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 Author  Topic: Second Plywood Derby 12 Aug 1941
  Andy Small

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Andy Small   Send Email To Andy Small Posted on: Apr 7, 2018 - 4:46am
Trying to fill in some gaps concerning the Second Plywood Derby held in Block Island Sound, 12 August 1941. Unfortunately unlike the first one, the second Plywood Derby is painfully absent details. I do have documentation indicating RADM Wilcox was aboard PT69 and supposedly pulled PT69 out of the race after the first mark (Race Rock) over the objections of the PT69 skipper. The report mentions bilge stringers were fractured which is bad, but not an uncommon bit of damage. I also have documentation indicating that PT69 was in RON2 at the time and that Charlie Mills was the skipper. I'm assuming this is Charles Anthony Mills, Jr, so am wondering if anyone has information about Mr Mills' command of PT69? He was in RON2 and so time-wise it seems to match up. Unfortunately PT69 log books are not at the National Archives (only the later YP logs). His bio in Knights of the Sea makes no mention of his boat commands. At Close Quarters doesn't add any related info. Thanks!


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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: Apr 8, 2018 - 11:49am
Hi Andy!
Look at the book on this website called
Administrative History of PT Boats - - - September 20, 2010 - - - PDF File
You can download it from this website under the Documents section. It has a few pages discussing this event. I remember because Dick assigned me to translate it onto electronic file from a scan. I am pretty sure I remember it has a few more details about the 2nd Plywood Derby.
Jerry

Jerry Gilmartin
PT658 Crewman
Portland OR

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Andy Small

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Andy Small   Send Email To Andy Small Posted on: Apr 13, 2018 - 4:07pm
Thanks Jerry, I've picked everything clean that is in the standard available literature. I have the Plywood Derby stuff from Germantown, National Archives, Naval War College, Submarine Museum, Huckins Yacht. What I was hoping for is information, an article, recollections, etc.,.. on LCDR Mills since he was one of the PT Boat main players from the beginning till the end of the war. And in this info, maybe there's a comment or two about the August 41 Derby. Or maybe there is a former PT69 crew recollection that might shed some new light.

What I'm trying to find out is whether PT69 was in the lead when she was forced out of the race on August 12. The two pointers I have indicate that with the correct size wheels, she was clocking speeds in the low 50 knot range (both light and full load) with her four 4M engines. During the first Derby she was running with the navy supplied Elco wheels which were way too big and caused massive prop slip, basically running on the power of 3 engines with the weight of four. Initially having the wrong size wheels was also a problem for Higgins, so it was a common thread throughout the early years (even Elco suffered it). Anyway, the PT69 G meter readings on the first mark are high which indicates to me that she was clocking along at a pretty good clip and not for the faint of heart. I also know that RADM Wilcox specifically chose to be aboard PT69 for this race, which indicates to me that he expected her to beat the Elco and Higgins entrees. I also have a suspicion that this competition ride was just a wee too much for the ol' Admiral, so the forcing the boat out of the race over the objections of the skipper kind of makes sense when you lay everything out.


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