The PT Boat Forum

Forum Category: PT Boats of WWII

Forum Name: PT Boats - General

Topic: PT 34 Last Known Position

There appears to be some differance in the position of the PT34 At Close Quarters has her sunk and burning on the beach on Cauit Isl. ala They Were Expendable the movie,

However in the written version Kelly puts the Boat 1,200 yds. from shore.

Can anyone shed some light onto which position would be correct?


Posted By: David Buck | Posted on: Apr 7, 2013 - 12:46am
Total Posts: 332 | Joined: May 4, 2008 - 2:59am

Dad was the quartermaster (boat driver) on 34. In action, Kelly would take the wheel and Dad would man the starboard Lewis. In the action in which the boat was lost, Dad was wounded in the legs by Japanese machinegun fire. In the movie, Kelly (John Wayne) carries him ashore.

After the war, Mom and Dad were invited to the first showing of the movie here in Bangor. As they both told it, when that scene occurred, Dad jumped up and hollered, Carried, hell. I swam. That seems to give some credence to Kelly's statement.

It might be worthwhile to look at a chart of the area and cherck the water depths around the island. The boats drew about 5 feet, so they would tend to ground further out if the bottom was a shallow slope.

Al Ross

Posted By: alross2 | Posted on: Apr 7, 2013 - 7:29am
Total Posts: 904 | Joined: Oct 30, 2006 - 8:19pm

Al and David;
Also, if it happened to be low tide, when the incident occured, this would explain the 1200 yd distance, from the beach.
Take care,

Posted By: TED WALTHER | Posted on: Apr 8, 2013 - 6:39am
Total Posts: 2893 | Joined: Oct 16, 2006 - 7:42am

Hi Al and Ted,

Thanks Al what you said made sense and helped me "Get my head around " the problem I had with the placement of the Boat.

So after obtaining a 1944 Chart and the Almariality updates due to the Philippine Govt. building the South Reclematiom Project on the south side of Cauit Island and satellite images I determined that the channel is only 2 1/2 nautical miles long and approx. 800 yards wide at its widest point. With a depth ranging from 7-12 ft. on the 1944 chart (at low tide)

Beyond the 800 yard point the sides of the channel shoal very quickly from 8/9ft. to 3 ft.and less this shallow area then continues for around 400 yds. till it reaches Cauit Isl.This shoal runs from the top (Northern tip ) of Cauit island down its Eastern side and continues beyond the Islands Southern tip till it reaches the end of the Channel.

Depending on were Kelly turned the Boat towards Cauit Island would determine how far from the island the boat ran aground, if he headed in from due south he woud have run aground at any point along the shoal but if he had been at any other point in the channel and headed towards the island he would have run aground only 400yds or so from the Island.

This also depends on the tide at the time the acton took place and with a little work this could be worked out because an extra hour or two would make a differance in the final point at which the Boat encounted the shoal. (haven't spent that much time on that part yet any help would be great if someone else allready has spent the time on working tides back during that timeframe)

From Kellys own report the action lasted at least 15 minutes and he stayed in the Channel the whole time it, can be seen that they must have travelled back and forth in the channel a number of times as even with only two engines running (one being damaged earler in the day) he would have had the throttles wide open to avoid the Jap planes.

Ted thanks for the idea however after looking at the Charts it became clear that this area is not glently sloping to the deepest point but rather one that has shoals that on is not awear are there.

So with your help thats what I have put together so far.
Thanks guys.


Posted By: David Buck | Posted on: Apr 13, 2013 - 5:33am
Total Posts: 332 | Joined: May 4, 2008 - 2:59am