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  PT-331
USN
MTBS 21
PT-Boat

56 Tons
80' x 20' 8" x 5'
40mm Bofors (stern)
Two torpedos
twin 50 cal MG
37mm gun (bow)
20mm cannon

Ship History
Entered service on April 27, 1943. Assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 21.

On November 19-20, 1943 attempted to tow PT-147 off a reef at Teliata Point, along with PT 144 and PT-322. Unsuccessful, the boat was scuttled.

Operating from Dreger Harbor near Finchafen, on March 5-6, 1944 participated in landing at Volupai on New Britain, in support of the landing of US Marines.

Supporting the landings at Manus, on March 30, 1944, PT-331 captained by Lt(jg) Bernard A. Crimmings was used by US Army General I. P. Swift as an observation ship for the high command, observing the Allied landing at Pityilu Island. Next, on April 3, 1944 PT-331 covered the landings at Rambutyo and Tong island.

Mission History
On June 25, 1944 commanded by Lt. Montz departed Mios Woendi PT Boat Base with PT-193 "Bitchin' Witch" at 1630 for Biak and both captains had a conference with the Army Lieutenant and liaison officer about the night's mission.

After dark, both PT Boats started the mission, but the batteries aboard PT-193 were dead, and required PT 311 to start the engines, then both proceeded to Noemfoor, where the Army landed aboard a rubber boat, and were ashore for roughly 45 minutes.

After successfully completing their mission, the PT boats continued westward to along the southern tip of Noemfoor to search for Japanese targets. After midnight, they entered passageway into a wide bay, with a Japanese gun at the western point of the bay.

PT-193 spotted two Japanese lugger or barges off the island, and coordinated an attack, with his PT Boat leading, and PT 331 following to attack them, performing a starboard run from astern of the targets.

One failed to sink but was burning brightly near shore. The PT boats made a second run, spotting a third barge. During this run at approximately 1:30am PT-193 ran aground on the same coral reef the burning barge was stuck atop, off Bani Point. Taylor attempted to reverse the engines, but it did not free the boat and burned out the reverse gear.

Calling for PT 331 to come to their aid, a tow line was swum out by a crew member of each boat in the hopes that PT-193 could be towed off the reef. Meanwhile, the fire from the burning barge illuminated the entire area and a Japanese gun ashore opened fire, but its shells were short and the rescue was taking place only a few hundred yards from shore.

Sinking History
Unable to free PT-193, Taylor ordered the boat scuttled and the crew and passengers were transferred to PT-331. Secret materials destroyed and guns thrown overboard and both torpedoes released. The ship was ready to be abandoned by 4:30am, and gas poured in all compartments. Taylor went below deck to his quarters for a final check of the ship. While below decks, the gas ignited and exploded, severely wounding Taylor and blowing four crew members (including Bonniol and Ladd) overboard onto the reef and all sustained wounds. Taylor who was severely burned and in shock.

Nearby, PT-331 launched its rubber raft to rescue the wounded crew, but it took 45 minutes to reach them due to the surf and return them to safety. At dawn, a Japanese shore battery opened fire, but failed to score hits.

Departing, PT-331 had damaged its screws and could only achieve slow speed, plus was overloaded with nearly 30 extra crew and passengers. Aboard, Taylor was given morphine and emergency treatment. PT 194 met PT 133 five miles from base with a medical officer aboard at 9:00am. Returning to Biak, Taylor was transferred aboard hospital ship AHS Maetsuycker, but died from his wounds at 9:45pm that day.

Later, PT-331 operated off Leyte during the Battle of Surigao Strait. On November 28-29, 1944 commanded by Lt(jg) William P. West at Ormoc Bay with PT-127, both boats fired torpedoes at warships and transports, and retired under heavy fire, claiming explosions on the targets.

After the war, this PT Boat was stripped and scuttled on November 10, 1945.

Seeking Former Crew or Relatives
Are you a relative or veteran of this PT-193 or PT-331? Contact us.

References
US Navy Action Report, PT 193 24/25 June 1944
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 204, 230-231, 251, 253, 387, 398, 469
Motor Boating "Last Patrol" by Herb Kester pages 32 - 34, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80
Pacific Island Odyssey pages 60-62

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Last Updated
August 27, 2014

 

 

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