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Mystery Vosper??

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:09 pm
by RogerP
Hello everyone,

The photo below shows a Vosper MTB somewhere in the Adriatic area during WW2 and that is all the info I have, so I'm asking does anyone know which MTB this is and perhaps when the photo was taken?

I got the photo off the PT Dockyard website and no Dave does not have any info at all.
Adriatic Vosper.jpg

Re: Mystery Vosper??

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:46 am
by Admin
Given the men on deck are British commandos and not Partisans, and noting that the boat does not sport any advanced radar, and still has its torpedo tubes, a number of possibilities present themselves. It is a documented fact that Vospers of the 24th MTB Flotilla, based at Vis amongst other places, participated in 'cloak and dagger' operations within the Adriatic theatre, and towards the end of their working lives in June 1944, were devoted to these activities full time, as part of the Special Service Flotilla. At this point, certain of the MTBs involved had their torpedo tubes removed, much to the consternation of their commanders, they being MTBs 85, 86, 89, 97, 226, and 243, whilst MTBs 81, 84 and 242, similarly engaged as part of this group, retained theirs. The boats of the 24th MTB Flotilla were later replaced with newly built American Vospers. So the boat in question could belong to the 24th Flotilla, prior to becoming the Special Service Flotilla, or else after this redesignation, and so be one of those that retained its torpedo tubes, or could belong to the 20th MTB Flotilla, which was also engaged in this work, given that they were Vospers?, or another unit entirely, of which I am currently unaware.

Re: Mystery Vosper??

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:03 am
by RogerP
Thanks 'Admin',

Interesting response which is certainly food for thought. It's tricky re the radar given we can't see the top of the mast but it looks to me like there could be an extension? but of course not sure. That's interesting too re the torpedo tube removal on most of 24th Flotilla's boats, I haven't heard of that happening except where MTB 61 I think it was had it's tubes removed to be replaced by four Breda 20mm guns plus she sported another two making her a real little gunboat.

Roger in Oz.

Re: Mystery Vosper??

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:55 am
by Admin
Hello Roger

Yes part of the radio mast assembly is hidden in this photo, although assuming the later replacement Vospers had the more advanced SO radar fitted, and that their assembly was similar to those shown in jonco's photos of MTB 670, which seem quite chunky and relatively low set, then I imagine it would still be visible.

The information I have passed on comes from a small pamphlet, A History of the 24th MTB Flotilla, written by H.F. Cooper, whose details I understand were incorporated into Mediterranean MTBs at War, co-authored with Len Reynolds. From reading the pamphlet, it does seem as though the bulk of the activities involving commandoes and partisans, took place during an operational time frame that spanned their deployment with the Special Service Flotilla, until their eventual paying off, and that the removal of torpedo tubes took place at the beginning of this period, thereby making MTBs 81, 84, and 242, reasonably strong candidates for the boat in question. The other boats of the 24th Flotilla had 20mm Breda guns fitted for additional armament.

Possible locations range from Komiza, on the island of Vis, through to Brindisi, Manfredonia, Ancona, and in particular Bari, where regular exercises apparently took place in which commandos practised launching and re-embarking their collapsible boats.


Re: Mystery Vosper??

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:59 pm
by Peter
MTB 243 shown at Bari, Italy
I attach a print of MTB 243 as she was adorned with camouflage alongside HMS Vienna in December 1943 at Bari. She also was fitted with the Italian Breda cannon forward of the main hatch, when later her torpedo tubes were removed when she was assigned to the Special Services mission, much to the disgust of our C/O Lt Du Bouley, affectionately known as Duke. The photo posted above is particularly interesting, as the two ships in the background were rarely seen around the Dalmatian islands, and there are a posse of commandos on board ready for action, but no canoes, so maybe the boat was used as a ferry. All very interesting and I hope that we can find the answer.

Re: Mystery Vosper??

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:48 am
by Admin
I suspect the boat could probably be identified from its particular camouflage scheme, if there was only an available template to work from, in the form of an officially documented photo, with several or all of the boats clearly visible in it. Somewhere buried in the bowels of the Imperial War Museum's image library perhaps?