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PT Boat report – July 1945

New Guinea, July 1945

The final invasion of the SW Pacific area was made on 1 July, 1945, when troops of the 7th Australian Division were landed at the oil port of Balikpapan in SW Borneo.  The amphibious attack group commander wanted PT boats patrolling the beachs beforehand to prevent the enemy from erecting obstacles.

Accordingly, 4 Pt’s of Squadron 10, 4 from Squadron 27 and the patrol boat tender USS Mobjack, under Lt. Cmdr. Tappaan, were dispatched.  They strafed and rocketed the beaches to keep the enemy away.

Mindanao, 1945, PT-150 in foreground

The Varuna arrived with 8 more PT’s and the task unit was brought to full strength with the arrival of 7 more boats.  On the night of 9/10 July, Lt. A.W. Allison’s PT-73 and Lt. C.S, Welsh’s Pt-359 were sent to destroy a reported enemy radar station on Balabalagan Island.  The boats did a thorough job of strafing huts and buildings and 130-foot tower, in the face of machine-gun and rifle fire.

When PT boats 163, 167 & 170 returned to the island, they found all enemy equipment destroyed, 6 fresh graves and one dead Japanese soldier.

PT Advance Base, Brunei Bay, Borneo 1945

The western coast of Celebes was where the PT boats found Japanese shipping.  On 22 July, Lt. Roger Waugh in Pt-163, Lt. Baker in PT-174 and Lt. Harrison’s PT-170 made a daylight strike on Paloe Bay, Celebes, along with RAAF Kittyhawk fighters.  The combined effort destroyed 4 prahaus, damaged a hotel, dock and many houses in Dongala town.  The fires could be seen 30 miles out at sea.

PT Cradles on USS Oak Hill (LSD-7), Espiritu Santo Is. 23-24 July 1945

The period of June to July 1945 was characterized by the disappearance of PT targets around the SW Pacific except for Morotai, where the boats continued to encounter small enemy craft because of the static land situation and large enemy concentrations on Halmahera.

As the Philippine campaign drew to a close, plans were made to transfer squadrons and tenders from the 7th Fleet to the Pacific Fleet for operations in the north.

Espiritu Santo Is., Boat Base # 2, July 1945

The original plans for the Japanese invasion, Operation Olympic, did not include PT boats, but the Commander Amphibious Force Pacific Fleet asked Commodore Bates to submit a plan for the use of 200 along the Japan coast.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Brennan Sr. – Lawrence, MA; US Army, WWII, Korea & Vietnam (Ret. 32 y.)

Kenneth Chesak – El Paso, TX; US Army, Vietnam, 82nd Airborne Division

Leo Devane – Albany, NY; US Navy, WWII, ETO, Petty Officer

Norman Garfield – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, Sgt., Signal Corps

Olivia Hooker (103) – Tulsa, OK; US Coast Guard SPARS, WWII

Leo Kornblath – Roslyn Heights, NY; Civilian, US Navy, WWII, minesweeper draftsman / US Air Force, B-29 Flight Engineer

Joe Lauzon – Sault Ste. Marie, CAN; RC Army, WWII, Queen’s Own Rifles, 3rd Division

Irving Levin – Stuart, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO,B-29 Flt. Engineer, 20th Air Force

Kenneth Sanborn – Macomb County, MI; US Air Force

Gillis Wilder – Corbin, KY; US Navy, WWII

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my-war.jpg

Images is courtesy of: https://mywarjournals.com/

Dylan J. Elchin – Hookstown, PA; US Air Force, Afghanistan, SSgt., 26th Special Tactics Squadron, 2- Purple Hearts, KIA

Eric M. Emond – Brush Prairie, WA; USMC/ US Army, Afghanistan, Sgt.1st Class, 1/3rd Special Forces Group (21 y. served), KIA

Andrew P. Ross – Lexington, VA; US Army, Afghanistan, Captain, 1/3rd Special Forces Group, KIA

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January 1943 (2)

"Action in The Slot" by Tom Freeman

“Action in The Slot” by Tom Freeman

PT boat report for 10/11 January – The Slot action at Guadalcanal:  The Japanese ships came in under the cover of a rain squall and the 2 US scout groups missed them.  The first contact was made by strike group-1, spotting 3 destroyers off the Guadalcanal coast.  The 3 boats attacked the enemy ships but the enemy sank PT-112 and damaged PT-43 so badly, it was abandoned.  IJN destroyer Hatasukaze was hit by a torpedo, killing 8 and wounding 23, and retired to Shortland Island.  PT-43 was later sighted on the Japanese-held portion of the island and was destroyed by gunfire from a New Zealand corvette.

P-38 Lightning in Alaska

P-38 Lightning in Alaska

12-19 January – 2,000 American troops, in an amphibious landing on Amchitka Island in the Aleutians, started their operations to take back the enemy held areas in Alaska.  The USS Worden was sunk and 14 men were killed.  Six US warships began bombardment of Attu Island.

14 January – the Japanese Special Navy Landing Force went ashore at Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal to act as a rear guard for the evacuation of troops.  US radio intelligence failed to pick up the reason for Tanaka’s 19 destroyers speeding down The Slot.  Halsey feared a new offensive was about to begin.  The US motor torpedo boats went up against a supply convoy, fired 17 torpedoes and hit 3 destroyers and then withdrew.  The admiral ordered aircraft from 3 escort carriers to support the Cactus Air Force.

Cactus Air Force, Guadalcanal

Cactus Air Force, Guadalcanal

The Symbol Conference at Anfa, overlooking Casablanca, began with all sides in conflict.  Churchill worked on FDR to maintain the “Europe First” plans while the US Joint Chiefs of Staff reminded the Imperial General Staff that the Allies “could not give the Japanese any pause.”  Over cigars and cognac both sides reached an “agreement in principle.”  The British would allow an extension of the Pacific offensive if in return America accepted the invasion of Sicily.  The Casablanca Conference left many of the key strategic issues unresolved.

Click on images to enlarge

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A look at how we saw them and they saw us…..

002 (2)002

 

 

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Navy Humor – military-humor-funny-joke-navy-submarine-ships-designed-to-sink-others-require-assistance

2011-12-20-humor-4

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stanley Asksamit Jr. – Goodyear, AZ; US Army, Korea, 1st Cavalry

Robert Conquest – UK & US; British Foreign Office, WWII, Intelligence

Phillip Goedeke – Harriman, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO,  152nd Infantry/11th A/Bplaying-taps

James Kelly – Piedmont, AL; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Ray Lindner – Winfield, IL; USMC, WWII & Korea

Arnold Messacar – Pointe-Claire, CAN; RCL Br66, WWII

Merritt ‘Bill’ Sheldon – Granville, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, ocean tug

Peter Tanswell – New Plymouth, NZ; RNZ Navy # 8438, WWII, PTO

James Tinnel – Seattle, WA; US Navy, WWII, salvage diver

Lee Wintersteen – Sioux Falls, SD; US Army, WWII

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PT boats against the Tokyo Express

Tulagi PT boat base

Tulagi PT boat base

The IJN task force that the Guadalcanal PT boats fought with almost every night for 4 months, the Japanese simply termed the Reinforcement Unit, the “Rat Transportation.”  The bulk was composed of destroyers with a light cruiser as flagship.  The mission itself was simple enough: transport reinforcements and supplies to the Japanese 17th Army and continually bombard the Americans on Guadalcanal.

To the US forces, any Japanese presence in the waters of Ironbottom Sound was considered an “Express” because of the express-train timetable regularity of its nightly operations.  The sailors and Marines had a long list of colorful names for what one PT boat commander called “that nocturnal annoyance.”  The much-harassed Marines branded it the Cactus Express after the code name for  the island’s operations, and Insomnia Express due to the bombings; others were usually obscene.

Motor Torpedo Boat

Motor Torpedo Boat

One PT officer said later, “It was still the same as the Bougainville Express, but the Tokyo Express is what Admiral Halsey called it, and who were we to argue with him?”

The enemy called them the “Devil Boats” or “Green Dragons,” but here you will read the official comments from the “wooden wonders of Tulagi”________

Lt. Westholm

Lt. Westholm

5/6 November 1942
The Otsu Detactment delivered part of the Japanese 228th Infantry Regiment to Cape Esperance, while the KO Detactment landed Gen. ITO, comdr. of the 38th Infantry Group, his HQ and the remainder of the 228th at Tassafaronga. 206 construction workers and 142 solders returned to the destroyers. Lt. Taylor lost track of the ships in the darkness, 40 minutes later – the IJN Murasame dropped 5″ shells beside PT-39 and her gunners put out the destroyer’s searchlights and then escaped behind a smoke screen.

Lt. Nikoloric

Lt. Nikoloric

6/7 November
PT’s 37 and 48 sighted an enemy ship sailing on a westerly heading off Guadalcanal’s Koli Point. Lt. Nikoloric’s PT-37 fired 4 torpedoes, which missed. Lt. Gamble in PT-48 also fired 4, two of which were seen by the crew to explode. A large oil slick was seen in the area the next morning.

Lt. Robinson

Lt. Robinson

8/9 November
The Otsu Detachment was on a resupply and bombardment mission — among those on the receiving end of the shelling was South Pacific Force commander, VAdm. William Halsey, who was visiting Guadalcanal to see the Marines’ plight for himself. At 2144 hours, off Tassafaronga, 3 Japanese destroyers began battling with Lt. Robinson’s PT division. Lt. Robinson in PT-61 couldn’t fire because it was blocked, but PT-37 fired 3 torpedoes. One hit the elderly destroyer IJN Mochizuki, causing minor damage. The destroyers turned on their searchlights and began shelling the PT boats heavily, with one 4.7″ shell striking PT-61, blowing off her bow. The boats all escaped behind a smoke screen.

Lt. Taylor

Lt. Taylor

13/14 November
Adm. Nishimura’s bombardment force fired 989 rounds of 8″ ordnance onto Henderson Field with negligible results. Lt. Taylor’s PT-46 closed to 1,000 yards of a cruiser and fired 3 torpedoes, one he was certain was a hit. Lt. Gamble’s PT-45 with Lt. Searles aboard, fired 2 torpedoes at a destroyer and claimed 2 hits. Nishimura’s ships stopped shelling and retreated. Henderson Field suffered 18 planes destroyed and 32 damaged, but the field was still usable.

Lt. Searles

Lt. Searles

24/26 November
[Yamamoto started using submarines to resupply the men of the Japanese 17th Army]
I-17 and I-19 departed their base at Shortland Island loaded with about 20 tons of supplies each and arrived off Kamimbo Bay on the night of the 24th. I-17 was able to disembark 11 tons of her cargo before the arrival of the regular PT patrol and aircraft interrupted their operation. I-19 was unable to unload any supplies until the 26th.

7/8 December

The PT flotilla was bolstered by the arrival of 2 divisions of 4 boats each.  Two of these were under Lt. Westholm [pictured above], bringing the total number of PT boats to 16.  Lt. Searles in PT-59 closed to 100 yards of Capt. Sato’s flagship IJN Oyashio, strafing her bridge and decks with .50 caliber and 20mm cannon fire.

This information and more can be located at pt-king.gdine.com

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Military Humor – 

oldtowncanoes

And – home on leave…

shot

When they start out…

 

courtesy of Chris at Muscleheaded.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Norman Bernasconi – AUS; RS Army # 146687, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 33/55/1st Army

Edward Case – Caldwell, ID; US Navt (Ret. 22 years)BN91311

Norma Delloyd – Gassville, AR; USO, WWII

Anthony Fria – Littleton, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Chuck Hutton – Lake Worth, FL; US Army, WWII & Korea

Michael Jozwik – Darien, IL; US Army, WWII, PTO

Christopher Kalafut – Oceanside, CA; US Navy, Middle East, Cmdr.

John C. Martin – Timaru, NZ; RAF, WWII, ETO, 485th & 222nd Squadrons, Flt.Cmdr.

Harold Panish – CT, US Army, WWII

Douglas Rowe – Rangiora, NZ; RNZ Army # 238303, WWII, Sgt., 23 Battalion

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