Allied Coastal Forces of World War II – Volume II, written by John Lambert and Al Ross deals with Vosper MTBs and US Elcos. It was published on 9 April 2019 by Seaforth Publishing, an imprint of Pen and Sword Books, is 256 pages long and has ISBN: 9781526747556.
Like volume I, this is a reprint of a book first published by Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, in 1994 the picked up by Conway Maritime Press in 2002. It was reprinted again in April 2005 by Conway’s. This volume deals with sixteen Vosper MTB designs, and the US 70′, 77′ and 80′ Elco designs.
Also, as with Volume 1, there are copies of volume 2 from 2002 available still, new, for US $72.40 at various outlets.
Vosper was established as a company in 1871. They became famous for the unstepped planing hull-form they developed which was the basis of their Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB) and Motor Gun Boats (MGB) for the Royal Navy in World War II. The original boats had a length of 68 feet and were based upon the prototype MTB 102, which survives to this day as a museum piece.
Vosper’s designs were copied by many, especially given the speeds they acheived with their planing hulls. Apart from MTBs and MGBs, Vosper also built high speed launches for the the Royal Air Force for the rescue of air crew who ditched into the sea.
Vospers were not only built in the United Kingdom but also in the United States under license.
The illustration here are some of the vessels illustrated with differing camouflage designs are taken from the book. Apologies for the quality, I photographed with my tablet and one hand and it is a heavy tome.
As with the previous volume, the detail, drawings, plans and photographs in this book are super. Al Ross had a reputation as a very fine draughtsman and it shows in his drawings throughout the volume. Lambert covers the details of the vessels, the equipment that was present on the vessels, selected weapon systems and additional data.
The table of contents, apart from the usual sections of Foreword, Preface, Abbreviations and the like covers:
- Vosper Ltd
- Elco – a short history
- Vosper’s private venture (MTB 102) and Bloodhound
- Vosper MTB designs 1938-39
- The Vosper 45ft MTB Design
- Vosper designs 1940
- MTB 74
- MTB 103
- Vosper designs 1941
- Vosper designs 1942
- MTB 510
- Vosper designs 1943-45
- Vosper construction
- The Elco 70ft PT
- The Elco 77ft PT
- The Elco 80ft PT
- Licence-built Vospers
- PT construction
- PT camouflage
- The Packard 4M-2500 marine engine
- Selected weapons systems (0.5in Vickers machine guns; 20mm Oerlikons (single and twin); 9mm Lanchester machine carbine; 18in and 21in torpedo tubes; PT torpedo armament and the Dewandre turret)
- Additional data covering US 20mm, 37mm and 40mm mounts and guns; Rocket launchers; Development of bridge and wheelhouse during the Second World War; Notes on operating the Royal Navy Packard engines; Free French Vosper MTBs; The Vosper survivors; and Restored Elco PT 617.
As with the first volume, the writing in the book is clear an easy to both follow and understand. It has been fascinating to read about these vessels, so much so that I am looking for similar works on Axis boats. It is a shame that the third volume mooted back in the 1990s never eventuated as it would have dealt with the British Power Boat 70ft MTBs and MGBs which were also very successful boats.
This also is a must have book for anyone interested in coastal warfare and a great companion to Volume 1. There is nothing I can think of that is really missing from this coverage. Best, along with volume 1, it is on special at the moment (23 July 2019) at Pen and Sword.