A PT break
Bristling with 20mm and 37mm cannon, .50 cal machine guns and torpedoes, the 80~ foot long plywood wonders that were WWII mosquito boats were pound for pound one of the stoutest warships ever to serve the Navy.
Secured to their tender, five PTs float in the calm waters of the Pacific as they are refueled and given rudimentary repairs. The brief recess from the wars is a boon to the officers and men of the PT unit as well. A group of them is gathered under the canvas “canopy” on the center boat, circa early Summer 1945. In the foreground, a crewman gives a gun the check-over.
They are equipped with a 37 mm M4 Automatic Gun– a huge 213-pound autocannon designed by John Browing and taken from P-39 Airacobra and P-63 Kingcobra fighters, as well as at least two 20mm Oerlikon forward, likely a 40mm Bofors single aft, and two twin M2 .50 cal tubs.
The Elco boats look to be those of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron THIRTY THREE (PTRon 33) under the command of Lt. A. Murray Preston, USNR. They served at Aitape, New Guinea; Morotai in the Halmaheras; and San Pedro Bay and Panay in the Philippines.