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NavSource Online:
Motor Torpedo Boat Photo Archive


Scuttled 10 January 1943

77' Elco Motor Torpedo Boat:

Originally planned as PT-43 but reclassified as a Motor Boat Submarine Chaser, PTC-23

  • Reclassified PT-43 in March 1941
  • Laid down 14 May 1941 by the Electric Boat Co., Elco Works, Bayonne, NJ
  • Launched 16 July 1941
  • Completed 26 July 1941, placed in service and assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron ONE (MTBRon 1) under the command of LT William C. Specht, USN
  • MTBRon 1 was the first squadron commissioned, and originally was made up of experimental boats. Later, when it was composed of 77' Elco boats, the squadron was sent to Pearl Harbor, where it was in
    action on December 7, 1941. Its boats again saw action at the Battle of Midway, and participated in the Aleutian campaign
  • Transferred 13 August 1941 to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron TWO (MTBRon 2) under the command of LCDR Earl S. Caldwell, USN
  • MTBRon 2 tested the first 70' Elco boats in Florida and Caribbean waters in the winter of 1940/41. In December 1941, with 11 new 77' Elco boats, the squadron was assigned to the Panama Sea Frontier.
    Then late in 1942, with six 77' Elco boats and six 80' Elco boats, it was shipped to the South Pacific, where it was active in the Solomons campaign, engaging in many strenuous night actions with the Tokyo Express in the defense of Guadalcanal
  • Destroyed to prevent capture 11 January 1943 after suffering damages from Japanese destroyer Tokitsukaze the previous day off Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.


  • Displacement 40 t.
  • Length 77'
  • Beam 19' 11"
  • Draft 4' 6"
  • Speed 41 kts.
  • Complement 15
  • Armament: Two twin .50 cal. Browning M2 machine guns in Dewandre turrets and four 21" torpedoes
  • Propulsion: Three 1,500shp Packard V12 M2500 gasoline engines, three shafts.
    Click on thumbnail
    for full size image
    Size Image Description Source
    184k The wreckage of PT-43 on a Guadalcanal beach 12 January 1943, before she was towed off.
    Photo by Ralph Morse, Life Magazine. Used for educational and non-commercial purposes.
    John Chiquoine
    110k Photo showing a 77' Elco PT Boat beached behind the former Japanese lines on Guadalcanal, February 16, 1943. This is probably PT-43, which was damaged in action with Japanese ships on January 11, 1943, beached and destroyed by Naval gunfire to prevent possible use by the enemy
    Photographed by Marine Gunner J.F. Leopold, 2nd Marine Division
    National Archives photo USMC 53371
    Photo description provided by Mike Green
    Jerry Gilmartin, MMC(SW), USN, Ret.

    Boat Captains
    01LT Charles Ellis Tilden, USNR1942 - 11 January 1943
    Courtesy Wolfgang Hechler and Ron Reeves

    There is no DANFS history available for PT-43
    Back To The Main Photo Index Back to the Patrol Craft/Gunboat/Submarine Chaser Index Back to the Motor Torpedo Boat (PT) Photo Index

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    This page created by Joseph M. Radigan and maintained by David Wright
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    Last Updated 03 December 2023