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NavSource Online:
Motor Torpedo Boat Photo Archive


Call sign:
Nan - King - Sugar - George

Destroyed 7 March 1944

80' Elco Motor Torpedo Boat:

  • Laid down 17 February 1943 by the Electric Boat Co., Elco Works, Bayonne, NJ
  • Launched 24 April 1943
  • Completed 14 May 1943, placed in service and assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron TWENTY FOUR (MTBRon 24) under the command of LCDR N. Burt Davis, USN
  • MTBRon 24, assigned to the Southwest Pacific, had action at Dreger Harbor, Saidor, and Amsterdam Island in New Guinea, and at Mindoro, Zamboanga, Polloc Harbor, Sarangani Bay, and Davao Gulf in
    the Philippines. It also based for a time at Kana Kopa and Mios Woendi, New Guinea
  • The "Heaven Can Wait", ex-"PT Intrepid" was destroyed by Japanese shore batteries 7 March 1944 in Hansa Bay, New Guinea.


  • Displacement 56 t.
  • Length 80'
  • Beam 20' 8"
  • Draft 5'
  • Speed 41 kts.
  • Complement 13
  • Armament: One 40mm, 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
    PT-337 69k 7 July 1943
    Photo from "U.S. Warships of World War II" by Paul H. Silverstone
    Robert Hurst
    PT-337 289k 19 October 1943
    National Archives photo 80-G-85757
    Naval History and Heritage Command
    PT-130 219k 25 December 1943
    Drawing showing PT-337s position
    Photo from PT Boats in World War II..., The Mosquito Fleet by Bern Keating (See Events at Hansa Bay, New Guinea below)
    Tommy Trampp
    Photo added 15 January 2020

    Boat Captains
    01ENS Henry W. Cutter, USNRMarch 1943
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    There is no DANFS history available for PT-337
    Events at Hansa Bay, New Guinea:

    PTs 337 and 338 headed out to a known enemy stronghold on March 7, 1944. Picking up a radar target close to shore and closing to 400 yards (370 m), they encountered two heavily camouflaged luggers moored together. Heavy machine gun fire opened from the beach, and as the boats turned and started to strafe the beach, more machine guns opened up, along with a heavy caliber battery from Awar Point, along the northwestern entrance to the bay.

    One shell had hit so close to PT 337 that fragments went whizzing by and water splashed some of the crew. Three or four more shells dropped near the 337, then one hit the tank compartment, just below the port gun turret, going through the engine room. All three engines were knocked out and the tanks burst into flames. Motor Machinist First Class (MoMM1c) William Daley Jr. was badly wounded in the neck and jaw. The order was given to launch the lifeboat and abandon the boat.

    The crew paddled and swam trying to pull away from the exploding 337. The currents were against them and after two hours, they were only 700 yards (640 m) from the boat. Outside the bay, PT 338 was also under fire from shore batteries. Just prior to the 337 being hit, PT 338 had laid smoke and ordered a high speed retirement. When PT 337 did not come through the screen, 338 tried to re-enter the Bay, but each time the boat came under heavy fire and had to retreat.

    Daley died before dawn, which left three officers and eight enlisted men on the raft. At dawn on March 7, the raft had drifted and was less than a mile off the entrance to Hansa Bay. During the morning the current carried it toward Manam island, about six miles (10 km) from the shore. The current was working against the men.

    That night, Ensign Bruce Bales and Ens. Henry Cutter tried to paddle ashore on logs. After three hours the current swept the two exhausted men and the raft back together. While they were away, Ens. Robert Hyde and Quartermaster Second Class (QM2c) Allen Gregory set out to swim to shore. By dawn on March 8, the raft had drifted no more than a mile from the beach. Soon after dawn, Bales, Fucili, and Schmidt set out for shore. Most of the men had thought the three had reached the Island, but Watson, who said he saw Bales walking on the beach, is the only one who claimed to have seen any of them ashore. Soon afterwards Japanese personnel were seen on the beach.

    After dark a small boat came out from shore and at 200 yards (200 m) circled the raft. Two men were in the boat, but made no attempt to bother the raft. After a squall blew up 6-8 ft (2-3 m) waves for a while, the boat was nowhere to be seen after things calmed down. On the morning of March 9, the remaining men in the raft saw an overturned Japanese collapsible boat, floating a few yards away. They righted the boat, bailed it, and boarded it. Many of the men were suffering from exposure and were covered with salt water sores.

    Around noon on the March 10, a B-25 flew over, and circled the boat. Cutter waved his arms to signal the plane, and they dropped supplies of water, food, cigarettes and medicine. The next morning a PBY Catalina, from U.S. Navy squadron VP 34, picked up the five survivors and took them to Dreger Harbor.

    Little is known of the PT-337 crew members who attempted to reach the shore. A captured Japanese document indicates that one officer and two enlisted men were captured, although none of them, was ever officially reported to be prisoners of war.

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    This page created by Joseph M. Radigan and maintained by Tom Bateman
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