Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Patrol Torpedo Boats of Battleship Cove

Bow of PT-617, sole surviving example of an ELCO manufactured PT Boat
 As a kid I loved PT boats, probably because of McHale's Navy, a TV show which came out when I was 9 and and lasted until I was 13. Growing up I thought it would be awesome to actually own one. Now that I'm all grown up, I'd still love to have my own PT boat!

Battleship Cove has two PT boats, one built by Higgins in New Orleans, the other built by ELCO (Electric Launch Company) in Bayonne, NJ.* The boats are housed in a protected shed with a number of cool PT boat related displays.

Did I mention how much I love PT boats?


I might be able to afford this one. Maybe?
Rather than have me go on and on about these boats I'll just show you the pictures I took Sunday last. If you want more, check out the virtual tour at the National Museum of the Pacific War Museum's website here. No doubt Juvat has visited that jewel of a museum. I think I need to convince The Missus Herself that we should vacation in Texas one of these days.

A diorama depicting a PT boat base somewhere in the Pacific.
Murphy and I were pondering what use a mortar would be on such a pitching, rolling and yawing platform.
View of the bridge, a twin .50 mount and the aft end of the starboard torpedo tube.
Another view of that gun mount and the plaque denoting this boat as a National Historic Landmark.
40 mm gun mount.
More cool models. Note, again, the mortar.
This boat seems to have no torpedo tubes. Does have racks for them though.
(See further below.)
Another diorama depicting a PT boat base.
PT-796, a Higgins built PT boat.
(This boat is a National Historic Landmark as well.)
While this is in the PT boat area, it's not a PT boat. I want one!
A peek inside the galley. My Uncle Charlie's favorite (sic) luncheon meat is visible.
(Two cans! Oh, the humanity! Oddly enough, I enjoy it.)
The torpedoes here are not enclosed in a tube, simply mounted in racks.
40 mm gun mount (aft) backed up by a 20 mm mount.
"ELCO and Higgins PT boats, Know Your PT Boat US Navy July 1945" From a 1945 Navy Training Manual
Hey buddy! You can't park there!

Really?

Uh, go right ahead General. Didn't know that was your ride!

Left rear tire looks flat. Still and all, I want it. I can replace the tire. I wonder if it runs?

I'll be back with more. Make sure you check out Battleship Cove's website and head on over to Murphy's as well. He always has cool stuff and he has a crap ton of photos from our visit as well.



ELCO is still in business, building motor yachts on the Hudson River in Athens, NY. 

36 comments:

  1. Awesome post,
    I do have a bit of info about the model of the PT boat that didn't have the torpedo tubes.....In the Guadalcanal Solomon island area, the torpedo tubes were removed and they added guns to slug it out with the Japanese barges that would try to sneak in at night to run supplies to the Japanese garrisons. The barges were heavily armed, thus forcing the PT boats to up their armament since torpedo's didn't work well against barges.
    Excellent pics and information!!

    Thank you:)

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    1. Wow, thanks for that information MrGarabaldi. I remember reading about the Japanese running supplies in with barges in the Solomons.

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    2. PT boats lost their tubes when they went to the MK13 aerial torpedo, which was meant to be drop launched, so was a simple thing to make it work with a roller rack. The tubes wieghed over a ton each, so deleating them alone saved 4 tons. Add the wiegh savings of the smaller MK13, and that is a lot of fuel, guns, and ammunition that couls be carried.

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    3. Sweet. You know your PT Boats Scott!

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  2. As a kid we had a small boat in Ca. Marina Del Mar. THis guy had a PT boat that he took out on rare occasions. Thing could fly. Apparently it took quite a bit of fuel to get from point a to point b, so he didn't take it out often,

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    1. I can imagine those would be expensive to operate.

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  3. mortar for flares/illumination maybe?

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    Replies
    1. That's what we were thinking. Don't need to be that accurate to hit the sky!

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    2. That was, indeed the main purpose of the 61mm mortar. It would give you lots of light for shooting up barges, but would not reveal the light's source, like a searchlight would.

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    3. I TOLD YA they were for illumination!

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    4. You did. I feel bad for ever having doubted you Murph. (Not! Hahahahahaha.)

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    5. Man, I just knew that was what it was for. Reminds me of a book I wore out as a kid: Torpedo Run. Bouganville based PT boat. I'm sure it was fiction, but I loved it.

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    6. By Robb White I believe. Now I need to track that book down. Read a short blurb, captain is killed and a new officer (martinet) straight out of OCS takes over. Sounds excellent!

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  4. You're welcome to visit any time. But if you like spam, you need to visit Hawaii. Pretty sure they've cornered the market for it there. Served breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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    1. Breakfast, lunch AND dinner?

      No wonder they call it paradise!

      Just kidding, while I like it okay, it's not like I'm in love with it. My uncle hated the stuff, seems that's all they'd get in the field in WW2.

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  5. You can find your "uncle's favorite" at my house.
    My stepdad was with Adm Kinkaid's staff from '43 on.
    I detested the stuff.
    I, on the other hand, found it to be preferable to the mystery the cooks on our ship called steak.
    It was at least tender and had some flavor.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, if Spam is still in the can you know what you're getting.

      I never believed anything a chow hall cook told me...

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    2. If you find someone who knows how to cook it, fried, or baked SPAM can be uite good.

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  6. Great pics, love them. Keep 'em coming! And yes I love my spam (spam and peanut butter sammiches!!)

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    1. Spam dipped in a flour/egg batter than fried. Yum!

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  7. Five stars seemed to fit so well on his collar. I seem to remember seeing the general on our 10" black and white Philco TV. It could have been his farewell address. Wonder why that has stuck with me.
    I also remember eating Spam just after the war. It seemed pretty good. I would experiment with some today, but my wife is less adventurous. Most everything is improved by frying, if enough grease is involved.

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    Replies
    1. Batter fried Spam with rice and kimchi is awesome.

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    2. I'll make the batter, I have the kimchi, I have the gohan, I'll get the spam.

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    3. Dave/

      Right outside our Quonset hut in the UK@RAF Woodbridge when we walked out to the flightline from the PE room was a blond Brit with a grill whose specialty was fried spam & egg on white bread with LOTS of Mayo.. eat that bomb before an early morn flight and it would sit in your stomach like a lead weight where you could taste it ALL day, lol. :)

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    4. There's something you won't forget.

      Ever.

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    5. I worked for the Texas AM experiment station in LBB as a kid. Old Dub was one of the guys that worked there. He HATED spam and fruit cocktail. Seemed that was most of his diet during the Bulge (he may have served elsewhere). he mentioned they didn't have anything else to eat for a couple weeks. I never heard so much cussing and yelling, when I brought out a can of fruit cocktail at lunch. We were playing 42, Dub blew a gasket, and that was that. he stormed off. 17 year old kid learns valuable lesson from WW2 vet. Mom made spam fried with yellow mustard. It was tangy and sweet. I still like it.

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    6. Spam and fruit cocktail? That's all he got to eat for two weeks? Yeah, sounds like my uncle's experience.

      Yup, I still like it.

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  8. Great stuff! I loved the PT boats and McHale too. I got really cross when Sesame Street came out in the same after school time slot as McHale and suddenly WWII history wasn't educational enough. Sheesh!

    Robb White wrote a great YA novel about PT boats called "Torpedo Run." I doubt the schools allow his stuff in the library these days.

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    1. Mr White's bio would no doubt make a great movie!

      Sesame Street replacing McHale? Could've been worse, might have been Barney...

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  9. An operational PT Boat.
    http://www.savetheptboatinc.com/

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  10. McHale's Navy was just a so-so program for me. I fell in love with PT Boats watching the movie, "They Were Expendable."
    The scene where the two boats are going for the Jap cruiser . . . it's the "Charge Of The Light Brigade" on water.
    Still gives me goose bumps. (Robert Montgomery and John Wayne)

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    1. I saw that movie as a teenager. You're right, an outstanding film, one which I need to find and watch again!

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