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 Author  Topic: OSS PT use
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: Aug 13, 2011 - 12:54pm
On another discussion group, Alan Raven was asking for info on some Pacific PTs that were supposedly operated by the OSS. Anyone have any concrete information on this? Not interested in "I was told" or similar input.

Al Ross


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smallwi

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of smallwi  Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 - 2:47pm
Al,

I did a little research on this subject a few years back. The only book I could find that was even closely related is Commando! The M/Z Unit's Secret War Against Japan, By A. B. Feuer. M/Z was an Australian Commando unit, not OSS. But of interest is the fact that all insertions were done by USN submarines. This makes sense when you think of the distances of the Pacific Theater.

I believe At Close Quarters mentions the 77 foot ELCOs reclasified as small boats and transfered to the Army as being used for intelllegence operations. But these reference appear to be hearsay rather than docuemented by primary sources.

Honest opinion, I do not think PT boats in the Pacific Theater were heavily, if at all, used for Commando or intellegence operations.

Bill

Bill Smallshaw

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  Jerry Gilmartin

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Aug 13, 2011 - 7:13pm
Hi Al,
I have the hand typed Squadron history of RON16 by CCS Al Piotter that was donated to STPTB Inc by his widow a few years ago. At the end of the book is attached an 11 page cursive manuscript from Don Shallow of Santa Barbara. In his MS he describes how he and one other PT crewman from RON16 PT223, Chet Bell were at Melville and were recruited by a CPO who worked for Wild Bill Donovan, head of the OSS. They volunteered and were taken to be trained as Naval Observers in the Special Weapons Division Covert Operations. for a secret project code named JAVAMAN. They were taken to a secret base in St Petersburg FLA. They were trained as crewmen on B17 and B29 bombers, qualified to operate all gun turrets, and then high altitude pressurized oxygen training, crash landing procedures etc, Next came training for operating LORAN navigation equipment and also in operating television equipment. He said it felt very much like Buck Rogers.

They soon started training to operate by a remote control joystick located inside of a bomber at 30 to 35,000 feet altitiude either a Crash Rescue boat, a PT Boat, or a tugboat disguised to look like a local craft. The tugboat was to be used in Europe and the PT and Crash boat for the Pacific. They would start the boat running and then transfer to another craft which took them to a nearby airfield. They could change engine speed and course of the vessel completely by remote control and observed it on the TV monitor inside the airplane. He said the rest of the boat was completely gutted, so he surmised that it must be for a lot of explosives. After the war had ended, he kind of figured the boat was being considered for a surface delivery of the atomic bomb. The final decision was not made to drop the bomb from an aircraft until late in the war, so they may have been keeping the options open. I dont know how many PT Boats he was working with, but it was at least one or two. I hope this is helpful. Jerry

Jerry Gilmartin

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Jeff D

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jeff D   Send Email To Jeff D Posted on: Aug 14, 2011 - 6:08am
That is a really interesting story Jerry, thanks for sharing it. It sounds similar to today's technology. Do you see a cable repair truck with weird antennas parked outside now?

Were Crash boats also known as fastboats? I found the below reference to them and was wondering.

http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/70-42/70-424.html
The Office of Strategic Services never played a major role in the Pacific. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the overall commander of the Central and South Pacific theaters, limited OSS activities to an intelligence and liaison office in Honolulu. Donovan's envoys were even less successful in their negotiations with the Southwest Pacific Theater. MacArthur and his staff intended to conduct their own brand of special operations in the theater without any interference from a semi-autonomous organization that had its own command channel to Washington. Although the OSS periodically attempted to penetrate the theater, MacArthur was able to close his command to Donovan's agency until the last days of the war.

http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/oss/
OSS Training in the National Parks and Service Abroad in World War II (commissioned by the National Park Service)
Chapter 9, OSS in Action: The Pacific and the Far East, page 400
Subsequently, from December 1944 to February 1945, first from Ceylon and later from Akyab, Burma, they were transported in Maritime Unit fastboats. These were similar to Navy PT (Patrol Torpedo) boats but shorter and without torpedo tubes. From these fastboats, the OSS teams were put ashore in their rubber boats and searched the shoreline and nearby villages in advance combat scouting groups before the main units arrived by landing craft.



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  Jerry Gilmartin

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Aug 14, 2011 - 8:43am
All,
In my summary of the MS, I forgot to explain the PT Boat had a TV camera mounted on the bow so they could see where the boat was going on the TV Screen up in the bomber and thus control it with the joystick.


Also, I googled "Project Javaman" and found "The Newsletter of the OSS Society" which has an obituary that mentions the same thing here:

Lt. Col. (USAF Ret) Ralph E. Roger Monroe,
84, died Jan. 7, 2004 at home in Newberg, Ore.
During WWII he flew 52 combat missions in B-24 Liberators
and participated in campaigns in Italy, southern
France, Germany, the Balkans, the northern Apennines,
and central Europe. He was in charge of flight operations
for project Javaman and worked closely with OSS
operatives. The Javaman project involved a missile craft,
disguised as an ordinary boat normal to the area of operation.
Remote control from U.S. aircraft aimed the
craft loaded with explosives at target enemy ships in
the Japan area. Col. Monroe developed a lasting friendship
with his OSS colleagues and became a member of
The OSS Society


Jerry Gilmartin

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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: Aug 14, 2011 - 6:38pm
Al;
I have read through the messages on the "other" message board, I have always been interested in how the other 77' ELCO's were used by the "Army"? Where is this bottom of page 492 that is mentioned?? Listed are the RON 1 Funafuti boats, which were transferred to RON 3(2) and that were deemed still in decent condition, plus 36. Chip has the written results of the structural survey of all RON 3(2) Boats in summer of 1944. But I have never read anything of O.S.S. using Elco's in Pacific. Only Europe RON 2(2), and RON 15 in Med. I have photocopied a book on O.S.S. operations in Med, Will send you correct title if yuo are interested. The Only O.S.S operations I am really familiar with is those of UDT 10, which was comprised mainly of O.S.S operatives, all their work was done from submarines.
Take care,
TED


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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: Aug 14, 2011 - 6:42pm
Al;
Whoa! PT 27 was never part of the Funafuti Group of RON 1!, This was John Akins boat, and she was reclassified at Pearl Harbor in 1944, so this list is bogus already!
Take care,
TED


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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: Aug 14, 2011 - 7:11pm
The footnote is on page 492 of Friedman's US SMALL COMBATANTS. He does not list the boats there, however. He states "Some or all of the PTs reclassified as small boats in 1943-44 were transferred to the army for covert operations in the New Guinea area." The list must be Raven's.

Al


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Jonathan Eno

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Aug 15, 2011 - 3:16pm
WOW!!! I don't know about you all, but this certainly sounds like a version of Project Aphrodite.
that was the attempt to fly, by remote control with live TV feed, b-17 bombers into the sub pens along the French coast. It failed to provide the results wanted and was shut down. one of the casuties was Joe Kennedy Jr. when his plane blew up upon arming.
If I remember correctly, Bill Donovan head of OSS, had his hand in that project as well.


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smallwi

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of smallwi  Posted on: Aug 15, 2011 - 5:47pm
Al,

Thanks for the clarification, I recall having read the note on reclassification of these boats, just copuld not remember where. Freidman is a good source but there are a few inaccuracies in the book. For example one photograph has a caption stating that it shows a 75 mm recoiless rifle on a boat. I, for the life of me, do not see a 75 mm in the photograph. Having read all of the Freidman books in this series, The Small Combatants book appear to be the least thorough of the series.

In other words, I do not think there is primary source information to backup the note in the book. Until someone digs up a source document from NARA, I do not think there is any proof of the use of PTs in the Pacific to support covert OSS operations.

Bill

Bill Smallshaw

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