MTB 96 : FNFL Motor Torpedo Boats

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MTB 96 (90 to 239)

The MTBs of the FNFL


About this ship and its interest in War Thunder :

These MTBs were the main Torpedo boat force of the FNFL during the war. Not only were they used extensively between 1943 and 1945, they saw a lot of action. Given that these ships are already in the game, it’s quite obvious this one should complement the tech tree.

Context :

During summer 1942, the Royal Navy, which has requisitionned most of the Free French MTBs by that time, accepts to give 8 Vosper type 3 MTBs from the 1940-41 program to the Free French Naval Forces. They’re built for the most part by private shipyards. The first 6 of them are part of the 73-98 serie, while the last two are part of the 222-245 serie. However, there are but small differences between the variants.

Thus The Free French navy is equipped with the MTB 90, 91, 92, 94, 96, 98, 227 and 239. Early 1942, the aim of the FNFL command is already to arm a fleet of MTBs, with the mission to intercept German convoys in the North Sea. The French MTBs are armed between October 24th (MTB 98) and december 5th (MTB 239), 1942, and they all arrive in Weymouth between November 7th (MTB 98) and February 15th, 1943 (MTB 92). From here on out, they form the 23rd Flotilla, and can begin the operations. Following a first patrol during March 6th, the real engagements starts March 11th, 1943.

History :

The MTB 96 is one of the most famous of those MTBs, not only because it participated in almost all of the most important operations of the 23rd Flotilla, but also because one of its crew member was none other than Charles de Gaulle’s son, Philippe.

The MTB 96 was, with the MTB 94, the first two MTBs of the 23rd Flotilla to sink their first target, the German layer M4620, ex- Harvestehude, during the night between the 11th and the 12th of March, 1943. While the MTB 96 was firing at the M 4620 with its machineguns to draw the attention of the convoy, the MTB 94 snuck near the ship and launched both its torpedoes, both hitting the ship, which sank quickly.

On May 5th, 1943, the MTB 96, followed by MTB 98, 227 and 239 and two other British MTBs (111 and 115) reach a German convoy. They try to engage the target with torpedoes, but fail to get close enough and are forced to retreat. The MTB 96 is filled with 73 holes, and have several wounded, 1 severely.

During the night of the 7 to 8th of May 1944, The MTB 91, 92, 227 and 239 manage to sink their biggest prey yet, the cargo Bizon. However, this action will **** off the Kriegsmarine, which laid a trap during the next sortie on May 12th, when the MTB 92, 96, 227 and 239 are attacked by three german destroyers and three E-boote, forcing them to retreat at full speed under heavy fire for more than 40 minutes. two crewmen are killed, 19 are wounded. They suffered no losses, however.

On the night of May 19th to 20th, 1944, the MTB 96 participates to its second successful interception mission. This time, the victim is the German patroll boat V 211 Seydlitz. The MTB 90 and 96 manages to ambush a small convoy of 2 E-boote and three patrol boats. They manage to close in on them early in the morning, before the sun rises, without getting seen at nearly 700 meters. then, the firefight starts. The MTB 96 realizes it can’t shoot its torpedoes toward the big targets, so it accelerates full speed right before the MTB 90, while deploying a smoke screen to protect it. MTB 90 understands the manoeuver, and immediately launches its torpedoes. A few second later, a big explosion is heard. The Germans are in complete panick, the E-boot launching flares all over the battlefield while the remaining patrol boat tries to fire at the torpedo boats, much too high. The machinegun fire of the MTB 96 silences the second Patrol boat, while MTB 90 retreats behind the smoke cloud. The operation is a success.

After participating to several other minor actions and defensive position during D-Day, they finally come back home, in liberated France in August 1944. One last surprise for the 23rd Flotilla in early May 1945, as they are attacked by a German Patrol Boat. Unable to get close, it finally leaves the area pretty quickly. A few day laters, it’s the German capitulation : The war is over.

Specifications :


Total length : 21,30m

Total width : 5,50m

maximal draught under the propellers : 1,85m

Max displacement : 55t


3 x 1200HP Packard engines

2 x 75HP auxiliary Ford engines

propellers : 3

Fuel : 12 000 L

Max speed (full) predicted: 39 knts

Trial speed : 42 knots

autonomy : 400 miles at 20 knots, 300 miles at 25 knts


Torpedoes : 2 x 550mm 21 inch British torpedoes

1 x 20 mm Oerlikon canon on the bow

1 x 2 Vickers 12,7mm Mgs in turret

2 x Vickers 7mm mgs on each sides of the bridge

2 x flare launchers

2 x 200kg depth charges

1 x Smoke screen system








MTB 96. Captain : Lieutenant de Vaisseau Bourcy. 2nd officer : Enseigne de Vaisseau Philippe de Gaulle.


MTB 96 in London


MTB 96 sailing inside the liberated port of Lorient. Notice the 20mm Oerlikon canon on the bow.


Hide contents


MTB 227 before the installation of the Oerlikon canon.


Top : MTB 94 in London. Bottom : MTB 227 in Belfort.


MTB 98 parading during Bastille Day in 1945.


MTB 97 after the liberation of Brest, 1944. Notice the twin Lewis guns on each side of the bridge, instead of the usual single one.



Primary :

SHD Toulon :

série 2A1 and 2A4

Dossier 17S2 archives lehler

SHD Vincenne

Série TTC, TTD, TTY, 1BB2, 1BB8, DD1

SHD Cherbourg :

Dossier 2 A1, 2A5

SHD Centre des archives de Châtellerault (CAA):

Trial reports and plans


SAIBENE Marc, Les vedettes lance-torpille FRANÇAISE, Marines Editions, 2007, 127 p.

1 Like

Seems like a great option! +1

+1 of course.
From your account of the action, looks like Philippe De Gaulle was quite a fan of drive by shootings…

Come on, you make it sounds like some petty criminal vengeance. I’d rather call it “Hit and run tactics”. Something that’s mandatory when you’re attacking a convoy in a boat barely bigger than a coconut shell.

1 Like