This is the third and final entry in a series of books built around a collection of impressive plans of British naval ships and weapons produced by John Lambert. This volume looks at the Coastal Forces, examining the boats themselves, a complex subject with a large number of visually similar boats performing different roles, and with variants of different lengths, and the weapons they carried, including the varied types of guns in use and the anti-submarine weapons and mines they carried. An appendix looks at the weapons carried by submarines, which didn’t fit into any other volume.
Sadly Lambert died before he could complete this project, so the plans weren’t accompanied by his own text. Instead an introduction has been written by Norman Friedman, looking at the rather complex development of the smaller boats used by Coastal Force. These came in a surprisingly wide range of types, with a wide range of tasks, including anti-submarine warfare, mine laying and the fight against the fast German E-Boats. Friedman’s text gives a clear account of these MTBs, MGBs, MASBs, SGBs and Fairmile boats.
We then move onto the plans themselves, which cover an impressively wide range of topics. We start with a series of plans of the boats themselves, with most boats getting a page to themselves. This is a compromise between scale and clarity, as these plans wouldn’t work well split over two pages. Next comes an impressive array of the weapons carried on these boats, ranging from the torpedo tubes to the individual firearms, with the impressive range of ship guns between. These ranged up from single machine guns to 4.5in guns. We also get depth charges and their launchers and minelaying gear. Finally there is a selection of weapons carried on British submarines, covering four guns and the 21in torpedo, which didn’t fit in any other volume in the series.
The plans are clearly reproduced and contain masses of detail. I shall certainly find them useful when trying to identify these boats and their equipment, and I’m sure they will also be of great value to the modeller. Lambert’s work deserved to be published, and this series of three books has done him proud.
Boats: B Series
Weapons: W Series
ASW and mine warfare weapons
Electronics and miscellaneous weapons
Equipment: E Series
Appendix: S Series (submarine weapons)
Editor: Norman Friedman