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Elco manufactured a very large number of PT boats during WWII. Their line was “jump started” by borrowing heavily from PV70, a private venture 70 foot MTB made by British Power Boat in 1938.
The Elco 70 foot PT boats seem to have all ended up in British hands, while the 77 foot design developed from them saw service in the USN (as well as other navies, including the RN).The boat’s turrets were originally mounted fully enclosed by perspex, but it was quickly found that this fogged up while firing and the perspex was removed.
The Elco 77 foot PT boats managed a top speed of 41 knots (with a clean keel – speed was significantly reduced by barnacles etc.) and had a displacement of 46 tons.
These boats entered the war for the USN during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbour, where they had been moored alongside their tender. They played their part extensively during the first years of US involvement in WW2 and, among other actions, were involved in the evacuation of General Douglas MacArthur from the Philippines.
Three of the 77 footers were modified by having their torpedoes removed in order to mount quite a heavy gun armament for such a small boat. These are made more famous by the fact that one of them, PT 59, was skippered for a time by future U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
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