Posted by: SJS | June 27, 2012

Armed, dangerous, and extremely fast

By the final year of the war, the PTs had evolved into heavily fortified gunboats.  The crews knew how to use speed and surprise as effectively as any of the weapons they carried on their small boats.  In addition to the torpedoes mounted on the decks,  some of the PTs were being outfitted with rockets during the final months of the war.

PT with star insignia

Hunting the enemy in 1945

With historical hindsight, we know that the war ended in the late summer of 1945.  It is important to remember, however, that the sailors, soldiers, and marines who were doing the fighting in the Pacific in that year had no idea the end of the war was so near. They envisioned a long, bloody struggle which would include the invasion of the Japanese mainland.  Based on the fighting in the Philippines, Okinawa, and other islands, the Allied Armed Forces expected to face heavy casualties.  And the PT crews knew they would be in the thick of it.        When my father recalled the end of the war, he always described the shock and relief that came over him and his buddies when they got the news.  “We were prepared to do what we had to do,” he told me, “and we were tired and scared of what was ahead.  But we had each other and that was all we needed.”           For the fighting men of the American military who were gearing up to fight the forces of Imperial Japan on their home turf, the hostilities ended not one minute too soon. 

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