Built by Electric Boat Co. (Elco) in Bayonne, NJ. Laid down September 15, 1942. Launched November 30, 1942. Completed December 15, 1942. Comissioned December 22, 1942 as PT-166.
Assinged to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Ten (PTRon 10). This PT Boat was transported overseas to the South Pacific. No known nickname or artwork. This PT Boat operated from Rendova PT Boat Base (Lumbari Island / Todd City) conducting combat missions in the Central Solomons.
On July 20, 1943 PT-166 with PT-168 and PT-164 patrolled to the south of Ferguson Passage. Returning from the patrol, the PT Boats were spotted and attacked by four B-25 Mitchells believing they were enemy vessels, as they were briefed that no friendly vessels in operating in the area. During the attack, gunners aboard PT-166 and PT-164 returned fire. Each PT Boat was hit. Aboard the PT Boats one officer and ten men were wounded.
During the attack, PT-166 caught fire and the crew abandoned ship before the vessel exploded. The location was reported as roughly Lat 8º25'S Long 157º20'E "off Munda Point on New Georgia" yet the map in MACR 20 indicates the location was off Wanawana Island (Vonavona Island) in the sea between Vella Lavella Island, Kolombangara Island and Ghizo Island. Damaged by the PT Boat's defensive fire, B-25C "The Worry Bird" 41-13153 crashed nearby.
After the attack, the crew of PT-166 were rescued by PT-164 and returned to base. Meanwhile, PT-168 went to the crash site the bomber and rescued the three surviving crew.
Impact "Moral: Don't be Trigger Happy" volume 2 no. 5 May 1944 pages 36-37
[Page 36] Artwork "Double Tragedy off Munda Point" by A. Deydenfrost
[Page 37] Double Tragedy off Munda Point last year [July 20, 1943] is reconstructed from the narrative of a pilot back from the S. W. Pacific. A B-25 crew, on patrol, failed to identify two [three] U.S. torpedo boats [PT-166, PT-168 and PT-164]. The boats possibly had opened fire on him. The B-25 came down and strafed, sinking a boat [PT-166]. Then a Navy fighter pilot capped the tragedy of errors. He may have made a mistake in identification or might have thought the B-25 [B-25C Mitchell 41-13153] to be Jap-operated. At any rate he shot it down."
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 119-120, 461, 487, 488, 562 (index)
Thanks to Jim Sawruk and Edward Rogers for additional information
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May 26, 2019