With the attack on US Naval Forces Stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1941, The United States found itself at War with The Empire of Japan. A large percentage of The Navy's "Pacific Fleet" had been severely crippled. The North Atlantic Fleet was soon involved with Germany after her Declaration of War, several days after the attack. Time was not on America's side. It took time and resources to construct a Battleship. The US Navy needed to field a quick solution in the interim. This was the "birth" of The Patrol Torpedo Boat.
The Model 34 PT Boat was a fast attack vessel designed to operate off Coastal or Deepwater locations. Made of wood, it was covered in a light armor plating. Only the Wheelhouse/Conning House had .05-inches of plate. The design was necessary to achieve it's speed factor. The average Patrol Torpedo Boat was 80-feet long and stood 20-feet tall (beam). The Class displaced 56-tons.
Propelled by (3) 12-cylinder Gas Engines, the shafts could generate 1,500HP and a top speed of 50-miles. Her Class could maintain this speed (non-stop) for 12-hours. The Model 34s main armament was (4) 21-inch Torpedoes, (1) .50 Cal. Machine Gun, (2) 12.7mm Machine Gun's and a 37mm Gun.The average compliment of a Patrol Torpedo Boat was 15-men and 3 Officers.
The PT Boat and it's variants, first launched into The Pacific Theater in 1942. They could engage much larger vessels effectively, and were often deployed in groups of three. The Patrol Torpedo Boat is credited with slowing down The Japanese Naval sufficiently enough to allow America to rebuild it's Pacific assets. versions would continue on service until the early 1970s.