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 Author  Topic: Shorty Krauel
Frank J Andruss Sr


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Me and Ed "Shorty" Krauel back in 2010 at the PT Boat Reunion in Rhode Island. Here is his story that he related to me back then.
PT-190 and PT-191 ( interview 2010)
This was the engagement of both of the boats as described to me by Ed “ Shorty” Krauel who was on PT-190 when the boats were jumped.
We were returning to our Base in Northern New Guinea, after having patrolled in the New Britain area for Jap barges. It was December 27, 1943, we had found no Barges so on the way home we checked out an area known as Marije Bay, where we knew there were Barges. We didn’t find anything and our Skipper was a bit concerned that we were spending too much time in the area. We hit the throttles wide open so we could get back to our base at Dreger Harbor, because we were concerned about running into our own fighter planes, and being hit by friendly fire.
Harry Schwab one of our gunner’s mates was up on the bow when he looked up a notice a flight of planes approaching us. We thought it was air cover for us, but noticed there had to be at least 30 planes. Our Skipper Ed Farley called for general quarters, as did PT-191. As I recall it was in the morning around 7:45 am when we saw the first Jap planes, bright skies, easy to spot us. It seemed to me that bombs started falling on us right away, one exploding about 50 feet away from us. It lifted us right out of the water.
I think it was our other boat that started firing right away, as the Japs stated peeling down on us. Before I knew it the planes kept coming in right after another dropping bombs and strafing us. Our skipper was doing everything he could to dodge the planes, taking evasive action and turning the boat every which way. I never saw so many planes coming in, but we kept on firing away at them with everything we had. I don’t know for sure but I think PT-191’s gunners got the first Jap plane, and we watched it splash into the ocean.
Our skipper had noticed a rain cloud in front of us, and figured if we could get there it would provide some cover. The planes kept coming in and it wasn’t until later that I learned Harry Schwab on our boat got one of the Japs while firing the 20mm Gun on the stern. We just kept firing at them; I thought we would run out of ammo. I know our skipper had our radioman continue to try and reach out plane base to send out planes to help us.
A bunch of planes, from Jap Zeroes, to Betty Bombers jumped the 191 boat but we couldn’t help them because we had planes jumping us. We learned after that Mr. Ewing from their boat got hit with shrapnel and fell onto the deck. Ensign Calhoun was also hit taking a hit in his real end. He grabbed the wheel of the boat, trying to avoid the Jap planes zig zagging all over the place. Also a Jap bullet hit their 20mm gun exploding a few cartridges, wounding the gunners pretty bad. Our gunners and theirs knocked down a couple more planes; we think we got maybe 4 of them.
PT-191 got into serious trouble with their engines as bullets hit the water jackets and also the intake manifold which caused gasoline flames into the engine room. I learned of this later as I was talking to one of the Motor Macs, Bloom who told me he had to stuff the leaks, all the while getting burned. He also closed off the gas and saved the boat, they were dead in the water, which as you know a dead PT in the water is a sitting duck and we were getting pasted by these Jap planes. I think the only thing that saved the boat and us was we ran into a bunch of clouds. We were all screaming when we finally saw our own planes coming in to fight the Japs planes, and they dropped a bunch of their planes too, as we saw Japs hitting the water and exploding.
One of our planes was hit and he hit the water not far from us, Joe Cope jumped right in after him. We pulled him into our boat. He looked at our guns and thought we had plenty of fire power to take care of things, I told him sure but not 30 planes.
It was funny because after everything died down, we just flopped on the deck; I was so exhausted I could hardly move, I will never forget it. We had some booze on the boat and we passed it around, and then had a bite to eat. I think Mr. Ewing was taken off the Island by plane, and the other guys that got hit were taken care of, spending time in a tent at the Base. I will never forget this day as long as I live. I hope I helped you Frank, if you have any others questions let me know.
Shorty Krauel. 2010 Rhode Island.


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