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Motor Torpedo Boat Photo Archive

PT-353



Call sign:
Nan - Tare - Baker - Mike

Sunk 27 March 1944

80' Elco Motor Torpedo Boat:

  • Laid down 3 April 1943 by the Electric Boat Co., Elco Works, Bayonne, NJ
  • Launched 12 June 1943
  • Completed 2 July 1943 and placed in service with Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron TWENTY FIVE (PTRon 25) under the command of LT Daniel S. Bauchman, Jr., USN
  • PTRon 25, assigned to the Southwest Pacific, had action at Dreger Harbor, Mios Woendi, and Amsterdam Island in New Guinea; Rein Bay and Talasea in New Britain; Mindoro and Ormoc in the Philippines; and Morotai in the
    Halmaheras. It also based for a time at Kana Kopa, New Guinea, and San Pedro Bay in the Philippines, but had no action from these bases
  • Sunk by Australian aircraft 27 March 1944 in the Bismarck Archipelago north of New Britain in Papua, New Guinea.

    Specifications:

  • Displacement 56 t.
  • Length 80'
  • Beam 20' 8"
  • Draft 5'
  • Speed 41 kts.
  • Complement 17
  • Armament: One 40mm mount, four 21" Torpedoes and two twin .50 cal. machine guns
  • Propulsion: Three 1,500shp Packard W-14 M2500 gasoline engines, three shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    No image of PT-353 is available at this time

    Loss of PT-353 and PT-121:

    On the morning of March 27, 1944, Lt. Crowell C. Hall, USNR, executive officer of PTRon 25, in PT 353 (Ens. George H. Guckert, USNR), with PT 121 (Ens. Richard B. Secrest, USNR), was trying to thread a way through New Britain's reefs to Ewasse, in Bangula Bay, to investigate a reported enemy schooner. At 0745, four P-40s of 78 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force operating out of Kiriwina, flew over and Lieutenant Hall asked them by radio to investigate the schooner. The planes complied, and reported it had been strafed previously and was no longer a worthwhile target. No sooner had the boats turned to leave than they were attacked by four other P-40s of 78 Squadron and a Beaufighter of 30 Squadron RAAF. A second Beaufighter recognized the PTs and throughout the attack attempted to call off the other Beaufighter by radio and to maneuver to head off the P-40s.

    No order to open fire was given on either boat. After the planes made several runs, gunners on the PT 353 fired seven or eight rounds of 40 mm and five rounds of 37 mm, and those on the PT 121 fired seven rounds of 20 mm and three short bursts of .50 caliber gunfire. Lieutenant Hall on the PT 353 and Ensign Secrest on the PT 121 stopped the firing immediately. Both boats burned, exploded, and sank, except for a portion of the bow of the PT 121. Shortly after the attack, two P-40s of the group that had investigated the schooner returned. They dropped a liferaft to the survivors and sent in a radio report of the tragedy. Five hours later, a P-40 guided PT 346 and PT 354 to
    the survivors.

    Four officers and four enlisted men were dead; four officers and eight enlisted men were wounded; two PTs were completely destroyed.

    In part, the losses were caused by a failure in communication. The message reporting the intended movements of PTs had been placed in the wrong file at 78 Squadron headquarters, so the pilots had not been told that PTs would be operating in the area. In part, the losses were caused by failure of the pilots to recognize the PTs. The first P-40s recognized them and gave them a helping hand. One Beaufighter in the second group recognized them and tried to stop the attack. The other pilots simply mistook them for enemy craft.


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