Acknowledgement to Krakatoa & Rowdy36 for their drawings of MTB-624 & the British Harbour Defence Motor Launch. These were the basis for HMWFS Swordfish & HMWFS Stingray respectively.
Fairmile D Motor Torpedo Boat:
The British Fairmile D was one of the most heavily armed coastal vessels regularly employed by Allied forces in World War Two. In total, 229 boats were built in the UK between 1942 & 1945. They proved to be highly weatherable, operating equally well in cold Norwegian coastal waters or the warmer temperatures along the North African coastline. Like all Fairmile designs, it was based on prefabrication so components could be built at small factories & be delivered to various boatyards for assembly. By early 1943 three had been built in West Florida shipyards. With regular RWFN officers & sailors needed to man the navy's larger vessels, crews for these boats would come from RWFN volunteer reserve.
The Fairmile Ds could be fitted with a mix of armament that gave them the capabilities of both a Motor Gun Boat (MGB) & a Motor Torpedo boat (MTB), & the RWFN employed them in a number of roles, including coastal convoy escort, routine patrols, minesweeping & survey work. Standard armament was two single QF 6-pounder guns, one twin Oerlikon 20mm & two twin .303 Vickers K machine guns. Up to six depth charges & two 21-inch (533mm) torpedo tubes could also be carried. Fairmile Ds originally had MTB pennant numbers, but these were changed to P pennant numbers in 1948.
The Fairmile D boats in RWFN service were named Dolphin (91), Swordfish (92) & Marlin (93). Following the end of the war, one boat was decommissioned in early 1947. The remaining two boats continuing to serve into the 1960s, with Marlin finally paying off in early 1965. The drawing below shows HMWFS Swordfish in late 1943.
Harbour Defence Motor Launches:
During World War Two, over 450 HDMLs were constructed, mainly by yacht builders, in the UK & a number of other allied countries. Three HDMLs were built in West Florida between 1940 & 1941. They were designed to accommodate a crew of ten. The armament commonly fitted was a QF 2-pounder gun on the foredeck & an Oerlikon 20mm cannon on the stern cabin, along with a Vickers K or Lewis gun fitted on each side of the bridge. HDMLs also carried 6 to 8 depth charges on the aft deck. The 2-pounder was often replaced by another 20mm Oerlikon or Browning .50 calibre machine gun.
HDMLs were originally intended for defence in local waters, but they proved such a seaworthy & versatile design, they were used in every theatre of operations during the war. They could be found escorting convoys, performing coastal patrols, carrying out covert activities & undertaking anti-submarine patrols. They also played major roles in deception operations to draw German attention away from the Normandy landings. After the war, many HDMLs were adapted for other purposes, such as survey, search & rescue, dispatch boats, fisheries patrols & training.
The HDMLs in RWFN service were named Stingray (101), Tarpon (102) & Barracuda (103). Like the Fairmile Ds, HDML crews came from the RWFN volunteer reserve. Following the end of the war, one boat was decommissioned in early 1948. The remaining two boats changed to P pennant numbers & continued to serve into the late 1960s, with Barracuda finally paying off at the end of 1966. The drawing below shows HMWFS Stingray in early 1941.