Posted by: SJS | March 6, 2012

A formidable adversary

      Among the myriad photographs I’ve come across in my PT boat research, few contain the sense of raw energy, focus, and military grace as does this photo of PT 367 of Squadron 27.  The picture was snapped somewhere in the South Pacific in 1945.

PT 367 of Ron 27 in 1945

PT 367 ready for action

      The photo provides an excellent portrait of what the PTs had become in the waning months of WWII–speedy, heavily armed gunboats which also carried some of the latest technology available to the ships in the US Navy.  The radar tower on the center of the deck provided the crew with a sophisticated system for locating the enemy.  PT radiomen like Red Stahley, Franny Hart, and Tom Saffles were continually updated on the use of cutting edge equipment like radar as part of their duties.

      The most impressive military resource on PT 367, however, is the crew.  The sailors in this photo reflect a profound sense of confidence built on their experience of naval warfare in a very challenging setting.  As PT 367 accelerates toward top speed in this photo, the veteran sailors on board are clearly ready for whatever might be coming. 

       No wonder the Japanese referred to the PTs as “Devil Boats.”  The crews and boats of Ron 27 were a formidable adversary on every level.


  1. Steve –

    This is a great photograph. The speed and weaponery of these boats is really captured here.

    • Dudley,
      As always, I am most grateful for your supportive comment. I especially value your trained eye as a professional photographer. Thanks again!

  2. Great post, as usual. Love the picture too. I think of my grandfather every day just like I know you think of your father everyday. I wonder if my grandpa is on that boat in the picture. I’ll never know.

    • Darren,
      I think photos like this one are a great representation of all the brave PT sailors who served during the war. When I look at a PT photo in which the faces of the individual sailors aren’t clear, it is very, very easy for me to picture my father behind a gun, sitting on the deck, or standing at the wheel driving the boat (since all the PT sailors were trained to do everything). I invite you to do the same thing with your grandfather. He easily could be any one of the brave sailors pictured aboard the 367 as it hits full throttle. You can let your imagination take over; your grandfather’s service gives you that right. Thanks for your continued support, I really appreciate it.

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