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 Author  Topic: PT-305
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: Nov 22, 2022 - 5:44am
First hand account by Benedict Bronder. We would usually patrol at nighwhile on PT-305. They would be accompanied by three other boats. They would patrol from Genoa to England. In one action, the boat picked up a pip on the radar. The night was dark as the ace of spades. A light went off above them. It was a star shell. I manned the 20mm gun on the bow of the boat. With the star shell, I could see a floating mine forward of the boat. He alerted the man behind the wheel. They made a hard right and cleared that mine, but directly behind the first mine was a second one. If the PT had hit either of those mines, it would have shattered the boat into toothpicks. The executive officer on the boat had said previously that he did not believe in religion. The next day after the near miss of the two mines, the officer said that anytime I wanted to go to church, he would sign the release for him to do so. It had made a believer of the officer. That patrol was in the Mediterranean near Italy. The management of the patrols was from England. They knew the numbers of enemy vessels going out and those returning. Claims for any sinkings would be controlled through that command center. PT-305 could not just claim credit for sinking or damaging enemy ships, they had to be honest about what they declared. To me, it seemed as if PT-305 had three or four ships to claim to their credit. When the enemy was picked up on radar, the PT boat would run a parallel course with the adversary to try to determine its direction and speed. After that assessment, the PT would run about three miles further up and then double back on a course to approach the enemy for firing its torpedoes. It was necessary to be 1,500 yards from the target for the torpedo to detonate after the propeller armed the warhead. On the advance on one enemy target, it was seen that the target was escorted by a gunboat. The adversaries were closing rapidly. PT-305 and the other American boats were told to scatter. They did not fire any torpedoes and decided to avert the attack. As the boats scattered, there were two - five gallon pails of powder that were thrown off the vessels. [Annotator's Note: Bronder does not indicate which vessel or vessels threw the powder; however, based on the outcome, it is assumed the PT boat or boats threw the pails as a distraction to the enemy.] There was an explosion, and it looked like they were hit. Tracers were firing in both directions. There were tracers on both sides of PT-305 and I worried that the enemy would adjust their fire to center up on 305. Instead, the explosion from the pails of powder had caught the attention of the enemy. The concentration of fire was on the point of the explosions so PT-305 narrowly escaped. Myself and the crew were lucky. It was necessary for the American patrol boats to be out of the region near Italy by five o'clock because any cripples or other crafts spotted by Allied aircraft were free game after that point. PT-305 got back to Corsica by six in the morning after that mission. Another mission involved an Army officer using an instrument to make sightings on targets that would be blown up by the Army Air Forces later. Additionally, there were missions involving spies as well as those off the coast of Marseilles, France where soundings were taken in advance of the invasion fleet making its way to the coastline. [ Note: Operation Dragoon was the invasion of southern France which included the coastline of Marseilles. Originally planned to be in conjunction with the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, the Allied assault took place in August 1944 after lessons learned from Operation Overlord were implemented.] The waters north of Corsica were rough with turbulent waves. One of the PT boats had engine problems and when the engine was revved up too much, the PT boat smashed a wave too hard. The mission was scrubbed and the boats returned to base. While on Corsica, I found himself assisting Archbishop Spellman in conducting mass. The Archbishop served multiple denominations. With the Associated Press taking pictures, his mother saw her son assisting with the mass. She was proud of him for helping the Archbishop. Note: Archbishop Francis Spellman served as Apostolic Vicar for the U.S. Armed Forces and a close advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt during World War 2. Many trips were made overseas by the Archbishop to see the troops in foreign lands. He would go on after the war in this position and would ultimately be named a Cardinal.

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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: Nov 23, 2022 - 2:11pm
Thanks for posting this, Frank! It reminds me of the current status of the 305, she will never see the light of day on her decks ever again; and will never be afloat again. Truly sad after all those volunteers put their heart blood and soul into restoring her to operating condition.

Jerry Gilmartin
PT658 Crewman
Portland OR

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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: Nov 24, 2022 - 4:25am
Sore subject with me, but the deed is done. They say more people will now see the boat in it's new home, but her home is the water. Thanks God we at least have one boat on the water with the 658


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