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77' x 19' 11" x 4' 6"
1 x 40mm Bofors
2 x Torpedoes
2 x twin .50 cal MG
1 x 37mm cannon
1 x 20mm cannon
Impact July 20, 1943
USN October 8, 1943
USN circa April 1944
Built by Electric Boat Co. (Elco) in Bayonne, NJ. Laid down September 21, 1942 as Elco 80' Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB). Launched December 5, 1942 as PT-168. Commissioned December 22, 1942 in the U.S. Navy (USN). Initially, this PT Boat was painted with a dazzle camouflage scheme.
Assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Ten (MTBRon 10, PTRon 10, Squadron 10). Transported to the South Pacific (SoPAC). Nicknamed "Raidin' Maiden".
On July 20, 1943 PT-168 under the command of Lt. Edward Macauley, III with PT-164 and PT-166 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. Damaged by the PT Boat's defensive fire, B-25C "The Worry Bird" 41-13153 crashed nearby. Afterwards, PT-164 rescued the crew of PT-166 then returned to base. Meanwhile PT-168 rescued the three surviving crew of the bomber and returned to base.
During the night of August 12-13, 1943 PT-168 under the command of Ens. William F. Griffin with PT-107, PT-169 and PT-104 departed Rendova with a team of 45 U.S. Army and U.S. Navy personnel to be landed at Barakoma on Vella Lavella Island to mark channels and beaches for the upcoming amphibious landing and select areas ashore for camps and work with native people who reported a number of Japanese to be taken prisoner. While proceeding northward through the Blackett Strait to Vella Gulf, the four PT Boats were were bombed and strafed for more than two hours continuously by enemy aircraft causing the four boats to separate. During the attack, a bomb fell astern of PT-168, wounding two of the crew seriously and two U.S. Army personnel plus putting holes into the fuel tanks and damaging the three engines.
After the attack, two of the damaged engines were restarted and PT-168 radioed for assistance. Operating nearby, PT-106 responded transferring the passengers and wounded aboard then escorting PT-168 back to the Ferguson Passage then departed to get the wounded back to base. Afterwards, PT-168's engines failed and PT-103 took the damaged boat under tow and returned to Rendova with fighter cover by 9:00am.
During the night of February 29, 1944 - March 1, 1944 under the command of Lt(jg) R. C. Simpson as one of twelve PT Boats that participated with U.S. Navy destroyers bombarding the Rabaul area, the first large scale joint operation in the South Pacific. During the mission, the weather was foul and sea rough. One of six PT Boats patrolling between the Duke of York Islands and the Gazelle Peninsula at the tip of New Britain Island. In bad weather, enemy barges were spotted as they passed between PT-168 and PT-163. Opening fire, the PT Boats claimed them as sunk, but the weather was so poor their sinking could not be confirmed.
During April 1944, transferred to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and operated from Saidor, Mios Woendi PT Boat Base, Morotai, Samar and Balikpapan. Sometime during 1944 painted overall gray.
On November 11, 1945 placed out of service, stripped of usable parts then destroyed and scuttled off Samar Island in the Philippines.
Yachting November 1943 volume LXXIV (cover photo)
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, 134-135, 151, 461, 562 (index)
Navy Source PT-168
Thanks to Jim Sawruk and Edward Rogers for additional information
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