Date of Award

Fall 12-15-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Allan Millett

Second Advisor

Robert DuPont

Third Advisor

Andrew Goss


At the beginning of American involvement in the Second World War the United States Navy developed a new class of vessel that had a tremendous impact during World War II. This vessel was the Patrol Torpedo boat. Originally designed to conduct torpedo attacks on enemy surface vessels, the PT boat successfully adapted multiple roles in addition to being a torpedo attack craft. The versatility of the Patrol Torpedo boat during World War II serving in these various roles and as an element of the US Navy has not been recognized by recent scholarship. Using primary sources from the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, and secondary sources this paper demonstrates that the Patrol Torpedo boat was a weapon that exemplified economy of force. A small inexpensive naval vessel was able to replace larger ships and work with different elements of the fleet to deny the use of coastal waters to the enemy.


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