PT BOATS TAKE PART IN THE LIBERATION OF CHERBOURG

Posted on February 12th, 2017 by:

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PT BOATS TAKE PART IN THE LIBERATION OF CHERBOURG

The Navy finds many uses for its speedy little PT boat. At Cherbourg, another role—that of bait—was found for a squadron of torpedo boats commanded by Lt. Comdr. John D. Bulkeley, who won fame in the defense of Bataan. The evening the fall of Cherbourg was announced, Cmdr. Bulkeley’s little fleet accompanied by a destroyer, was directed to approach the harbor entrance to determine whether the enemy guns of the harbor forts were still firing toward the sea.

They found out.



pt boats cherbourg

Under the guns of Cherbourg’s harbor fortresses, a PT boat emerges from a smoke screen after a narrow escape from two of Jerry’s guns.

The way Cherbourg harbor led across some miles of mine fields, with danger ever present from floating mines. But without incident the little flotilla approached shore. Off shore, two of the PT boats, one carrying Cmdr. Bulkeley and Cpl. Jack Coggins, YANK staff artist, pulled away from the rest and sped in toward the breakwater. What happened when the boats drew within range of the guns on shore is shown in the two large drawings on these pages.



pt boats cherbourg

Before starting, the PTs pulled alongside a destroyer to draw rations. A wave and the tide caught the light craft and it crashed into the destroyer.

pt boats cherbourg

Through binoculars, Cpl. Coggins watched the final artillery barrage which ended defense of the harbor.



pt boats cherbourg

pt boats cherbourg

Stern down in the water, a PT ships a wave as two shells from German 88s burst close by. The engines were jarred from their moorings by the blast.



For Further Reading on PT Boats Check Out:

At Close Quarters: PT Boats in the United States Navy


Under a Blood Red Sun: The Remarkable Story of PT Boats in the Philippines and the Rescue of General MacArthur




For Related Articles See:

One thought on “PT BOATS TAKE PART IN THE LIBERATION OF CHERBOURG

  • Bill Getz says:

    I was aware of this incident. Small boats like the PTs were also used off the Normandy coast to land spies and pickup escaping Allied airmen. They were a fast moving target difficult for German gunners to get a direct hit.

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