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PT-20 Class MTB
77' Elco MTB
77' x 19' 11" x 4' 6"
2 x Twin 50 cal MG
4 x Torpedo Tubes
Built by Electric Boat Company (Elco) in Bayonne, NJ. Laid down March 29, 1941 as Motor Boat Submarine Chaser, PTC-14. Reclassified PT-34 prior to completion. Launched June 14, 1941. Commissioned July 12, 1941.
Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 2 (MTBS-2). On August 12, 1941 assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3 (MTBS-3). Loaded as deck cargo aboard USS Guadalupe (AO-32) as one of six PT Boats including PT-31, PT-32, PT-33, PT-34, PT-35 and PT-41 to the Philippines.
At the start of the Pacific War, assgined to Lt. Robert B. Kelly. On December 17, 1941 passenger ship SS Corregidor loaded with 1,200 passengers struck a mine off Corregidor and sank with a large loss of life. Afterwards, PT-34 with PT-32 and PT-35 plus French ship SS Si-Kiang rescue 280 survivors who were taken to Corregidor.
Afterwards, while Lt. Kelly was in the hospital on Corregidor with an infected finger, PT-34 was placed under the temporary command of Lt. John D. Bulkeley and Ens Barron W. Chandler.
On January 18, 1942 after dark PT-34 under Lt. Bulkeley with Ensign Barron W. Chandler plus PT-31 under Lt. Edward G. DeLong, proceeded to the mouth of Subic Bay. At the entrance, the boats split up with PT-34 patrolled the western side while PT-31 patrolled the eastern side then meet up at the entrance to Binanga Bay. On January 19, 1942 after midnight, PT-34 entered Subic Bay at 18 knots and was challenged by a light Biniptican Point and slowed to 10 knots. Next, a field gun began firing and a small vessel was observed flashing a light. Meanwhile, other lights were seen on Grande Island and machine gun fire from Ilinin Point. After waiting for PT-31 thirty minutes, continues patrolling in Binanga Bay and fired two torpedoes at a two masted freighter. One launched but prematurely exploded a minute later. The other stuck in the tube and failed to launch as PT-34 departed re receiving gunfire from shore. Returning, chief torpedo man John Martino climbed onto the torpedo sticking halfway out the tube and stuffed toilet paper into the impeller blades to prevent it from arming and detonating. Four hours later, the torpedo feel harmlessly into the sea and returned safely. For his actions, Lt. Bulkeley earned the Navy Cross.
During the night of January 22, 1942 to January 23, 1942 during the Battle of the Points on Bataan PT-34 under the command of Lt. Bulkeley with Ensign Chandler. During the patrol, PT 34 claimed two enemy barges and experienced small arms fire sinking it north of Canas Point off southwest Bataan. Returning, PT-34 sank a second barge off Luzon Point and hit it with gunfire. then pulled alongside and boarded by Lt. Bulkeley who recovered documents, cases and equipment and captured two Japanese who became Prisoners Of War (POW) and the barge sank.
On March 12, 1942 PT-34 under the command of Ensign Akers with PT-35 waited at Sisiman Cove. Meanwhile, a launch from Corregidor arrived with Admiral Francis W. Rockwell and Captain Ray then rendesvous with other PT Boats in Manila Bay, then proceed to Tayauayan Island. Along the way, PT-34 experienced engine problems and arrived two hours late at 9:30am. Departing at 6:00pm, they saw a Japanese cruiser in the distance but were not spotted. On March 13, 1942 at 2:00am PT-34 arrived off Silino Island then reached Cagayan on northern Mindanao later in the morning, making a 560 mile voyage across the enemy patrolled area.
At Cagayan, PT-34 made emergency engine repairs, then motored to Cebu for additional repairs at the private Opan Shipbuilding & Slipway Corp where the owner "Dad" Cleland refused payment for the repairs that were completed by April 8, 1942.
During the night of April 8, 1942 off eastern Cebu, PT-34 under the command of Robert Bolling Kelly and PT-41 under the command of Bulkeley spotted and attacked Kuma from 500 yards, and was caught in the light cruiser's searchlight and fired on. During the attack, Kelly saw his torpedoes miss the target. PT-41 circled Kuma attempting to draw away their fire and disable its searchlight. PT-34 fired her last two torpedoes and believed they hit Kuma. According to Japanese Navy records Kuma was hit in the bow by one of PT-34's torpedoes but it failed to detonate.
Zig-zagging to escape her gunners fired at Kuma's searchlight. Gunner Willard J. Reynolds was wounded by shrapnel when he opened fire and their radio was damaged. Departing, PT-34 passed an enemy destroyer before reaching Cebu City then proceeded to Dumaguete on Negros.
On April 9, 1942 PT-34 attempted to return Cebu City for emergency medical treatment for wounded Reynolds. Without detailed charts, the boat ran aground on coral, damaging the center propeller but was rocked free by daylight while Reynolds was taken ashore in their dingy with Ens Richardson. After treatment, both returned to PT-34.
At 8:00am spotted by four F1M2 Petes from Sanuki Maru that dropped eight bombs that were all near misses. The floatplanes dove from 500' strafing the ship and knocked out the starboard .50 caliber machine gun turret and killed Reynolds and wounded QM1C Albert P. Ross, who claimed to damage one attacking plane. Also wounded were Martino and Hunter. The engine room flooded and Kelly ordered PT-34 beached onto Cauit Island (Kauit) near Cebu City and began to salvage material ashore. At 12:30, the seaplanes returned and bombed and strafed again, setting PT-34 on fire and caused the ship to explode on the beach. For this action, Kelly earned the Navy Cross.
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy (1962) pages 1 (September 28, 1941 arrival), 3, 7, 9-10 (January 18-19, 1942), 13 (January 22-23, 1942), 16-19 (March 4, 1942 Corregidor depart), 21-25 (April 8-9, 1942 Cebu), 451 (MTBS-2), 453 (MTBS-3), 486 (PT-34 destroyed), 488 (PT-34 destroyed by strafing), 494-496 (Awards Bulkeley, Kelly), 560 (index PT-34)
Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - U.S. Navy Motor Torpedo Boat Operational Losses
"PT-34 destroyed by Japanese aircraft from seaplane carrier Sanuki Maru, off Cauit Island, Philippine Islands, 9 April 1942."
Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - Bataan and Corregidor December 1941–May 1942
"Torpedo boats: PT-31, PT-32, PT-33, PT-34, PT-35, PT-41"
Hall of Valor Project - Robert Bolling Kelly (Navy Cross citation)
Hall of Valor Project - John Duncan Bulkeley (Navy Cross citation)
Navy Source PT-34 (photos)
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