Fairmile Type-B motor launch, ML 303

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                                                                                                            Fairmile Type-B motor launch, ML 303 unknown.png

Vehicle Design:

Unlike the Type A design, that had been done entirely in house by Fairmile. the Type B design, came from the design office of Bill Holt of the Admiralty, based more along the lines of a destroyer hull, with only the more detailed design and production undertaken by Fairmile. The ship followed most of the design conventions Fairmile was known for including total prefabrication, so individual components could be subcontracted out to small factorys, to creat knockdown kits that could be assembled and fitted out by various boatyards, as demand dictated. Because of this ease of manufacture around 650 boats of this clas were built between 1940 and 1945 across the common wealth. Like the A type, the B was initially intended to soley be a submarine chaser, so the boats were fitted with ASDIC (sonar) as standard and their main armament reflected this anti submarine role, featuring . 12 depth charges, a single QF 3-pounder Hotchkiss gun aft, and one set of twin 0.303-in machine guns. Like most classes of small boat in british service though this original specification soon changed, and as the war moved on many vessels were adapted to serve in other roles and as such their armament was modified and upgraded accordingly. Common modifications included the removal of the ASDIC dome for more clearance in minesweepers, and the replacement of the long outdated 3-pounder with one or more 20mm oerlikons, as the boats were adapted into more fearsome MTBs as the war progressed.

Vehicle Service History:

ML 303 was comissioned on the 14th of october 1941, and was used in a basic ML role until april of 1942 where she was lent to the Free French Navy, this did not last long, and she was soon returned to Royal navy service in August of 1942. The highlight of the ships career was escorting LST higgins boats to the beaches on gold beach during operation overlord. ML 303 was retained by the royal navy, until being sold off like most fairmile b boats still in service in 1946.

Vehicle Specification:

Displacement: 85 tons

Length: 112 ft (34 m)

Beam: 18 ft 3 in (5.56 m)

Draught: 4 ft 10 in (1.47 m)

Propulsion: Two 650 bhp (480 kW) Hall-Scott Defender petrol engines

Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)

Range: 1,500 mi (1,300 nmi; 2,400 km) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)

Complement: 16

Sensors and processing systems: ASDIC

Armament: 1 × 1 40mm bofors cannon

                   1 × 1 Oerlikon 20 mm cannon

                   1 x 1 QF 3 pounder hotchkiss

                   10 x depth charges

Armour: Wheelhouse plated

Sources:

HMS ML 303 (ML 303) of the Royal Navy - British Motor Launch of the Fairmile B class - Allied Warships of WWII - uboat.net(Ship service history)
http://www.navyphotos.co.uk/Fishery Protection Patrol and Coastal forces/webpages/mls.htm (photo source)
Fairmile B motor launch - Wikipedia