The World War II Multimedia Database

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Elco 80-Foot Patrol Torpedo Boat

Image Information
Patrol Torpedo Boat of the PT-103 class at speed. These 80-foot (24.4-meter) boats, manufactured by Electric Launch Corporation (ELCO), were the most numerous of the three major designs. This boat has two dual-mounted hydraulically-operated M2 .50-caliber Browning machine guns, plus two more hand-operated Brownings in single mountings forward. An additional 20 mm Oerlikon antiaircraft gun is mounted on the stern. Four launchers for 21-inch (53.3-centimeter) Mark VIII torpedoes were standard. These torpedoes carried a warhead of 466 pounds (211 kilograms) of TNT. Fired by gunpowder and packed with grease to insure smooth ejection, the tubes would ignite the oil, causing a tremendous flash. At night, this would reveal the boat‘s presence to their enemy. American boats would quietly maneuver within 1,000 yards (914 meters) before attacking to ensure a hit, because the American torpedo was so unreliable. The Japanese “Long Lance“ type 93 24-inch (60.1-centimeter) destroyer torpedo was accurate to 40,000 yards and had a much heavier warhead of 1,083 pounds (490 kilograms). Later torpedo boats were issued the Mark XIII torpedo in a roll-off rack that made maintenance and firing simpler. 296 80-foot ELCO boats were in service during the war. Most of the survivors that did not go to Lend-Lease were burned off Samar, Philippines in late 1945.
Image Filename wwii1322.jpg
Image Size 1.71 MB
Image Dimensions 2927 x 2269
Photographer Unknown
Photographer Title
Caption Author Jason McDonald
Date Photographed January 01, 1943
Location Inknown
State or Province
Country New Guinea
Archive National Archives and Records Administration
Record Number
Status Caption ©2007, ©2024 MFA Productions LLC
Image in the Public Domain

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