Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

JFK's PT Boat Found in Harlem River

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by GRW, Jun 11, 2020.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Messages:
    19,526
    Likes Received:
    2,370
    Location:
    Stirling, Scotland
    The PT-59, that is.
    'For decades, countless motorists and boaters have passed North Cove, a small recess along the Manhattan side of the Harlem River, unaware that a piece of presidential history may well have been embedded in the muddy bottom.
    That historical remnant may have finally come to light. Late last month, watched by a group of onlookers who were among the few to know of the boat’s presence, a crane began pulling up pieces of what is believed to be the PT-59, a Navy vessel commanded by John F. Kennedy in his mid-20s during World War II.
    “This is history,” said one of the spectators, Bob Walters, 73, who spent much of his childhood on the river.
    The PT-59 was part of a naval record that helped propel Kennedy toward the White House.
    Kennedy’s service on the PT-59 was overshadowed by his adventures on the PT-109, which sunk in 1943 after being rammed by a Japanese destroyer in shark-infested waters in the Pacific.
    His rescue of his surviving crew, told in a New Yorker article by novelist John Hersey, solidified him as a war hero and became part of the Kennedy legend.
    As for the PT-59, “it was an unknown additional chapter” in Kennedy’s World War II story, said William Doyle, author of the Kennedy biography “PT 109.”
    “And how it wound up in the mud in New York City is a pretty great story, too,” Doyle said.
    That tale is now being dredged up, along with the remnants of the vessel, by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is building a $610 million sea wall along the west side of the river to prevent flooding in its abutting 207th Street train yard. The yard was flooded by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.'
    www.chicagotribune.com/nation-world/ct-nw-nyt-jfk-pt-59-navy-patrol-boat-new-york-20200609-4uv2ivqkmngjbptrlizafjp464-story.html
     
    Class of '42, Carronade and bronk7 like this.
  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    6,358
    Likes Received:
    1,018
    [​IMG]
     
  3. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    ....wow....not as ''newsworthy'' as the 109, of course ....but a very good story...thanks
    ...
    !!!???
    ..and WW2 history
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,562
    Likes Received:
    467
    The incident in the movie PT-109 in which Kennedy rescues a small group of Marines from a Japanese held island actually happened while he was commanding the 59 boat.

    PT-59 was one of three converted to gunboats when the PT men found themselves fighting more gun battles with Japanese barges than torpedo actions. Her torpedo tubes were removed and she received two 40mm Bofors guns, one forward, one aft, and her .50-caliber battery was increased to fourteen, two extra twin mounts and six singles.

    upload_2020-6-12_7-35-43.png
     
    GRW and bronk7 like this.
  5. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    ....didn't they try to [hahahhaha] tie down a cannon on PT 109? I've got the article about it in WWII Magazine somewhere
    ..where did they refit her with the cannons? if in the Pacific, that is great engineering/etc
    ..I worked for an engineering department for over 14 years, so how they do that stuff is very interesting to me
    ..what about the seaworthiness affects of refitting her? weight of guns vs torpedoes ?
    ..WW2 torpedo weight about 3000 pounds? Bofers 4000lbs? an extra 2000 lbs ...but the torpedoes were on the sides, where as the guns were centered....
    ..looks like a lot more weight aft--affects the draft/draft area?
    ..or these boats were designed to hold a lot more weight in different areas and still keep their speed/etc?
     
  6. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,562
    Likes Received:
    467
    Kennedy and his crew mounted a 37mm antitank gun forward, just an improvisation using what was available. Only a day or so before the 109 was lost, so they never got to use it in action.

    Some crews also scrounged 37mm automatic cannons from wrecked P-39s; these had a 30-round circular magazine and were actually rather handy, to the extent that a version was later made specifically for PTs.

    Early PTs had four Mark 8 torpedos in tubes, so removing them freed up quite a bit of weight.

    Eventually they adopted Mark 13 aircraft torpedos in lightweight racks which just dropped them over the side. This saved enough weight that PTs could carry a Bofors aft and a 37mm forward. Having the lighter gun forward relates to your question about draft and trim. Also it could be operated by one man until the 30-round magazine needed to be changed, where the Bofors had trainer and pointer on the mount, loader feeding it 4-round clips, and probably an ammo passer or two.
     
  7. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2020
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    202
    Wasn't there some talk or discussion from certain individual's in Congress about having Lt. Kennedy court-martialed for something like dereliction of duty...due to the collision with that Japanese destroyer???..sounded more like politics and some animosity toward the Kennedy clan.
     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,313
    Likes Received:
    1,116
    There were a number of contemporary's that questioned how he got surprised by a destroyer on a calm, clear night, when he was out there just to find said destroyers in the first place. They also grumbled that only his family connections got him decorated and not a court martial for losing his boat. That being said his leadership after the collision is worthy of respect.
     
  9. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    ...rt....I did some quick research yesterday on IJN AA guns and Bofors [ my fail on spelling ] looks like the IJN 96 was not that good
     
  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,562
    Likes Received:
    467
    The only American WWII captain court-martialed for losing his ship was McVeigh of the Indianapolis, a highly politicized case that has been criticized ever since.

    Losses were accepted as part of war, even if the actions of a captain, admiral, task force commander, etc. might have played a role.
     
  11. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    4,123
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    MIDWEST
    ...
    ...that's ''surprising'' considering the number of ships and boats in WW2
    ...what about other forms of punishment/reprimands/reliefs of command/etc?
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020

Share This Page