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 Author  Topic: TABOGA
Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Mar 25, 2011 - 4:00am
Established as a Navy Base, this area was used as the PT BOATS SHAKEDOWN. It was a rather large base with power stations, messing, torpedo shops, overhaul areas, everything needed to support the boats. Has anyone been to this area? I am curious if anything exsists from that period, or if the Panamanian Government recognized this area as historic and if any markers were established. Has anyone been to the area and actually knows where it was situated and taken photo's..................


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TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Mar 25, 2011 - 5:55am
Frank;
Here is the official discription of all PT related facilities, which is more indepth than the ACQ discription:

Taboga Island. -- A home base for PT-boat squadrons operating under the Panama Sea Frontier was set up as a war emergency project on Taboga Island, which overlooks the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, 10 miles from the Balboa piers. The island, owned by the Republic of Panama, has a clean, sandy crescent-shaped beach, backed by a stretch of level land, rising to a series of high mounds.
Its purpose was to act as a main maintenance, overhaul, and operating base for a flotillas of PT-boats, and as an operational training center for PT squadrons enroute to combat zones. Construction began July 6, 1942, on a timber pier, two small marine railways, overhaul shops, power plant, light and power systems, refrigeration building, water storage and supply, and a radio building. Later construction included a storehouse, mess hall, barracks, quarters, and 12 storage tanks for fuel oil and gasoline. A torpedo workshop, munitions storage, and numerous other facilities, services, and developments were subsequently added.
The buildings were of frame construction on concrete foundations, many erected without specificially planned designs, time being at a premium. Later additions included two barracks, a galley, dry-stores building, boatswain's locker, garage, armory, berth float, pile dolphins, and a towing platform. Fresh water was obtained from springs augmented by an auxiliary water-supply system. Anchors were fabricated, and cradles on the marine railways were changed to accommodate 80-foot PT boats.
Usable completion for several buildings was reached three weeks after work started, even in the face of lack of material, hard hand-excavating in laval soil, and slow delivery of all materials by barge from Balboa. The work began in July 1942, was half done by the end of August, when the base was commissioned, and 90 per cent complete by the end of the year. At its peak the major overhaul base on Taboga Island operated with 47 PT boats and 1,200 men.
The contractors left in July 1943, after finishing instalation of materials delayed in shipment from the United States. Seabees from Detachment 1012 took over construction and repair in September 1943, assembled two pontoon drydocks and erected magazines, warehouses, and other buildings with the help of local labor. A recreation camp was established on Morro Island, accessibly by sand bar at low tide. An Army telephone cable furnished direct communication with the mainland.
The Taboga station was decommissioned in March 1946, and all fixed improvements were turned over to the Republic of Panama.

Almirante. -- In the summer of 1943 a small refueling base was established at Almirante, Panama, on the Caribbean side, to refuel PT boats.

Naval Supply Depot, Balboa, acted as the assembly point for 35 PT-boat squadrons, furnished material to complete their allowance lists, and rigging the boats and their equipment for secure stowage aboard ship. They were loaded by two 250-ton floating cranes, made available by the Panama Canal authorities.

I will send you some photos after work, via your personal e-mail,
I was there on Dec 29th.
Take care,
TED



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Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Mar 25, 2011 - 6:38am
Ted
Thanks so much for the in depth look at what I consider a Historical facet of PT BOAT History. We talk on the message board about so many different topics, but TOBOGA never seems to be one of them. I look forward to seeing the photo's you have, and I hope someone else out there can relate their experiences in this area during the War or after...............


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Nathaniel Smith

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Nathaniel Smith   Send Email To Nathaniel Smith Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 - 4:19pm
My dad, Hamlin Smith (PT-157), was on Toboga from 1 January 1943 to 18 February 1943. Ron 9 was transported to Panama on two separate tankers leaving NYC at two separate times. Much of the time was spent training the crews to attack large shipping.They would do practice runs on poor ships that had successfully navigated the canal only to be beset by PTs on their pretend torpedo runs.

The skippers believed they would be utilized to attack Japanese ships-of-the-line not barges. The high point of They Were Expendable was an attack on a cruiser. They believed fuel barrels would be air-dropped so they could travel behind enemy lines. They had no clue they would become barge hunters. The 50cal and the torpedo were not a barge hunting weapons. My father remembers firing at a Japanese destroyer only to have the destroyer out-run the torpedo.

I'd love to see more photographs of the PTs in Taboga.


natsmith

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TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 - 5:47pm
Nat
It was nice to see your post. Most of my info for Toboga, even though I have been there many times, has come from Jack Searles. He has told me how they operated in the early days there in Infinite detail, also how when they started the base on Toboga. They had RON 2(at the time) broken into three sections, #1 Sec would head to the Pearlas Islands for anti-sub/security/training patrol, #2 Sec would be at Balboa for anti-ship/sub patrol at entrance to canal, #3 Sec would be around Toboga, this would mean in the early days(pre construction) to tow a string of native caucas(Panamanian native canoes), He said up to 10 caucas at a time, with building materials the 10-12nm out to Toboga from Balboa piers. This went on for 2-3 months before LCVP and LCM's were shipped down to Panama.

Take care,
TED


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Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Mar 28, 2011 - 1:23am
Nat

I sure appreciate your post and the great MAP. Thanks again for the nice photos Ted..............


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Nathaniel Smith

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Nathaniel Smith   Send Email To Nathaniel Smith Posted on: Mar 28, 2011 - 6:00pm
A modern nautical chart of Taboga Island. I read that the PT base was on the tiny Morro de Taboga island to the northwest.



natsmith

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alross2

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of alross2   Send Email To alross2 Posted on: Mar 28, 2011 - 6:30pm
If you Google Earth "Taboga, Panama", you get a pretty clear photo of the island. The small island "El Morro" is really quite small. If you zoom in on the extreme southern tip of the small island, you'll see what looks like the remains of a rather large dock.

Al Ross


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TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Mar 29, 2011 - 10:33am
Al and Nat;
Yes that "large dock" on El Morro is actually a concrete pier that the floating piers were secured to. Portions of the anchoring pilings are still present under the water.
The Hotel on the chart is the old Toboga Hotel which was there in 1942 and still is today. The Island to the east, which is not on this enlagement of the chart, Isla Taboguilla has the original 3 fuel tanks plus 16 smaller ones.The current of Toboguilla is of 1 million 100 thousand barrels of the two types of fuel.Bunker oil and Diesel The island currenty has three large tanks of 35 thousand cubic meters of capacity (630 thousand barrels) the original PT Boat fuel farm, two tanks of 17 thousand cubic meters (204 thousand barrels), and seven tanks of five thousand cubic meters (210 thousand barrels).
It also has a large fueling/refueling pier(portions of this are original) and a large supply pier(which looks original)
take care,
TED



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Nathaniel Smith

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Nathaniel Smith   Send Email To Nathaniel Smith Posted on: Mar 30, 2011 - 3:52pm
As a second generation researcher it is great to communicate with people who have actually seen what we are talking about. Sometimes it is the vets who share their memory with us and also the second generation researchers. Thank you.





natsmith

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