Posted by: SJS | April 18, 2012

Loading a torpedo

Over the course of the war, the PT boats acquired more deck guns and the crews became very adept at using them.  Communications technology became more sophisticated and the radiomen gained expertise with radar.  Design improvements served to make the boats faster and more agile.  Among the things that remained constant, however, were those formidable torpedoes carried on the decks of the PTs.

From their inception until the end of the war, the PTs were seen first and foremost as torpedo delivery boats.  Attacking hostile warships and sinking enemy shipping with their torpedoes were core to the mission of the PTs.  Despite all the other changes, that remained essential to the mission of the Navy’s Mosquito Fleet.

loading a torpedo on PT 21

A torpedo is loaded on PT 21

Once I asked Red what it felt like to be on such a small boat with such large torpedoes riding on the deck like they were part of the crew.  Uncharacteristically he paused for a few moments; lost in thought and memory.  “Scary,” he said.  Then, after a few more moments of silent consideration he said, “If we got strafed by a plane or got hit by a shore battery, we’d go off like a Roman candle; there’d be nothing left.”       Firing torpedoes was one thing.  Being fired on with those huge bombs riding the deck was quite another.




  1. A great site! Thanks for sharing the memories of your dad.

    • Will,

      Thanks for the kind words; I appreciate your support. Hope that you’ll visit the site often and tell others about it.


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