This WWII naval history chronicles the development of small fighting boats as well as the evolution of their tactics and coastal warfare operations.
Small, fast and highly maneuverable, gunboats and motor torpedo boats were a vital part of naval combat through the Second World War. Every major naval power built their own versions: The Germans had Schnellboote, the Royal Navy had MTBs and MGBs, and the Americans had PT boats. With their daring night raids and close-range battles, they displayed the buccaneering spirit of an earlier age.
These small boats fought in coastal waters across the globe, from the narrow waters of the English Channel to the stormy North Sea; in the Mediterranean off the coasts of North Africa and Italy and among the islands of the Aegean; across the Pacific from Pearl Harbor to Leyte Gulf; in Hong Kong and Singapore; and off Burma's Arakan coast.
In The War of the Gun Boats, historian Bryan Cooper traces the development of these craft, beginning with their limited use in the First World War and the fast motorboats designed to break water speed records in the 1930s. Cooper then details their widespread implementation during the Second World War and the development of their own form of naval warfare.