US Patrol Torpedo Boats
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 22 Dec 2008
Full Title: US Patrol Torpedo Boats: World War II
Patrol torpedo boats, sometimes shortened as PT boats, had been objects of fascination. The story of Lieutenant (jg) John F. Kennedy, later President of the United States, and the PT-109 only added further popularity to the small craft far different from the typical perception of the large steel warships of the United States Navy. They were small wooden boats designed as expendable small craft capable of damaging or sinking much larger enemy warships. As the war went on, however, their roles changed, but their effectiveness had not. They were very heavily armed and stealthy, posing a serious threat to Japanese supply ships operating in the Solomon Islands and other regions where the distances between islands were relatively close.
US Patrol Torpedo Boats devotes half of its 48 pages to the design and construction of the PT boats, providing very detailed information on armament, machinery, and other technical information on various makes and models of PT boats used during WW2. Armament, for example, is extremely detailed. Beyond standard armament configurations, the book dives into weapons equipped by various different types of PT boats and what kind of weapons the crews often retrofitted while at the front lines. Further information about the training and life of the crew and the organization of PT boat commands also bolster the content of the book. Authors of small-sized books often try to cram as much scope into the few pages as possible, thus sacrificing depth. Author of this book Rottman was able to escape from that trap, focusing much of the book on the PT boats and their crews, only spending seven pages or so for a concise description of their deployment in WW2, therefore making the information almost entirely focused on the primary topic that the book title suggests.
As with many Osprey Publishing's books, beautiful illustrations and nice usage of photographs added significant value to the book. Although I am not a modeler, like other Osprey titles I feel this one can also be a great resource for modelers.
Do not judge by this book's small size; US Patrol Torpedo Boats is among the best primer of the WW2-era patrol torpedo boats that I have seen.
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