Tuesday, July 9, 2013


PT (Patrol Torpedo) boats were small fast vessels used by the U.S. Navy during World War II to attack larger Japanese naval vessels and cargo barges. Navy men called them the Mosquito Fleet; the Japanese called them Devil Boats. PT boats were armed with several torpedoes and two .50 caliber machine-guns, plus (in some cases) a 20 mm cannon. The crews of 12-17 men relied on the element of surprise, their vessel’s speed, and its small silhouette to avoid being targeted by the enemy.

Duty on a PT boat could be hazardous indeed; 99 of 531 (19%) were sunk by the Japanese, including PT 109 (famously commanded by Lt. [jg] John F. Kennedy). Kennedy’s boat was rammed by a Japanese destroyer and cut in half during the night of August 2, 1943. Of his crew of 13, two men died during the collision, while one was badly burned (but survived).

Abbreviations include:

Library branches:

BU: Buder Branch
CB: Cabanne Branch
MA: Machacek Branch

Central Library locations:

BG: Business, Government, & Law Room
EL: Entertainment, Literature, & Biography Room
HG: History, Geography, & Travel Room
ST: Stacks

Ballard, Robert D, and Michael H. Morgan. Collision with History: The Search for John F. Kennedy's PT-109. Washington, D.C: National Geographic Society, 2002. ST--940.545973

Breuer, William B. Devil Boats: The PT War Against Japan. Novato, CA: Presidio, 1987. HG--940.5426

Bulkley, Robert J. At Close Quarters: PT Boats in the United States Navy. Washington, D.C: Naval History Division, 1962. ST--940.92

Donovan, Robert J. PT 109: John F. Kennedy in World War II. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001. ST--940.92

Dunnigan, James F, and Albert A. Nofi. Victory at Sea: World War II in the Pacific. New York: William Morrow and Co, 1995. MA,ST--940.5426

Marston, Daniel, and Daniel Marston. The Pacific War Companion: From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima. Oxford: Osprey, 2005. HG-940.5426

O'Brien, Michael. John F. Kennedy: A Biography. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2005. BU,EL--B KENNEDY JOHN

Polmar, Norman, and Samuel L. Morison. PT Boats at War: World War II to Vietnam. Osceola, WI: MBI Pub, 1999. BG—359.3258

Strahan, Jerry E. Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats That Won World War II. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1994. ST—B HIGGINS

Tregaskis, Richard. John F. Kennedy and PT-109. New York: Random House, 1962. CB—940.92

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