Herreshoff MTBs 287-294

Motor Torpedo Boats (MTB)
GregBanner
Seaman
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2021 2:47 am

Herreshoff MTBs 287-294

Postby GregBanner » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:17 am

I am specifically researching all the (100) vessels of seven classes built by Herreshoff Boatyard in Bristol, Rhode Island USA. Among them were 20 Vospers which went to the USSR, and four which went to the UK and four to the Royal Indian Navy. I have some good basic information on construction, some photos and basic service information: 287-290 (UK) 18th or 20th Flotillas in the Med. 287 & 288 lost in action. 289 & 290 returned and/or destroyed after the war. 291-293 Royal Indian Navy 16th Flotilla. 294 17th Flotilla. All returned after the war and sold overseas (destinations unknown). I would like to get any more information on these boats and happy to share anything I have. Other big group of boats were 63 and 85 foot air sea rescue boats. email easiest gbanner@cox.net

John110547
Seaman
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:11 pm

Re: Herreshoff MTBs 287-294

Postby John110547 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:21 pm

Greg

This is what I have on the Herreshoff Boats 283 to 290

John

MTB 283 was built under licence in the United States as British PT 49. The boat was transferred to the Royal Navy under the lend-lease agreement & assigned to the Royal Indian Navy. Commissioned on 3 April 1943 as MTB 283.

MTBs 283, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 286, 291, 292, 293, 294, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 from 1 June 1943 all MTBs become fully operational & are split into three flotillas (16th, 17th & 18th MTB Flotillas) & based either at Bombay (HMIS Cheetah) or Calcutta (HMIS Hooghly).

MTBs 283, 276, 281, 286, 294, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 from 1 September 1943 were assigned to 17th MTB Flotilla based at Vizagapatam (HMIS Circars).

MTBs 283, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 286, 291, 292, 293, 294, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 from 1 January 1944 were involved in a programme to rearm the MTBs with 1 x 2 & 1 x 1 20mm/70(0.79") Oerlikon Mk II Cannon + 1 x 2 .5"/62(12.7mm) Vickers Mk III MG.

MTBs 283, 276, 281, 286, 294, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 of 17th MTB Flotilla was at Vizagapatam (HMIS Circars) when the Admiralty decided owing to their limited operational range & the absence of targets for their torpedoes all MTBs were to be paid off & place in care & maintenance until further notice.

MTB 283 in March 1945 was returned to the United States Navy. The boat was transferred to the United States, State Department, Foreign Liquidation on 17 March 1946.

MTB 284 was built under licence in the United States as British PT 50. The boat was transferred to the Royal Navy under the lend-lease agreement & assigned to the Royal Indian Navy. Commissioned on 3 April 1943 as MTB 284.

MTBs 284 & 285 on 9 September 1943 were being delivered to the Royal Indian Navy but was lost in transit when its transport, the SS LARCHBANK, was sunk by a Japanese submarine (I-27) 200 miles west of Cape Cormorin in the Indian Ocean.

MTB 285 was built under licence in the United States as British PT 51. The boat was transferred to the Royal Navy under the lend-lease agreement & assigned to the Royal Indian Navy. Commissioned on 3 April 1943 as MTB 285.

MTBs 285 & 284 on 9 September 1943 were being delivered to the Royal Indian Navy but was lost in transit when its transport, the SS LARCHBANK, was sunk by a Japanese submarine (I-27) 200 miles west of Cape Cormorin in the Indian Ocean.

MTB 286 was built under licence in the United States as British PT 52. The boat was transferred to the Royal Navy under the lend-lease agreement & assigned to the Royal Indian Navy. Commissioned on 3 April 1943 as MTB 286.

MTBs 286, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 291, 292, 293, 294, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 from 1 June 1943 all MTBs become fully operational & are split into three flotillas (16th, 17th & 18th MTB Flotillas) & based either at Bombay (HMIS Cheetah) or Calcutta (HMIS Hooghly).

MTBs 286, 276, 281, 283, 294, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 from 1 September 1943 were assigned to 17th MTB Flotilla based at Vizagapatam (HMIS Circars).

MTBs 286, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 291, 292, 293, 294, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 from 1 January 1944 were involved in a programme to rearm the MTBs with 1 x 2 & 1 x 1 20mm/70(0.79") Oerlikon Mk II Cannon + 1 x 2 .5"/62(12.7mm) Vickers Mk III MG.

MTBs 286, 276, 281, 283, 294, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306 of 17th MTB Flotilla was at Vizagapatam (HMIS Circars) when the Admiralty decided owing to their limited operational range & the absence of targets for their torpedoes all MTBs were to be paid off & place in care & maintenance until further notice.

MTB 286 in March 1945 was returned to the United States Navy. The boat was transferred to the United States, State Department, Foreign Liquidation on 17 March 1946.

MTB 287 was built under licence in the United States as British PT 29 & was transferred to the Royal Navy under the lend-lease agreement. Commissioned on 12 March 1943 as MTB 287.

MTBs 287, 290, 295 of the 20th MTB Flotilla & MTBs 085, 089 of the 24th MTB Flotilla on 21 September 1943 at 14.30hrs departed Taranto for Valona Bay.

MTBs 287, 290, 295 of the 20th MTB Flotilla & MTBs 085, 089 of the 24th MTB Flotilla on 22 September 1943 at 01.30hrs reached Valona Bay, Yugoslavia where the force split, with the boats from the 20th MTB Flotilla sweeping the southern end of the bay & the 24th MTB Flotilla sweeping the northern end of the bay. MTBs 085 & 089 (24th MTB Flotilla) found a number of ships anchored. Three of the vessels were anchored closely together & made a good torpedo target. MTB 089 fires one torpedo at the right-hand ship, which later sinks & MTB 085 fires two torpedoes at the left-hand ship, which was carrying ammunition, which exploded. Shortly after the second ship exploded, the shore defences started firing wildly & MTB 085 was picked up by a searchlight & for five minutes, was hotly engaged by the shore batteries. MTBs 287, 290, 295 (20th MTB Flotilla) found a number of ships anchored & closed on them. MTB 295 fires a torpedo at one ship, which unexpectedly blew-up & smoke obscured the other targets. MTB 295 continued through the smoke after signalling MTBs 287 & 290 to 'keep clear of the smoke'. At 02.23hrs, MTB 295 fired a torpedo & hit a medium-sized merchant ship & then made another torpedo attack on this ship before attacking it with depth charges. MTB 295 the disengage & headed south & five minutes later the merchant ship exploded behind them. During the attack by MTB 295, the other MTBs from the 20th MTB Flotilla came under heavy shellfire from the shore batteries & were forced to withdraw. All five MTBs returned safely to Taranto.

MTBs 287, 036, 081, 086, 242, 243, 289, 290, 296, 297 & 357 of the 24th Flotilla on 2 December 1943 were moored at Bari, Italy when 105 German Junkers Ju 88 bombers achieved a surprise attack by fly low over the sea to avoid radar. They then released their bombs on the shipping in the harbour, sinking 28 cargo/transport ships & damaging dozens of other vessels, including HMS VIENNA, the coastal forces depot ship. One of the ship's destroyed with the USN liberty ship JOHN HARVEY which was carrying in addition to arms & ammunition 2000 M47A1 mustard gas bombs on its deck from which liquid sulphur mustard spill into the harbour water. MTBs 036, 081, 243, 297 & 357, even though only partly crewed & suffering some damage, crept around the harbour picking up seamen from the acrid fumed water & plucking stranded seamen from burning ships, as well as from the sea walls. Some of the crew of MTB 081 boarded an abandoned liberty ship which lay between two blazing vessels, one of which was a tanker & connect a towline to the ship & tow the liberty ship to safety. MTB 243 went alongside a burning tanker & rescued the survivors. MTB 297 was ordered to torpedo a blazing cargo ship just outside of the harbour, drifting towards the shore. Within a day, symptoms of mustard poisoning had appeared in 628 patients (seamen & Italian civilians) & medical staff, with symptoms including blindness chemical burns. 83 of 628 patients died. Due to the air raid, MTBs 036, 081, 357 suffered only slight damage; MTB 243 damage took three weeks for repairs to be completed; MTBs 242 & 290 badly damaged & both took five weeks for repairs to be completed; MTBs 287 & 289 were badly damaged & both took two months for repairs to be completed; MTBs 086 & 296 were badly damaged & both took three months for repairs to be completed.

MTB 287 in early 1944 was rearmed with 1 x 2 & 1 x 1 20mm/70(0.79") Oerlikon Mk II Cannon + 1 x 2 .5"/62(12.7mm) Vickers Mk III MG

MTBs 287, 242, 295, 633, 638, MGB 642, 662 & ML 494 on 1 November 1944 at 17.00hrs departed to take part in Operation Exterminate with the destroyers HMS WHEATLAND & AVONDALE. The operation was to land a South African shore watching party on the north side of Pag Island. MTBs 242, 287, 295 patrolled the west side of Pag during this operation, while MTBs 633, 638 & MGB 642 patrol between Premuda & Asinello. ML 494 stayed with the destroyers. At 19.50hrs, MTBs 242, 287, 295 sighted two German corvettes UJ 202 & 208 heading southernly towards the RN destroyers & at 20.20hrs, the destroyers engaged the German corvettes. By 20.30hrs, the two corvettes were sinking & the two British destroyers started to rescue the German survivors, which had to be suspended when the German Kawakaze Class torpedo boat TA20 of the 2nd G-Flotilla was picked-up on the radar. The destroyers open fire & sank TA20 close to Peg Island. Over 200 German sailors lost their lives in these two actions.

MTBs 287 & 371 on 24 November 1944 were on patrol when both boats found themselves grounded on Levrera Island, Croatia, Yugoslavia. MGBs 642, 643, & 658 were dispatched from Mulat Island to assist the two MTBs. They failed in their attempts to tow the stranded craft off the beach, while another boat attempted to do a high-speed pass, designed to create a wash to help move the boats off the beach. However, this action only succeeded in pushing both boats further up the beach. At this point, both MTB's had to be abandoned, & their secret equipment was removed & scuttled by gunfire from the other MGBs. At this point, MTBs 287 & 371 had to be abandoned & their secret equipment removed. Both boats were then scuttled by gunfire from the other MGBs.

MTB 288 was built under licence in the United States as British PT 30 & was transferred to the Royal Navy under the lend-lease agreement. Commissioned on 26 March 1943 as MTB 288.

MTBs 288, 084, 057, 065, 066, 075(2), 077, 078, 081, 082, 084, 226, 242, 260, 265, 289, 295, 297, 313, 315, 316, 633, 634, 635, 636, 637, 638, 640, 655, 656, 665, 670 with MLs 121, 126, 134, 135, 168, 338, 462, 480, 554, 555, 559, 560, 561, 564, 565, 575, 1128, 1158, 1221, 1224, 1234, 1253, 1254, 1257, 1270, 1301 & MGBs 641, 643, 645, 646, 657, 659, 660, 661, 662 on the 9 July 1943 took part in Operation Husky (Invasion of Sicily).
MTB 288 on 22 July 1943 was bombed by German aircraft & sunk off Augusta, Sicily.

MTB 289 was built under licence in the United States as British PT 31, & was transferred to the Royal Navy under lend-lease & commissioned on 13 April 1943.

MTBs 289, 084, 057, 065, 066, 075(2), 077, 078, 081, 082, 084, 226, 242, 260, 265, 288, 295, 297, 313, 315, 316, 633, 634, 635, 636, 637, 638, 640, 655, 656, 665, 670 with MLs 121, 126, 134, 135, 168, 338, 462, 480, 554, 555, 559, 560, 561, 564, 565, 575, 1128, 1158, 1221, 1224, 1234, 1253, 1254, 1257, 1270, 1301 & MGBs 641, 643, 645, 646, 657, 659, 660, 661, 662 on the 9 July 1943 took part in Operation Husky (Invasion of Sicily).

MTBs 289 & 298 on 8 September 1943 are despatch to land agents on the Italian mainland in the Gulf of Gaeta, but en route, they encounter a convoy of Flak Lighters, Siebel Ferries & R-boats. MTB 298 fired two torpedoes at the convoy & hitting a large Flak Light, which was carrying ammunition that exploded.

MTBs 289, 036, 081, 086, 242, 243, 287, 290, 296, 297 & 357 of the 24th Flotilla on 2 December 1943 were moored at Bari, Italy when 105 German Junkers Ju 88 bombers achieved a surprise attack by fly low over the sea to avoid radar. They then released their bombs on the shipping in the harbour, sinking 28 cargo/transport ships & damaging dozens of other vessels, including HMS VIENNA, the coastal forces depot ship. One of the ship's destroyed with the USN liberty ship JOHN HARVEY which was carrying in addition to arms & ammunition 2000 M47A1 mustard gas bombs on its deck from which liquid sulphur mustard spill into the harbour water. MTBs 036, 081, 243, 297 & 357, even though only partly crewed & suffering some damage, crept around the harbour picking up seamen from the acrid fumed water & plucking stranded seamen from burning ships, as well as from the sea walls. Some of the crew of MTB 081 boarded an abandoned liberty ship which lay between two blazing vessels, one of which was a tanker & connect a towline to the ship & tow the liberty ship to safety. MTB 243 went alongside a burning tanker & rescued the survivors. MTB 297 was ordered to torpedo a blazing cargo ship just outside of the harbour, drifting towards the shore. Within a day, symptoms of mustard poisoning had appeared in 628 patients (seamen & Italian civilians) & medical staff, with symptoms including blindness chemical burns. 83 of 628 patients died. Due to the air raid, MTBs 036, 081, 357 suffered only slight damage; MTB 243 damage took three weeks for repairs to be completed; MTBs 242 & 290 badly damaged & both took five weeks for repairs to be completed; MTBs 287 & 289 were badly damaged & both took two months for repairs to be completed; MTBs 086 & 296 were badly damaged & both took three months for repairs to be completed.

MTB 289 in early 1944 was rearmed with 1 x 2 & 1 x 1 20mm/70(0.79") Oerlikon Mk II Cannon + 1 x 2 .5"/62(12.7mm) Vickers Mk III MG

MTB 289 on 10 March 1945 was returned to the United States Navy & was destroyed in October 1945

MTB 290 was built under licence in the United States as British PT 32, & was transferred to the Royal Navy under lend-lease & commissioned on 13 April 1943

MTBs 290, 287, 295 of the 20th MTB Flotilla & MTBs 085, 089 of the 24th MTB Flotilla on 21 September 1943 at 14.30hrs departed Taranto for Valona Bay.

MTBs 290, 287, 295 of the 20th MTB Flotilla & MTBs 085, 089 of the 24th MTB Flotilla on 22 September 1943 at 01.30hrs reached Valona Bay, Yugoslavia where the force split, with the boats from the 20th MTB Flotilla sweeping the southern end of the bay & the 24th MTB Flotilla sweeping the northern end of the bay. MTBs 085 & 089 (24th MTB Flotilla) found a number of ships anchored. Three of the vessels were anchored closely together & made a good torpedo target. MTB 089 fire one torpedoes at the right-hand ship, which later sinks & MTB 085 fire two torpedoes at the left-hand ship which was carrying ammunition, which exploded. Shortly after the second ship exploded, the shore defences started firing wildly & MTB 085 was picked up by a searchlight & for five minutes, was hotly engaged by the shore batteries. MTBs 287, 290, 295 (20th MTB Flotilla) found a number of ships anchored & closed on them. MTB 295 fires a torpedo at one ship, which unexpectedly blew-up & smoke obscured the other targets. MTB 295 continued through the smoke after signalling MTBs 287 & 290 to 'keep clear of the smoke'. At 02.23hrs, MTB 295 fired a torpedo & hit a medium-sized merchant ship & then made another torpedo attack on this ship before attacking it with depth charges. MTB 295 the disengage & headed south & five minutes later the merchant ship exploded behind them. During the attack by MTB 295, the other MTBs from the 20th MTB Flotilla came under heavy shellfire from the shore batteries & were forced to withdraw. All five MTBs returned safely to Taranto.

MTBs 290, 036, 081, 086, 242, 243, 287, 289, 296, 297 & 357 of the 24th Flotilla on 2 December 1943 were moored at Bari, Italy when 105 German Junkers Ju 88 bombers achieved a surprise attack by fly low over the sea to avoid radar. They then released their bombs on the shipping in the harbour, sinking 28 cargo/transport ships & damaging dozens of other vessels, including HMS VIENNA, the coastal forces depot ship. One of the ship's destroyed with the USN liberty ship JOHN HARVEY which was carrying in addition to arms & ammunition 2000 M47A1 mustard gas bombs on its deck from which liquid sulphur mustard spill into the harbour water. MTBs 036, 081, 243, 297 & 357, even though only partly crewed & suffering some damage, crept around the harbour picking up seamen from the acrid fumed water & plucking stranded seamen from burning ships, as well as from the sea walls. Some of the crew of MTB 081 boarded an abandoned liberty ship which lay between two blazing vessels, one of which was a tanker & connect a towline to the ship & tow the liberty ship to safety. MTB 243 went alongside a burning tanker & rescued the survivors. MTB 297 was ordered to torpedo a blazing cargo ship just outside of the harbour, drifting towards the shore. Within a day, symptoms of mustard poisoning had appeared in 628 patients (seamen & Italian civilians) & medical staff, with symptoms including blindness chemical burns. 83 of 628 patients died. Due to the air raid, MTBs 036, 081, 357 suffered only slight damage; MTB 243 damage took three weeks for repairs to be completed; MTBs 242 & 290 badly damaged & both took five weeks for repairs to be completed; MTBs 287 & 289 were badly damaged & both took two months for repairs to be completed; MTBs 086 & 296 were badly damaged & both took three months for repairs to be completed.

MTB 290 in early 1944 was rearmed with 1 x 2 & 1 x 1 20mm/70(0.79") Oerlikon Mk II Cannon + 1 x 2 .5"/62(12.7mm) Vickers Mk III MG.

MTB 290 on 31 May 1945 was returned to the United States Navy & was destroyed in August 1945.

David Carter
Sub Lieutenant
Posts: 85
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:06 pm

Re: Herreshoff MTBs 287-294

Postby David Carter » Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:44 am

Thank you for posting that very comprehensive list of these boats. Some of the veterans who use this site were involved in the campaigns mentioned.


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