Allied Coastal Forces of World War II, vol 1...

 

...Fairmile Designs & US Submarine Chasers, from Seaforth Publishing

 

Title: Allied Coastal Forces of WWII vol 1

Author: John Lambert & Al Ross

Publisher: Seaforth Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-5267-4449-4

 

This new book is real gem, and the first of a 3 volume set. First published back in 1990, this is a new edition of a first class reference work. The two authors worked together to create a set which includes development history, production numbers and their service history along with archive photos plus a marvellous series of scale drawings that are an absolute treasure trove for warship modellers who have an interest in the Coastal Vessels of WW2. Sadly, author John Lambert, who put much of this history and all the drawings passed away in 2015 but what a super legacy he has left behind for the rest of us to enjoy.

The bulk of this first volume covers the boats designed by The Fairmile Company. They realised from the outset that they couldn't build the number of boats that would be required in war, so went about it by creating what were effectively 'kits' which were then distributed to all sorts of boatyards and small manufacturing companies around the UK, as well as overseas. Canada in particular. My knowledge of the Fairmile series was extremely limited so this has added enormously to my appreciation of them. Also with notes about the volumes of different timbers and weapons needed to build and equip these boats is fascinating. Equally, the numbers of boats that were built throughout the war, and which served in all theatres, came as something of an eye-opener. Many of course went on after the war to become private yachts when they were sold into private ownership.

The book starts with the background detail of the Fairmile Marine Company and the Equipment and Training Organisations that supported everything. Then we get detailed information on the Fairmile A and B Motor Launches, the Canadian Fairmile B type ML, the Type C Motor Gunboat, Type D MTB/MGB, Type F MGB 2001 along with the H Type LCI(S) and LCS(L). The section on the vessels continues with two American built types, the 72ft Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML) and the SC 497 class 110ft Subchaser.

It continues with even more detail, and sections on Equipment and Details, such as depth charges, radar, camouflage and even habitability. Then specific weapons systems, again including some very detailed drawings, such as the Holman projector, 2in Rocket Flare and 2-pounder guns among others. More data then on other items such as minelaying equipment, US Navy equipment, Depot Ships & shore bases and some notes on surviving examples. All rounded off then with a series of 12 Appendices that are packed with yet more detailed records.

Over 250 pages packed with an amazing level of detail and a degree of research effort that can only be admired. Anyone with an interest in Coastal Forces, veterans, historians and modellers, this is a reference I think should really be on your reference bookshelf. I can't recommend this one highly enough.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin