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|125k||c. June 1943
Higgins Shipyard, New Orleans, Louisiana
Library of Congress photos LC-USW3-034453-D, LC-USW3-034485-D and LC-USW3-034488-D
|370k||9 June 1943
Outboard Profile and Deck Arrangement
|Historic Naval Ships Association website|
|536k||14 June 1943
Inboard Profile and Arrangement Plan
|299k||.||Jerry Gilmartin, MMC(SW), USN, Ret.|
|257k||Seen here fitted with two experimental, fixed, remote-control, twin .50s
Photo courtesy of Admiral Barry K. Atkins, USN, (Ret.) from U.S. Small Combatants: An Illustrated Design History by Norman Freidman
|122k||Underway during 1943-45. She is armed with two twin .50 caliber machineguns, four Mark XIII torpedoes and a single 20mm gun. This boat, the Higgins "Hellcat", was smaller, lighter and faster than regular Higgins and Elco PTs. Though PT-564 ran extensive trials, the design was not selected for production
National Archives photo 80-G-88183
|Naval History and Heritage Command|
|110k||Underway at high speed in 1943-45. At the time of this photograph, she had been fitted experimentally with a pair of twin .50 caliber machineguns forward, in addition to her normal armament of four Mark XIII torpedoes, two .50 caliber twins in the superstructure and a single 20mm gun aft. This experimental boat ran extensive trials, but the design was not further produced.
U.S. Navy photo NH 96499
On the basis of the report of the builder's trials, the Navy purchased the boat on 6 August 1943 and gave it a number, PT-564. A Board of Inspection and Survey ran trials for 5 days in September, during which the 564 averaged 47.825 knots on a full-throttle mile run, as compared with 40.12 knots averaged by a standard Higgins boat, PT-282. The smaller boat proved itself considerably more maneuverable than the larger one, and was cheaper and easier to build.
The Board recommended that it should pass rough water trials, the new boat be put into immediate production and that construction of the 78-foot Higgins boat be stopped. The Bureau of Ships made a more cautious approach, stating, "If the operating forces are assured that a smaller, faster boat is required and are satisfied to accept the lesser armament and accommodations which can be built into a smaller boat, the Bureau is assured that Higgins and other PT builders could build such a boat."
At a Navy Department conference in November it was decided not to put the new model in production. Various considerations favored continued production of the larger types. Most of the PT actions in the Pacific at that time were against barges - the boats were being used primarily as gunboats and had to carry considerable weight in guns and ammunition in addition to their torpedo s. A big boat was required to carry the load. In many forward areas the crews had to live and eat aboard the boats for weeks at a time. The Hellcat had no galley or refrigerator; its living accommodations were inadequate for that type of operation. A new boat would require retooling. And though it had passed its trials with flying colors, there was a possibility that performance in service would disclose defects not apparent in the trials.
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