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  PT-194 "Liberty Hound / Little Mike"
USN
MTBS 12
PT-Boat
Elco 80'

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

PacificWrecks.com
USN June 12, 1944

PacificWrecks.com
USN October 20, 1944

Ship History
Built by Electric Boat Company (Elco) in Bayonne, New Jersey. Laid down December 3, 1942. Launched on February 13, 1943. Commissioned March 3, 1943 under the command of Captain Lt. J. William Costello. Assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 12 (MTBS 12) under the command of Lt. Comdr. John Harllee. Nicknamed "Liberty Hound" and later "Little Mike".

During March 1943 PT-194 under the command of Lt. Comdr. John Harllee went to Washington DC for an inspection tour by Navy officials and sped through waterways and canals at 45 knots causing a scene.

Wartime History
This PT Boat was transported to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and operated from Kana Kopa PT Boat Base then Morobe PT Boat Base on the north coast of New Guinea.

During the night of October 8-9, 1943 PT-194 under the command of Ensign Robert M. Hurst, Jr. with PT-128 departed Morobe PT Boat Base on a patrol mission off West New Britain around the Siassi Islands guided by radar officer Lt. George O. Walbridge aboard PT-194. Off Grass Point they observed a column of smoke to the north off Lagoon Point.

Proceeding towards the smoke, six large targets were spotted on radar and the pair approached until one opened fire from 3 1/2 miles away with a 5" shell landing within 25 yards of PT-194 with enough force to throw the crew onto the deck. Three more shells fell nearby before the pair of PT boats could get up to full speed of 40 knots. By that time, the destroyers at 35 knots had closed to within a mile and were bracketing both boats with shells. A searchlight caught PT-194 and a shell landed 15 yards astern that lifted the boat out of the water and put shrapnel holes in the transom. Another shell landed astern that killed two crew, and wounding three others including Lt. Walbridge. Meanwhile, both PT Boats were laying smoke and split up with PT-128 heading to the northwest and PT-194 to the southwest.

Aboard PT-194, the smoke generator jammed and could not be turned off, making it easy for the destroyers to aim at the PT Boat. Although wounded, Lt. Walbridge used a fire ax to hack the smoke bottle overboard to stop generating smoke and advised the captain to proceed to the northwest to escape, which required this PT boat to proceed back through their own smokescreen ended up head on and accidentally suffered a glancing collision with PT-128 in the smoke, causing bow damage to this vessel. Behind their smoke screen, the destroyers continued to fire but were ineffective and both boats, despite being damaged managed to get behind Sakar Island and later proceeded back to base. This incident was the only time during the New Guinea campaign that PT boats and Japanese destroyers engaged in direct combat.

Afterwards, operated from Dreger Harbor PT Boat Base, Hollandia and Mios Woendi PT Boat Base (Camp Taylor). During the middle of 1944, assigned to captain Torbert H. Macdonald.

On June 12, 1944 while PT-194 was operating off the southern coast of Baik Island and came to the aid of USS Kalk (DD-611) that had been hit by a bomb and was photographed removing wounded sailors onto the PT Boat's deck to evacuate them.

On October 20, 1944 photographed refueling from USS Wachapreague (AGP-8) while enroute to Leyte Gulf.

During the Battle of Surigao Strait during October 24–26, 1944 PT-194 was under the command of Lt. Thomas C. Hall with PT-196 and PT-150 that operated off the southern tip of Panaon Island and experienced rain and cloud until spotting a large fire in Surigao Strait after 5:00am and advanced, spotting two vessels they believed to be PT Boats but were Japanese destroyers that opened fire. PT-194 was hit in the first salvo and removed the 40mm gun and quickly laid down a smoke screen and turned away but was targeted for 30 minutes. A shell hit the stern of PT-194 below the waterline causing it to loose speed and settle to the stern and a 40mm shell hit the chart house igniting 20mm ammunition that wounded Lt. Mislicky and Lt. Hall plus four other crew. The hit also triggered the emergency CO2 release that smothered the engines until the crew aired out the compartment and restarted them.

In the Philippines operated from San Pedro Bay and Ormoc Bay.

The PT Boat war of John F. Kennedy & Torbert H. Macdonald page 17
"Sam Goddess, RON 12’s “shepherd”, unofficial historian and PT 194 crewman told me that by war’s end RON 12 had the most destroyed Japanese vessels and aircraft of any PT Boat squadron, and that PT 194 was the highest-scoring boat."

Sinking History
On October 26, 1945 placed out of service, stripped of usable parts and scuttled off Samar Island.

References
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 202-204, 378 (photo), 388, 462, 562 (index)
Navy Source PT-194
Hell On Keels: The Saga of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron12– A Story of Wooden Boats and Iron Men by Rick Desloge page 152
"The PT made a dramatic entrance up the Potomac and performed as expected for a crowd of spectators and for the Navy. The super-charged Packard engines churned up so much water one Navy yacht banged against the pilings, shaking the vessel enough to break dishes. The river police came chasing and practically gave the skipper a ticket."
FindAGrave - Torbert Hart MacDonald (photo)
"The PT Boat war of John F. Kennedy & Torbert H. Macdonald" by Chris Lotspeich pages 3, 4, 5, 9, 14, 16, 17, 18
Thanks to Chris Lotspeich for additional information

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Last Updated
November 18, 2018

 

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