Motor torpedo boat development began in the early 1900s and the vessels were first put into active service during World War I. However, it was not until the late 1930s that the US Navy commenced the development of their Patrol Torpedo or PT boat program. The PT boat, or the "mosquito boat" as they were sometimes known, was originally envisioned for attacking larger warships with torpedoes using its "stealth" ability, high-speed, and small size to launch and survive these attacks. However, they were actually employed more frequently in a wide variety of other missions, many which were unforeseen by developers and planners, including rescuing General MacArthur and his entourage from the Philippines.
Often taking on larger and better armed enemies these craft became famous for punching above their weight and were firmly thrust into the limelight by John F. Kennedy who while serving as a lieutenant on a PT-109 in the Pacific Theater heroically saved his fellow crew members winning him the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. This book examines the design and development of these unique craft, very few of which survive today and goes on to examine their role and combat deployment in both World Wars.
"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." -C. Peter Chen, World War II Database (December 22, 2008)
"...[focuses] on World War II torpedo boats and their development, considering their design and deployment and providing a rich survey especially important considering they are rarely seen today." -California Bookwatch (November 2008)
"... [Patrol Torpedo] boats were considered to be expendable boats and so were not provided with much in the way of comfort or armor. They relied on their speed and maneuverability to get them out of trouble ... In his book ... Rottman describes the various major types that were used as well as the organization of units, the way the boats were operated and a bit of what it was like to have to serve on one of these boats. All of this is accompanied by superb period photographs of these vessels, and further enhanced by the artwork of Peter Bull. It makes for a well rounded publication and a book that I can most highly recommend to you." -Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (September 2008)