By Angus Konstam
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Extra info for British Motor Gun Boat 1939-45 (New Vanguard 166)
The crew of the Fairmile D boat MGB-658, photographed in Malta in March 1945. The original complement of a 'Dog Boat' was two officers and 12 ratings, but due to extra weaponry this number had doubled by the end of the war. M G B a n d S G B Losses MGB-12 (70ft BPB) - Sunk by mine off Milford Haven, 3 February 1941 MGB-17 (70ft BPB) - Sunk by mine off Normandy beaches, 11 June 1944 MGB-18 (70ft BPB) - Sunk during surface action off Terschelling, Holland, 30 September 1942 MGB-19 (70ft BPB) - Destroyed by bombing on slipway, Portsmouth, 6 November 1942 MGB-62 (70ft BPB) - Sunk in collision, North Sea, 9 August 1941 MGB-64 (70ft BPB) - Foundered during storm in English Channel, 8 August 1943 MGB-76 (71ft 9in BPB) - Sunk during surface action, North Sea, 6 October 1942 MGB-78 (71ft 9in BPB) - Beached and destroyed during surface action, Dutch coast, 3 October 1942 MGB-79 (71ft 9in BPB) - Sunk during surface action off Hook of Holland, 28 February 1943 MGB-90 (70ft Elco) - Destroyed by fire, Portland Harbour, 6 July 1941 MGB-92 (70ft Elco) - Destroyed by fire, Portland Harbour, 6 July 1941 MGB-98 (French MGB) - Destroyed during air raid, Gosport, June 1941 MGB-99 (French MGB) - Constructive loss, April 1945 43 MGB-109 (71ft 9in BPB) - Badly damaged by mine, 7 February 1943; decommissioned two weeks later M G B - 1 1 0 (71ft 9in BPB) - Sunk during surface action off Dunkirk, 29 May 1943 MGB-313 (Fairmile C) - Sunk by mine off Normandy beaches, 16 August 1944 MGB-314 (Fairmile C) - Badly damaged and scuttled off St Nazaire, 28 March 1942 MGB-326 (Fairmile C) - Sunk by mine off Normandy beaches, 28 June 1944 MGB-328 (Fairmile C) - Sunk during attack on enemy convoy, Dover Straits, 21 July 1942 MGB-335 (Fairmile C) - Badly damaged and scuttled during surface action in North Sea, 11 September 1942 MGB-501 (Camper &c Nicholson experimental) - Destroyed by accidental explosion off Land's End, 27 July 1942 MGB-601 (Fairmile D) - Sunk during surface action, Dover Straits, 24 July 1942 MGB-622 (Fairmile D) - Sunk during surface action off Terschelling, Holland, 10 March 1943 MGB-631 (Fairmile D) - Transferred to Royal Norwegian Navy, August 1942.
They were also easy to operate and maintain, and remained the principal light anti-aircraft weapon carried in Coastal Forces vessels until the end of the war. 5in Vickers Mark III MG, which was usually mounted in pairs in a Mark V mounting. The weapon had a rate of fire of 700rpm, and was belt-fed from a box that held 650 rounds. A number of different mountings were used, including a pre-war Mark IV twin mount, which was cumbersome to operate. A much better system was the Mark V mounting - a small powered turret that housed a single gunner, and where ammunition was supplied in special canisters, which were easy to change in the heat of battle.
Mainmast 9. Searchlight platform 10. Twin 20mm Oerlikon 11. Ammunition lockers 12. Automatic 6-pdr gun 13. Engineering (stoker's) mess 14. Tiller flat 15. Smoke apparatus 16. Depth charge (1 of 4) 17. Petty officers' mess 18. Twin rudders 19. PO's heads (stoker's heads on port side) 20. Propellers (4) 21. After fuel tanks (6) 22. Coachdeck 23. Engine room 24. Carley float (1 of 2) 25. Forward fuel tanks (6) and generator (amidships) 26. 20mm Oerlikon 27. Officer's heads and washroom (wardroom on port side) 28.