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  PT-68
USN
77' Elco

60 Tons
77' x 19' 11" x 4' 6"
4 x torpedo tubes
2 x Twin 50 cal MG
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c1943

Ship History
Built by Electric Boat Company (Elco) Bayonne, NJ. Laid down August 27, 1941 as PTC-36, then reclassified BPT-20 prior to completion as part of lend-lease for England. Launched November 13, 1941. Completed January 13, 1942. Transfer to England was canceled and instead reclassified as PT-68.

Wartime History
Assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 4 (MTBS-4) and was fitted out at the Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons Training Center at Melville, RI. On October 1, 1942 transfered to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 8 (MTBS-8).

During the Battle of the Bismark Sea, the night of March 3, 1943 PT-68 under the command of Lt(jg) Robert L. Childs, USNR operated with PT-149, PT-66 and PT-121 approached the fire of the Oigawa Maru at slow speed before the ship sank. PT-149 believed it observe a search light on the ship and fired one torpedo at the ship before it lost sight of the target and the ship sank.

Next, operated from Morobe PT Boat Base. On July 6, 1943 PT-68 departing Morobe PT Boat Base with PT-142, PT-143, PT-120 to first pick up troops from nearby Mort Bay then departed to land them at Nassau Bay. During the journey, PT-68 lost visual contact with the other boats due to rough seas and rain, and found no enemy targets.

Sinking History
Departed on September 30, 1943 departed under the command of Lt(jg) Robert F. Lynch with PT-191 on a patrol of the Huon Gulf. The pair sank two barges near Vincke Point, and spotted a third unloading troops on the beach and opend fire. Turing to depart, PT-68 ran arground 40 yards from shore off Vincke Point on the Huon Peninsula.

The crew were ordered to abandon ship and transfered to PT-191, which used two anchor lines to pull PT-68 loose. During the attempted rescue, a shore gun and machine gun opened fire from shore, and the lines were cut, and PT-191 destroyed to prevent capture at 2:20am on October 1, 1943 leaving it burning and sinking.

References
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 59, 181, 188-189, 202, 455, 459, 485-486, 488
Navy Source - PT-68 (photo)

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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