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For other types of "launch" see Launch (boat){{Infobox ship

|infobox caption= |Ship image=

|Ship caption=

|module= Class overview Builders: ElcoOperators:  Royal NavyBuilt: 1915-1918 In commission: 1915-1920sCompleted: 580 |module2= General characteristics ML.1-50 seriesType: Motor launchDisplacement: 34 tLength: 75ftPropulsion: Petrol engineSpeed: 19 kn (35 km/h)Complement: 8Armament: 1 × 13-pdr
later replaced with 1 × 3-pdr
depth charges |module3= General characteristics ML.51-550 seriesType: Motor launchDisplacement: 37 tLength: 86ftPropulsion: Petrol engineSpeed: 19 kn (35 km/h)Complement: 6Armament: 1 × 13-pdr
later replaced with 1 × 3-pdr
depth charges |module4= General characteristics ML.551-580Type: Motor launchDisplacement: 37 tLength: 80ftSpeed: 19 kn (35 km/h)Complement: 8Armament: 1 × 13-pdr
later replaced with 1 × 3-pdr |} A motor launch (ML) is a small military vessel in British navy service. It was designed for harbour defence and submarine chasing or for armed high speed air-sea rescue. Although small by naval standards, it was larger than the preceding Coastal Motor Boats of 40 and 55 ft length. The first motor launches entered service in the First World War. These were 550 80-foot-long (24 m) vessels built by the US Elco company for the Admiralty receiving the designations ML-1 to ML-550. They served between 1916 and the end of the war with the Royal Navy defending the British coast from German submarines.

Royal Norwegian Navy motor launches off Dover during the Second World War

Types[edit | edit source]

Type Length Weight Speed Built Total Lost Designed for
Fairmile A motor launch 110 ft 57 tons 25 knots (46 km/h) 1939 12 Anti-submarine, later minelaying
Fairmile B motor launch 112 ft (34 m) 85 tons 20 knots (37 km/h) 1940-45 1,284 Submarine chasing, many later roles including air-sea rescue
Harbour defence motor launch 72 ft (22 m) 54 tons 12 knots (22 km/h) 1940-45 486 47 Defending harbours; anti-submarine
RAF Type 2 Whaleback 63 ft (19 m) 21.5 tons 36 knots (67 km/h) 1940-42 70 Rescuing downed aircrew, particularly in the English Channel

Post-war, many motor launches were taken on as pleasure boats, a number of them are on the National Register of Historic Vessels.

See also[edit | edit source]

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