Motor torpedo boat PT-41

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United States
Name: PT-41
Builder: Electric Launch Company, Bayonne, New Jersey
Laid down: 30 April 1941
Launched: 8 July 1941
Completed: 23 July 1941
Fate: Destroyed to prevent capture, 15 April 1942
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Elco 77-foot PT boat
Displacement: 40 long tons (41 t)
Length: 77 ft (23 m)
Beam: 19 ft 11 in (6.07 m)
Draft: 4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Propulsion: 3 × 1,500 shp (1,119 kW) Packard V12 M2500 gasoline engines, 3 shafts
Speed: 41 knots (76 km/h; 47 mph)
Complement: 15
Service record
Part of:
  • MTB Squadron 1 (July-August 1941)
  • MTB Squadron 3 (Flagship - August 1941-April 1942)
Commanders: Lt. John D. Bulkeley
Operations: Philippines Campaign (1941–1942)

Motor torpedo boat PT-41 was a PT-20-class motor torpedo boat of the United States Navy, built by the Electric Launch Company of Bayonne, New Jersey. The boat was laid down as Motor Boat Submarine Chaser PTC-21, but was reclassified as PT-41 prior to its launch on 8 July 1941, and was completed on 23 July 1941.[1] It was used to evacuate General Douglas MacArthur from Corregidor at the beginning of the war in the pacific in World War II.

Ship history[edit]

PT-41 served as the flagship of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three, which was based in the Philippines from late 1941 to April 1942. The commander of PT-41 was Lieutenant John D. Bulkeley, who became one of the U.S. Navy's most highly decorated officers.

PT-41 evacuated General (later General of the Army) Douglas MacArthur, Mrs. Jean MacArthur, Arthur MacArthur IV (General MacArthur's son), Ah Cheu (Arthur's Chinese nurse), Major General Richard K. Sutherland (United States Army Forces in the Far East Chief of Staff), Captain Herbert J. Ray (USN), Lieutenant Colonel Sidney L. Huff (Aide), and Major C.H. Morehouse (Medical Officer) from Corregidor to Mindanao on 12 March 1942, thus enabling MacArthur to escape and to make his famous "I shall return" speech in Terowie, Australia.[1]

After MacArthur's party left Mindanao, PT-41, along with the two remaining PT boats of the squadron (PT-34 and PT-35), established a new base of operations at Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, supporting the American military forces defending Mindanao and the nearby islands from the invading Japanese throughout late March and early April 1942.[2]

After a torpedo attack in concert with PT-34 on the Japanese cruiser Kuma on April 9, 1942, PT-41 became the last remaining PT boat of the squadron (PT-34 was sunk in the aftermath of the attack and PT-35 was burned at Cebu). With no more torpedoes available for PT-41 to use, it was commandeered by the United States Army to patrol Lake Lanao, Mindanao. It was destroyed by the Army on April 15, 1942, to prevent its capture while being transported via road to Lake Lanao.[2]

Popular culture[edit]

The exploits of PT-41 are portrayed in the 1945 film They Were Expendable directed by John Ford with Robert Montgomery, John Wayne and Donna Reed.


  1. ^ a b c Radigan, Joseph M. (2012). "PT-41". Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b Bulkley, Robert J. (2003). At Close Quarters: PT Boats in the United States Navy. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. pp. 1–27.

External links[edit]