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Save MGB53

£500 of £30,000 goal

Raised by 8 people in 1 month
Over the past few years dozens of historically significant boats of WW2 have been neglected and destroyed to the extent that there are very few left. The last ones need preserving so that current and future generations can understand the role they played in defending our Islands at home and abroad. 

MGB 53 was initially a purchased by the French as a Torpedo Boat (VTB 24) in February 1940.

26 May 1940  she went to Dunkirk to cover the evacuation of the BEF during this time on 30 May she sustained serious damage to her bow. requiring a return to the UK for repairs.

Following the French Surrender she was seized by the Royal Navy and put into British Service as a Motor Anti-Submarine Boat (MASB 53). Later being redesignated Motor Gunboat 53, withe the 4th MGB flotilla operating out of Fowey.

She was fitted with 3 Rolls Royce Merlin engines capable of powering her up to 39.5 Knots over a range of 400NM. 

She was armed with 2x Twin Vickers Machine Guns, 2x Twin Lewis side turrets, 1x 20mm Oerlikon and 2 depth charges. 

She was brought to Hythe multiple time for repairs indicating a very active service and incredibly she survives to this day... So far. 

MGB 53 is the latest example of an important historical boat at risk of destruction. The money from this campaign will be used to safely transport, store and preserve the hull of this, last of it's kind, boat with a view to then securing the funds to fully restore her for use as a museum and educational cruiser.

Thank you very much for donating what you can. Please give us your thoughts too and be part of the community.
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A history of 53 recorded by Geoff Hudson, Coastal Forces Historian.
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VTB 23 and 24
A short, but action packed career
The POWER BOAT MTBs purchased by the French.

Context :
 
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.
 
History : 
 
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 Browning 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 launch an operation to defend the port of Boulogne, setting sail from Cherbourg. Their mission : engage the enemy on the shore if they see one, and rally Dunkirk if the situation becomes to tense. They open fire on German position 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 with the variants between VTB 23-40 is the place of the turrets, located beside the cockpit and not behind like the early variants.
 
Specifications : 
 
DIMENSIONS
 
 
Total length : 21.35m
Total width : 6.00m
Depth of the hull : 0,755m
draught : 1.32m
maximum displacement : 34t
 
ENGINE 
 
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
 
ARMAMENT :
 
Torpedoes : 4 x 400mm torpedoes Mle 1926 W
Torpedo launching systems : Loire tubes launchers
2 x 1 Browning 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
 
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Some restorations to draw inspiration from. Now imagine a ‘53’ amongst them!
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Coastal crafts have kindly offered 5 kits of the 70’ BPB MGB the same type as 53. For a donation of £500.00 you will one of these made up with a thank you message in the full MGB53 livery.
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£500 of £30,000 goal

Raised by 8 people in 1 month
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£60
John Kempton
1 month ago
CB
£20
Chris Beauchamp
1 month ago
£100
Martin Weston
1 month ago
AB
£10
Alaric Bond
1 month ago
NM
£20
Nick Morgan
1 month ago
PB
£250
Philip Bell
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