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Drew Cook


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Apr 5, 2009 - 1:33pm
OK, we now know Mark XIII torpedoes and roll-off racks were present in the Solomons by November of 1943...(?)

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  Jerry Gilmartin


Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Apr 5, 2009 - 3:23pm
I found a little background info about the attack on PT 167,LCI 70 and LCT 68 Jerry

Here is LCI(G) 70

Here is the hole made by torpedo

Here is the torpedo after removed back at Torokina

Accounts from Time Magazine and Samuel Eliot Morison

"How the Carriers were sunk"
The PT had an ugly duckling painted on the bow. The duckling pointed to itself with one wing and above was the legend, "Who, Me?" The skipper was Theodore Berlin, a slender, dark Reservist of 22 who had come to the Navy from the University of California at Los Angeles.
The Who, Me? PT 167 was mooching along in company with two landing craft (LCI(G) 70 and LCT 68) some 30 miles south of Empress Augusta Bay. One of the PT's three engines had burned out, but she could still keep up with her consorts. A gorgeous sunset was draining from the clouds and twilight was closing in. As TIME Correspondent William Chickering later got the story:
Fire and Fish. At 7:15 the lookout reported planes. Berlin started back toward the cockpit; it was already too late. The only thing he could do was lie down, so he stretched out on deck and calmly gave an order: "All right, general quarters." The port gunner, a blond youngster named Richard Dudziak, started to fire into the engine of an approaching plane. It looked like an American SBD but the location of two blue-burning exhausts meant a Jap torpedo plane. As the plane passed over, Skipper Berlin could almost reach and touch the red ball on the wings. One wing tip knocked off the Who, Me?'s antenna, and another scraped the forward gunner. The plane swept like a piece of paper into the darkening sea.
Berlin was up quickly. He took the wheel, drove the ship in a small, speedy circle. Other planes were coming in at the LCI (Landing Craft, Infantry). Its 20-mm. machine guns opened up and the first burst hit the belly of a plane which blew up above the Who, Me? and went on into the sea. Two others crashed; the burning planes lit the dusk.
In the excitement, hardly anyone realized that the Japs were launching torpedoes. Falling night was apparently playing tricks with Jap vision. The broad wake of a PT, plus the outline of the LCI, must have looked like bigger game. The torpedoes were launched too close to arm themselves and explode on impact. Four, possibly seven torpedoes were launched. One dolphined over the stern of the Who, Me?, another under the stern. (Meanwhile LCI 70 suffered from 4 torpedo attacks and one strafing run in 14 minutes. Owing to her shallow draft, three torpedoes passed harmlessly beneath her keel. One torpedo porpoised into the engineroom through the steel sides without-exploding but killing one man. The warhead slid off into the bread locker). It smashed instruments, and flying debris wounded two men.
The Who, Me? PT171 idled in the darkness, not sure where the other ships were. A red blinker flashed in the night; it was the LCI calling for aid. Skipper Berlin ran his ship alongside. After a hasty conference the LCI's skipper LTjg H.W. Frey ordered "abandon ship" and men poured over the side onto the Who, Me?'s flat wooden deck.
One of the Who, Me?'s crew looked over the side. Just below the gunner was a hole 9 ft. by 3. At the moment of the first attack a torpedo had passed clean through the Who, Me?'s bow. (Leaving its sheared off tail assembly as a souvenir) Below decks one of the crew found a torpedo's two-foot fin and rudder of fine stainless steel it had sheered off the toilet seat from the crew's "head" and lodged in the crew's quarters.
"Damn Good Ship."
The Who, Me? seemed as crowded as Coney Island on a Sunday. Going by the crowd, slapping backs, was the husky gunnery officer of the LCI, Pete Kirille, once a professional ball player for the New York Yankees. Kirille looked over at the dark shadow of the LCI and said: "It's a damn good ship. I'm going to save her. I want five volunteers." He got more than that. Kirille and his volunteers climbed aboard the LCI and disappeared in the darkness. Meanwhile LCT 68 passed a line to LCI 70 and towed her back to Torokina. All the ships got to port. The next day the Tokyo radio screamed triumphantly that "one large carrier, one small carrier, two heavy cruisers and a destroyer" had been sunk off Bougainville.,9171,851858-1,00.html

Account of incident from historynet .com

That sanguine report turned out to have been one of the most absurdly inaccurate of the Pacific War. In actuality, LCI(L)-70 and patrol torpedo boat PT-167 had been escorting LCT-68 back from the Treasury Islands when they came under attack about 28 miles southwest of Cape Tokorina. The wing of one low-flying B5N Kate Torpedo bomber had struck PT-167s radio antenna, and it fell into the sea, leaving its unexploded torpedo imbedded in the boats bow. The PT boats 20mm guns sent a second B5N crashing in flames, so close that her crew was drenched by the splash. LCI(L)-70 underwent 14 minutes of attacks, but thanks to her shallow draft, three torpedoes passed harmlessly under her keel. A fourth porpoised and punched into the engine room, killing a crewman but failing to explode. Rear Admiral Theodore S. Wilkinson, commander of the III Amphibious Force, subsequently commended PT-167s skipper Ensign Theodore Berlin for his courageous defense and concluded with the appraisal, Fireplug Sprinkles Dog.

Jerry Gilmartin

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G R Powell

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message   Posted on: Apr 5, 2009 - 3:54pm
Here is the actual congratulatory message from Admiral Wilkinson. I don't know if Samuel Eliot Morison is referring to a different message when he quoted the fireplug quip, but it is not in this message. Thanks to Bob Pickett for providing this image.

The panel discussion by Red Fay, Dick Keresey and Bill Battle, mentioned a short time ago in another thread, also discusses the torpedoing of the 167. Fay says that the skipper of the LCI was disciplined for wanting to abandon ship because of the dud torpedo that lodged in her engine room, but Pete Kirille was decorated for saving her. Great photos of the LCI and torpedo, Jerry.

G R Powell

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