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  PT-193 "Bitchin' Witch / The Witch"
USN
MTBS 12
80' Elco

56 Tons
80' x 20' 8" x 5'
40mm Bofors (stern)
Two torpedoes
twin 50 cal MG
37mm gun (bow)
20mm cannon
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Louis Bonniol 1944

Captain  Cyrus R. Taylor "The Cypress", O-122496, USNR (WIA, died June 25, 1944) Mt. Vernon, NY
Executive Officer  Lt. Hubert S. Cutler, USNR
Third Officer
 Ensign John Ladd
Cook/40mm Bofors Loader
  Allesandro Romero "Cookie"
40mm Bofors Gunner
 MMM1C Louis E. Bonniol "Bonny" (WIA) Providence, RI
Quartermaster  "Scotty"
Mechanic  Mansfield
Crew  Tonan
Radio  Sparks
Gunner  Bradford
Torpedo  Wallace Seaver "Warhead"
Gunner  Sheldon
Gunner  Rozamalsky "Hippo"
Gunner  White
Passenger
 Chief Commissary Steward Raymond Bierman (Monterey, CA)
Passengers
  Captain Victor Cook, U. S. Army, 201st CIC
Passengers  SSgt Carl R. Thien, U. S. Army, 201st CIC
Passengers  Dee Paulus
Passengers  Sgt Art Zinmaster
Passengers  ?
Passengers  ?
Passengers  ?
Passengers  ?
Passengers  ?
Scuttled  June 25, 1944

Ship History
Built by Electric Boat Company (Elco) in Bayonne, New Jersey. Laid down November 30, 1942. Launched on February 11, 1943. Commissioned February 27, 1943. Assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 12 (MTBS 12). Assigned to Captain Cyrus R. Taylor, also known as "Cy" or "The Cypress" by his crew. Nicknamed "The Witch" by the crew, later, after the PT-Boat's success they renamed the boat "Bitchin' Witch".

Wartime History
This PT Boat was based at Morobe PT Boat Base during August 1943 and Dregger Harbor near Finchafen during December 1943 to January 1944. During early 1944, operated from Kiriwina Island.

On February 24, 1944 PT-193 and PT-146 arrived at Saidor Harbor around 2pm and departed for the first daylight patrol along the north coast towards Madang, arriving at dusk at Enke Point across Astrolabe Bay. Near the point, both boats were fired on by a shore battery and machine guns. Turning away from shore, the two boats released a smoke screen and departed, firing at the positions through the smoke. Offshore, a large 5" shell landed between the two boats when they stopped, forcing them both to accelerated further out to sea as four other shells impacted behind them, three close astern. Finally, seven miles offshore both boats reduced speed. Overnight, the two boats patrolled off Madang but found no targets. Returning to Enke point, they attacked the same position at night, using light from shore made a starboard strafing run on the position and received no return fire.

On the night of March 12-13, 1944 this boat and PT-196 were attacked by a Japanese float plane. It dropped a bomb 150 yards astern of PT-193, and was then shot down by the PT boats. Captain Cyrus Taylor earned the silver star for this action.

During 1944 (exact date unknown), placed on dry dock and propellers replaced and other servicing. Briefly operated from Hollandia. Next, went via Wakde to Mios Woendi on June 6, 1944.

Mission History
On June 25, 1944 at a team from the US Army 201st CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps) boarded at 1620 at Mios Woendi PT Boat Base. An extra passenger, Bierman came aboard as a passenger, friend of the ship's cook. PT-193 along with PT-331 commanded by Lt. Montz departed 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 this boat were dead, and required PT 311 to start the engines, and the boat to run without lights until enough battery charge was built up and proceeded to Noemfoor, where the Army landed aboard a rubber boat, and signaled from shore they had arrived safely. Ashore for approximately 45 minutes, they located a friendly Noemfoor Islander and took him back aboard the PT Boat, to assist in planning future American assault on the island.

Carl R. Thien writes in Pacific Island Odyssey page 60:
"At about midnight we found the beach we were looking for and Dee Paulus and Art Zinmaster made a landing along with two sailors from the PT. It did not take long for Paulus to find a native and talk him into coming back with us to Biak."

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.

Taylor spotted two Japanese luggers 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 off Bani Point on the same coral reef the burning barge was stuck atop. 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.

Wreckage
On June 27, 1944, two B-24 Liberators of the 310th Bomb Wing flew over the hulk of PT-193. They reported that the boat "appeared to be completely gutted" but bombed it to be sure it was completely destroyed. [ Are you a member of the 310th BW B-24's that flew this mission?

Memorials
Taylor was officially declared dead the day of the mission and earned the Silver Star. Afterwards, Mois Woendi PT Boat Base was renamed "Camp Taylor" in his honor. Postwar, Taylor was permanently buried at Manila American Cemetery at Plot F Roy 7, Grave 88.

Relatives
Stephen R. Bonniol (son of Louis E. Bonniol)
"My Dad and Cy Taylor were last on board [PT-193]. Gasoline had been spread all over everything. Taylor went below at last minute and there was a huge explosion.  Witnesses said my dad was blown about 50 feet up in the air, before coming back down head first on coral.  He saw Taylor emerge from below, fully engulfed in flames.  He called to him and told him to head for his voice and jump.  My dad swam him back to the other boat [PT-331] that had come to rescue them.  Taylor died that night.  My dad passed away in 1995, but he is still and always will be my greatest hero. He received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for this action. After the War my Dad Got married in 1945 and started a business, Superior Sheet Metal works, and he installed air heating and air conditioning. I worked for him for a while, until he sold it in the late 70's. He had two other children, both girls before me. He enjoyed traveling the world and it was always his dream to go back to the Philippines."

Michael Seaver (son of Seaver)
"He was also on the boat when the demo charge went off. He had left the boat once then returned to retrieve the Flag. He was blown clear and was uninjured in the blast. The flag was in our home until sometime in 80s when it was donated to the PT Boat Museum. He is the last man on the right in the crew picture."

Justin Taylan (grandson of Carl R. Thien)
Frederick Cook (son of Frederick Cook)

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
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Cyrus R. Taylor
FindAGrave - Lt Cyrus Robinson Taylor (Manila American Cemetery)
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 236, 251, 253, 462, 487-488
Our Navy "The Bitchin' Witch" Mid-March 1945 by Herb Kester pages 22-23
Motor Boating "Last Patrol" by Herb Kester July 1945 pages 32 - 34, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80
Pacific Island Odyssey pages 60-62
Navy Source PT-193

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Last Updated
January 10, 2018

 

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