Posted by: SJS | April 16, 2013

Early version PT

An early version of the PT on a training run

An early version of the PT on a training run

From its earliest production, the PT boat was built for speed and manuverability. In this photo of an early model PT, the bow is lifted above the water as the boat’s powerful engines drive it forward across the waves.

While we cannot see clearly the faces of the sailors on board, it seems fair to say that they’re enjoying the ride. Every PT story I heard from my father always emphasized the speed of the boats. “We loved to get them going at full throttle,” he would always say, “we moved like a bat out of hell.” How I loved those stories–they never got old.

The photo is from the vast archives of PT Boats, Inc. in Germantown, TN – a remarkable storehouse of great information, photos, and assistance on all things PT.


  1. This is really an amazing photograph. It captures the incredible speed and maneuverability these boats must have had. I would like to know how the photo was taken.

  2. The boat in that picture is PT 564, it was an experimental boat built by Higgins mid war in attempt to offer the Navy a faster more maneuverable boat that could be built cheaper and quicker. The Higgins Hellcat as that boat was known, was smaller and did not have adequate facilities for the crew to live aboard.

    While the US Navy was impressed with all aspects of the new boat, the decision was made not to put it into production. By this time in the war PT’s were more of a “gunboat” than a torpedo boat, and the Hellcat was too small for mounting all the large caliber automatic weapons that were now standard equipment on all the new boats being built.

  3. Larry,

    Many, many thanks for the information you shared about the Higgins Hellcat. I appreciate your input to the blog and hope that you’ll weigh in with more. Thanks again.


  4. PT-564, experimental boat from Higgins in 1944.

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