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Motor Torpedo Boat Photo Archive


Call sign:
Nan - Dog - Love - How

Sunk 25 October 1944

80' Elco Motor Torpedo Boat:

  • Laid down 17 August 1943 by the Electric Boat Co., Elco Works, Bayonne, NJ
  • Launched 6 November 1943
  • Completed 6 December 1943, placed in service and assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron THIRTY THREE (MTBRon 33) under the command of Lt. A. Murray Preston, USNR
  • MTBRon 33, assigned to the Southwest Pacific, had action at Aitape, New Guinea; Morotai in the Halmaheras; and San Pedro Bay and Panay in the Philippines. It also based for a time at Dreger Harbor
    and Mios Woendi, New Guinea, but had no action from these bases
  • The "Carole-Baby" was sunk 25 October 1944 by Japanese gunfire during the Battle of Surigao Strait.


  • 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
    PT-137 145k c. October 1944
    Drawing showing position of PT-493
    Photo from PT Boats in World War II..., The Mosquito Fleet by Bern Keating (See BATTLE OF SURIGAO STRAIT below)
    Tommy Trampp
    Photo added 18 January 2020

    Boat Captains
    01LTJG Richard W. Brown, USNROctober 1944
    Courtesy Joe Radigan

    There is no DANFS history available for PT-493

    Guarding the eastern entrance to Surigao Strait, about 10 miles from Lt. Comdr. Robert Leeson's section of 45 PTs, were Lt. Robert W. Orrell's PT 523, Lt. (jg.) James P. Wolf's PT 524, and Lt. Donald Hamilton, Jr.'s PT 526, led by Lt. Comdr. Francis D. Tappaan, USNR. About the time Leeson was moving in with PT 134 for his torpedo attack, Tappaan's boats picked up radar targets 8 miles away. When the PT's had closed to a mile and an eighth, the enemy fired starshell to the west, no doubt to illuminate the 134 and, in so doing, silhouetted his ships to Tappaan's group on the east.

    With this illumination, there was surprising lack of agreement among the PT officers as to the composition of the enemy force. Tappaan identified the ships as "two battleships and three small war vessels of the size of destroyers or larger." Orrell identified them as two cruisers and two destroyers; Wolf as one battleship, two cruisers, and two destroyers; Hamilton as one battleship, one cruiser, and one destroyer.

    With the enemy already occupied on his portside, each of Tappaan's PT's was able to get two torpedoes away before being taken under fire. As the boats retired, enemy shells began to walk up the wake of PT 526. The 526 laid two short puffs of smoke, which absorbed most of the enemy fire but prevented the boats from observing the effect of their torpedoes. During their retirement all three boats saw five more pips on their radar screens, following 3 miles astern of the first group of enemy ships.

    Lt. (jg.) John M. McElfresh, USNR, in PT 490, was stationed in the middle of Surigao Strait with Lt. (jg.) Harley A. Thronson's PT 491 and Lt. (jg.) Richard W. Brown's PT 493, about 10 miles north of the sections led by Leeson and Tappaan. Picking up four radar targets rounding the end of Panaon Island, 8 miles to the south, the boats deployed to intercept them. A rain squall so reduced visibility that the boats closed within 700 yards of the enemy before they could see the ships, which they identified as a cruiser and three destroyers.

    The 490 launched two torpedoes at the leading destroyer. Immediately a ship in another group a mile and a half to 2 miles to the south turned on a searchlight. A moment later the leading destroyer caught the PT in its searchlight and enemy guns fired heavily on the PT's. The 490 launched two more torpedoes at the leading ship, then only 400 yards away, and opened fire on the searchlight with all guns.

    The 491, a little further off, launched two torpedoes at the second ship after the enemy opened fire. The 493, still further away, tried to launch a torpedo, but it hung in the rack, and then the enemy fire was so intense that the boat was forced to retire. The 490 shot out the destroyer searchlight, only to be spotted by another. Just before the 490 ran behind a smokescreen laid by the 493, Lieutenant Brown saw a large flash on the destroyer's side, heard a loud explosion, and the second searchlight went out. He believed that one of his torpedoes had hit.

    The enemy's fire was accurate. The 490's searchlight was shot off and the boat was holed above the waterline. On the first broadside, Arthur G. Peterson, TM3c, was knocked down and wounded by shell fragments. He picked himself up and turned on the smokescreen generator before reporting his injuries.

    A 4.7-inch shell passed through the 493 from side to side, above the waterline. Almost immediately another shell tore clean through the engineroom, carrying away the auxiliary generator, ripping a hole below the waterline, and causing some damage to the engines. Albert W. Brunelle, MoMM2c, USNR, whipped off his own lifejacket, stuffed it into the hole in the side, and went to work to keep his damaged engines running. A third shell carried away the charthouse canopy, killing two men and wounding the boat captain, second officer, and three men. Everyone in the cockpit was blown aft by the blast. Ens. Robert E. Carter, USNR, the second officer, although wounded, quickly returned to the cockpit and regained control of the boat, heading for the Panaon shore. Brunelle kept the engines running until Carter beached the boat. By that time water had seeped in past Brunelle's lifejacket until the engines were almost submerged. The dead and wounded were taken ashore.

    The 491, undamaged, continued on patrol until 0530, when it sighted an enemy cruiser, probably the damaged Mogami, steaming slowly southwards. There appeared to be a small fire on the cruiser, aft of the stacks. The cruiser opened up on the 491, bracketing it with 8-inch shells. The PT fired two torpedoes and withdrew behind smoke, following the Panaon coast to the north. Soon the 491 came upon the beached 493 and picked up the survivors. The tide lifted the 493 off the beach, and it sank in deep water soon after daylight.

    Of the 39 PT's that participated in the battle, 30 were under enemy fire and 10 were hit. One boat, the 493, was lost after three hits by 4.7-inch shells. Three men were killed, 3 officers and 17 men were wounded. Fifteen boats fired 35 torpedoes. Fourteen are known to have missed, 1 ran erratically, 1 had a hot run on deck, 11 were unobserved, and 7 were claimed as possible hits.

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