The PT Boat Forum

Forum Category: PT Boats of WWII

Forum Name: PT Boats - General

Topic: General Quarters

Trying to figure duty stations for GQ on PT 305. 10 enlisted two officers
CO and XO at the helm- 2
What exactly did the XO do? Some say he handled the throttles or directed the guns or torpedo director or was a rover or all of the above?
Quartermaster in the charthouse- 1
Motor mac in the engineroom- 1
Each dual .50 turret-2
40mm, two gunners and a loader- 3
Both 20's- 2
Now question with the 20's, did they have a dedicated loader? If so that would mean two more men. Or was there a rover? Were the 20mm operators strapped in or attached with a lanyard?


Posted By: Bob | Posted on: Jul 7, 2013 - 10:55am
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Go to

page 64.


Posted By: JBG327 | Posted on: Jul 7, 2013 - 11:51am
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Go to

page 64. Does not show 40mm.


Posted By: JBG327 | Posted on: Jul 7, 2013 - 11:54am
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I copied what it says on that Watch Quarter and Station Bill

Name/Rating---- Attack ---------------------------Defense--------------- Fire
Capt -------Conn; torpedo control----- Conn-------------------- Conn
Exec------- Wheel and throttles.--------Wheel &throttles-----In charge at scene.

The CO and XO are listed along with others. By the way, I have found that on the 40mm Bofors cannon, there are usually four not three crewmen. Pointer, Trainer, First Loader and Second Loader. The Second Loader was needed to keep the first loader supplied with clips as the gun is being moved around and uses the ready service ammo on the mount. If you look in numerous photos of PT Boat crews, they usually always show 4 guys as the entire gun crew. Yes it is possible to operate with less, but if you have someone available they would be used as the second loader. I have verified this with at least 10 real PT boat crewmen as well.

Also one other thing I noticed was at least on Higgins Boats, there was room for two watchstanders inside charthouse, the Quartermaster Navigating and the other guy was either the Radio Operator or Radar Operator. I think both of them were in there being pretty busy but if they were free to leave their post and carry ammo they probably could do so.
Also I believe the Torpedoes were manned by at least 2 people standing by to manually launch torpedoes in case remote launch mechanisms failed. This would usually be the assigned TM but I am sure if he was the only TM on the boat, other rates could also help with that duty.

I am fairly certain the 20mm required two men, a gunner and a loader, for each 20mm cannon mounted. You also need a loader for the 37mm gun and a loader for the twin 50's (somebody to ferry ammo cans up from below while gunners are shooting)

Jerry Gilmartin

Posted By: Jerry Gilmartin | Posted on: Jul 7, 2013 - 6:47pm
Total Posts: 1475 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 11:16pm

From: Motor Torpedo Boats, Tactical Orders and Doctrine, July 1942

section 6102. Battle stations.


Boat captain Conn: Wheel or throttle.
Executive officer Throttle or wheel.
GM Oerlikon gun.
Tm Stand by torpedoes or depth charges.
QM Ammunition passer for .50-caliber guns.
RM Radio.
MM Engine room.
MM Starboard .50-caliber guns.
MM Port .50-caliber guns.
Sea Loader for Oerlikon-gun.

NOTE.-The above may and should be changed to utilize special aptitude or training of any man.


Watch 1
Captain Conn
RM communications and navigation
TM Wheel, torpedoes
SC .50-caliber guns
Sea .50-caliber guns
MM Engine room

Watch 2
Executive Officer. Conn
QM. Communications and navigation
GM. Wheel, torpedoes
MM. .50-caliber guns
Vacant .50-caliber guns
MM. Engine room

Posted By: JBG327 | Posted on: Jul 7, 2013 - 7:58pm
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So if we had
2 for twin .50's
1- .50 loader
2- for 20mm's
2- 20mm loaders
2- torpedoes
1- engineroom
4- 40mm
Thats 16 enlisted men
Now lets assume that during a torpedo run that two guys are pulled off of something else and as soon as they drop thier torpedoes they could get back to another station.
That would be 14 enlisted men.
Now the quartermaster even the XO could also be a .50 loader.
That would still be 13 enlisted men
Thats 2 to 3 more than they had.
So I would think maybe 3 on the 40 and only one in the charthouse while attacking or under attack. What do you guys think?


Posted By: Bob | Posted on: Jul 8, 2013 - 6:38am
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Bob we had a crew of 2 officers and 13 enlisted men on the 242.
At General Quarters:
Cockpit; 2 officers
Charthouse: 2 men (radioman and quartermaster)
Bow 37 mm:. 2 men (gunner and loader)
2- twin 50's bow mounted in front of the charthouse: - one man (he fired both guns depending on whether a starboard or port strafe)
2 - twin fifty turrets: Two men (gunners)
One 20 mm. midships: 2 men (gunner and loader) The loader was also the torpedoman
37 mm Field artillery stern gun: 3 men (pointer, trainer and loader)
Engine room: one man (motormac)
They were a great crew. Most of us were together for 13 months. Five of us are left now. I still keep in touch with them.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Jul 8, 2013 - 8:55am
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Thanks CJ, that is very helpful. The 305 had an average of 11 enlisted. Who was the loader for the twin turret .50's?


Posted By: Bob | Posted on: Jul 8, 2013 - 9:54am
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Did the PT305 ever have a 37mm cannon on the bow? Maybe there is your explanation for the difference, I was just reading an email from Jack Duncan (PT103 crewman and a retired Master Chief) and he says the number of crew on a PT boat depends entirely upon what boat and when. As it got later in the war, more crewmen were needed to operate all the added weapons on the PT Boats as they were up-gunned.

Jerry Gilmartin

Posted By: Jerry Gilmartin | Posted on: Jul 8, 2013 - 10:33am
Total Posts: 1475 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 11:16pm

No 37mm Jerry. 20mm forward, two twin .50's in the turrets, 20mm midship, 40mm aft and the four roll off torpedos. Not to mention the two pole mounted single .50's at the forward torpedos.


Posted By: Bob | Posted on: Jul 8, 2013 - 11:22am
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Bob we did not have loaders for the 50's. I was the port twin 50 turret gunner myself. We had 250 round cans hooked to each gun and 6 extra cans of 250 rounds each in the floor of the turret so we had 1000 rounds for each 50 cal gun. I don't remember ever firing more than I had in the turret.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Jul 8, 2013 - 1:25pm
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Thanks again CJ. By the way, which bunk was yours?


Posted By: Bob | Posted on: Jul 8, 2013 - 1:28pm
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Bob: The upper starboard forward bunk was mine.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Jul 8, 2013 - 1:33pm
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Hey Bob, I was looking through some of my pics I took of RON22 deck logbooks and I have one for PT305 at commissioning and another from PT308 from 1945 and the number of enlisted crewmen on PT305 was 11 like you say, however the PT308 logbook lists 16 enlisted crewmen. So I imagine some may have been added to the original compliment of 11 during the war as more weapons were added to the boat.

Jerry Gilmartin

Posted By: Jerry Gilmartin | Posted on: Jul 9, 2013 - 12:02am
Total Posts: 1475 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 11:16pm

Wow 16, were would they have slept? Every crews photo I have seen in the Med shows an average of 11 and confirmed by one of our historians. I'm sure some were added at times, but we know that the 305 operated with this number for most of the time so we are just trying to get an idea of the different battle stations for this boat, thier routine, how they lived, where they slept, etc. The sleeping part is enteresting. As I was in the Navy myself, the choice of racks (bunks) was based on rank. The higher the rank the better choice of rack. So I would suppose the same on the PT's. The best racks being the four built inside the ovals in the bulkheads up forward. These are a lot more private. And the one that CJ is talking about is all the way forward, so a little less light and a little quieter. On the 305 these two forward racks had portholes as well. Then you have the lower bunks, normally seating for everyone, then having to be made up later to sleep on. Then you have the aft store room and lazzerret. A lot more private, but hot as hell as they had no forced air ventilation (or heater) only two clamshell vents. The 305 was not built with an aft head. It was also not built for bunks in these aft areas. Its strange as earlier Higgins boats were. So in these aft areas, mattresses were put on the shelves outboard of the longitudenal bulkheads.


Posted By: Bob | Posted on: Jul 9, 2013 - 5:43am
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Yes I know what you mean Bob, I was speaking to one of our crewmen vets, Maury Hooper of Higgins PT238 RON20 in the Pacific, and while he was on the boat they had 14 men plus two officers. Here is where they slept. Mainly on the deck maybe on a cot under a tarp. When it was raining or stormy their bunks were as follows: Fwd Crews Quarters = 8. Officer Wardroom = 2 with room for a third, Aft Crew Quarters (below 40mm aka "Aft Stowage Room") =4 (2 in outboard racks, 2 in pipe racks) Lazarette =2 in outboard racks. Total number of enlisted racks = 8 + 4 + 2 = 14. They had to sleep on the deck I would bet! Then add 3 Officers and you have 17, Lots of people.

Jerry Gilmartin

Posted By: Jerry Gilmartin | Posted on: Jul 9, 2013 - 11:19pm
Total Posts: 1475 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 11:16pm

Jerry you are right. We very seldom slept below deck. Too hot in the South Pacific. Only in a rain storm and it had to be pretty windy to drive us below deck. That was one thing I really liked about Higgins boats with the flat deck behind the radar mast. When at the base we put up a tarp behind the radar mast as well as on the bow. When tied to a buoy (the bow into the wind) the charthouse would act as a windbreak for the aft tarp. I usually slept under the bow tarp but when stormy I would move my cot back under the rear tarp. Very very few times do I remember sleeping in my bunk.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Jul 10, 2013 - 7:35am
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Did everyone sleep on cots when on deck ? And if so, where did you stow them in the day.


Posted By: Nuge210 | Posted on: Jul 10, 2013 - 4:15pm
Total Posts: 323 | Joined: Jun 4, 2008 - 7:50am

Steve: We slept on them mostly during the day but when underway and on patrol we stacked them up in the lazzerette. The officers kept theirs in their quarters.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Jul 10, 2013 - 6:47pm
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