History of the Dark Aggressor

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Msg-info.png This is the history section shared between the Dark Aggressor and the Twitch Drop version.

The Dark-class fast patrol boats, also known as the Admiralty Type "A" Fast Patrol Boat (FPB), were 18 patrol boats used by the Royal Navy, with another 8 built for export. The class was originally ordered in the late 1940s, calling for a new diesel-powered FPB, with Saunders-Roe eventually winning the design contract in early 1952. The Dark class was built between 1954 and 1958 primarily by Saunders-Roe alongside several other British shipbuilding companies. The Dark class had interchangeable armaments and could be configured as motor torpedo boats, as motor gun boats, or as minelayers. These armaments include:

  • 4 x 21-inch torpedoes
  • 1 x 40 mm Bofors gun (forward), 2 x 21-inch torpedoes
  • 1 x 40 mm Bofors gun (aft), 1 x 4.5-inch cannon (forward)
  • 16 x mines

The Dark class boats had a length of 71 ft. 8 in., a beam of 19 ft. 5 in., a draught of 6 ft. 1 in, and a standard displacement of 50 long tons and were the first of their kind in Royal Navy service to use diesel engines. Each boat was powered by two 18 cylinder Napier Deltic diesel engines, each producing 2,500 bhp and driving a single shaft, with an exhaust port on the port side hull. The first few Dark class boats were painted entirely in standard grey. However, the port side of the hulls would quickly become stained by the diesel exhaust fumes, even after only a short period of use. Initially, an experimental paint scheme was tried on HMS Dark Biter (P1104) around March 1956 that had the rear hull painted in black with the front hull still in grey. This, too, was found to be unsatisfactory, and eventually, it was decided that the entire hull of the Dark class boats was to be painted in black.

Eighteen Dark class boats served with the Royal Navy. All of these were built with wooden hulls and aluminium decks on aluminium hull frames with the exception of the final boat, the unique HMS Dark Scout (P1116), which had an all-aluminium welded construction, a redesigned bridge, and transom exhaust ports. In addition to these, eight more Dark class boats were also built for export, all built by Saunders-Roe: two standard boats to Finland; five riveted, all-aluminium boats with an additional electric drive system to Burma; and one standard boat to Japan. A further nine Dark class boats were planned to be built as well for Royal Navy service, but these were all cancelled in 1955. During the 1960s and 1970s, of the 18 Dark class boats in Royal Navy service, two were used as target practice with one being sunk. The surviving 17 were sold to various places, including several to Italian law enforcement in the late 1960s.

HMS Dark Adventurer, pennant number P1101, was the first of the Dark-class boats. She was built by Saunders-Roe in Beaumaris and was completed on 28th October 1954. She was sold in early 1970.