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World War II United States PT Boat Manufacturers
PT 25 off Markus Island, 1942

Updates

2011 April 30 update: Additions and corrections made.


The following is information about the World War II manufacture of PT boats as numbered by the United States Navy. This information may contain errors and / or omissions. I'd appreciate it if you would let me know if you find any. Not all of the boats were placed in service by the USN, some were built for shipment to England or Russia. I've included information I've found regarding the transfers but it is most likely to contain the aforementioned errors and / or omissions. Also on this page is a brief history of the early boats and some information about the two Plywood Derbies which were part of a testing process by the USN for developing the PT boats. They were speed runs of approximately 190 miles at full throttle in open sea.

Most of the information on this page was gathered through the following online sources:
Lists:
http://www.ptboats.org/20-06-05-boatdata-001.html
http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/history/smallships/pt.htm
http://www.hazegray.org/navhist/pt/
http://www.navsource.org/archives/12/05idx.htm
The book At Close Quarters, PT Boats in the United States Navy by Captain Robert J. Bulkley, Jr., USNR (Retired):
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/CloseQuarters/index.html

The navsource site has many images and detailed information for specific boats. Other excellent information sources are forum posts at ptboats.org and the very informative 1946 United States Navy publication "An Administrative History Of PT's In World War II". This document was digitized through a large effort by Dick Washichek and available for download here: www.gdinc.com/Preliminary_Admin_History_PTBoat.html.


World War II US PT Boat Manufacturers
PT Numbers Manufacturer Length
1-2 Fogal Boat Yard, Inc., Miami, Florida 59'
3-4 Fisher Boat Works, Detroit, Michigan 59'
5-6 Higgins Industries, New Orleans, Louisiana 81'
7-8 Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 81'
9 British Power Boat Company, Hythe, Hampshire, England (Scott-Paine design) 70'
10-19 Elco (Electric Boat Company, Elco Naval Division), Bayonne, New Jersey 70'
20-68 Elco 77'
69 Huckins Yacht, Jacksonville, FL 72'
70 Higgins, nicknamed the Higgins Dream Boat 76'
71-94 Higgins 78'
95-102 Huckins 78'
103-196 Elco 80'
197-254 Higgins 78'
255-264 Huckins 78'
265-313 Higgins 78'
314-361 Elco 80'
362-367 Elco kits built at Harbor Boat Building, Terminal Island, California 80'
368-371 Canadian Power Boats, Montreal, Canada (Scott-Paine design, acquired by USN) 70'
372-383 Elco 80'
384-399 Robert Jacob Shipyard, City Island, New York (Vosper design) 70'
400-429 Annapolis Yacht Yard, Annapolis, Maryland (Vosper design) 70'
430-449 Herreshoff Manufacturing, Bristol, Rhode Island (Vosper design) 70'
450-485 Higgins 78'
486-563 Elco 80'
564 Higgins, nicknamed the Hellcat 70'
565-624 (623-624 cancelled) Elco 80'
625-660 Higgins 78'
661-730 Annapolis Yacht (Vosper design) 70'
731-760 Elco 80'
761-790 (cancelled) Elco 80'
791-796 Higgins 78'
797-803 (cancelled) Higgins 78'
804-808 (cancelled) Elco 80'


World War II US PT Boat Transfers
Country Boat Numbers
Canada 3, 4, 7, 9
 
These boats are also listed as a transfer to England. According to a post at the ptboats.org forum here, these boats were sent to Canada and used as Air-Sea Rescue Craft at Halifax, Nova Scotia although other good references have them going to England. At the forum is a photo of PT 7 in Canadian colors. They may have been retransfers, navsource shows PT 9 as being transferred to England as HM MTB-258, then transferred to Canada as HMC MTB 258 for use as an Air-Sea Rescue Craft in the Halifax and Gaspe area.
England 3-7, 9-19, 49-58, 85, 87-88, 90-94, 197-198, 201, 203-217, 384-399
 
PT 6 was built in two designs, to the original Sparkman and Stevens design and to a design modified by Higgins. Several credible sources list both as being sent to England while the book At Close Quarters states that the first PT 6 was sold to Finland.
 
Elco PT's 59-68 were built for England but never shipped.
 
According to navsource, the shipment to Russia for Higgins PT's 85-94 except for PT's 86 and 89, and Higgins PT's 197-198 was reassigned to England due to a halt in Spring convoys to Russia. The site also lists PT's 85 and 87 as sunk while being transported to England aboard the SS Wade Hampton by the German submarine U-405.
Russia 86, 89, 265-276, 289-294, 400-449, 498-504, 506-508, 510-521, 546-563, 625-656, 661-692, 731-760
 
PT's 732-760 were Elco 80' boats sent in knocked down kit form.
Post War:
Cuba (1946) 715-716
Norway (1951) 602-606, 608-612
Korea (1952) 613, 616, 619-620
Reassignments:
Yugoslavia (1945, from England) 201, 204, 207-209, 211, 213, 217
Egypt (1947, from England) 385, 387
Italy (1947, from England) 49, 57, 88, 90, 92, 94
 
According to navsource.
Turkey (1947, from England) 216


The next two tables are Elco specific. Much of the date information found below was taken from Steve Laroe's work found at the hazegray site. His lists detail specific dates for all boats, in many categories:

Elco PT 103 Class Hull Numbers and Production Order
PT Hull Numbers
103-196 3355-3448
314-367 3449-3502
372-383 3503-3514
546-563 3515-3532
486-545 3533-3592
731-760 3593-3622
565-624 3623-3682

World War II Elco PT Boat Production
PT Dates / Notes Length
10-19 Boats laid (started) between February 1940 - June 1940

Year / Month Completed - Boat Numbers:

  • 1940
  • November - 10-14
  • December - 15-19
70'
20-68 Boats laid between October 1940 - August 1941

Year / Month Completed - Boat Numbers:

  • 1941
  • June - 20-28
  • July - 29-35, 37-44
  • August - 36
  • September - 45-48
  • October - none
  • November - none
  • December - none
  • 1942
  • January - 49-50, 64-68
  • February - 51-56, 60-63
  • March - 57-59
77'
103-196 Boats laid between Jan. 1942 - Dec. 1942

Year / Month Completed - Boat Numbers:

  • 1942
  • June - 103-106
  • July - 107-116
  • August - 117-128
  • September - 129-138
  • October - 139-149
  • November - 150-159
  • December - 160-171
  • 1943
  • January - 172-182
  • February - 183-193
  • March - 194-195
  • April - none
  • May - 196
80'
314-361 Boats laid between Dec. 1942 - Apr. 1943

Year / Month Completed - Boat Numbers:

  • 1943
  • March - 314-321
  • April - 322-326, 328-332
  • May - 327, 333-342
  • June - 343-352, 359
  • July - 353-358, 360-361
80'
362-367 Boats laid between Nov. 1942 - Feb. 1943

Year / Month Completed - Boat Numbers:

  • 1943
  • May - 362
  • June - 363-367

Elco kits built at:
Harbor Boat Building
Terminal Island, CA

80'
372-383 Boats laid between April 1943 - May 1943

Year / Month Completed - Boat Numbers:

  • 1943
  • July - 372-378
  • August - 379-383
80'
486-563 Boats laid between July 1943 - February 1944

Year / Month Completed - Boat Numbers:

  • 1943
  • November - 486, 488-491
  • December - 492-502
  • 1944
  • January - 503-509
  • February - 510-518, 523
  • March - 519-522, 524-525
  • April - 526-530
  • May - 531-535
  • June - 536-540
  • July - 541-544
  • August - none
  • September - 545-546, 548-551
  • October - 547, 552-557
  • November - 558-563
80'
565-622 Boats laid between April 1944 - April 1945

Year / Month Completed - Boat Numbers:

  • 1944
  • December - 565-570
  • 1945
  • January - 571-573
  • February - 574-578
  • March - 579-586
  • April - 587-594
  • May - 595-600
  • June - 601-606
  • July - 607-612
  • August - 613-614
  • September - 615-618
  • October - 619-622
80'
731-760 Boats laid between April 1944 - August 1944

Year / Month Completed - Boat Numbers:

  • 1944
  • September - 731
  • October - 732-736
  • November - 737-744
  • December - 745-752
  • 1945
  • January - 753-760
80'


A brief overview of USN PT's 1-103

PT boats 1 and 2 were a 59' Crouch design built by Fogal Boat Yard Inc. They were powered by by two V2500-2 1200 horse power Vimalert engines, produced by the Stirling Engine Company. The boats never saw service as PT boats due to performance problems. On December 1941, the Navy changed their classification to that of small boat (C-6083 and C-6084 respectively). Ex-PT 1 was shipped to the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons Training Center, Melville, Rhode Island. Packard 4M-2500 engines were installed, and the boat was used throughout the war as a familiarization for motor machinists. Ex-PT 2 was assigned as an auxiliary craft at the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport, Rhode Island.

PT's 3 and 4 were 59' boats built by Fisher Boat Works. Their design was similar to the Fogal boats. They were transferred to England and / or Canada. See the "World War II US PT Boat Transfers" table for details.

PT's 5 and the tentatively designated PT 6 were 81' boats built by Higgins Industries. Originally both boats were Vimalert powered Sparkman and Stevens designs. Andrew Jackson Higgins Sr., head of Higgins Industries Inc., foresaw that the design would fall short of expectations and wanted to make design changes for PT 6. He was turned down by the Navy and built it to original plan. He used his own capital to construct another boat with his own design modifications, powered with three Packard 4M-2500 engines. The result was convincingly superior and the most successful of the boats fathered by the design competition. This boat became the official PT 6. Several credible sources list the original Sparkman and Stevens design (the tentative PT 6) as being sent to either England or Finland:

An Administrative History Of PTís In World War II
The Higgins PT 6 was accepted by the government, while the original PT was shipped to the United Kingdom, with some 70í boats which Higgins began to deliver to the British in 1940.
footnote:
From an interview with Mr. A. J. Higgins.

At Close Quarters
The original PT 6, an 81' boat of Sparkman & Stephens design, built by Higgins, was sold to Finland in 1940. The second PT 6, an 81' boat designed and built by Higgins, was placed in service in Squadron 1.

Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats That Won World War II
81' british boat (ex-PT 6) transferred to England before second derby

PT's 7 and 8 were 81' boats built by the USN at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. PT 8 was the only all aluminum hulled boat developed during the war. They were powered by two Allisons and one Hall-Scott. There were two Allisons of 2000 hp each, but actually they were four 1000 hp engines mounted on two common blocks. The Hall-Scott was only 550 hp, and was used for slower speeds and backing. These boats were exceptionally heavy when placed in service because the Navy yard had used destroyer fixtures and fittings on the boats. The main wing engines lacked reverse which limited tight maneuverability. The wing engines were also slow to start, they lacked self starters and depended on the Hall-Scott engines to get the boat to a speed of 15 knots, and then to drag in the larger Allisons. PT 7 was sent to England and / or Canada. See the "World War II US PT Boat Transfers" table for details. PT 8 was reclassified as a Yard Patrol / District Patrol Vessel, YP 110, on October 14, 1941.

PT 9 was a 70' British Scott-Paine designed boat built by the British Power Boat Company and purchased by Elco in 1939 for study. The three Rolls Royce Merlin engines were replaced by Packard 4M-2500 engines shortly after arrival in the US. This boat had much influence over certain key aspects of final hull specifications for the rest of the war. It was sent to England and / or Canada. See the "World War II US PT Boat Transfers" table for details.

PT's 10 through 19 were 70' boats built by Elco and were based on PT 9 with some Navy requested changes. They were powered by three Packard 4M-2500 engines. PT's 10-19 and the 77' PT's 20-44 were designed for two enclosed twin .50 caliber machine gun turrets, the Dewandre-Elco Power-Operated Machine Gun Turrets. They were found to be unsatisfactory and later Elco drawings show them replaced by open, manually operated twin .50 caliber machine gun mounts. They were sent to England.

PT's 20 through 44 were 77' boats built by Elco. They were powered by three Packard 4M-2500 engines. The design was again based on the Scott-Paine designed PT 9. The extra length was added to handle a USN change in specifications of an overall length between 75' and 82' to handle four larger torpedoes, 21" diameter as opposed to the original plan for (at least) two 18" ones. This design was the first to see combat.

PT's 45 through 48 were 77' boats built by Elco. They were powered by three Packard 4M-2500 engines. Some visible differences are that the cabin design for PT's 45-68 changed to a more streamlined shape aft of the bridge, and the forward cabin is flattened with the sides angling back like the Elco 80' boat. The new design also had four forward windshield panels as opposed to three on the earlier boats. Some good images of the differences can be found at http://www.pt-king.gdinc.com/Mysteryboats.html.

PT's 49 through 58 were 77' boats built by Elco for England for lend-lease. They were powered by three Packard 4M-2500 engines. One visible difference is that the bridge windshield is slightly different on these ten 77' boats. They were sent to England.

PT's 59 through 68 were 77' boats built by Elco for England for lend-lease. They were powered by three Packard 4M-2500 engines. They were never sent to England.

PT 69 was a 72' boat built by Huckins Yacht. It was powered by four Packard 4M-2500 engines. This boat was not placed in service as a PT. It was reclassified as a Yard Patrol / District Patrol Vessel, YP 106, September 24, 1942.

PT 70 was a 76' boat built by Higgins. It was dubbed the "Higgins Dream Boat". It was powered by three Packard 4M-2500 engines. This boat was not placed in service as a PT. It was reclassified as a Yard Patrol / District Patrol Vessel, YP 107, September 24, 1942.

PT's 71 through 94 were 78' boats built by Higgins. They were powered by three Packard 4M-2500 engines. PT's 85-94 were built for Russia although most were reassigned to England.

PT's 95 through 102 were 78' boats built by Huckins. They were powered by three Packard 4M-2500 engines. None of these boats saw combat but were used for training and homeland defense area patrol.

PT 103 began the last major change to Elco's hull design. Length was increased to 80'. They were powered by three Packard 4M-2500 engines. This design is the one most often modeled.


A brief overview of the Plywood Derbies

The two Plywood Derbies were speed runs of approximately 190 miles at full throttle in open sea. They were part of a larger USN testing process to develop PT / Motor Torpedo Boats. The public aspect of development began when the Navy Department held a design competition for 54' and 70í class Motor Torpedo Boats, as well as a 110í wood subchaser and a 165í steel subchaser. It opened on July 11, 1938. For a detailed history please see the publication, from which much of the below information was taken, "An Administrative History Of PT's In World War II", available for download here: http://www.gdinc.com/Preliminary_Admin_History_PTBoat.html.

The first Plywood Derby was held on July 24, 1941 and had nine entries. The Derby course was in the waters off New London, CT. It started at Sarahís Ledge, from there to the eastern end of Block Island, around Block Island to and around Fire Island Lightship, and then to Montauk Point whistling buoy. Conditions were a moderate swell with a cross chop. The entrants were:

Elco: PTís 20, 30, 31, and 33
Higgins: PTís 6, 70, and a 70' boat built for the British and powered by three Hall-Scott 900 hp engines.
Huckins: PT 69
USN: PT 8

Elco's PT 20 crossed the finish line first with a 39.72 knot average. PT 31 was second with 37.01 knots. The Navyís entry, the very heavy PT 8, was last with a 30.73 knot average. Four of the boats which entered the run suffered structural damage of varying degrees. During the race, PTís 33 and 70 suffered severe enough damage to withdraw, and the Higgins British boat developed engine trouble within five minutes and was forced to retire.

The contest results were questioned because of the light seas and the fact that some boats had to be ballasted due to incomplete ordnance loads. The only boats which had the complete 20,600 pound ordnance load aboard were the Elco's, while the Higgins Dream Boat (PT 70) had none of the required ordnance installations. The other boats had some equipment but not the complete load. The load was simulated with deck weights which gave an unnatural load displacement and was largely the cause of PT 70's damage because of the unrepresentative moments set up by the ballast. PT 33's failure can be accounted for by the old system of interrupted longitudinals used by Elco in its early construction.

The second Plywood Derby was held on August 12, 1941 to satisfy officials and entrants of a fair test. Before the derby, the Higgins PT 70 was repaired and the USN's PT 8 was lightened by replacing the overly heavy fixtures and fittings. The test was held at the same location on the same course except it started at Race Rock instead of Sarahís Ledge. The distance remained the same. Sea conditions were more satisfactory, lumpy with heavy cross swell. These heavy swells ran from six to eight feet tall, with occasional swells of ten to twelve feet. The heavies and conditions encountered on the run were short steep seas running as high as fifteen feet. There were only six entries for this run:

Elco: PTís 21 and 29
Higgins: PTís 70, and his British boat
Huckins: PT 69
USN: PT 8

Elco's PT 21 crossed the finish line first with a 27.5 knot average. The Higgins PT 70 was a close second with 27.3 knots. PT 8 tied with PT 28 at 25.1 knots. Last was the British boat with 24.8 knots. PT 69 suffered structural damage and was forced to withdraw. For comparasion reasons a destroyer, DD441, ran the course with the PT's and finished with a 29.8 knot average. The destroyer had a running start so was up to speed at the beginning. The long range speed in rough water of the only slightly slower PT's impressed Navy officials.

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