The Story of PT518

An abstracted version of a paper by Kenneth L.Campbell.


Once upon a time

PT518 was one of the 12 boats of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 35. The boats of the Squadron were PT510 thru PT521. All were 80' Elco models.

PT518 was placed into service on February 27, 1944 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. After final outfitting, it, along with the other boats of the Squadron, experienced its shakedown at the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Training Center in Melville, RI and in Miami, FL.

The Boat's Specifications

PT518 was 80' long and 20' across the beam. It had a standing draft of about 42 inches. The hull was made of two layers of mahogany planks. It was propelled by three 12-cylinder Packard Marine Engines, each developing 1500 hp. It had three gasoline tanks holding a total of 3000 gallons of gasoline. Fully loaded, it weighted about 55 tons. In calm, cool water PT518 could move at about 50 knots.

The Boat's Firepower

PT518, like most PT boats, had more firepower per pound than most any other type of craft in the U.S. Navy. Its armaments were typical of the boats of MTB Ron 35 and included:

The Boat's Electronics

The boat had Collin's model TCS-12 transmitter and receiver installed.The unit had AM & CW options and could put out up to 40 watts. Frequency coverage was 1.5 - 12 Mhz.

The boat also had a Raython model SO Radar. This unit had a range scale of 60 miles maximum, but. due to the relatively low mast, was useful up to about 25 surface miles.

Training Exercises

PT518 departed Melville on April 9th enroute to Miami, FL for additional training exercises. These exercises included anti-aircraft defense, torpedo attacks, depth charge drops, smoke screen cover and towing of damaged boats.  These exercises were cut short with rush orders for the boat to return to New York.

The Boat's Crew

At the time PT-518 completed its training exercises, the boat's crew consisted of:
NOTE
It is with great sorrow that I report the death of my friend
James M. Sanders
on
February 22, 2003

 


NOTE
It is with great sorrow that I report the death of the Skipper of PT518
Lt(jg) Hutchinson DuBosque, USNR
on
May 25 2008

 



NOTE
It is with great sorrow that I report the death of the Executive Offficeer of PT518
William H. Shaw, USNR
on
October 25, `1950 Click here for more information aboout Wm. Shaw.

 


NOTE
It is with great sorrow that I report the death of
William Hytowitz, Seaman USNR
in
Janurary, 1987

 

Picture of Crew, April, 1944

Subsequent replacement members of the crew included:

Picture of Crew, August, 1944

Operations

[To see PT518's Ports of Call]

Following the training exercises, the Squadron returned to New York to be loaded onto the decks of tankers; four boats per tanker. The tankers left in convoy CU25 for the trip across the Atlantic. PT518 was on the deck of the SS BENINGTON. The Squadron was off loaded at Glasgow, Scotland on May 31, 1944.

After two days of preparations, PT518 put out to sea, with other boats of the Squadron, for a two day journey to Portland, England. It arrived there on June 4th, one day before the planned D-day, the start of the invasion of Normandy. (The invasion was postponed by one day due to a storm.)

[Click here to see the tale "It's Going to be a Tough War!!"]]

On the morning of D-day, June 6, 1944, the crew of PT518 stood on deck watching wave after wave of airplanes, mostly DC-3s, passing over head on their way to France. These planes were carrying the paratroopers and towing the gliders that would be the first U.S. troops to be positioned behind enemy lines. It was an awesome sight!

Duty in the Combat Area

On D+3, PT518 departed Portland Harbor to cross the English Channel for the first time and to take its station on the Mason Line. This was a line drawn on the charts of the waters around the Cherbourg (Cotentin) Peninsula of France. The line extended seaward from the land just west of the Utah Beach and extending about 6 miles into the Channel. Along it, the PTs of Ron35, Ron34 and Ron 30 were assigned anchorage points. These boats, with their radars and deck watches, formed a protective barrier for that side of the invasion fleet.

During day light hours the boats would be dispatched from the line to do a variety of chores including the sinking of floating mines and ferrying personnel from ship to ship. From time to time, mostly at night, German planes would fly over to drop bombs, flares and mines among the ships in the landing beach area. The PTs would lend their firepower to the common defense.

In the late afternoon, PTs would be dispatched to go to assigned patrol areas and, there, they would spend the night patrolling at slow speeds, watching for and investigating radar contacts. Most of these patrols were recorded in the boat logs as "No enemy contact. Secured patrol and returned to ---".  PT518 took its share of these patrols. A few were notable; most were very routine.

PT boats were called upon to do other duties such as carring mail and dispatches to the ships in the invasion area and to ferry VIPs about the vessels in the invasion beach area.  On June 24th, PT518 ferried General Eisenhower, his staff and others to the beach.

Combat off La Harve

On the night of August 10/11, 1944, PT518 along with PT514 and PT515' was working in conjunction with the British frigate HMS THORNBOROUGH and patrolling off La Harve, France.

The THORNBOROUGH vectored the PTs toward the land just north of Cape D'Antifer to investigate a 6-pip radar contact believed to be German E-Boats, R-Boats or trawlers. There was a heavy fog in the area so the PTs approached without German response until they were about 400 yards from the targets. The order was given to fire torpedoes and circle back to commence a gun attack.

While no torpedo hits could be confirmed, the Germans did open up their deck guns and a fire fight ensued. A number of hits were made by the PTs on the German vessels. PT513 took a hit on its 40mm gun mount. Two of her crew were seriously wounded and one man slightly wounded. PT515 and PT518 suffered no damage. The enemy was seen, by radar, to turn and enter the port of La Harve. The THORNBOROUGH directed the PTs to return to the patrol area.
 

Post Combat Activities

As the land war moved far inland from the Channel, there was no further need for the PT boats to be in the Channel. Thru a Lend-Lease arrangement with the Russians, the PTs operating in the Channel were to be transferred to the USSR Navy.

On November 29, 1944, after the engines of PT518 were replaced, it along with the other boats of MTB Ron 35, departed for Glasgow, Scotland. Due to extremely heavy seas and an extended period of bad weather, it took two weeks to make, in reverse, the journey that had taken just two days in early June.

The Squadron arrived in Glasgow at 1358 hours on December 13th. Before leaving Portland, some crew members had been detached for transfer to the United States. Now, in Scotland, other members were likewise detached leaving only a few members to decommission the Boat.

On April 4, 1945, PT518 was towed down the bay by PT554 to Faslane, Scotland where it was loaded onto the deck of the tanker SS BENJAMIN K. HILL. The boat log for April 5th reads, in part:

"At 1030, on board the Benjamin K. Hill, the final inspection of the 518 was made by Commodore Koslov, USSR and LT. G. T. Sullivan, Executive Officer of MTB Ron 35. The boat was resealed by Commodore Koslov at 1120 hours. All details in connection with transfer of boat to USSR completed, ....The Boat Captain secured the watch and relinquished command."

* * * Thus Ended the Story of PT518 * * *


To learn of PT518's final fate
Click Here


 See the Story of Motor Torlpedo Squadron 35

NOTE: (10-17-00)

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Last Revision: 01/05/2009