Skip to comments.World War II in the Pacific, ramming of PT-109, & JFK on Religious Freedom, Israel, & Faith in God
Posted on 08/02/2020 6:44:19 PM PDT by Perseverando
The South Pacific had many major battles during World War II:
Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941,
Wake Island, Dec. 7-23, 1941,
Doolittle Raid, April 18, 1942,
Coral Sea, May 4-8, 1942,
Midway, June 4-7, 1942,
Guadalcanal campaign, Aug. 7, 1942-Feb. 9, 1943,
Gilbert & Marshall Islands campaign, 194344:
Makin Island, Aug. 17-18, 1942,
Tarawa, Nov. 20, 1943,
Makin, Nov. 20-23, 1943,
Kwajalein, Feb. 14, 1944,
Eniwetok, Feb. 17, 1944,
Truk Island, Feb. 17-18, 1944, Mariana & Palau Islands campaign 1944:
Saipan, June 16, 1944,
Philippine Sea, June 19-20, 1944,
Guam, July 21, 1944,
Tinian, July 24, 1944,
Peleliu, Sept. 15, 1944,
Angaur, Sept. 17, 1944,
Leyte & Leyte Gulf, Oct. 23-29, 1944 (Largest WWII naval battle and possibly largest naval battle in world history),
Iwo Jima, Feb. 19, 1945;
Okinawa, April 1, 1945.
After the Guadalcanal campaign, which was the Allied forces first major offensive, the U.S. began island hopping, securing the Solomon islands.
Lieutenant John F. Kennedy commanded the PT-109, one of the small 80 foot-long Navy patrol torpedo boats used to monitor and disrupt the Tokyo Express - the shipping lanes used by Imperial Japan's destroyers through the Ferguson and Blackett Straits.
PT boats operated almost exclusively at night, often in fog and without reliable radar.
They fired their torpedoes at close range, then sped away.
On the foggy night of August, 2, 1943, PT-109 was idling on one engine to avoid detection while awaiting approaching enemy destroyers.
The crew was shocked to realize they were in the direct path of an oncoming speeding destroyer, the Amagiri.
With just seconds to respond, they were unable to avoid collision.
The PT-109 was rammed, broken in half, and began to began to sink.
(Excerpt) Read more at myemail.constantcontact.com ...
PT-109 was required reading for any self-respecting boy back in the day.
What’s been forgotten was Kiska and Attu.
Kennedy lost his boat because he
1 - failed to properly monitor his radio.
2 - Had mounted an unauthorized anti-tank cannon on his boat, which impacted the center or gravity and added weight which slowed the boat
3 - tried to manuever to engage with the unauthorized weapon instead of moving his boat to a safe distance to engage with torpedos, and
4 - failed to maintain adequate watch in a combat zone.
Of course, he was shipped to the South Pacific to break up his relationship with a Nazi spy who was a personal favorite of Hitler.
Typical Kennedy. Whore hopping with the enemy from the getgo.
In 1974 I was a Social Security claims rep in Tulsa. One day and old guy applied for retirement. He was really pleasant and we ended up talking.
It turned out that he was a PT boat capt. and even more unusual his boat was one in the same squadron as Kennedy.
We talked a lot about their boats were well maintained and Kennedy may have something to do with it. Kennedy was well liked and wanted to be a hero. He even had a 75mm cannon mounted on the bow sort of jerry rigged.
He also said Kennedy performed well after his boat was rammed but being rammed was considered the worst thing that could happen to a PT boat. The thing which could you court marshaled. But like I said, they all liked him.
Don't forget the battle of the Komandorski Islands - it would have been a major Japanese victory but for the usual level of cowarace shown by the Imperial Japanese Navy - almost always ready to flee when victory was in their grasp.
Taking seconds after Hitler. He had absolutely no standards. At least Jackie’s then close male friend (a former? smuggler) got things squared away, and she lived happily ever after.
Idling on one engine to avoid detection
Shouldnt all the engines have been off then?
It was a lightweight 37mm cannon taken from a derelict P-39 Airacobra. A lot of the PT’s were retrofitting cannons to be able to engage armed Japanese barges. The barges had too shallow a draft to be attacked by torpedo. So the PT’s were slowly becoming gunboats. Similar thing happened with the PT Boats operating in the Mediterranean Theater.
I wish the alternative history of the Lindberg model kit cover was true.
Looks like the 109, at full speed, gets missed. Also, apparently there’s some kind of air raid going on.
Kennedy leaned pretty heavily on the PT-109 mythos. Without it, he’s just some guy that 4F’d out of active duty. Maybe it’d be enough to sink him into obscurity, or maybe peak out as some government bureaucrat like his old man.
I believe they were screwing off. Fishing and drinking torpedo juice. How can you miss a destroyer coming at you? If that would have been LtJg Schlubb, his ass would have been court-martialed. Since he was a crooked-ass Kennedy, he gets a medal and promotion instead.
The PT’s had 3 shafts: one deeper on centerline while the outboard shafts on either side were shallower. All engines had sound mufflers on them that restricted rpm’s and had to be disengaged to get full performance.
The center shaft, being deeper, did not throw as much of a tell-tale wake that could be seen by an aircraft at night. Japanese floatplanes were the primary threat to the PT’s.
As I understand it, Lt. Kennedy was operating in a sort of skirmish line. One of the boats — not his — was equipped with radar. Their outboard engines were disengaged and they were idling on the central engine to both dampen noise and not leave a detectable wake.
You are probably right but it sure seems he said 75mm.
I think Kennedy was a disaster, but #3 would have been considered “taking initiative” in most combat zones. As you state later, the cannon was lightweight. There is no info that it had any bearing on the sinking.
As already stated, early PT boats were lacking in gunfire for attacking barges and light boats. To the point that some were retrofitted as gunboats, no torpedoes, one of which Kennedy commanded after PT-109.
That photo of the quad Bofors firing is a classic; I’ve seen it in numerous sources.
The funny thing is, no one seems to be aiming the gun. There is an elevation and an azimuth layer on opposite the sides of the mount, and neither one seems to be looking through the sights.
Kennedy was idling PT109 out of gear instead of coursing a figure 8 to stay on post. Communication to the engine room is a delayed reaction to place the screws back in gear.
JFK was below deck with the rest of the crew, drunk and playing cards.
Yeah, to say they were a little surprised they were run over by the Japanese Navy is pretty accurate.
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