WW1 Picket Boat

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Can I please ask a question ? .... what exactly did a Picket Boat do ?

    I know a lot of ships carried them ... but what was their purpose ?

    Annie :)
  2. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    A picket boat's primary purpose was to carry out guard duty. In the army, a picket is a soldier or group of soldiers that is posted as a sentry well in advance of the main body so as to give early warning of attack. A picket boat would do a similar job. Sometimes they were used offensively to patrol the harbour, or upriver where the full-sized ship could not go. Accordingly they were often armed with more than just the sailor's rifles; they often mounted a machine gun or two, or in the days of sail a small cannon or carronade. These days, the equivalent would be a RIB with machine guns or light cannon.

    The quickest picture to find is this one of Billing Boat's model of a steam picket boat from HMS Renown, c.1880; note the Maxim gun. Those used in WW1 would have been very similar and often still steam powered; they came in useful at Gallipoli (well not very useful actually, Majestic's picket got sunk even before Majestic herself), and also in the East African campaign.

    Attached Files:

  3. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Correction, the gun on the model is not a Maxim, its a 3-pounder or possibly a 6-pounder Quick-Firing gun.
  4. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Thanks Adrian ... I was wondering if it was a guard boat ... but did they carry them like life boats ?

  5. Adrian Roberts

    Adrian Roberts Active Member

    Yes, they were carried on davits or else lowered by the lifting boom attached to the mast.

    Warships didn't specifically have lifeboats, they carried a variety of boats for all purposes, which could be used as lifeboats if necessary. Not that there was ever time to lower boats when sinking in action, even ithe boats hadn't been blown to peices by shellfire, hence the reliance on liferafts "Carley floats".
  6. John

    John Active Member

    I am learning already. I didn't know about picket boat, but now I do thanks to Annie and Adrian.
    This is why sites like this one is so inportant to people who are trying to learn about the war.

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