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20' 8" x 5'
1 x 40mm gun
2 x 21" torpedoes
2 x 2 .50 cal MG
1 x 37mm gun
1 x 20mm cannon
In New Guinea, PT-190 operated from Kopa PT Boat Base (Milne Bay) but saw no combat action. Then operated from Morobe PT Boat Base and Dreger Harbor PT Boat Base.
During the night of September 21-22, 1943 PT-191 under the command Lt. Comdr. John Harllee was one of six PT-Boats that screened the Vitiaz Strait ahead of the 7th Amphibious Force making an amphibious landing at Finschhafen. While patrolling, PT-191 and PT-133 spotted a 120' cargo ship ten miles off Vincke Point and closed at high speed then made three firing passes on the vessel that caught fire and attempted to drop depth charges nearby. The damaged ship was observed burning and low in the water and was credited as sunk.
On December 24, 1943 PT-191 under the command of Ensign Rumsey Ewing with PT-152 departed Dreger Harbor PT Boat Base on a patrol mission. After daybreak, they spotted what appeared to be a barge off Gneisenau Point to the east of Nambariwa and Sio. Closing, they saw another object that looked like a large barge and the first "barge" proved to be a submarine roughly 100' in length. On the beach, a picket boat was seen with a pile of stores on the beach in sacks. Both PT boats opened fire on the "submarine" and noted a loud hissing noise of compressed air escaping and sank by the bow with the stern facing the beach, sinking into 4' of water. Afterwards, the gunners targeted the barge and picket boat and were claimed as unserviceable. Later, the "submarine" was examined and determined to be a 104' long, likely a Unkato (cargo transporting tube).
On December 27, 1943 PT-191 under the command of Ensign Rumsey Ewing with PT-190 departed Dreger Harbor PT Boat Base on a daylight reconnaissance of the coast of West New Britain. Returning from the patrol, 25 miles northwest of Arawe, the pair were attacked by a formation of Japanese aircraft including 15 D3A2 Vals from the 552 Kōkūtai and 582 Kōkūtai escorted by 38 A6M Zeros on a mission against Cape Gloucester but due to bad weather diverted to Arawe.
Spotting the pair of PT Boats, the Japanese aircraft attacked. Immediately, the PT Boats called for fighter cover, but had difficulty transmitting the message. To evade the attacks, the pair split up and began evasive zig-zagging and attempted to reach cloud cover 12 miles away.
During the engagement which lasted 45 minutes, PT-191 sustained damage to all three of the engines but managed to return to base. Aboard, four of the crew were wounded including Captain Ewing in his lung early in the action and was relieved by second officer Ens. Fred Calhoun who took command and was also hit in his thigh by a bullet but remained at the helm. As the dive bombers attempted to bomb his boat, he would steer in the opposite direction but bomb fragments hit the ship including the 20mm cannon's magazine, disabling the gun and wounded the gunner CMoMM Thomas H. Dean and loader MoMM2c August Sciutto.
A near miss bomb blew an 18" hole in the port and hit the entire boat with shrapnel. During the third and fourth attacks, the port and starboard water jackets were hit as was the starboard intake manifold causing hot water and gas fumes to enter the engine room. MoMM1c Victor A. Bloom immediately taped all the leaks to keep the engines running and closed off the fuel tank compartment to prevent a possible explosion and released the CO2 extinguisher then performed first aid on the wounded crew members.
During all the attacks, the PT Boat's gunners returned fire and claimed four planes shot down that crashed into the sea nearby and Lt. Farley reported "Toward the end of the attack, the enemy became more and more inaccurate and less willing to close us. It is possible that we may have knocked down the squadron leader as the planes milled about in considerable confusion, as if lacking leadership."
Around 9:00am, a flight of sixteen P-47 Thunderbolts from the 341st Fighter Squadron arrived and intercepted the Japanese aircraft but lost two shot down: P-47D 42-22702 pilot 1st Lt. James E. Lynch, Jr. ditched and was rescued by PT-190. Also, P-47D 42-8099 pilot 1st Lt Wilburn S. Henderson bailed out but Missing In Action (MIA).
PT-191 was the most successful PT-Boat in the South Pacific and South-West Pacific Area (SWPA) area and was credited with destroying a total of 18 barges. For actions during September-December 1943, crew member MM1c Victor A. Bloom earned the Navy Cross. PT-190 earned the Presidential Unit Citation for action in the New Guinea area during October 1943 to March 1944.
Next, operated from Hollandia and Mois Woendi PT Boat Base (Camp Taylor). On June 12, 1944 while moored at Mois Woendi PT Boat Bae (Camp Taylor), USS Kalk (DD-611) was bombed by Japanese aircraft that scored a direct hit causing heavy damage with many casualties aboard. Every PT boat including PT-191 rendered aid to the destroyer.
Next, operated from the Philippines operating from San Pedro Bay PT Boat Base and Ormoc Bay PT Boat Base.
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