In its report, the commander S-701 says only one ram his boat.MTB_495 British Power Boat Co, Hythe Hampshire 15/11/44
22nd MTB Flotilla
Based at Lowestoft
22-3/1/45 The Eighth S Boat Flotilla (KKpt. Zymalkowski) (S 194, S 196, S 197, S 199 and S 701) reach the Thames Estuary northeast of North Foreland and are in action with British escorts including HMS Seymour the corvette HMS Guillemot, and three groups of MTBs. MTB 495 is heavily damaged. S 199 is written off after colliding with S 701 near Tongue Sand Fort and is scuttled. MTB 495 collides with S701. S 701 remains out of action until the end of the war.
Post War Fate
So it would appear from the timeline of this narrative that MTB 495 was damaged in an earlier encounter with E-boats, that were part of a different flotilla to the one with S 199 and S 701 in it, who were at a different location.On that night three groups of E-hoats set out to attack the convoys; they were cleverly dispersed to different areas in order to stretch the thinly spread resources of available escorts. The first group evaded all patrols and were able to attack a convoy entering the Schelde estuary, damaging one of the merchant ships. They were then intercepted by two units of the 35th, vectored by HMS Stayner; the second unit engaged in ‘a fierce chase’ during which one E-boat was hit by a 6-pounder shell, and 495 was hit in the engine room.
The second group of E-boats headed towards Walcheren but were driven off. The third group of five E-boats was shadowed by aircraft but managed to shake them off; they then appeared near Tongue Sand off the Thames estuary, where they were briefly engaged by 451 (McGinty), 452 and 450, and then by the Tongue Fort. In a confused action one E-boat (S 199) was sunk, and several survivors were picked up
In a fascinating exchange of correspondence many years later, the C0 of S 199 vehemently asserted that his boat was sunk not by the Fort or the MTBs, but as a result of a collision with one of his own boats in the course of the action. To confuse the issue still further, the C0 of the anti-aircraft battery on the Tongue Fort describes his own pattern of fire as the E-hoats came very close, and submits ‘that it may be considered whether this E—boat was in fact sunk as a result of my fire’. The E-boat commander (who was taken prisoner) gave evidence for the collision: ‘l was convinced that I had rammed an enemy heat. but in fact we had collided with S 701, also fighting the MGBs.
In fact, of the sixteen E-boats 4th, 6th, 8th and 9th flotillas 7 of 4th and 6th flotillas did not find the goal, 4 of 9th sunk ship "Halo" (2365t), lags behind convoy in Antwerpen, and then had a collision with the frigate "Rioy" and the MGB, of the 8th fleet we have already spoken.The section on this incident in the book Home Waters MTBs & MGBs by Len Reynolds reads as follows:
On that night three groups of E-hoats set out to attack the convoys; they were cleverly dispersed to different areas in order to stretch the thinly spread resources of available escorts. The first group evaded all patrols and were able to attack a convoy entering the Schelde estuary, damaging one of the merchant ships. They were then intercepted by two units of the 35th, vectored by HMS Stayner; the second unit engaged in ‘a fierce chase’ during which one E-boat was hit by a 6-pounder shell, and 495 was hit in the engine room.
The second group of E-boats headed towards Walcheren but were driven off. The third group of five E-boats was shadowed by aircraft but managed to shake them off; they then appeared near Tongue Sand off the Thames estuary, where they were briefly engaged by 451 (McGinty), 452 and 450, and then by the Tongue Fort.
The Work of the Coastal Forces Control Frigates22nd January, Monday
Ostend A/S Patrols
FG 5 MLs 252, 286, 442, 467 sailed 05.25
Z15 MTBs 679, 609
Z13 MTBs 773, 766
Z11 MTBs 721, 5002
Z9 MTBs 387, 390
Z7 MTBs 223, 233
Z5 MTBs 383, 392
Z3 MTBs 381, 382
53 buoy MTBs 445, 444
Patrol 12 MTBs 482, 478, 454, 447
Patrol 18 MTBs 495, 446, 496, 497
Tounge Sand (FB6) MTBs 451, 452, 450
FH3 4(HK4) MTBs 491, 485, 348, 355
Stein BK MLs 252, 286, 442, 467
FB2 MTBs 795, 768
FA8 MTBs 755, 775, 695
Patrol 16 MTBs 776, 756, 769, 771
Tongue Sand Fort FB6, Patrol 12, 16, 18 engaged E Boats}
C in C Nore 23/621A
MTBs 451, 452, 450, 495, 446, 454, 447 engaged
MTB 495 sustained damage 1 killed, 3 injured, returning, also MTB 446 returned, not in company.
The citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Medal to Able Seaman Billington, although for actions that took place on later dates, provides further insight into these operations....Once passed as fully fit for sea service, he was appointed to HMS Hornet in May 1944, for special service with Captain Coastal Forces (CCF) Channel. It was here that he was involved in the development of radar control tactics for MTBs that would lead to the award of his DSC.
MTB actions were often highly confused, as the situational awareness of such small platforms was low, and in the run up to Operation Overlord there was concern at the risk of friendly fire accidents with so many allied vessels operating in the channel. As a result, officers from the MTB force were embarked in radar-equipped frigates which were directed to operate with groups of MTBs. The control officer would use early radar displays, known as Plan Position Indicators (PPIs) to vector MTBs onto prospective targets, deconflicting them with other allied operations.
The technique was implemented for the D-Day landings and continued during the subsequent allied advance along the French coast. During this period Hudson and his colleagues Lt P G Lee DSC* RNVR and Lt R G Fison DSC RNVR were embarked in a variety of frigates, including HM Ships Thornborough, Retalick and Seymour. In the Action Report, CINC Portsmouth, Admiral C Little, remarked “In general the reports indicate that the destroyer Commanding Officers found the control exercised from the frigates to be invaluable.”
‘For bravery, daring and skill whilst serving in H.M. ships Riou and Seymour and H.M.C. Motor Torpedo Boat 743 in successful engagements with enemy E-Boats.’
The original recommendation states:
‘During the night of 20-21 February 1945, H.M.S. Riou and Coastal Forces units controlled by her, engaged four separate groups of four E-Boats within the space of two hours, driving them all away from the swept channels. On the night of 24-25 February, three groups of E-Boats were similarly engaged, one E-Boat being stopped and subsequently sunk during the engagements, 22 prisoners being taken. On the night of 28 February-1 March, two groups of E-Boats were engaged and driven off by Riou and Coastal Forces controlled by her, the E-Boats suffering damage.
This rating is a Radar Operator using American-type S.L. Radar in H.M.S. Riou. During the above engagements Billington was outstanding in his accuracy and coolness in interpreting an extremely complex scan and reporting to the plot. At times he had to recognise and report as many as five targets at one time, all these targets moving at high speed, merging and separating as interceptions were made and actions broken off. He did not make one single mistake in his reports. This feat required calm and detachment on the part of Billington, combined with a quick and accurate memory, at a time when the ship was proceeding at full power with frequent alterations of course with the additional distractions of frequent gunfire from our own main armament and continuous R./T. chatter close to his position.’
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