About the VTB 23 and its interest in War Thunder :
In an effort to bring as many small French-made ships into the future French navy, this torpedo boat, which is already in the game is the perfect candidate for an early tier boat. Its armament is different from the British MTB’s, while having more or less the same kind of firepower.
With the declaration of war in september 1939, the French command decides to prioritize the acquisition of torpedo boats for the French navy, knowing full well that they will not be able to finish their war programs in time before the beginning of the hostilities. As such, the VTB 11 to 14 are prioritized for construction, while the VTB 15 to 22 are cancelled. Admiral Darlan then suggests to purchase MTBs to fight against the german submarines. the deal is made with the British Power Boat company, and France purchases 18 MTBs, called VTB 23 to 40.
The VTB 23 is armed on january 1st, 1940, and tested extensively, including during bad weather on february 29th. The performances are deemed satisfying. The torpedo boat is tested more in France in March 1940. Meanwhile, the rest of the MTBs, the VTB 24, 25, 26 and 27 are still in the middle of being finished. Performing more tests, the VTB 23 and 24 are finally complete early may, although lacking all their armament. They will then have to face the beginning of the battle of France. Unable to acquire the 13.2mm mgs they planned to mount on each turret, they’re equipped with 2 x 2 Darne 7.7mm mgs, and have their 4 torpedo launchers installed and ready for use.
The 22 and 23rd of May, 1940, the VTB 23 and 24 are sent in an operation to defend the port of Boulogne sur Mer, setting sail from Cherbourg. Their mission : engage enemy troops on the shore if there is some, and rally Dunkirk if the situation becomes too tense. They open fire on German positions early in the morning, but the German have far more powerful weaponry and calibers, forcing the VTBs to get away from the shore, without sustaining any damage. After rescuing a downed British pilot, they reach Boulogne and engage the enemy, launching torpedoes toward the fortified positions of the city. The smoke and explosion produced by the torpedoes cover the battlefield, and the firefight are hard inside the streets. The captain of the VTB 23 thinks Boulogne has fallen, so both torpedo boats set sail for Dunkirk. In reality, Boulogne hasn’t yet fallen but soon will. On the 24th of May, the Germans attack Calais, and the VTB 23 is sent to recon the city. On may 27th, as they are bringing general Leclerc to Dover from Dunkirk, they are attacked by a Messerschmitt bf.110, which damages the VTB 23 and 24 with 20mm bullets. with only a few wounded, they press on. Bombers come to sink them but are driven away by Hurricane fighters. Reaching England in the evening, they come back to Dunkirk for its evacuation, decided the 29th of May. They finally evacuate two French admirals, and it’s the end of their career in the French navy.
By that time, the only remaining working French MTBs are the VTB 8, 23, 24, 25 and 26. The 23 and 24 are damaged, while the 25 and 26 have no armament, so only the VTB 8 is available, which is useless. After the French Armistice, the Royal navy captures all the French MTBs. While the French made ones will be given to the Free French Naval Forces for a time, all VTB 23 to 40 that are built or in construction are requisitioned by the British navy, which rename them MGB 50 to 67. In fact, one of the planned VTBs, the MGB 61, is already in War Thunder, in the British Tech Tree, and it was originally built for the French navy. The most noticeable difference between the early and later variants is the place of the turrets, located further back for the first ships.
Total length : 21.35m
Total width : 6.00m
Depth of the hull : 0,755m
draught : 1.32m
maximum displacement : 34t
type : 3 x Rolls Royce Merlin 1100 HP each
propellers : 2
trial speed: 45 knts
autonomy : 500 miles at 40 knts, 900 miles at 15 knts, 1500 miles at 10 knts
Torpedoes : 4 x 400mm torpedoes Mle 1926 W
Torpedo launching systems : Loire tubes launchers
2 x 1 Hotchkiss 13.2mm mgs (planned) or 2x2 Darne 7.7mm mgs (temporary installation)
6 x 35kg depth charges on a rack (2 more in reserve)
4 x smoke
REGARDING THE TORPEDOES OF THE VTB 23
COMPLEMENTARY INFORMATIONS (MILITARY ARCHIVES ABOUT THE SHIP) :
VTB 23 during trials, before being armed. The turrets are supposed to recieve a glass cupola. You can also note that the 400mm torpedo launchers are already installed and ready to be used.
SHD Toulon :
série 2A1 and 2A4
Dossier 17S2 archives lehler
Série TTC, TTD, TTY, 1BB2, 1BB8, DD1
SHD Cherbourg :
Dossier 2 A1, 2A5
SHD Centre des archives de Châtellerault (CAA):
SAIBENE Marc, Les vedettes lance-torpille FRANÇAISE, Marines Editions, 2007, 127 p.