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  PT-353
USN
PT-Boat




Captain  Ens George H. Gucker (USNR)
Crew  Lt. Hall
Sunk  March 27, 1943 by friendly fire

Ship History
Assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 25 (MTBS-25).

Wartime History
On March 27, 1944 PT-353 with PT-121 were investigated a schooner, and were navigating the reefs at Ewasse in Bangula Bay near Talasea. Four RAAF P-40 Kittyhawks from 78 Squadron flying over the area confirmed via radio that the schooner was hit and no longer a target.

Later, four other RAAF P-40 Kittyhawks from 78 Squadron and a Beaufighter from 30 Squadron accidentally attacked the pair of PT-Boats. Another Beaufighter successfully identified the ships as friendly, but was not able to stop the attack. After they made several passes, PT-Boats returned fire, but the captains of each boat made them cease fire.  Both PT-Boats were hit, burned and sank.

Shortly after the attack, the first group of P-40s returned to the area, reported the tragedy and dropped life raft.  Five hours later, other P-40s guided PT-346 and PT-354 to the site to look for survivors. A total of four officers and four enlisted men were KIA, four officers and four enlisted men were WIA. This was the first friendly fire incident in the South-West Pacific area of aircraft attacking PT-Boats (operating for a year prior), but would not be the last.

References
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 232, 234, 472, 488
Navy Source PT-353

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Last Updated
August 18, 2018

 

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