Published Resources Details Book Section

Brown, D. K.
Steam torpedo boats of the Royal Navy
Warship 2005
J. Jordan
Conway Maritime Press Ltd., London, 2005, pp. 73-96

Accession No.1927


"There were too few naval wars during the torpedo boat era to be certain, but all the evidence there id suggests that they were not an effective weapons system. In particular the co-ordinated attack, using high speed in daylight, was not a feasible operation. Flag signals and semaphore were not speedy enough and such attacks were not possible until voice radio was available.

The few successful attacks were at night, carried out at low speed by one or two boats usually against a stationary target, launching at about 500 yards. Even so, failures were frequent. The obvious conclusion is that Vesuvius, not Lightning, was the right starting point. Vesuvius herself was a little too slow to escape after an attack.

The tiny boats were too small for sea keeping and suffered badly from noise and vibration, all conducive to poor decision-making. Their terrible living conditions combined with limited coal stowage meant their endurance was 2-3 days at most."