The Fairmile A motor launch ML104 carrying depth charges as an A/S escort or sub-chaser in 1941 at Dover, England
|Name||Fairmile A motor launch|
|Succeeded by||Fairmile B motor launch|
|Completed||12, numbered from ML100 to ML111|
|Displacement||57 tons, not including armament and equipment|
|Length||110 ft (34 m)|
|Beam||17 ft 5 in (5.31 m)|
|Draught||4 ft 6 in (1.37 m) forward, 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) aft|
|Propulsion||3 Hall-Scott Defender V12 petrol engines 600 hp|
|Speed||25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph) at 2,200 rpm|
|Range||600 mi (520 nmi; 970 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)|
|Complement||16, including 2 officers|
|Sensors and |
|Armament||one QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss gun depth charges|
Shortly before the Second World War the British industrialist Noel Macklin submitted to the Admiralty an innovative plan for the series production of a motor launch (vessels for harbour defence and submarine chasing). The design used prefabricated parts, which allowed various small concerns, such as furniture and piano manufacturers, to produce the individual components. These components could then be assembled in separate shipyards. The hull was to be made of double diagonal mahogany planking with plywood frames divided into nine watertight compartments.
The Admiralty rejected the concept, and so the prototype was built as a private venture. In July 1939, two months before the outbreak of war, the Admiralty had a change of heart and awarded Macklin a contract to build eleven further Type A Fairmiles.
The first vessel (ML100) was not completed until May 1940 because of handling problems at low speeds, although the subsequent boats had all entered service by July. Their role was to be anti-submarine escorts in coastal waters, but, once the better Fairmile B motor launches began to enter service in the autumn of 1940, the Type A boats were converted to minelayers.