The PT Boat Forum
http://www.ptboatforum.com/cgi-bin/MB2/netboard.cgi


Forum Category: PT Boats of WWII
http://www.ptboatforum.com/cgi-bin/MB2/netboard.cgi?cid=101&fct=showf


Forum Name: PT Boats - General
http://www.ptboatforum.com/cgi-bin/MB2/netboard.cgi?fct=gotoforum&cid=101&fid=102


Topic: Preventative Maintainence
http://www.ptboatforum.com/cgi-bin/MB2/netboardr.cgi?cid=101&fid=102&tid=819



I had always wanted to know what actually took place when a PT Boat was pulled from the water for maintainence. How often was a PT Boat due for service, and how long did those engines really last before over-haul.

How long was a boat tied up for when her hull was scrapped and re-painted, and did the crew always lend a hand in that task. If your boat was in for service, did the crew always stay on land, or did they go on other boats. What determined if a boat had seen its last days and was canabalized for parts ( other then shell or bomb damage). How many boats in a Squadron actually went on patrol each night and how many stayed in. Were supplies needed to fix the boats alwyas on hand, and how many boats would be under service at one time. These are things you won't find in any manual, but could be answered by BASE FORCE GUYS. How about it fellows, what is the skinny on this stuff.............



Posted By: Frank J Andruss Sr | Posted on: Jun 4, 2008 - 8:55am
Total Posts: 3165 | Joined: Oct 9, 2006 - 6:09am



HELLLO FRANK,SR THIS INFO AS PER MY OWN EXPERIENCS FOR OVERHAUL/DRYDOCK/MAINTENANCE.UNLESS IT WAS AN EMERGENCY FOR REPLACEMENT OF ENGINES,ETC TO GO FOR DRYDOCK/PAINTING,ETC IT WAS ,AS FAR AS I KNOW,DECIDED BY THE SKIPPER WHEN THIS WAS RO BE DONE.WE USUALLY WENT IN FOR MAINTENANCE/HULL PAINTING.ONLY DID IT ONCE IN MY 4 MONTHS ON THE BOAT.WE WENT INTO DRYDOCK FOR HULOL SCRAPING/PAONTING AND BOAT MAINTENANCE.WHILE IN DRUYDOCK WE STAYED ON THE BOAT AND EACH MAN TENDED TO HIS OWN ASSIGNED DUTY.I PAINTED,REPAIRED AND SANITIZED THE GALLLEY.I PAINTED THE DECK/BILGES/CUPBOARDS AND BUKHEADS/CLEANED THE STOVE/OVEB/FRIG .RESTOCKED THE FOOD SUPPLIES WITH WHAT I COULD GET.REPAIRED AND GALLY EQUIPMENT THAT NEEDED IT.ALSO DID ANY CARPENTRY WORK TJHAT WAS NEEDED.MOTOR MAC,S TENDED THE ENGINES, GUNNERS THEIR GUNS AND TURRETS,RADIONMAN THE CHART ROOM AND RADIO EQUIP AND SO FORTH.THE AMOUNT OF BOATS ON PATROLS WAS DECIDED AS TO WHAT THE PATROL WAS GOING TO BE.WHEN WENT ON REGULAR PATROL OURS WAS THE ONLY BOAT.WHEN THERE WAS SOMETHING SPECIAL MAYBE ONE OR TWO BOATS.WHEN THE WAS EXPEXTED ACTION OR PLANNED PATROLS MAYBE TWO OR THREE BOATS.USUALLLY A PATROL WOULD HAVE A "SECTION LEADER"OFFICER.SOMETIME WE HAD PASSENGERS(PILOTS-OFFICERS-NATIVES-COAST WATCHERS,ETC).MOST PATROLS LASTED THE ONE NIGHT UNLESS WE HAD SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT.PATROLS STARTED AROUND 3-4 PM(I STARTED PREPARING CHOW JUST AFTER WE LEFT THE ANCHOR.SERVED CHOW ABOUT AN HOUR LATER WHEN WE WERE UNDERWAY.STARTED TO MAKE SANDWICHES AND COFFEE FOR THE MEN TO HAVE WHILE GOING TO PATROL STATION.WE HAD A RED BULB
(LIGHT)LOW THE HATCH YOU COULD SEE BY TO ENTER THE HATCH TO GO BELOW.STARTED BREAKFAST JUST AFTER LEAVING PATROL STATION AND HAD IT READYY IN ABOUT ONE HOUR.AFTER CHOW STARTED TO CLEAN UP GALLEY.I ALSO HAD TO STAND WATCHED(AFT 50mm OR COCKPIT 50mm TURRETS.BATTLE STATION WAS EITHER AS LOADER ON THE AFT 20 MM OR GUNNER ON THE COCKPIT TWIN 50MM.IF WE HAD GQ (CONDITION RED AT BASE all BOATS SCATTERRED IF WE HAD TIME.DURING DRYDOCK WE DID NOT HELP WITH ALL THE MAINTENCE ,WE DID IT OURSELVES.MOST NMATERIALS WERE AVAILABLE OR WE COULD TRY AND SCROUNGE THEM UP HOPE THIS HELPS EZPLAIN A LITTLE EARL

earl richmond

Posted By: EARL RICHMOND | Posted on: Jun 4, 2008 - 10:57am
Total Posts: 319 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 1:50pm



Thanks Earl

I can always count on you ( and others ) to give me the right scoop on things. You always have a great way in explaining things and I apprciate that very much. In any event, although a small time navy, you guys had plenty to do to keep the boats in fighting trim.......



Posted By: Frank J Andruss Sr | Posted on: Jun 4, 2008 - 11:07am
Total Posts: 3165 | Joined: Oct 9, 2006 - 6:09am



Frank: You posed a lot of questions which I will try to answer some from my experience aboard P.T. 242 Ron 19 for over a year.
When going into dry dock for a new bottom - the bilges had to be pumped and bailed out first so the bottom would dry some. The bad places in the paint had to be scraped, then the whole bottom had to be hand sanded. Next a coat of copperoid was hand brushed on. This took about a day with the whole crew working. The paint needed to dry at least overnight then we sanded the whole bottom again and another coat of copperoid. Then we sanded it again so it was smooth before going back into the water.. Our boat crew did the bottom sanding and painting. This usually took a total of about three days in dry dock. However some boats had more extensive damage like broken struts, gunnels and bottom damage and would be in dry dock longer. 242 was one of the few boats in Ron 19 not to have damage from going aground on a reef. We never hit a reef. We hit some logs and had screw and rudder damage but not the bottom. When in dry dock we stayed on the boat or put cots up on the dry dock to sleep. We ate at the base chow hall. Our crew stayed together with 242 our entire tour of duty. We never went out with crews of other boats. We did add a couple of guys when we got more guns that needed manning.

As far as engines- I believe we had new engines 3 times during the time I was aboard 242. This was done mostly with our motor macs with a little help from the base force.

The number of boats on patrol varied. When we were patroling from Vella Lavella sometimes all available boats would go out (This was during the first few days of the invasion of Bougainville) Later at Green Island when things were more secure - about 4 boats per squadron were sent out. A patrol section usually consisted of four boats with an officer as section leader.
Frank, this is the way we operated - I am sure other crews and squadrons were much different. Hope I have answered some of your questions.

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Jun 4, 2008 - 12:45pm
Total Posts: 464 | Joined: Nov 5, 2006 - 5:02pm



C.J.

Thank you so much for your look into the boats dry dock time. You guys sure worked hard to keep your boats looking and running good. After all, you lived on her, and depended on her for your very lifes. I am sure there was some good natured bitching about the hard work, but I bet it was appreciated when she was gliding across the water.................



Posted By: Frank J Andruss Sr | Posted on: Jun 4, 2008 - 2:48pm
Total Posts: 3165 | Joined: Oct 9, 2006 - 6:09am



I'd like to second Frank's thank you. You guys are doing all of us who love the boats a great service by sharing your memories.

Will

Posted By: Will Day | Posted on: Jun 4, 2008 - 5:23pm
Total Posts: 1870 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 4:19pm



Changing engines reminded me of a story. On page 223 of Buckley's book "At close quarters" is a picture of P.T. 242 getting new engines. This photo was taken at the dock at Green Island in late September or October 1944. At that time we had been in the combat area for over a year and had made about 75 patrols of the Jap held islands of the Solomons, New Britian and New Ireland. We were a seasoned crew. The guys in the picture were all my crew mates. I can identify them all. They are mostly motor macs. The officer in the long pants was our skipper Lt. JG Alpine W. McLane. The story goes along with the picture for the rest of the crew not shown - me included. The motor macs had the responsibility of changing the engines - a tough two day job. The rest of us the gunners, radiomen, quartermaster didn't have much to do. About 3 weeks prior our cook, Bill Knapp, had confiscated enough dried apples, sugar and yeast from the galley to make applejack. We made it in the 5 gallon wooden keg that was in our life raft. It takes about 2-3 weeks to ferment so we had 5 gallons of good applejack that was ready to drink. We also had some beer saved from our allotment of 2 can per week. Our boat had a tent on the beach with a few cots in it so all the crew not involved with the engine change went to the tent in the afternoon - started drinking and having a good party. We wound up spending the night at the tent not getting back to the boat until about noon the next. day All had a heavy head. (Applejack is worse than moonshine whisky.) Mr. McLane was waiting for us. He lined us up on the bow of the boat and chewed our butts out good and proper for not informing him of our whereabouts and what could have happened if the boat needed to be moved etc. He was pretty "put out" but that was all the discipline he gave us - no extra duties, nothing in our records. He never mentioned the incident again. I will always believe that he thought we deserved the party. The bad part was the motormacs missed out and that was really the only good drinking party we ever had while we were all together..

C. J. Willis

Posted By: CJ Willis | Posted on: Jun 4, 2008 - 6:35pm
Total Posts: 464 | Joined: Nov 5, 2006 - 5:02pm



Thought you all might like to see a few photos that Alyce sent me,that relates to this topic.
Cheers

[image]http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll183/aust_yank/06-05-2008032126PM.jpg[/image]

[image]http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll183/aust_yank/06-05-2008032256PM.jpg[/image]

[image]http://i288.photobucket.com/albums/ll183/aust_yank/06-05-2008032354PM.jpg[/image]


Looks like Bloody hot work
Michael

Posted By: Michael | Posted on: Jun 4, 2008 - 10:43pm
Total Posts: 218 | Joined: Aug 6, 2007 - 7:25pm



HI CJ THE ALKY AND BRANDY TURNED OUT GOOD TOO.30.00 QUART.SAME PRICE THE PILOTS CHARGED TO BRING IT BACK FROM AUTRALIA OR NEW ZEALAND."BOTTOMS UP"
MICHAEL THAT TENT LOOKS JUST LIKE THE ONE I WAS IN AT RENDOVA. IN THE BASE FORCE.ONLY THE FOXHOLE WAS JUST OUTSIDE THE ENTRANCE CHEERS. EARL

earl richmond

Posted By: EARL RICHMOND | Posted on: Jun 5, 2008 - 7:05am
Total Posts: 319 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 1:50pm



First, Earl and C.J. - you guys are a wealth of interesting first-hand information. Thanks much for sharing your fabulous stories.

Frank, I'd asked this same question of my father-in-law, Bill Tatroe awhile back and had done a little research myself on damage and losses sustained to PT's in the 1st two Rons at Tulagi. I was curious how often the early PT's were laid up and how many were actually available to go out on patrol at a given time. In the months from Oct thru end of Dec 1942 (prior to the 6 boats of Ron 6 arriving), there were times when out of the contingent of 16 boats, there were only 8 or 10 boats 'running'.

I learned the first night that Bill arrived in Tulagi (along with the 36, 40 & 44 boats on Nov 20, 1942), his PT-47 went out on patrol. They started a run on two unidentified ships (they thought were Jap Cans) and later ran aground on a coral reef with an experienced officer aboard. Tulagi Base reported the ships as friendlies. Bill did not remember all details, but said the bottom was badly damaged and he recalled that "salt water was clean over the middle engine." A heckuva way to get started! He did say each crew member did a lot of scraping and painting after repairs were completed. The 47-boat was out of commission until Jan 11, 1943. (1-Month, 22 days). In the meantime, the 47-crew did go out every other night on different boats.

Here is a synopsis of the damaged and lost PT's early on at Tulagi and where known, the length of time it took to get them back into service.:

PT-60 was grounded and disabled on 14 Oct 1942, having been chased by 2 DD's - ran aground on a coral reef - hull badly damaged. It was out of commission throughout the whole of the Guadalcanal campaign.

PT-38 was damaged and out of commission from 5 Nov 1942. The hull was repaired on 3 Jan 1943, but it was in still in drydock until 10 Jan 1943. (2-months, 5 days)

PT-61 had a Japanese shell blew off her bow on 8 Nov 1942, and didn't make her next patrol until 27 Nov 1942. (19-days).

PT-39 ran aground and was disabled on 19 Nov 1942 and was back in commission on 18 Dec, 1942. (29-days)

PT-110 on 20 Nov 1942 sustained rudder damage in a collision with PT-59 while in tow. It was considered disabled and out of commission on 26 Nov, and was in drydock 30 Nov. It was not ready for action until 20 Jan 1943. (2-months)

PT-46 on 03 Dec 1942 was grounded and out of commission, and was not ready for it's next patrol until 19 Dec 1942. (16-days to make ready)

PT-61 again was disabled on 12 Dec 1942, and was out of commission for at least until 31 Jan 1943. It saw it's next action on 2 Feb 1943 when it picked up survivors (1-month, 19 days)

PT-44 on the same day, 12 Dec 1942, was hit by enemy fire and was destroyed. It was the first PT at Guadalcanal to be lost due to engagement.

PT-109 was out of action from 18 Dec 1942 until 21 Dec 1942 to install radar, type ASE. (4-days)

PT-48, was drydocked for maintenance and repairs on 22 Dec 1942 and ready on 26 Dec. (5-days)

PT-45 was drydocked on 3 Jan 1943 - then left drydock and was determined to be out of commission. No log entries are available from that time until up to 2 Feb 1943. (Can someone fill this one in for me?)

PT-112 which had arrived Tulagi on 31 Dec 1942, was hit by enemy fire on 10 Jan 1943 and destroyed.

PT-43 in the same engagement on 11 Jan 1943 was grounded, and then hit and destroyed by friendly fire to keep it from falling into Japanese hands.

PT-109 in drydock on 22 Jan 1943 to exchange screws, and out 29 Jan 1943. (7-days)

PT-111, which like the 112 had arrived Tulagi on 31 Dec 1942 was hit by enemy fire on 1 Feb 1943 and destroyed.

PT-37, an oldtimer which had arrived Tulagi on 25 Oct 1942 was hit by a 5-inch shell and exploded 1 Feb 1943.

PT-123, also arrived Tulagi on 31 Dec 1942 and was destroyed by enemy aircraft on 1 Feb 1943.

When compiling statistics like this, it makes me think how difficult it must have been for those men charged with the responsibility of keeping the boats in action. So many examples of damage were caused not by the enemy rather by running aground. The waters were mostly uncharted and patrolling in the dark of night didn't help any. Parts were almost non-existent and the long hours, health problems and day to day stresses took its toll. Even when they weren't going out, they were getting boats ready in between the sleep that could be mustered.

You have to hand it to them. They were a rare breed indeed!










Posted By: Randy Finfrock | Posted on: Jun 6, 2008 - 9:31pm
Total Posts: 94 | Joined: Nov 27, 2006 - 6:21pm



Randy

Thank you so much for filling in so much information. It was a challenge just for these Base Force guys to get the boats ready when damaged. You are correct, these guy were a special breed, working in Hot lousy conditions, lousy food, little medicine, short supplies, and other problems. They faced thier day with a determination that can't be found today. These behind the scene guys that kept the boats in fighting trim should get a medal for their efforts. They don't get enough pats on the back as far as I am concerned. Well, here's to you guys, you certainly kept the PT BOAT FLEET going. A JOB WELL DONE!!!! Thanks again Randy.



Posted By: Frank J Andruss Sr | Posted on: Jun 7, 2008 - 1:05am
Total Posts: 3165 | Joined: Oct 9, 2006 - 6:09am



Great list and info, Randy. You ought to get together with Gene Kirkland, who has a wealth of information on the early Guadalcanal-era PTs on his PT King website.

I've only sailed at night once,along the southeastern coast of Hispanola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and in the open ocean of the Mona Passage (between Hispanola and Puerto Rico) in a boat comparable to a PT's size, but...it was hairy.

How those guys in the PTs did it, while weaving in and out among columns of enemy destroyers and cruisers, and being hunted, chased and shelled by them in those poorly-charted and reef-filled waters has always amazed me.



Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: Jun 7, 2008 - 12:48pm
Total Posts: 1241 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am



Thanks Drew, I've been in contact with Gene for some time now. He is a terrific guy. We both share a passion for the early PT days at Tulagi. A large portion of the information that I posted, Gene had shared with me awhile back - it was gleaned from some PT ships logs that he had obtained while at the Nat'l Archives.

I made a spreadsheet of all the PT's at Tulagi from the first that arrived in Oct-42, the second in Nov-42, and the third group on Dec 31, 1942. I detailed which PT's were out on patrols, which were out of commission, which were in drydock, and which were lost in combat thru Feb 2, 1943. With all of this information on one sheet, I could see how many PT's were actually available for duty on any given day. Of course all of the logs were not complete, but it gives a good idea of the difficulties encountered in those early days.

As for the darkness, my father-in-law Bill actually preferred it to when the moon was full, because you had an edge with the element of surprise. What was spine-tingling was when starshells filled the night sky, or searchlights waved their penetrating beams to and froe trying to spot the PT's. Bill also told me of times when tracers found their way through the blackness and blanketed their PT. This scared him the most.




Randy Finfrock

Posted By: Randy Finfrock | Posted on: Jun 8, 2008 - 8:21pm
Total Posts: 94 | Joined: Nov 27, 2006 - 6:21pm



Hi there Randy-

Would it be possible to send me a copy of the spread sheet of the PT boats at Tulagi. I have a very special interest in the Base at Tulagi and I have a diorama of Tulagi as well. I would like to add this spread sheet to my documentation for this traveling diorama display.

Here is my e-mail address-

shipkit@bellsouth.net

Thank you in advance-

Frank Ryczek, Jr.
Modeler/friend Ron-10 PT-169 " ZEBRA SNAFU "

P.S. A much better idea!!! Why not try and post that spread sheet here on the message board for everybody else to see as well!

FJR

HIGH TIDES ALWAYS!

YOUR FRIEND THROUGH SCALE SHIP MODELING AND PT BOAT HISTORY!

Posted By: FRANK | Posted on: Jun 9, 2008 - 6:03pm
Total Posts: 349 | Joined: Oct 7, 2007 - 2:09pm