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 Author  Topic: WHAT WAS THE TRUE COLOR PAINT JOB ON THE 109
FRANK

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of FRANK  Posted on: Oct 11, 2007 - 4:56pm
AHOY THERE ONE AND ALL!

FIRST OF ALL i'M VERY HAPPY TO BE REGISTERED WITH THE PT BOATS MESSAGE BOARD. I EXPECT TO BE USING THIS BOARD AS A MAJOR REFFERENCE POINT IN MY MODEL WORK AND PT BOATS HISTORY. I HAVE USED THE BOARD IN THE PAST AND YOU GUYS ARE "THE BEST"!!

RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE LET ME SAY THAT I'M A SCALE SHIP MODELER AND HAVE 1/32 SCALE MODELS OF THE 169 IN RON 10 ZEBRA STRIPE CAMO, THE 176 AND THE 196! THESE THREE MODEL ARE ALL RADIO CONTROLLED!

CAN ANYONE OUT THERE TELL ME THE REAL HONEST TO GOD COLOR 'MEASURE' OF THE 109? I'M PRETTY SURE THAT THE BOAT WAS OD GREEN AND NOT HAZE GRAY!

THERE ARE A TON OF BEAUTIFUL SCALE RADIO CONTROLLED 109'S OUT THERE ON THE HOBBY MARKET AND ON E-BAY, BUT EVERY SINGLE ONE IS PAINTED GRAY OVERALL. HORIZON HOBBIES IS COMING OUT WITH A 1'24TH SCALE VERSION IN NOVEMBER. SHE'S 40 INCHES LONG AND DETAILED TO THE MAX. I PEEKED AT THE WEB PAGE OVER AT HOBBY TOWN USA SHOP. SHE GET UP ON A PLANE, TWIN MOTOR DRIVE AND WATER COOLED TO BOOT. ABOUT $350 FOR ALL WITH THE RADIO. NOT A BAD DEAL! BUT SHES PAINTED OVER ALL HAZE GRAY!!

I SAY THIS IS THE WRONG COLOR FOR A BOAT THAT SERVED IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC! WHO'S RIGHT AND WHO'S WRONG HERE. IT WOULD BE A SON OF A GUN TO HAVE TO REPAINT THAT ENTIRE MODEL OD GREEN!!

THANKS FOR LETTING ME BLOW MY RELIEF VALVE! ANY BODY HAVE ANY COMMENTS TO OFFER? LET'S GET THIS STRAIGHT OFF TO THE HOBBY SHOPS AND TO THE MAKERS OF THESE MODELS AND TELL THEM IF WERE GONNA PAY THROUGH THE NOSE FOR A MODEL, AT LEAST GET THE COLOR RIGHT!

FRANK RYCZEK
FRIEND MODELER RON-10 169 "ZEBRA SNAFU'

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

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Drew Cook

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Oct 11, 2007 - 6:24pm
Ah, Frank, you've asked one of the most-speculated-about questions in all of WWII-PT boat research history!

The answer, in short, is still not known for dead-solid-certain, but MOST PT boat historians/enthusiasts who have studied the topic believe the 109, at least at the time of her ramming/sinking on August 2, 1943, to have been some shade of green, as were many PTs in the Solomons at that time. The Japanese didn't call the PTs "Green Dragons" for nothing.

The most compelling evidence for the boat having been green is a sentence in Robert J. Donovan's best-selling book "PT 109 - John F. Kennedy in World War II," an exhaustively-researched work published in 1961, for which Donovan had interviewed all the surviving crew members.

In Chapter III of the book, Donovan writes: "When her turn came PT 109 went into drydock, and Kennedy donned shorts and worked with the men in scraping the bottom, cleaning the bilge, sandpapering and putting on a fresh coat of paint. For camouflage in the waterways among the islands the boat was painted forest green." This would have been in late April or early May of 1943.

There remains some speculation among historians/enthusiasts whether the 109 had been gray before this drydock painting, had already been overpainted green before this time - or, was still gray from her days as a member of MTB Squadron 5 (Donovan's "forest green" color being in error). The 109 had arrived in the Solomon Islands as a member of MTB Squadron 2 in late November of 1942, so she had been in combat for five months when JFK took command.

One of the members of this site, Frank Andruss, spoke with four surviving veterans who served on the 109 under JFK about the 109's color -- two remembered the boat as being green, while the other two remembered her as being gray! Make of that what you will.

So, to recap -- the consensus among historians and enthusiasts seems to be that the 109 was most probably some (unknown) shade of flat green. It is much less likely the boat was still gray. It is unknown for certain.


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FRANK

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of FRANK  Posted on: Oct 11, 2007 - 6:42pm
Ahoy there, Drew-

Many thanks for your compelling overviews on the subject of the true coloration of PT 109. I do remember seeing a colorized shot of her in a magazine some time ago. I think it might have been in an Sea History magazine. That shot showed her in a faded out "green". I wish I could have saved that photo!

Many thanks for your thoughts on this subject!

Frank Ryczek
Friend/Modeler Ron 10 PT-169

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

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Will Day

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Will Day   Send Email To Will Day Posted on: Oct 12, 2007 - 10:12am
Bear in mind also that "Out In The Area" at that time, the shades of green used were whatever could be cobbled together; therefore you've got some latitude as to the exact hue....probably something in the forest green neighborhood, dulled down and most likely hand-painted.

Will

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  FRANK

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of FRANK  Posted on: Oct 13, 2007 - 3:13pm
AHOY THERE WILL-

THANK YOU KINDLY FOR YOUR INPUT ON THE COLORATION OF THE 109. I HAVE SEEN SOME DROP DEAD BEAUTIFUL MODELS OF THE 109 DONE UP IN BOTH ' GREEN ' AND ' HAZE GRAY '. I GUESS AT THIS POINT EVERYBODY'S RIGHT ABOUT THE COLORS OF THE 109.

SMOOTH SAILIN'

FRANK RYCZEK, JR
MODELER/ FRIEND RON 10

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

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Allan

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Allan   Send Email To Allan Posted on: Oct 15, 2007 - 8:35pm
Guys:

My father was in all probability the very first modeler of a PT Boat, He served on the 113 Boat in '42 and '43 and was surveyed to shore duty thereafter as a result of injury. By 1949 he had "modeled" his 113 Boat which I have now. It is entirely of wood and is painted a very attractive green that would NEVER qualify as "forest green". It is a low lustre green the shade of old fashioned pea soup- something between OD and forest green. Did he paint it the "original color"? Given the amount of work and detail that he put into this I would assume so! But the 109 Boat? I don't know. My father claims that they were actually canabalizing that boat in New Guinea before Kennedy got it. Nothing definitive here- but something to ponder.

Allan


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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: Oct 15, 2007 - 11:33pm
Hey Allen,
I have had access to the memiors of Bud Larsen, who was the original XO of the PT109 when it was commisioned, and took over as CO of the boat during its operational time up to the point of 5 days (April 20 1943) before JFK arrived on the boat on April 25, 1943. Larsen was there and a lot of the info is available to read on one of the better PT Boat websites around Gene Kirklands PT King website. On there, seen in the excerpt below, the PT109 was never in New Guinea in order to be cannabalized. It was in the Solomons at the Sesapi PT Base on Tulagi, and then for a short time at the Russel Islands/Rendova. Just by the way, the Movie PT109 shows the boat is in dilapidated shape when JFK first showed up which couldnt be farther from the truth. The boat according to Larsen was one of the best boats available, and that was why the Squadron Commander Rollin Westholm always chose it as the boat to ride on. It was a relatively modern 80 footer, compared to the older and more worn 77 footers. Remember, this was in April of 1943. The first 80 foot Elcos didnt show up there until October-November 1942. So read the text below and draw your own conclusions...Jerry PT658 Portland OR

This is from Gene Kirklands wesite PT King
http://www.geocities.com/pt_king/
The night of February 20/21, 1943 PT 109 and the other boats of Squadron Two screened the transport force headed to the Russells; there- after the PTs made nightly patrols, but aside from the usual contretemps with floatplanes, the boats had no contact with the Japanese. One bright, moonlit night, As CO of PT109, Ensign Bryant Larson was leading a two-boat section in PT109; it was a typical patrol for the boats working out of the Russells, a milk run. Then Cactus Control sent a coded message to the PTs that meant action was imminent. As Larson decoded the message, the first words were two DDs (destroyers) sighted; then a position was given that placed them very close to the PTs. The position reported was so close that Larson ran out of the charthouse to the cockpit to see if he could spot the enemy vessels visually. On such a moonlit night a PT boat tangling with Japanese warships was tantamount to a suicide mission. After sweeping the sea with binoculars, it dawned on Larson and his crew that the coastwatcher that had sent the initial report to Cactus Control had spotted the two torpedo boats in the moonlight and had identified them as the two destroyers.

As it turned out, this would be Larsons last combat patrol in the Solomons; the Squadron Two boats were pulled out of the Russells in March 1943, shortly after Larsons moonlight escapade, and were relieved by boats of Squadron Six. Squadron Two returned to Tulagi to have their boats overhauled; the original PT base was now fast becoming a quiet backwater of the war, save for the occasional nuisance raid from Washing Machine Charlie or Louie the Louse. One of these raids, on the night of March 5, the Louse dropped four bombs on Sesapi. The first three landed in the water while the fourth hit the PT operations shack, killing one officer and three enlisted men and seriously wounding another officer and another enlisted man. The hull of PT 118 moored nearby was riddled with shrapnel. Some of 109s days in March were spent in dry dock; her mufflers were changed, and the boats bottom was scraped of the green marine growth that accumulated there. Another test involving a radar set was made on March 15, but this one proved to be a bust; the sets power supply was quite unreliable and was prone to fail at any given moment, and it was removed shortly afterwards. On April 1st XO Sam King was transferred to another boat; replacing him was Leonard J. Thom, a big, blond haired native of Sandusky, Ohio. Described as a capable and warmhearted giant, who looked like a Viking who had lost his way and sailed into the South Pacific by mistake, Lenny Thom personified the new breed of officer coming into the torpedo-boat corps at that timeformer collegiate athletes that possessed the rough, tough, robust physiques to match; and PT109s new exec still looked like the football player he had been before the war when he played left tackle at Ohio State in 1939 and 1940.

The Guadalcanal-Tulagi area was subjected to another air raid on April 7, 1943; it was the heaviest aerial bombardment staged by the Japanese since they were run off the island in February, 1943. 177 enemy aircraft were over the area, with one flight of dive-bombers hell-bent on attacking anything that moved in Tulagi Harbor. The New Zealand corvette Moa was hit by two bombs, and rapidly sank in four minutes. Of the twenty-five Japanese aircraft shot down in this raid, PT tender Niagara claimed seven; another enemy aircraft was shot down in flames by one of 109s twin fifty-caliber mounts manned by Seaman James Bartlett. At the same time, under attack by nine Japanese dive-bombers was a small convoy approaching Tulagi that included tank landing ship LST 449; on board as passengers were a group of transient Navy officers bound for various assignments in the combat zone. One of these was a lieutenant j/g headed to Tulagi with orders to report to Squadron Two as a replacement. The new officer was a quiet young man with an unassuming manner who possessed a mop of brown hair that seemed to resist combing, spoke with what some called that funny Boston accent, and was incredibly leanlooking at him one would think he was far too frail for the slam-bang demands of the PT boat service. Fresh from Stateside PT duty with the training center at Melville, the bombs falling around the ship bringing him to the area quickly acquainted the young officer to the ways of Pacific warfare. Arriving at Sesapi several days later, the replacement served briefly as a temporary exec on George Wrights PT 47, learning the rules of PT life in the Solomons. After riding a few patrols to get accustomed to the nightly routine, Wright informed the PT brass that the newcomer was ready for a boat of his own. Flotilla operations officer Rollin Westholm (now a lieutenant commander) chose the boat the new man would take over. Bud Larson and most of his crew were due for rotation home, so Westholm decided that the PT109his old squadron flagshipwould be assigned to the new skipper. By now, only Larson, quartermaster Guy Manning, and torpedoman Jack Edgar remained of the boats original crew; on the evening of April 20 these three, along with Roy Dunkin, George Lewis, William Jackson, James Bartlett, and William McMillanwere detached from duty, destined for two weeks rest and relaxation in Australia. Lenny Thom was left in temporary command with a skeleton force aboard. For the next five days, the PT 109 spent most of the time moored in the bushes along the banks of the Maliali River on Florida Island, occasionally shifting berths to take on water or fuel. On the morning of April 25, Ensign Thom took the boat to Sesapi to pick up 109s new COa twenty-six year-old Harvard grad who introduced himself to Thom as Jack Kennedy. That same day, the men who would make up the nucleus of the 109s new crewFiremen Edmund Drewitch and Leon Drawdy, and Gunners Mate Charles Harrisalso came aboard. The rest of the new crewmen with names like Maguire, Kirksey, Galeweski, Kowal, Mauer, Burchheit, and McMahonreported for duty within the next two weeks. A few of these men would only stay for a short time, being transferred to other boats, or wounded in action and sent to hospital; those who remained would sail with the boat throughout the late spring and summer until the 109 met her ultimate fate one dark night in August 1943. But that was in the futurefor now, the boat was in need of major maintenance after five months in the combat areathe engines needed to be replaced, and the entire boat needed to be camouflaged in green to match the surrounding jungle, a job the previous crew had no time for when they originally brought the boat to the Solomons the previous November. Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Thom, and 109s new crew set to the task of refurbishing the now-veteran torpedo boat; and in the process, the boats officers had the additional duty of forging the new men into an efficient team for the campaigns to come. With the departure of the remnants of the boats original crew, this little known phase of PT 109s career was over; a new and much more heralded chapter was about to begin

Jerry Gilmartin

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Drew Cook

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Oct 16, 2007 - 5:28pm
Allen and all,

In all my years of casual PT boat research, I've seen only one brief clip of color film footage of a PT (I believe it was PT 149, in the Solomons), and its color was a very washed-out light green, very similar to Haze Green, a color that could be described as a "pea-green."


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Allan

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Allan   Send Email To Allan Posted on: Oct 16, 2007 - 7:35pm
Jerry:

Thanks for the refernce and I'll certainly check it out for any info related to the 113 and 114 boats. As to the 109- there was no real reason for anyone to attach any particular significance to the 109 at that particular time, I would think. My father was busy trying to survive and, in his much later years, probably substituted in his mind the 109 for another boat- his main contention was that they were constantly taking from one boat or another to get one or two out on patrol for that night. Torpedoes, ammo and fuel were all in short supply where he was. He constantly referred to being "up in there" meaning up into one of the many rivers- many times just one or two boats. His recollectiomns- not mine. Thanks for correcting the record.

Allan


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  FRANK

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of FRANK  Posted on: Oct 17, 2007 - 6:47pm
AHOY THERE, ALAN, DREW & JERRY-

I AM TRULY THANKFUL FOR THE RESPONSES THAT I HAVE RECEIVED CONCERNING THE COLOR ' MEASURE ' OF THE PT 109. IT TRULY IS A TOUCHY SUBJECT, TO SAY THE LEAST!

THANKS AGAIN MY FRIENDS!

FRANK RYCZEK, JR.
MODELER/FRIEND RON-10 PT 169

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

Total Posts: 349 | Joined: Oct 7, 2007 - 2:09pm | IP Logged

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