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  PT-193 "The Witch / Bitchin' Witch"
USN
MTBS 12
PT-Boat
Elco 80'

56 Tons
80' x 20' 8" x 5'
Two torpedoes
Twin .50 cal MG
37mm gun (bow)
20mm cannon
40mm Bofors (stern)

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Louis Bonniol 1944
Captain  Lt. Cyrus R. Taylor "Cy / The Cypress", O-122496, USNR (WIA, died June 25, 1944) Mt. Vernon, NY
Executive Officer  Lt. Hubert S. Cutler, USNR (survived)
Third Officer
 Ensign John Ladd (survived)
Cook/40mm Bofors Loader
  SC1c Elisandro Romero "Cookie", 5536323 (survived) Belen, NM
40mm Bofors Gunner
 MMM1c Louis E. Bonniol "Bonny" (WIA, survived) Providence, RI
Quartermaster  "Scotty" (survived)
Mechanic  MoMM1c Lawrence R. Mansfield, 3757528 (survived)
Crew  Tonan (survived)
Radio  Sparks (survived)
Gunner  Bradford (survived)
Torpedo  TM1c Wallace Fred Seaver "Warhead", 6689283 (survived)
Gunner  Sheldon (survived)
Gunner  Rozamalsky "Hippo" (survived)
Gunner  White (survived)
Passenger
 Chief Commissary Steward Raymond Bierman (survived) Monterey, CA
Passengers
  Captain Victor Cook, U. S. Army, 201st CIC (survived)
Passengers  SSgt Carl R. Thien, U. S. Army, 201st CIC (survived)
Passengers  Sgt Art Zinsmaster, U. S. Army, 201st CIC (survived)
Passengers  Dee Paulus, Dutch liaison (survived)
Passengers  ? (survived)
Passengers  ? (survived)
Passengers  ? (survived)
Passengers  ? (survived)
Passengers  ? (survived)
Scuttled  June 25, 1944 at 4:30am

Ship History
Built by Electric Boat Company (Elco) in Bayonne, New Jersey. Laid down November 30, 1942. Launched on February 11, 1943. Commissioned February 27, 1943. Assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Twelve (MTBS 12). Assigned to Captain Lt. Cyrus R. Taylor nicknamed "Cy" or "The Cypress" by his crew with Executive Officer (EO) Torbert H. Macdonald.

In the South West Pacific Area (SWPA), PT-193 PT Boat was nicknamed "The Witch" by the crew. Later, after the boat's success in combat, the crew renamed it "Bitchin' Witch". On the left side of the bridge was a scoreboard with hash marks.

Wartime History
During August 1943, this PT Boat was based at Morobe PT Boat Base. During December 1943 operated from Dregger Harbor near Finschafen until January 1944 then operated from Kiriwina PT Boat Base on Kiriwina Island.

On February 24, 1944 PT-193 and PT-146 arrived at Saidor Harbor at 2:00pm and departed for the first daylight patrol along the north coast of New Guinea towards Madang and reached Enke Point bordering Astrolabe Bay around dusk. Near Enke Point, both boats were fired on by a shore battery and machine guns. Turning away from shore, the two boats released a smoke screen and departed while firing at the positions through the smoke. When they stopped a 5" shell landed between the two boats, forcing them both to accelerated further out to sea as four other shells impacted behind them, three close astern. Finally, seven miles offshore both boats reduced speed. Overnight, the pair patrolled off Madang but found no targets. Returning to Enke Point, they attacked the same position at night, using light from shore made a starboard strafing run and received no return fire.

During the night of March 12, 1944 to March 13, 1944 PT-193 under the command of Lt. Cyrus R. Taylor and PT-196 under the command of Lt(jg) Alfred G. Vanderbilt, Jr. departed on a patrol. During the night, they were attacked by a Japanese float plane that dropped a bomb that landed 150 yards astern of PT-193. Gunners aboard the PT-Boats fired at the aircraft and claimed it as shot down. Afterwards, both Taylor and Vanderbilt earned the Silver Star for this action.

During 1944 placed into dry dock and the propellers were replaced and other servicing performed. Briefly operated from Hollandia and traveled via Wakde before reaching Mios Woendi PT Boat Base on June 6, 1944.

Mission History
On June 24, 1944 at 4:20pm at Mios Woendi PT Boat Base embarked a team from U. S. Army 201st Counter Intelligence Corps (201st CIC) plus an extra passenger, Bierman, a friend of the ship's cook. Before the mission, PT-193 Captain Lt. Cyrus R. Taylor and PT-331 Capitan Lt(jg) Kermit W. Montz had a conference with a U. S. Army team about their mission to land at Bani Point on Noemfoor Island and locate and bring back a friendly native to assist in planning the upcoming U. S. landing on the island.

At 4:30pm PT-193 under the command of Lt. Cyrus R. Taylor with PT-331 under the command of Lt(jg) Kermit W. Montz departed Mios Woendi PT Boat Base bound for Biak. After dark, the PT Boats began their the mission, but PT-193's batteries were dead and required PT-331 to start the engines. Proceeding westward, PT-193 ran without lights until the batteries were sufficiently charged.

On June 25, 1944 around midnight PT-193 reached the designated landing beach on Noemfoor Island. The U. S. Army with two sailors from the PT Boat paddled ashore in a rubber. Ashore, they signaled they arrived safely and after 45 minutes ashore, they located a friendly native and convinced him to come back with them and afterwards paddled back to PT-193.

Pacific Island Odyssey by Carl R. Thien page 60:
"At about midnight we found the beach we were looking for and Dee Paulus and Art Zinsmaster made a landing along with two sailors from the PT. It did not take long for Paulus to find a native and talk him into coming back with us to Biak."

After successfully completing their mission, the PT boats patrolled the north coast of Noemfoor Island to search for Japanese targets. After midnight, they entered passageway into a wide bay, with a Japanese gun position at the western point of the bay. Taylor spotted two Japanese luggers or barges and led the attack with PT-193 leading with PT 331 following. The PT Boats performed a starboard run from astern of the targets.

One failed to sink but caught fire and began burning brightly near shore. The PT boats made a second run, spotting a third barge. During this run at approximately 1:30am PT-193 ran aground few hundred yards from shore off Bani Point on the same coral reef the burning barge was stuck atop. Taylor attempted to reverse the engines, but it did not free the boat and burned out the reverse gear. He also jettisoned both torpedoes in an attempt to lighten the boat but was still stuck.

Calling for PT-331 to come to their aid, a tow line was swum out by a crew member of each boat in the hopes that PT-193 could be towed off the reef. Meanwhile, the fire from the burning barge illuminated the entire area and a Japanese gun ashore opened fire, but luckily the shells fell short.

Unable to free hit boat, Taylor ordered the boat scuttled and the crew and passengers to be transfered aboard PT-331 and for PT-193 to be scuttled. Secret materials were destroyed and the guns were disabled and thrown overboard.

Sinking History
By 4:30am, the ship was ready to be abandoned and gas was poured over all compartments. Taylor went below deck to his quarters for a final check of the ship. While below decks, the gas ignited and exploded, severely wounding Taylor and blowing four of the crew members (including Bonniol and Ladd) overboard onto the reef and all sustained injuries. Taylor was severely burned and went into shock. PT-193 caught fire and ordnance aboard began detonating.

After the explosion, PT-331 launched its rubber raft to rescue the wounded crew members still aboard when PT-193 exploded. The rescue party included SC1c Elisandro Romero who volunteered to paddle back to the blazing vessel despite heavy surf to rescue Taylor and another crew member. Due to the rough seas, it took 45 minutes for their raft to reach the boat and return safely.

Aboard PT-331, Taylor was given morphine and emergency medical treatment. While departing, PT-331 damaged its screws and could only motor at slow speed and was overloaded with nearly 30 extra crew and passengers. Meanwhile, PT-194 with a medical officer aboard sped to render aid and met PT-133 at 9:00am five miles from base. Taylor was transferred aboard hospital ship AHS Maetsuycker, but at 9:45pm died from his wounds.

Wreckage
After burning, the shipwreck of PT Boat remained partially above water. On June 27, 1944, two B-24 Liberators from the 310th Bomb Wing (310th BW) flew over the hulk of PT-193. They reported that the boat "appeared to be completely gutted" but bombed it to be sure it was completely destroyed.

Memorials
Taylor was officially declared dead on June 25, 1944 and earned the Silver Star. Afterwards, Mois Woendi PT Boat Base was renamed "Camp Taylor" in honor of Cyrus R. Taylor. Postwar, he was permanently buried at Manila American Cemetery at Plot F, Row 7, Grave 88.

Romero earned the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his actions volunteering to aid in the rescue of Taylor after the fire. He passed away October 19, 1977 at age 54. He is buried at Santa Fe National Cemetery at section Y site 19.

Relatives
Stephen R. Bonniol (son of Louis E. Bonniol)
"My Dad and Cy Taylor were last on board [PT-193]. Gasoline had been spread all over everything. Taylor went below at last minute and there was a huge explosion.  Witnesses said my dad was blown about 50 feet up in the air, before coming back down head first on coral.  He saw Taylor emerge from below, fully engulfed in flames.  He called to him and told him to head for his voice and jump.  My dad swam him back to the other boat [PT-331] that had come to rescue them.  Taylor died that night.  My dad passed away in 1995, but he is still and always will be my greatest hero. He received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for this action. After the War my Dad Got married in 1945 and started a business, Superior Sheet Metal works, and he installed air heating and air conditioning. I worked for him for a while, until he sold it in the late 70's. He had two other children, both girls before me. He enjoyed traveling the world and it was always his dream to go back to the Philippines."

Luciano Romero (grandson of Elisandro Romero)

Chris Lotspeich (grandson of Torbert H. Macdonald Sr.)
"I am researching the wartime experiences of my late grandfather, Torbert H. Macdonald, who had been XO on PT-193 before commanding PT-194. Through your website and your grandfather’s (and Louis Bonniol’s) recollections, I learned that my grandfather’s boat PT-194 brought a doctor out to meet PT-331. This is an extremely personally valuable piece of information, which I have only found on your site. My grandfather was dear friends with Cy Taylor, who had spoken up for my grandfather when the Squadron (RON) 12 CO was considering ejecting him from the squadron (a story for another day). My grandfather spoke very little about the war to his family, but we knew his close friend’s horrible death had affected him greatly. Thanks to your work, I discovered that he probably saw his dear friend in his mortally burned state."

Michael Seaver (son of Wallace Seaver)
"He was also on the boat when the demo charge went off. He had left the boat once then returned to retrieve the Flag. He was blown clear and was uninjured in the blast. The flag was in our home until sometime in 80s when it was donated to the PT Boat Museum. He is the last man on the right in the crew picture."

Justin Taylan (grandson of Carl R. Thien)

Frederick Cook (son of Frederick Cook)

Seeking Former Crew or Relatives
Are you a relative or veteran of this PT-193? Contact us.

References
Bureau of Naval Personnel Information "Silver Star citation Cyrus R. Taylor" Bulletin No. 333 December 1944
"The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Cyrus R. Taylor (NSN: 0-122496), United States Naval Reserve, for gallantry in action when Motor Torpedo Boat ONE HUNDRED NINETY-THREE (PT-193), was bombed by an enemy float plane while patrolling with another torpedo boat on 13 March 1944. Lieutenant Taylor directed highly effective evasive tactics and enabled his crew to destroy the Japanese plane and bring the torpedo boat through without casualties among personnel or damage to the vessel. His gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service."
The Secretary of the Navy "Navy and Marine Corps Medal citation for Elisandro Romero" 1944
US Navy Action Report, PT 193 24/25 June 1944
FindAGrave - Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, II (photo, grave photos)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Cyrus R. Taylor
FindAGrave - Lt Cyrus Robinson Taylor (Manila American Cemetery grave)
FindAGrave - Torbert Hart MacDonald (photo)
FindAGrave - Elisandro Romero  (Santa Fe National Cemetery)
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy (1962) by Robert Bulkley pages 236, 251, 253, 462, 487-488
236, 251, 252 (photo Camp Taylor), 253, 502 (Silver Star, Taylor), 513 (Appendix D, Casualties KIA, Taylor), 562 (index PT-193) 570 (index Taylor)
Our Navy "The Bitchin' Witch" Mid-March 1945 by Herb Kester pages 22-23
Motor Boating "Last Patrol" by Herb Kester July 1945 pages 32 - 34, 72, 74, 76, 78, 80
Pacific Island Odyssey pages 60-62
Navy Source PT-193
Hell On Keels: The Saga of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron12– A Story of Wooden Boats and Iron Men by Rick Desloge pages 46-47
"The PT Boat war of John F. Kennedy & Torbert H. Macdonald" by Chris Lotspeich page 4, 5, 14, 17, 18
Thanks to Carl R. Thien, Stephen R. Bonniol, Chris Lotspeich, Michael Seaver, Justin Taylan and Frederick Cook for additional information

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020

 

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