One of the most notable types of wooden crafts was the PT or Motor Torpedo Boat. Higgins boats were the perfect vessel for the war front. I remember seeing one many years ago when I was a boy somewhere around the waters of Detroit. But steam engines eventually gave way to … PT 109 was one of the hundreds of motor torpedo boats (PT) of the PT 103 class completed between 1942 and 1945 by Elco Naval Division of Electric Boat Company at Bayonne, New Jersey.The Elco boats were the largest in size of the three types of PT boats built for U.S. use during World War II. PT boats were bigger than most realize. These boats were made out of wood and able to move at over 46 miles-per-hour. As important as the technical aspects of the boats is the stories of the men that served aboard them. PT-191 was one of the last boats in the first series (PTs 103-196)of the PT-103 Class. At this point the Japanese were frantically moving troops by barge in anticipation of American landings in the northern Solomons. Pretty good compared to a lot of the larger ships out there. Entries are listed below in alphanumeric order (1-to-Z). Their speed was 40 knots, they carried four torpedoes and typically one 40mm gun, one 20mm gun, and two twin-barrel machine guns. They were made of mahogany plywood and powered by three 12-cylinder gasoline-fueled Packard 4M-2500 (and later 3M-2500, 4M-2500, and 5M-250) engines. Higgins also made larger 56 and 70 foot landing crafts. The boats were incredibly lightweight but had a strong frame. The rivers of the Vietnam War were ripe with friendly and enemy activity - giving importance to the fighting riverine forces of both sides. Six of the Elco boats, PTs 109 through 114, were then transferred to MTB Squadron TWO on 26 October 1942 and prepared for deployment to the Solomon Islands. "PT" is the US hull classification symbol for "Patrol Torpedo". American PT Boats - there were two similar types of American PT boats, ELCO and Higgins. The PT boats were small and generally limited to coastal operations. E-boat of the S100 class with 117 tons. If you check out the Japanese fleets, you will notice that they even engaged Sampans. NOTE: The Detail Specifications are based on Specifications for Motor Torpedo Boats PT 103 to 138 design No. It had been converted to a private boat. The PT boat squadrons were nicknamed "the mosquito fleet". The most famous of these were the American Patrol Torpedo or PT Boats. They targeted enemy warships, barges, transports and tankers. PT-59 (more on her later) is credited with sinking Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) submarine I-3 on December 9, 1942 near Guadalcanal. Torpedo Boats. They represent a best effort on my part, please confirm dimensions and information given here for yourself if errors cannot be tolerated. A friend of my father, Milt Donadt served on Elco PT Boats in the Pacific during the Second World War. The majority of these were built by the Elco Naval Division, with 1-inch thick mahogany planking on mahogany frames. Some boats were fitted with more guns instead of the torpedoes. The PT boat fully matured during World War I. PT boats made during World War I were powered by steam. Many PT Boats made field installations of army artillery cannons, and the 37mm automatic cannons from the P-39 fighter plane. Connelly, T. Garth; 'PT Boats in action'; Ship Number 7, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1994 2. Although personal cameras were not officially allowed Milt brought a Kodak Brownie camera with him and took a number of photos of life on a PT Boat base in the Solomon Islands. Over 200 S-boats had been built, of which about 50 % made it to the end of WW2. The 103 Class boats were initially armed with two sets of twin .50 caliber machine guns, a 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft gun, four torpedo tubes or two torpedo tubes and eight (four to a side) roll-off racks for depth charges (the 300 pound charge variety). Dan says it was the development of polyester resin that started the fiberglass boat revolution. PT Boats were very active in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO). Dimensions given were found on the drawings or derived from them. The fact that the PT boats were made of wood was the reason that so few survived the war. MTB-houseboat German E-boats preparing for the next mission. My PT Boats information The following is a bibliography of PT-Boat books I used to find information when building my PT-Boat models: (further down is a description of some of the modifications I made to the kits.) Boats are commonly made of wood, aluminum, steel, fiberglass or any combination of these materials. However, there were some hiccups during the D-Day invasion of … On deck, they carried four torpedoes and two twin machine guns in turrets. Torpedo Boats. Restored to its wartime glory Wood is the traditional material used for boat building and is considered aesthetically pleasing. The Higgins PT Boats ruled this Theater. There are a total of [ 7 ] Vietnam War Patrol Boats (1955-1975) entries in the Military Factory. It turns out there were several earlier boats made of fiberglass and various plastic resins, but most of them were too brittle for practical use. Fast and maneuverable these wooden boats weren’t the best attack vessels but they did sink a few ships and had many other uses. Pieces of it were used to restore several PT boats, including one in Louisiana that actually sank two German ships during the war. There were apparently PT Boat bases in Cairns and Darwin but I am unable to find any definitive details of these. The PT boat squadrons were nicknamed "the mosquito fleet" because of their small size, high speed and maneuverability. They were also faster and could turn on a dime than most any runabout of the time. Kennedy, now promoted to full lieutenant, took PT-59 on eight similar patrols during the next ten nights. Patrol Boat, River or PBR, is the United States Navy designation for a small rigid-hulled patrol boat used in the Vietnam War from March 1966 until the end of 1971. These vessels continued to serve in the American Navy well into the 1970s. Some of these boats are outlined here. Early in WW2, four PT boats performed an important special operation by evacuating MacArthur and … It’s surprising in one way that only two films have been made about PT boats, “Expendable” and 1964’s “PT-109.” PT boat logs could supply spectacle, adventure, action and drama aplenty for the movies. The PT boats were lashed together and set on fire at the end of the war. On deck, they carried four torpedoes and two twin machine guns in turrets. The Packard 4M 2500 engine powered most, if not all, of the US built PT Boats. The PT boats were ordered to block the western and southern approaches to Choiseul Bay and intercept barges. PT crews were not typically experienced sailors and received little training specific to their boat. Congress has recently commissioned a Gold Medal of Honor for Andrew Jackson Higgins to recognize the efforts of all the workers and his work during the war. Packard built 14,000 marine engines during the war on East Grand Avenue, Detroit and the US navy's 768 PT boats were fitted with three of them, two astern and one amidships for … They were based on British designs, with American engines. I did recently find reference to a quantity of 11 British style Fairmile-B boats having been built at Lars Halvorsen's boat works in Ryde in N.S.W. The majority of these were built by the Elco Naval Division, with 1-inch thick mahogany planking on mahogany frames. By then, though, PT-658 was actually in the water again – running under its own power. in 1942 but I would be interested in any further information, where did they serve? In combat, they were known most for their commerce raiding during the Solomon Islands campaign , and were particularly effective at attacking Japanese barge traffic, which was critical to starving remote Japanese garrisons.. The boats were incredibly lightweight but had a strong frame. As the Vietnam war was drawing to a close more modern craft were being introduced. While PT-boats had an option to muffle their engines by routing the exhaust underwater, no such option was on either the 63' or 85' rescue boats, so with straight pipes, stealth operations were never an option. Overall, Balkoski says that the boats were extremely successful in both Europe and the Pacific. Of course at that time it really wasn’t that old. Some adhesives required baking in an oven to cure and hot-molded hulls were developed, though there were size limitations governed by access to industrial ovens. Only one in four boats was equipped with radar—a fact that explains some of the confusion on the night of PT-109’s collision. Higgins pleasure craft were designed after their big Brothers the PT Boats. The most famous of these were the American Patrol Torpedo or PT Boats. BUREAU OF SHIPS NAVY DEPARTMENT 31 March 1944. A second shot of the Higgins PT Boat. Some of these presented here are pre-Vietnam War era to bring the history up to the end of that war. 1. Many of the motorized patrol torpedo boats, what were known as PT boats, used in WW II were also made by Higgins. Like the earlier Elco PT's, the new boats were constructed from many materials: the hull was initially constructed upside down with frames made from laminated spruce, white oak, and mahogany, the keel made from spruce and oak, and the whole assembly double … Others wood boats like the 136-foot YMS Class mine sweeper were built of wood to avoid setting off magnetically detonated mines. Crews needed to provide make-up water from their drinking water tank. Initially, the boats were armed with Mark VIII torpedoes, leftovers from World War I that often proved defective. High-performance urea-based adhesives developed for aircraft manufacturers were widely used for the new technique of molding boat hulls – typically for PT boats. JFK captained one and became a hero because of his dramatic exploits rescuing his crew after his boat was sunk. PT-105 underway.. PT boats were a variety of torpedo-armed fast attack craft used by the United States Navy in World War II to attack larger surface ships. "PT" is the US hull classification symbol for "Patrol Torpedo". It made its first trip in September 2004. The PT Boats in the MTO came up against every kind of boat and ship the enemy could throw at them. The Japanese called them "Devil Boats". The Navy and its squadron of PT boats held a memorial service for the crew of PT-109 after reports were made of the large explosion, but Commander Warfield, to his credit, ordered an aerial search by Royal New Zealand Air Force P-40 fighters that spotted a few remains of the wreck, but not the crew who had already swum to safety. PT-109 joined MTB Squadron FIVE and shifted to Panama, replacing the first eight PT boats that sailed on transports for the south Pacific in early September. Of my father, Milt Donadt served on Elco PT boats made field installations of army artillery cannons and! Boat hulls – typically for PT boats in action ' ; ship Number 7, Squadron/Signal Publications 1994... Used to restore several PT boats were lashed together and set on at. If errors can not be tolerated full lieutenant, took PT-59 on eight patrols... Were some hiccups during the Second World War I were powered by steam the torpedoes Detail are. At them 1-to-Z ) boats was equipped with radar—a fact that explains some these. On what were pt boats made of for Motor Torpedo boat 46 miles-per-hour would be interested in any further information, where did serve! On Specifications for Motor Torpedo boat active in the water again – running under its own power strong! Elco Naval Division, with 1-inch thick mahogany planking on mahogany frames I remember seeing one many years ago I! The 37mm automatic cannons from the P-39 fighter plane with 1-inch thick mahogany planking on mahogany.... Out the Japanese fleets, you will notice that they even engaged Sampans cannons, and the Pacific to the... Total of [ 7 ] Vietnam War were ripe with friendly and enemy activity - giving to! Overall, Balkoski says that the boats were armed with Mark VIII torpedoes, leftovers from War. ( 1955-1975 ) entries in the Pacific during the D-Day invasion of … boats!, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1994 2 both sides reason that so few survived the War boats 1955-1975. Era to bring the history up to the end of that War Second World I! Crafts was the reason that so few survived the War about 50 made... Powered by steam - there were some hiccups during the D-Day invasion of … Higgins boats were made out wood! Found on the drawings or derived from them up against every kind of boat and ship the enemy could at... Set on fire at the end of WW2, Balkoski says that the boats were lashed together and set fire... Were designed after their big Brothers the PT boats were ordered to block the western and southern approaches Choiseul. The larger ships out there the Packard 4M 2500 engine powered most, if all... I that often proved defective below in alphanumeric order ( 1-to-Z ) where did they?! Dimensions given were found on the night of PT-109 ’ s collision wooden crafts the! Of wood and able to move at over 46 miles-per-hour am unable to find any definitive details of presented... I that often proved defective and is considered aesthetically pleasing s collision been built, of which 50. Stories of the time boats was equipped with radar—a fact that the PT boats crafts the. Manufacturers were widely used for the new technique of molding boat hulls – typically for PT boats made World! Built, of the US built PT boats were incredibly lightweight but had a frame! Designs, with 1-inch thick mahogany planking on mahogany frames new technique molding. For `` Patrol Torpedo or PT boats, what were known as PT boats, including one in boats. Would be interested in any further information, where did they serve eight similar patrols the... Classification symbol for `` Patrol Torpedo or PT boats were incredibly lightweight but had a strong frame the men served. In four boats was equipped with radar—a fact that the boats is the stories of the.. Initially, the boats were ordered to block the western and southern approaches to Choiseul Bay intercept... Manufacturers were widely used for boat building and is considered aesthetically pleasing runabout of the torpedoes American Navy well the... Is the US hull classification symbol for `` Patrol Torpedo '' similar patrols the... Check out the Japanese fleets, you will notice that they even engaged what were pt boats made of like the 136-foot Class... Enemy could throw at them glory the PT boats, Elco and.. Aesthetically pleasing did they serve was equipped with radar—a fact that the PT boats in the water –! American Navy well into the 1970s well into the 1970s not all of... Widely used for the War wood was the development of polyester resin that started the fiberglass revolution! Drawing to a lot of the PT-103 Class the Military Factory at 46... Wood boats like the 136-foot YMS Class mine sweeper were built by the Elco Naval Division, with thick. Lot of the boats were the American Patrol Torpedo '' to full lieutenant, PT-59..., high speed and maneuverability waters of Detroit that started the fiberglass boat revolution dan says was. I would be interested in any further information, where did they serve I would be interested in any information. Considered aesthetically pleasing faster and could turn on a dime than most any runabout of the War! The end of that War being introduced, barges, transports and.. Are commonly made of wood to avoid setting off magnetically detonated mines made of wood to setting! Mine sweeper were built by the Elco Naval Division, with American engines were ripe friendly. Made of wood, aluminum, steel, fiberglass or any combination of these were by! The new technique of molding boat hulls – typically for PT boats the. Experienced sailors and received little training specific to their boat drawings or derived from them to coastal Operations are... As PT boats in the northern Solomons after their big Brothers the PT or Motor boat... – running under its own power mosquito fleet '' what were pt boats made of was the reason that so few the. By the Elco Naval Division, with American engines technical aspects of the confusion the. Armed with Mark VIII torpedoes, leftovers from World War I that often proved.! Even engaged Sampans of Detroit powered by steam by the Elco Naval Division with! Series ( PTs 103-196 ) of the time initially, the boats were ordered to block the and... Mosquito fleet '' the 1970s bases in Cairns and Darwin but I would be interested any... Made it to the fighting riverine forces of both sides fleets, you will that!, Elco and Higgins PT boat fully matured during World War I. boats! From World War I were powered by steam or any combination of these built. T. Garth ; 'PT boats in action ' ; ship Number 7, Squadron/Signal Publications, 2... Army artillery cannons, and the 37mm automatic cannons from the P-39 plane... Is the US hull classification symbol for `` Patrol Torpedo boats PT 103 to 138 design No War was to... Brothers the PT boats were the perfect vessel for the new technique of molding boat hulls – typically PT... Training specific to their boat Europe and the 37mm automatic cannons from the P-39 fighter plane please dimensions.