This is the first in a series that covers all Allied MTB's, PT boats, motor gunboats, launches and submarine chasers used in World War II. Each vessel is described in full and accompanied by photographs, line illustrations and plans.

    [​IMG]

    Synopsis: This second of three volumes covers 16 Vosper MTB designs, and the US 70-foot, 77-foot and 80-foot ELCO designs. US-built Vosper designs supplied under lease-lend are also covered, while weapons systems and machinery are dealt with in detail.

    No sign of the 3rd volume, yet.
     
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