The PT Boat Forum

Forum Category: PT Boats of WWII

Forum Name: PT Boats - General

Topic: I just finished reading "Flag 4"...

...and I have a great deal more respect for the Brits and other men from across the empire who were Coastal Force sailors.

I bought the book because Ron 15 operated under the Brits and there are several MGB and MTB references in Ron 15 reports. What facinated me however were the eastern Med operations, especially around Yugoslavia. Point-blank shootouts, depth-charge attacks...incredible stuff.

My favorite part was a "game" Coastal Forces were playing in the Adriatic; it involved seizing German-used merchant vessels and towing them back to a friendly port so the boat and its cargo could be used by the Yugos.

The winner would have the best time start-to-finish, begining with the boarding of the enemy ship and ending with it being towed at a speed of 10 knots. Here's the best part - the record was 12 minutes! This was all around April of 1944.

Amazing stuff...that takes a big pair to come rolling up to a ship at speed and snatch her.

As for folks with a US interest in Med operations (like myself) it isn't the book for you. There are only scant mentions of Allied operations; that being said the book never pretended to offer anything else.

I did find an mentioned PT 209 as being involved in the rescue of an MGB crew or an MTB crew that got stranded inside a harbor in 1943. I know it wasn't the 209 (I think it was the 203, but I'd have to check.) is a very good read! It's pacing and style of "conversational" action reports mixed with interviews and enemy reports gives a great understanding of what our PT allies did in the Med.

AFTERTHOUGHT: The Brits seemed to have much more success with torpedoes against F-lighters and even Flak-Lighters. Makes you wonder if Ron15 had started their testing of British torpedoes out of American tubes earlier (which might have seen them in actual combat before the Mk XIII's came along) they might have had an easier time of things!

If you're interested, here's the info:

FLAG 4 The Battle of Coastal Forces in the Mediterranean 1939-1945
Written by Dudley Pope
Originally published in 1954; the Naval Institute Press put out a paperback reprint in 1998.

Anyone else read it?

Grandson of James J Stanton
RON 15 PT 209 and RON 23 PT 243
Check out:

Posted By: newsnerd99 | Posted on: May 21, 2008 - 3:29am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered

Hi Jim-

Thanks for your posting. I have not read FLAG 4 yet but it is at the top of my books-to-get list. I did, however, just finish the book VICTORY AT SEA Tales of His Majesty's Coastal Forces by Hal Lawrence. It is an interesting book covering Canadian MTB opeations. The reason I am adding to your thread is what he says about PT Boats. Mr. Lawrence mentions RON 15 in the Mediterannean. He states that the British were at times quite critical of PT Boat operations. The British MTB forces observed that the PTs had the most advanced radar but were not very aggressive. They viewed the Americans as overly cautious. Take that as you will - the British and Canadian small boat officers and men were brave as were the PT Men. Just thought I'd share Lawrence's observations from his book.


Posted By: Alex Johnson | Posted on: May 23, 2008 - 6:48am
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Thanks for the recommendation! There were several Canadians mentioned prominently in "Flag 4"...some of the boats were straight from Halifax as well.

I was hoping the book would have mentioned more of the interaction, but understandably you can't get to everything. I've been looking for something that talked more about the ups and downs during the times working together...more than just a mention that they had communication problems or something like that.

Thanks again for the heads up!

Grandson of James J Stanton
RON 15 PT 209 and RON 23 PT 243
Check out:

Posted By: newsnerd99 | Posted on: May 23, 2008 - 5:56pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered