Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
Elco 80'

56 Tons
78' x 20' 8" x 4'

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 Royal Australian Air Force (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, the PT-Boats returned fire, but the captains of each boat made them cease fire.  As a result of the attacks, 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.

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

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
October 7, 2018


  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram