Fairmile B motor launch
Overview
 
The Fairmile B motor launch was a type of Motor Launch
Motor Launch
A Motor Launch is a small military vessel in British navy service. It was designed for harbour defence and submarine chasing or for armed high speed air-sea rescue....

 built by Fairmile Marine
Fairmile Marine
Fairmile Marine was a British boat building company founded in 1939 by the car manufacturer Noel Macklin.Macklin used the garage at his home at Cobham Fairmile in Surrey for manufacturing assembly which is why the boats he designed came to be called Fairmiles....

 during the Second World War for the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 for coastal operations.
While the Type A had been designed entirely by Fairmile, the Type B design had come from Bill Holt of the Admiralty
Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

 based on the lines of a destroyer hull and the detailed design and production was taken on by Fairmile.

Like all their designs it was based on total prefabrication so individual components could be contracted out to small factories for production and these arranged as kits that would be delivered to various boatyards for assembly and fitting out.

Altogether approximately 650 boats were built between 1940 and 1945.
Encyclopedia
The Fairmile B motor launch was a type of Motor Launch
Motor Launch
A Motor Launch is a small military vessel in British navy service. It was designed for harbour defence and submarine chasing or for armed high speed air-sea rescue....

 built by Fairmile Marine
Fairmile Marine
Fairmile Marine was a British boat building company founded in 1939 by the car manufacturer Noel Macklin.Macklin used the garage at his home at Cobham Fairmile in Surrey for manufacturing assembly which is why the boats he designed came to be called Fairmiles....

 during the Second World War for the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 for coastal operations.

Design

While the Type A had been designed entirely by Fairmile, the Type B design had come from Bill Holt of the Admiralty
Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

 based on the lines of a destroyer hull and the detailed design and production was taken on by Fairmile.

Like all their designs it was based on total prefabrication so individual components could be contracted out to small factories for production and these arranged as kits that would be delivered to various boatyards for assembly and fitting out.

Altogether approximately 650 boats were built between 1940 and 1945. Like the A Type, the B Type were initially intended as submarine chaser
Submarine chaser
A submarine chaser is a small and fast naval vessel specially intended for anti-submarine warfare. Although similar vessels were designed and used by many nations, this designation was most famously used by ships built by the United States of America...

s, so the boats were fitted with ASDIC (sonar
Sonar
Sonar is a technique that uses sound propagation to navigate, communicate with or detect other vessels...

) as standard. Their main armament initially reflected their anti-submarine focus, with 12 depth charge
Depth charge
A depth charge is an anti-submarine warfare weapon intended to destroy or cripple a target submarine by the shock of exploding near it. Most use explosives and a fuze set to go off at a preselected depth in the ocean. Depth charges can be dropped by either surface ships, patrol aircraft, or from...

s, a single Hotchkiss 3-pounder gun aft, and one set of twin 0.303-in machine guns. The specifications given are for the original 1940 British version. As the war moved on, the vessels were adapted to other roles and the armament was modified and upgraded such as the replacement of the 3pdr with one or more 20 mm Oerlikon cannon. Some boats were configured as Motor Torpedo Boats.

Service

All boats were essentially the same, although they could be adapted to serve in several roles by the expedient of having pre-drilled rails on their decks spaced to allow fitment of various types of armaments. Many were later converted to Rescue Motor Launches with small sickbays aft of the funnel, and several more were converted to use as War Department Ambulance Launches with larger sickbays.

Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 built eighty boats. These were built in thirteen different boatyards
Shipyard
Shipyards and dockyards are places which repair and build ships. These can be yachts, military vessels, cruise liners or other cargo or passenger ships. Dockyards are sometimes more associated with maintenance and basing activities than shipyards, which are sometimes associated more with initial...

 to slightly different specifications and used as escort vessels. Eight of these (ML392-399) were built by Le Blanc for the Royal Navy. These eight boats were transferred under Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease
Lend-Lease was the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, Free France, and other Allied nations with materiel between 1941 and 1945. It was signed into law on March 11, 1941, a year and a half after the outbreak of war in Europe in...

 to the US Navy, because US coastal protection had been depleted by transferring ships to the Royal Navy for convoy work. The US Navy used them as submarine chasers (SC1466-1473) until their forces could be built up. There are 2 surviving examples on the West Coast of Canada serving as party charter vessels.

New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 built twelve boats. These were used in New Zealand waters and around the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

, and included HMNZS Maori
HMNZS Maori (P3570)
HMNZS Maori was a Fairmile B Motor Launch of the Royal New Zealand NavyOriginally commissioned on 20 December 1943 with pennant number Q 409, she was part of the 80th Motor Launch Flotilla. Early in 1944 she went to the Solomon Islands where she served under the operational control of COMSOPAC...

 and Kahu
HMNZS Kahu (P3571)
HMNZS Kahu I was a Fairmile B motor launch of the Royal New Zealand Navy.Originally commissioned on 20 December, 1943, with the pendant number Q 411, she was part of the 80th Motor Launch Flotilla...



At least six boats (ML380-383,829 and 846) were built by South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 and commissioned during November 1942. These were sent as the 49th Fairmile Flotilla (SANF) to Burma and deployed along the Arakan coast. The boats saw much action in support of ground forces and disrupting Japanese supply lines.

A number served in the St Nazaire Raid where their relatively light construction meant they suffered heavily.

Post war they were often taken on as pleasure boats and a number of Fairmile Bs are on the National Register of Historic Vessels
National Historic Ships Committee
The UK's Advisory Committee on National Historic Ships was established in 2006 as a non-departmental public body reporting to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with a specific remit to advise the Secretary of State and other public bodies on ship preservation and funding...



Four currently survive in the UK, two of which are in excellent condition. Many others of the type are known to survive around the world, some still in commercial service as tourboats.

See also

  • Fairmile A motor launch
    Fairmile A motor launch
    The Fairmile A motor launch was a type of Motor Launch designed by Fairmile Marine for the Royal Navy.Shortly before the Second World War the British industrialist Noel Macklin submitted to the Admiralty an innovative plan for the series production of a motor launch...

  • Fairmile C motor gun boat
    Fairmile C motor gun boat
    The Fairmile C motor gun boat was a type of Motor Gun Boat designed by Norman Hart of Fairmile Marine for the Royal Navy. An intermediate design, twenty-four boats were built in 1941 receiving the designations MGB 312 - 335.-Design:...

  • Fairmile D motor torpedo boat
    Fairmile D motor torpedo boat
    The Fairmile D motor torpedo boat was a type of British Motor Torpedo Boat designed by Bill Holt and conceived by Fairmile Marine for the Royal Navy....

  • Fairmile H landing craft
    Fairmile H landing craft
    The Fairmile H Landing Craft were British landing craft of the Second World War. Initially designed for commando type raids from a base in Britain as a way of probing enemy defenses and tying down additional troops, some were converted into fire support vessels.Two variants were developed:The...

  • Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy
    Coastal Forces of the Royal Navy
    Coastal Forces was a division of the Royal Navy established duringWorld War II under the command of Rear Admiral Coastal Forces. -History:The Royal Navy had previously operated flotillas of small torpedo- and depth-charge-armed craft during the First World WarThe first Headquarters was set up at ...


External links

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