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Historic WWII PT boat heads home through streets of New Orleans

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 09:29 AM   #1
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Historic WWII PT boat heads home through streets of New Orleans

Historic WWII PT boat heads home through streets of New Orleans
By Greg Norman

Published November 22, 2016
FoxNews.com
A historic World War II boat that survived dozens of operations -- and a few near-misses -- on the other side of the Atlantic is finally heading home to the waters where its journey began more than 70 years ago.

PT-305, fresh off a multi-year restoration project at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, is traveling atop a barge set to reach the Industrial Canal near Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain by midday Tuesday.

“This is a big deal for all of us, but especially for the men and women for the last ten years who put blood, sweat and tears into the restorations,” Stephen Watson, museum executive vice president and COO, told FoxNews.com Monday.

The battle-hardened boat, nicknamed the U.S.S. Sudden Jerk, operated in the Mediterranean along the coasts of southern France and Northern Italy. PT-305 conducted more than 77 offensive patrols and operations, fought in 11 separate actions and sank three German ships during its 14-month deployment, according to the museum.

Following WWII, PT-305 took on a civilian role as a tour boat in New York Harbor, a fishing charter and an oyster boat, while falling into disrepair before the New Orleans museum scooped it up in 2007.

From there, a volunteer crew worked more than 100,000 hours on the project at the museum’s restoration pavilion to get PT-305 running again.

WWII VETERANS AIM TO RELIVE HISTORY AS PT BOAT’S RESTORATION NEARLY COMPLETE

On Friday afternoon, the boat was moved outside the facility where volunteers, according to Watson, gathered for some quiet time before traffic lights and public signage was removed to make way for its 1-mile trek to the Mississippi River.

The next day, the boat, resting on a cradle, was lifted up onto a self-propelled modular transporter and was headed on its way.

“It was just a remarkable thing to see. They made it look so easy,” Watson said of the crew who walked alongside the vehicle and PT-305 as it slowly turned corners and moved through the streets.

Working in coordination with the Port of New Orleans, PT-305 arrived Saturday when no cruise ships were docked. It was hoisted onto a barge, which traveled down river, and is now heading back in the other direction through canals toward Lake Pontchartrain.

The boat is scheduled to be placed in the lake on December 10. But until then, last minute adjustments will be made and bits and pieces of the boat that were removed in preparation for the move will be re-attached at a repair facility in the Industrial Canal, Watson told FoxNews.com.

The museum also is hard at work coordinating the training of the ship’s 5-person part-time crews, containing a captain, a mechanic and three seamen – some of which are volunteers who worked on the restoration.

“We have to have a deep bench of people we can rely on,” Watson said, noting that the museum is working closely with the Coast Guard to make sure the vessel can operate safely.

When not sailing the waters of Lake Pontchartrain, PT-305 will be permanently housed in a facility being constructed as part of a redevelopment of the lake’s shores post-Hurricane Katrina.

Nov. 19, 2016: PT-305, begins its journey through the streets of New Orleans to the Port of New Orleans. (Jeff Johnston/National World War II Museum)

“The restoration of PT-305, like all museum restoration projects, is aimed at making history accessible to today’s audiences in as detailed and authentic a way possible,” Watson told FoxNews.com during an interview in March.

Those looking to get a 90-minute ride on the boat will be able to do so starting April 1, 2017. Tickets already being sold on the museum’s website cost $350, with a $45 discount for members, seniors, children or veterans.

Deck tours that last 45 minutes also are available for $12 to $15.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/11/22...w-orleans.html

Guys, be sure to click the link to see photos. It would be worth $450 to hear this PT boat crank up and head out on the lake. HH

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 09:47 AM   #2
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My family & I went to the WW2 museum last summer, and upon leaving one of the greeters asked me If I had seen the PT boat. What PT boat??? He told me about it & I went straight away to look at it thru the windows- there it was! And bonus!- One of those big Packards was tore down on a skid right in behind my window! Heaven! That boat was sold into surplus & some of the stern was cut off to shorten it so the boat wouldn't need a skipper with a pilot's license to operate it. I SOOOO want to go hear those big Packards run!!! Man what I wouldn't give to feel those engines under my feet!!!

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 10:40 AM   #3
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I wish i had one of these fully outfitted for lake use. Of course I would add down riggers and a BBQ.

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 10:48 AM   #4
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I wish i had one of these fully outfitted for lake use. Of course I would add down riggers and a BBQ.
With just a little work one of those torpedo tubes would make a "Jim Dandy" Smoker

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 11:20 AM   #5
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I can't imagine the size of the gonads it would take for a crew to hop on a wooden boat
and stare right at a enemy naval vessel getting close enough to kick a torpedo in the water
They had to be crazy
and Heros

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 11:32 AM   #6
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With just a little work one of those torpedo tubes would make a "Jim Dandy" Smoker
Hah...good point!

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 04:28 PM   #7
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I get goose bumps just thinking of how those engines would sound being cranked up, nothing but plywood and horsepower.

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 04:57 PM   #8
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I've seen this one in Fredricksburg at the National Museum of the Pacific War , but it's missing all it's running gear.
http://www.pacificwarmuseum.org/imag.../index_fs.html
All 8 photos are 360* just point the arrow to the edge in the direction you want to see.

I guess I'll have to break my self imposed exile from New Orleans to see that beauty , a ride would be out of this world , but is a little out of my price range
Though I'd LOVE to hear 3 V12 Packards cranked up and wailing

Check out this article on those V12 bad boys
http://www.pt-boat.com/packard/packard.html

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 05:06 PM   #9
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As a kid, I was a PT boat geek. I read every book I could find on these courageous sailors. From Guadalcanal and the Iron Bottom Strait fighting the Japanese to the European theater fighting the German E-boats. Slipping into a Japanese convoy in the dark of night in the "Slot" and launching a couple of torpedoes with crude radar, then hitting those Packards hard to get out of harms way. Wow! Blew this kids mind.

Side note-these were the most heavily armed war ship in relationship to size in the U.S. inventory. Small wooden boats with twin .50's, .30's and later in the war 37mm canons besides the four torpedo tubes. There were even more "elaborate" weapons added to individual boats with needs/means.

Thanks for the update OP. That is definitely on my bucket list!

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 06:05 PM   #10
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High Hat, thanks for this very interesting thread. I think PT boats are fascinating!!! I read in a museum in Ohio while at Camp Perry,that these PT boats had a valve they could switch for their exhaust. They would quietly sneak up on enemy ships at night, fire their torpedoes, and get the heck out of there and switch the exhaust valves to by-pass the mufflers and run open headers for more horsepower!!
Must have been quite a sound with those big powerful engines running wide open...
I bet those men on the crew had quite the adrenaline rush!!!

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 06:55 PM   #11
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High Hat, thanks for this very interesting thread. I think PT boats are fascinating!!! I read in a museum in Ohio while at Camp Perry,that these PT boats had a valve they could switch for their exhaust. They would quietly sneak up on enemy ships at night, fire their torpedoes, and get the heck out of there and switch the exhaust valves to by-pass the mufflers and run open headers for more horsepower!!
Must have been quite a sound with those big powerful engines running wide open...
I bet those men on the crew had quite the adrenaline rush!!!
When I was young I had a 1957 19' Chris Craft Capri, all mahogany with a inline six Hercules engine. The 4" exhaust went straight out the stern at the water line. At idle it sounded like the "motor boat" you always read about. Throttle open it sounded like a P47 in a dive. It was fantastic but only a toy compared to what three 12 cylinder Packard's sound like. The PT's did have muffler cut outs and if I remember correctly they had nitrous oxide just like our fighter planes (switch was labeled "war power". If a destroyer's spot light found you you did anything you could to get distance or cover. A PT could also make smoke to cover it's butt just like a destroyer with oil in it's exhaust.


On a side note, I met my first wife with that boat. Pulled away from the dock and ten minutes later I hit a submerged tree stump. I opened the engine hatch and saw I wasn't taking on water but the engine had slid three inches forward on the mounts. When we hoisted the boat up at the dock I saw my shaft, strut and prop looked like spaghetti. I should have taken that as an omen. The boat wreck was bad but the marriage was even worse!

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 07:33 PM   #12
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Side note-these were the most heavily armed war ship in relationship to size in the U.S. inventory. Small wooden boats with twin .50's, .30's and later in the war 37mm canons besides the four torpedo tubes. There were even more "elaborate" weapons added to individual boats with needs/means.

Don't forget about the Oerlikon 20 mm cannon AA gun on the rear deck.

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 09:04 PM   #13
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Old November 22nd, 2016, 09:43 PM   #14
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PT boat

My wife and I visited the museum about 5 years ago and the woman who was in charge of one phase of the restoration said a man in Texas called and heard that they restoring a PT boat. He said he had 3 marine Packard engines still in the crate in his warehouse and would donate them. She said they all finally recovered from shock and gratefully accepted the offer of the engines. Probably around $750,000 worth of engines. How cool is that!? We all grew up on PT-73 anyway didn't we? Haha.

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Old November 22nd, 2016, 11:36 PM   #15
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They have PT boats on display at the Fall River, MA maritime museum. If one were to go there you might happen to notice the USS Massachusetts as well. It’s a great way to spend a day.

For the fellow history buffs I seem to recall reading the PT Boats got the first and last crack at the Japanese Southern Force during the battle of the Surigao Strait during Leyte Gulf. They launched torpedoes at them coming in and at what was left (not much) coming out of the straight after Admiral Kinkaid’s 7th fleet all but annihilated the Southern Force. Most likely the only time PT boats ever went up against enemy battleships, (Could be wrong on this point).

Imagine the stones it takes to even attempt that in a wooden boat!

We can never thank our WW II generation enough for what they accomplished.

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