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 Author  Topic: PT 109 What was left after the crash?
Jeff Sherry

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jeff Sherry  Posted on: Feb 4, 2012 - 4:29pm
Okay, I heve seen the movie, read the book, read At Close Quarters, etc...today I watch the National Geographic special about the search for the 109 and while I voved the visuals of the Solomons and the interviews...I'm left with a question. Did the foredeck remain afloat like shown in the movie? Did the destroyer actually cut her in two or did the aft stern sink when the gas tanks exploded? Just womdering/


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Jeff Sherry

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jeff Sherry  Posted on: Feb 4, 2012 - 4:32pm
Ok, sorry folks. Looks like I used my elbows to post that last one. Sorry for the typos.


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Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Feb 4, 2012 - 5:43pm
Reg Evans the coast watcher reported what may have been the hulk of PT-109 floating in the water. Being as how they made the boats, I would bet the bow may have floated for sometime before going under. Reports claim the 109 was not sliced in two, but hit a glancing blow, just forward of the starboard gun turret, and continuing on towards the dayroom . Friction/sparks caused the gasoline under the dayroom to ignite, thus causing an explosion. Weight of the three engines, caused the aft section to break away from the stern, and I would suggest sunk pretty quickly. I understand there are action reports, and first hand accounts, which do vary.

In my many conversations with Motor Mac, Gerard Zinser, he claimed that they hung onto the bow for several hours, before swimming to Plum Pudding Island. In the movie, we see the bow turn over, but Zinser could not remember this happening, and in fact said the fires from the boat burned out very quickly, probably caused by the wake of the destroyer passing through ( his words, not mine) and dispersing the gasoline on the water. He also claimed never to notice or see the bow go under, as they were pretty much concerned with getting out of the water as fast as they could. Zinser, when I asked him also thought that the engines sunk the stern almost immediately, and that the 37mm on the stern had broken loose and sunk. He did not remember if their were depth charges still attached to the bow, but they did use the planks for the 37mm gun to make their swim.


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David Buck

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Buck   Send Email To David Buck Posted on: Feb 6, 2012 - 1:47am
Jeff, Go back two pages to Franks topic of" PT 109 Painting" there you will find a little gem of an after action report from the files of the Kennedy Library with what appears to be LT Jg Kennedys signature at the top left corner.

Enjoy.

D.buck

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  Jerry Gilmartin

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jerry Gilmartin   Send Email To Jerry Gilmartin Posted on: Feb 6, 2012 - 2:24pm
Hi David,
I looked at that cursive writing you mention in the top left corner of the "after action report", and I do not think that is John F Kennedy's signature. It appears to be a routing mark, likely put there by one of the Squadron administrative staff, to ensure the document was routed to JFK's attention after it was typed. I have compared this "\LTjg Kennedy" with the bona fide signature of JFK on the Foreward of the "At close Quarters" book, and the two signatures dont resemble each other even remotely. Look at both of them anddecide what you think? Jerry



Jerry Gilmartin

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Jeff D

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Jeff D   Send Email To Jeff D Posted on: Feb 6, 2012 - 3:41pm
I agree Jerry, JFK's real signature is hard to decypher. The action report signature is too clear.

Here's some reports of the incident including the full report (listed as C) of the snippet I posted:

(A) Copy of ComMTB Rendova action report of 1-2 August 1943.
(B) Copy of ComMTB Rendova action report of 7-8 August 1943.
(C) Copy of Intelligence Officers' Memo to ComMTB Flot One of 22 August 1943.

http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq60-11.htm



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Drew Cook

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Drew Cook  Posted on: Feb 6, 2012 - 3:51pm
My personal guess is that the overturned hulk of the 109 probably slowly settled as it drifted south down Blackett Straight, and then sank to the bottom of Ferguson Passage where it joined Blackett Straight, after being hung up on part of a reef south of Naru (aka Gross, aka Cross) Island for a while.

That's exactly what Austrailian Coastwatcher Reg Evans radioed to "KEN," the coastwatcher control on Guadalcanal, from his perch on Kolombangara.

Evans radioed KEN at 0940 on the morning of August 5th, 1943, the fourth day after the ramming: "...object now in Ferguson Passage drifting south...position half mile se (south east) Gross Is..." A couple of hours later, Evans radioed "Now certain object is forepart of small vessel ...now on reef south Gross Island."

Later still that day, Evans messaged "Hulk still on reef but expect will move with tonight's tide..."

I think the hulk of the 109 then sank after it moved off the reef "south of Gross Is" with the tide and current -- if what Evans had been observing all along had been the overturned PT 109.




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David Buck

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of David Buck   Send Email To David Buck Posted on: Feb 6, 2012 - 11:32pm
Hi Jerry,thanks for clearing that up I do not have a copy of JFKs signature so it was good of you to post one to be able to conpare.

I also think that the 109 will one day be found at the bottom of Ferguson passage close to Cross/Gross/Naru/Nauru island (pick one same island many names!!).

This because Evans 5th Aug. signals first put the hull afloat half a mile SE Cross Is. then on the reef South Cross Is.

Then Kennedy and Ross arrive on Cross Is. on the 6th. Aug. clear the Is. for Japs find the Jap supplies and the Jap vessel one mile east on a reef but do not see anything SE of the Isl, were Evans has put the 109.

A clear indication that Evans was right and she has at least been moved by the tides overnight.

So thereby opening another can of worms until someone with enough willpower and backing goes looking for the 109 again.(As I do not think Ballard has found the major section of the hull in Blackett Strait)

D.buck

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Frank J Andruss Sr

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Frank J Andruss Sr   Send Email To Frank J Andruss Sr Posted on: Feb 7, 2012 - 1:44am
I felt all along that PT-109 was never really located. I still think her engines, at 2,950 lbs each, should be in the general location of the crash. These were never found, and for that matter the guns, radio, and other metal objects were never located. I think at this point to find the hull would be next to impossible as any wood properties would have long ago been subjected to the Sea. Not to start a debate again, but I think Ballard's claims are subjected to doubt, in my mind. I did not see enough evidence to prove this at all. A rusted few photographs of what looks like a tube, and mind you, looks like, does not prove anything. Show me the engines, with some nomenclature and I will then get excited. I tend to believe what first hand accounts were related to me by crewmen Gerard Zinser, my friend..............


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TED WALTHER

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of TED WALTHER   Send Email To TED WALTHER Posted on: Feb 7, 2012 - 5:51pm
Hi Guys;
Well if we took the book, the movie, and the Zinser report, the hull was cut from the front of the starboard .50 cal gun tub to somewhere in the vicinty of the front port corner portion of the dayroom. This angle of approach would definitely rupture the port fuel tank for sure, and most likely, probably the centerline also.
Take care,
TED


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