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MTB 72 and the Blacker Bombard

Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:05 pm
by David Manley
Good afternoon everybody, I'ma lifelong coastal forces enthusiast, dad was in the RN in the Far East during WW2 so I was brought up on his tales of derring do (in carriers and minesweepers mainly). Got my taste for CF from building the old Airfix 73' Vosper Type 1. And now I'm the RN's subject matter expert on ship survivability so I can mix business with pleasure :)

I'm trying to find out a bit more about the trials of the Blacker Bombard spigot mortar that were carried out on MTB72 (one of the ex-Norwegian 60' boats I think). Entries in the Coastal Forces Periodical Review indicate that trials at sea were carried out and that it was used at least once operationally. Has anyone seen more detail on this, any photographs etc.?

Thanks for any help you can give me on this.

Re: MTB 72 and the Blacker Bombard

Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:00 pm
by Stephen
Hi David and welcome to the forum.

I can't help with MTB 72 I'm afraid, but in Gunboat Command, written by Anthony Hichens about his father Robert, there is a reference to MGB 112 (A British Power Boat 71 ft 9 in Motor Gun Boat) carrying a Blacker Bombard. It's actually mentioned during the description of the patrol that Hichens was killed on (on the night of 12/13 April 1943) and he was on 112 himself.

According to Anthony Hichens the spigot mortar was "carried on the bows, but seldom used. They had never previously hit an enemy vessel with one, but on this occasion it was seen to register a hit." It seems likely that they hit the enemy trawler they were attacking with the mortar, before Hichens was killed by a stray round as they withdrew.

The use of the Blacker Bombard on Hichen's MGBs is corroborated here ... 5603.shtml, although MGB 67 was one of the older 70 ft MGBs. However, I'm not aware I've ever seen a picture of a BPB MGB with a Blacker Bombard on it I'm afraid...

Hope this helps a little.

Re: MTB 72 and the Blacker Bombard

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:52 pm
by David Manley
Thanks for That, fascinating!