I searched the Web for information about PT Boats and came up pretty dry so I decided to start a page dedicated to the men who served in the "Mosquito Fleet" during World War II. It struck me that many people out there may not even have seen the sitcom McHale's Navy, let alone heard anything about what PT Boats were and what part they played in the war.
The PT Boat was a small, wooden craft that carried enough firepower to sink a battleship, was faster than anything on the water, and could sneak right up to shore to perform reconnaissance or drop off troops. For a more detailed list of specifications, check out my PT Specs page.
My father served in the English Channel during World War II on PT 507, an 80' Elco Boat. He was part of Squadron 34. Here is 'Ron 34's logo that decorated their boats.
Sadly, there are very few of these noble craft left. After the war, many of the boats were stripped and burned. Others were transferred to other countries; the Soviet Union, for example. The boats were always considered expendable and the Navy made good on that assessment after the war.
Fortunately, some of the boats, particularly those that were still in the U.S., were not destroyed. Some made their way into use as private vessels. Others were kept by the Navy. I have a list of PT Boat Locations compiled. If you can add to this list, please let me know.
Many people have written to inform me of seven PT Boats in Virginia, near the entrance to the locks at Great Bridge. Apparently, these PT's came out of Viet Nam, and had been based at Subic Bay in the Philippines. They are owned by a California company, and are for sale, I'm told. I have obtained a picture of these boats (Thanks, Dave!) and was able to identify the boats as PTFs of the Viet Nam era, built by John Trump & Sons. You can check out a scan of the boats in Virginia and a 1975 scan of a similar PTF on my Virginia PTFs page. For more about the Nasty Class PTF, check out The Nasty Class Fighting Boat Home Page. Great job, Dan!
PT 728 is the last Vosper Motor Torpedo Boat afloat in military configuration today.Check out their web site and book a tour http://www.ptboat728.com/. The PT 728 is an authentic WWII PT Boat built in Annapolis, Maryland in 1945.
Steve Laroe has compiled a complete list of all the PT Boats, when they were made and what happened to them after the war. I'm adding a copy of his list here. He's also compiled a summary of the different types of PT Boats and how many were made. There's some more information Steve has put together that I'll put up when I get a chance. Thanks, Steve.
The PT 509 was lost in action during August 1944. For an account of this action, check out The Story of The PT 509.
I'm a member of PT Boats, INC., an organization founded by J. M. "Boats" Newberry for the preservation of the PT boat legacy. For almost 50 years they have been at work making sure the PT Boaters are not forgotten. If you're interested, you can reach them at email@example.com .
OR via regular mail at
P.T. Boats, Inc.
P.O. Box 38070
Memphis, TN 38183-070
PT Boats, Inc. is the largest repository of PT Boat information that I know of. You can join (you don't have to be a veteran) for $25. You get a twice yearly newsletter, discounts on merchandise, and free admission to Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA. They offer numerous items for sale; pins, T-shirts, caps and some great books, videos and reprints. If you are a modeler, they offer line drawings and reprints of items in their extensive photograph collection. If your interest in PT Boats is anything more than passing, I urge you to join. You can check out their web site at PT Boats, Inc.
The PT 796, a Higgins boat, is in Fall River, MA at Battleship Cove.
It is on display and is being restored.When I saw it last in the Fall
of 2000, the deck work was progressing nicely. PT 617, an Elco, is also
on display. You can check out their site at Battleship Cove.
The PT 658 is on permanent loan to Save The PT Boat, Inc., a non-profit organization chartered in Oregon. They intend to restore the boat to it's original operating conditions, with full armament and three Packard V-12 engines. The effort is being performed mostly by ex-PT Boaters. I've been in touch with Ken Nissen, one of the men working on this worthwhile project. Ken sent me a videotape of a demonstration they gave at the PT Boats reunion in Oregon this year. I've converted some of the audio portion to a .wav file, Packard V12.
This organization could use some help. I've seen a bit of the enthusiasm and progress they've made and it would be thrilling to see this boat in operation. A tax-deductible donation can be made to:
Or you can contact Ken Nissen via e-mail.
"OH Frankie!" floats!
The latest and greatest from the director of the Nimitz Museum, as of May 4, 1998.
"YES!! We're in the water and look terrific!
We went in on April 26, 11:47 a.m. and now have the cabin done, the gun tubs done, the 40mm mounted, all four torpedo racks on, two torpedos mounted, a 20 mm mount on the bow. Last weekend were in a fancy wooden boat and classic car show. Gave tours to nearly 700 people, got lots more volunteers and support to help finish the restoration.
Still no power yet, but engines are being worked on. Lots more structural work to do inside but hull and deck are done and we are very presentable. Had two 309 vets here for the weekend and a load of other PT vets as well. Tears all round. It was great. We'll get some photos on the web site soon. nimitz-museum.org."
Friends of PT 309 can be reached at the web site of the PT 309 Restoration Committee.
There's more about all these boats on the PT Locations page.
Many people are interested in building models of PT Boats. They range from the Revell 1/72 scale plastic model kit of PT 109 to a 1/4 scale (that's about a 20 foot boat, folks!) scratch built model of PT 103 by a gentleman in California. You can see a list of resources I've been able to find on the PT Boat Model Resources page.
For a look at the 1/4 scale PT 103, check out the The PT 103 Model Page.
When I started this page, there was really nothing on the web about PT Boats. Fortunately, others have joined me in adding their own web sites with PT Boat related themes. The more, the merrier!
Ken Campbell has a very interesting site at The Campbell House Home Page. Ken has put together a site based on a paper he wrote about his time serving on PT 518. Numerous pictures and nice diaries of the adventures of PT 518 and Squadron 35. This sight is well worth spending some time at. You get a flavor of the day-to day life on a PT Boat. Great job, Ken!
The Elco company in Bayonne, NJ is where many of the PT Boats were built. There's a nice history of the Elco Boat Company here at the Elco History page.
Here is Warren's
PT-Boat Page. Warren was on PT 185 in 1944 (Ron 11):
Here's a picture of my Dad's boat, the PT 507 and her crew
The Crew of the PT 507 (26k jpg)
The view from the deck of a PT under way
Deck View (29k jpg)
PT Boat in water (54k jpg)
I've been told this picture isn't actually of the PT 109 or even an
actual PT Boat. It's from the movie "PT 109" and is of one the boats
used to depict a PT boat.
PT 109 (25k jpg)
A PT Motor and Mechanics (38k jpg)
Here's a nice picture of a depth charge going off.
The PT Boat was a versatile craft. They ferried passengers and freight, performed courier duties, sank battleships, etc., etc. Here are a few examples of how they were used.
Jeep on Board!
Motorcycle I've been told this is probably a Harley-Davidson. The votes are in. Most of you have identified this as a Harley-Davidson.
Here are some other links to pictures of PT Boats available on the
Web. These links will take you to an index. Be warned, some of these
images are quite large.
National Archives gopher site
The Yearbook of Experts, Authorities Spokespersons has an entry for
Yearbook of Authorities and Spokespersons
If you have any corrections, suggestions, questions or material related to PTs, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Page has been visited times since September '96.
Special thanks to the folks at http://www.digits.com
The PT Boat Page has received the Medaille d'Or for Web Site Excellence
The PT Boat Page has also received the Hogan's Alley Web Site Award
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Last Updated 2/26/06
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