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 Author  Topic: PT-509
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: Jul 1, 2022 - 11:03am
This photo shows a painting (by Brian Byron) of the PT 509 when it collided with the German Minesweeper M 4626 which was part of an escort of a convoy traveling between Guernsey and Jersey (Channel Islands. UK) on 8th August 1944. It is on display in a German bunker which overlooks where the running battle took place and there is a nearby memorial to the fallen crew of PT 503 and 509. The engagement took place in heavy fog and the German captains over estimated the number of attacking PT boats as different ships were seeing and reporting the same PT boat but not could not see each other.
The following is part of the German Report taken from the log book of the German 46th Minesweeping Flotilla:
"Four enemy gunboats come in line from astern at high speed. M 4622 opens fire. There is heavy firing from both sides at point-blank range whereby the two enemy boats catch fire. The first burning boat moves into the combined fire of the V 204, breaks down and explodes at 6.35 hours. The second burning boat, at slackened speed, goes out of sight in the fog. A third enemy boat rams our lead at the rear corner of the forecastle, after the commander has turned into her with hard rudder. The gunboat remains with running engines.
The gun crews of friend and foe alike, all standing at their battle stations in anticipation, open fire simultaneously when sighting their opponents. A German shell hits the charthouse of the PT 509, temporarily stunning Radar man John Leydon Page, who was soon to be the sole survivor of his boat.
The German lead boat lists heavily due to the force of the collision but soon rights itself. The forecastle of the PT boat is cut wide open and it is possible to see into the interior of the hull with the lights still burning. The ensign of the PT 509 floats in the wind just a few metres from the German ensign. In this situation the two hostile boats are sailing, wedge-shaped and side by side, while the crews wage close combat with dogged obstinacy. Hand grenades and machine pistols are used, and the Army soldiers on board the German minesweeper take up their arms as well.
In no time at all the wooden PT boat is in flames and members of the crew can be seen jumping into the water to escape the fire, while others on board have already fallen. On board the M 4626 there have been casualties as well and seconds before the collision a volley from the American boat has eliminated the 8.8cm gun. The gun layer and one of the crew have fallen and many others have been wounded. But as soon as the PT boat burst into flames the guns fall silent as both vessels are in great danger – one explosion on the torpedo boat would destroy both craft. Feverishly the crew of the M 4626 try to extinguish the flames by every means. A courageous and expert German able seamen crawls on board the PT boat and pushes overboard an explosive charge, stored on the deck. Had he not done so, both boats would certainly have been sunk. A wounded American crew member, John Page, crawls onto the bow of his boat and is pulled aboard the minesweeper by means of a line.
Ten minutes after the collision, while two members of the German crew try to rescue a second American, the two vessels suddenly part. The engine of the PT boat has stopped. With the help of their comrades, those Germans on the stricken vessel jump back on to their minesweeper. The PT 509 goes down by the bow with the ammunition detonating. Finally a heavy explosion announces the end of a courageous attacker."

pZdqk.jpg


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Dick

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Dick   Send Email To Dick Posted on: Jul 1, 2022 - 12:57pm

What a great story, Thanks Frank, we can always count on you supporting this board with your many, many, many posts and photos.

Dick . . .


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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: Jul 2, 2022 - 4:43am
Your welcome Dick, been a long time member, and want to see this continue.


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Coley Johnson

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Coley Johnson  Posted on: Aug 8, 2022 - 10:31pm
My Uncle was on this PT Boat. I have photos of him that I'll try to upload later. My Mother is 95 and still gets a little depressed on this date. Tony Sherwood Reynolds died 78 years ago today. Rest in peace uncle Tony and thank you gentleman for keeping the stories of these men alive.
I've done research and found out a lot about my uncle and PT 509. I hadn't seen the German account of the action until now. It is truly an amazing and terrifying story. Any additional information about 509 would be greatly appreciated.


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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: Aug 9, 2022 - 6:28am
First and foremost God Bless your Uncle. I think it is a great service to him that you are researching this, trying to learn as much as possible. Not sure of you have seen the memorial to those that lost their life on the 509, but I an enclosing it here.

polAS.jpg
poaO5.jpg


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Joe Reese

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Joe Reese  Posted on: Aug 10, 2022 - 3:44pm
Hi all,

I was able to find the war diary and action report, covering this, for Ron 34. Are the archives links ok to post here?


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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 12, 2022 - 6:12am
Thanks for the history Frank. And welcome Coley, good to have you here!

Very cool Joe, please feel free and thanks. Are they from a free site like archive.org? If a pay site, just add a note with the link saying so.



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Joe Reese

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Joe Reese  Posted on: Aug 13, 2022 - 8:04pm
Hi Jeff,

Thank you and it's good to be here. So much information to take in. I'm going to love every minute of it.


These are both from the National Archives and, as far as I understand, are public domain.

https://catalog.archives.gov/id/139734947

MTB RON 34 - War Diary, 7/1/44 to 8/31/44 (16 pgs)


https://catalog.archives.gov/id/134373041

MTB RON 34 - Rep of PT Ops Against Enemy Minesweepeers West of Isle of Jersey, Night of 8/8-9/44 (4 pgs)

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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, 2022 - 11:38am
Hello shipmates!
I just wanted to let you all know that Joe Reese is an old buddy of mine. I first met him when he made a trip to Portland and volunteered to help on PT658 back when we were replacing her deck. Joe painted our Ash can with “Tokyo or Bust” similar to a photo from PT309 that shows a crew peeling potatoes into a can labeled “Berlin or Bust”. Then a few years later, crewman Jason Lobo and I made the pilgrimage to Fall River and Melville where we met with Joe again and toured the place with Don Shannon and viewed the 2 PT boats there. So Joe has been following PT boats for several years now and he is certainly a great addition to this Forum! Welcome aboard Joe! Glad to see you here!

Jerry

Jerry Gilmartin
PT658 Crewman
Portland OR

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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, 2022 - 11:41am
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