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80' Elco

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Justin Taylan 2003

Captain  Ensign Henry W. Cuttler, USNR
Crew  MoMM3c Francis C. Watson
Crew  Hyde (MIA)
Crew  Bruce S. Bales, USNR, O-257522 (MIA / KIA ) NC
Crew  QM2c Allen B. Gregory, USNR (MIA / KIA)
Crew  RM2c Harry E. Barnett, USNR
Crew  Y2c Henry S. Timmons
Crew  TM3c Edgar L. Schmidt, USNR, 5763780 (MIA / KIA) TX
Crew  MoMM3c Evo A. Fucili, USNR (MIA / KIA)
Crew  SC3c James P. Mitchell
Engine Room  MoMM1c William Daley, Jr., USNR, 7079462 (WIA / MIA / KIA) NY
Crew  TM2c Morgan J. Canterbury, USNR
Sunk  March 7, 1944 

Mission History
After a successful attack on Bogia Bay during the night of March 5-6, 1944, a followup mission further into enemy territory was planned for the following night.

On March 6, 1944 during the evening two PT Boats: PT-338 with captain Lt.(jg) Carl T. Gleason and this PT Boat departed Dregger Harbor PT Boat Base to search for enemy barges in Hansa Bay.

On March 7, 1944 at 2:00am the pair were Idled outside Hansa Bay. Spotting targets close to shore on radar, they attacked two luggers moored together, but heavy machine gun fire opened up from the beach area. Turning to strafe the beach, more guns opened up including a heavy battery at Awar Point.

Their first shell fired hit the water near PT-337, with three or four others hitting nearby.  Another hit the engine room, and started fires aboard, wounding crew member Daley, forcing them to abandon the boat, that exploded and sank afterwards. PT-338 departed the scene and every time it approached the area to investigate, was driven away by gunfire and withdrew alone before dawn.

Fates of the Crew
In a life raft, they attempted to paddle out to sea, but were fighting strong currents. Durig in the night, Daley died from his wounds and was buried at sea.  Morning found them still near Hansa Bay but drifting toward nearby Manam Island. They attempted to the island as it might be easier to escape detection and find food and water. Currents kept them from reaching the island. Two of the crew attempted to swim to the island, but currents swept them back.  Two others also tried in the night and were never seen again.

By dawn on March 8, 1944, they were still to the north of the island.  Delirium gripped the surviving crew, with more trying to swim to the island, but disappearing. They thought they saw one of them reach the shore, then Japanese appear on the beach.  Mitchell successfully reached the shore, saw enemy and returned to the raft.  That night, a boat approached them from shore with armed men aboard, but a sudden squall came up and the boat disappeared. On the morning of the March 9, 1944, they found a overturned Japanese boat, and a crab clinging to it that they ate, and a drifting dried coconut. This was the only food or water they had and all were covered in sores and sunburn.

On March 10, 1944 at noon three B-25 circled them and dropped a package but it sank, but two other packages survived, with instructions that a PBY Catalina would rescue them the next day. On March 11, 1944 a PBY Catalina escorted by two P-47 Thunderbolts arrived, rescued the five survivors and transported them to Dregger Harbor.

At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 224-225, 226, 237, 471, 487-488
Navy Source - PT-337

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Last Updated
November 16, 2018


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