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PC PATROL CRAFT of WORLD WAR II: A history of the ships and their crews

by Wm. J Veigele, Ph.d., USNR (Ret'd)

Astral Publishing Co.
P.O. Box 3955
Santa Barbara, CA 93130-3955
USA

 

Reviewed by Bob Pearson

As Bill Veigele states in his introduction to this history of the PC Class of USN patrol craft .

"Many books detail the actions of the United States Navy and the men who sailed and fought them during World War II. Those books cover the activities, battles, and invasions in which the ships were engaged. The aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines of the United States Navy brought great destruction to the Axis forces. In so doing they suffered heavy losses of ships and men. Therefore, it is reasonable and important that books written about the war have recounted the actions of thes ships and their crews, their battles and victories, and their losses.

Less reasonable, though, is the exclusion from most books about World War II of the accounts of less glamorous ships that also did their part in the war. . . . . Writers also neglected to record the activities of the many smaller vessels, such as tugs, net tenders, yard craft, submarine chasers, and patrol craft. . . .

One type of ship that authors almost completely ignored during and since the war, was the submarine chaser or patrol craft the Navy designated as PC."

Having spent nearly two years serving on PCs, Dr. Veigele does an admirable job of bringing to life the 361 little ships and the nearly 50,000 men who went to sea in them during WWII. The book opens with the commissioning of a typical PC and then goes on to describe the rationale for their design, construction (interesting fact No.1 - most PC hulls were built upside down) and ultimate usage. Once built, the PCs required many men - most new to the sea - to crew them, and ther training is covered in chapter four. Having completed training, the new seamen then went to sea on their new ship. Most regular seaman were not happy about being assigned to the "Donald Duck Navy", but after braving rough seas and seeing more close-in combat than their larger brethren a change came over them and the term became one of pride amongst themselves. PCs served wherever the USN could be found and in the next 100 pages can be found samples of their exploits from all corners of the globe. Not all boats were to survive the war and the 35 PC losses are then summarized. Final disposition and ultimate fate concludes the historical portion of the book. In recent years surviving PC crew members have formed the PATROL CRAFT SAILORS ASSOCIATION and a description of their activities is then given. . . . the epilogue of the book now concludes with the decommissioning of a typical PC.

However this is not the end of the book. There is still 1/3 remaining in the various appendices. Additionally it is profusely illustrated throughout with both photographs and contemporary illustrations by many former PC crewmen . Appendix A describes the ships. Appendix B is best summed up with Dr. Veigele's own words.

"Robert Baldwin, a nineteen year old sailor on PC543 during WWII, walked the entire ship with a tape measure and sketched and recorded details of the ship with their measurements. After discharge from the Navy, years later, he converted his sketches to the thirty engineering drawings shown in this appendix. the plates are numbered 1 through 30, not including number 20. One other supplemental drawing shows the starboard exterior of the superstructure of a PC."

A set of 1/96 scale blueprints consisting of plan and elevation views as well as external and internal details of a PC is included in a pocket on the inside rear cover of the book. Using these plans and Robert Baldwin's drawings it is possible to construct a very detailed model of a PC. Full size 1/48 versions of these plans are available from :

John Tombaugh
Super Ships
5009 W. Beaman Lane
Rochester, IN 46975
USA

I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in small ships, their crews or just the history of an important class of ship that is finally getting it's due.





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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
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Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

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Albuquerque NM
87199-0933
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