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 Author  Topic: PT 196 Photos
Jeff D


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jeff D   Send Email To Jeff D Posted on: Jan 4, 2020 - 6:49pm
The Elco 80' PT 196 had an interesting early history as a test bed and promotional vessel. She had one of the most interesting -paint jobs- I've ever seen on a PT or any other vessel, a shark's eyes, nose, and mouth at the bow followed by wavy stripes along the sides and across the stern. She was called ELCOPUSS. Modeler Frank Ryczek, Jr. did some research on her for a project and found the following out about her nicknames:

Upon completion of her fanciful camo measure an employee at Elco quipped, -she looks just like a damn octopuss!!- She was given the nick-name ELCOPUSS by the Elco plant. On her arriving in the South Pacific her crew changed the name to THE GREEN DRAGON!

According to Will Day's list of PT boat nicknames, the 196 was also called SHAMROCK and PURPLE SHAFT.

PT author, researcher, and historian Dr. Al Ross pointed out some details about the 196 in other threads. For those that may be new to this board, Al is a man whose encyclopedic knowledge of small naval combatants can answer questions about them that few others can. Here are some quotes from him from past threads regarding the 196:

The 196 was used as a test bed for a variety of items, including the slipper tank, the enlarged engine room hatch, and the abortive lightweight ELCO 20mm mount.

PT196 was retained by ELCO for several months following completion and used to test a number of modifications. While Stateside, she was painted in the fanciful "Jap Terror/ELCOPUSS" scheme. What color she was painted once placed in service with RON 12 during the summer of 1943, I don't know, although it was most likely one of the green schemes. However, the shark-mouthed scheme seen in the photos was gray. David Swasey, a camoufleur at ELCO at the time, wrote:

We finally 'flew-the-coop' of logic and painted up a 'Jap terror', very much on the order of Stillwell's 'Flying Tigers' in China. The PT was admirably adapted to a 'shark face' scheme because of the chine beginning half-way down the stem, and sloping in a curve to the water. So, we painted big teeth beneath this chine, and red for the mouth between them, and two evil eyes port and starboard, just below the guardrail. Back of the face, we finished out the hull in dark and light gray wavy lines - a sort of quiet 'Adaptor System'. This particular bit was in part a real experiment, and appeared very effective under certain conditions, especially on gray days.

Researcher and historian Andy Small found photos and ID'ed an experimental type of torpedo launching rack called a Bullfrog, and an interesting aft view of what Elco rather generically called an Appendage, a releasable fuel tank fitted to the stern of the 196 that acted as an extension of the hull. Another lower profile design shown in a drawing from Dick Washichek's Elco 80' drawing collection lists the 195 although I've never seen an image of her fitted with it.

The bullfrog rack being tested:


The bullfrog rack and appendage:


The torpedo tubes in this and other images appear to maybe be Mark 18 Mod 5. You can just make out the appendage:






A closeup shows a maybe black outline of the teeth and maybe red inside the nostrils:



If anyone knows where this was taken please let me know:


Not much of the 196 visible but there is something unusual about this photo. I believe it was Stu Hurley who noticed a jeep on the forward deck of the 191:





The experimental lightweight 20mm mount:


JFK wasn't the only rich kid to take on dangerous PT duty:




From an appendage drawing for PT 195:


From an appendage drawing for PT 196:


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Stuart Hurley


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Stuart Hurley  Posted on: Jan 5, 2020 - 1:44pm
Jeff, thanks for posting this. 196 would certainly make an interesting model subject with the slipper tank. Large in 1/35th though!! I wonder what effects the tank had on planing ability and turning circle, especially when loaded. In the twin .50 photo it looks like she had red pennant numbers, at least on the sides.

Best Regards,

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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: Jan 7, 2020 - 5:44am
The Jeep looks to be on PT 196, not 191. At the angle of the photo, the Jeep is all the way on the starboard side of 191’s deck, or it’s really on 196. If it was centered on 191’s forward deck you would see the drivers seat, not the grill.
Take care

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Stuart Hurley


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Stuart Hurley  Posted on: Jan 7, 2020 - 7:18am

I think it could still be on the 191 as the only place it could have fitted is to stbd of the circular gun platform, aft of the two ammo lockers that were on 191 at the time which would put it right to the deck edge. There is a ventilator there but it may have been raised on pallets to give clearance. If it was on 196 it would have to be on the gun platform i reckon, but you may be right.

Best Regards,

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