Er... yes. I have also done a bit of research when drawing up the EeZeBilt PT boat.
The US came late to the concept of light torpedo boats. The original doctrine, gathered from the old WW1 exploits of the MAS boats, was that these light boats would overcome capital ships by force of numbers and agility - typically in harbour defence scenarios where their lack of blue-water range was not an issue. Similarly, they could defend against prowling submarines. Since the US did not have any close maritime enemies, they did not consider light torpedo boats to be worth investing in.
Strategy had moved on by WW2, and when the US finally considered them, with the 'Plywood Derby', their original raison d'etre had all but vanished. capital ships were surrounded by Torpedo Boat Destroyers, and radar meant that it would be suicide to consider approaching a 'big gun' enemy on the high seas. Nevertheless, the initial US PTB purchase specified armament for just this function - standard US Mk VIII tube-launched torpedos, smoke for concealment and 0.5 calibre machine guns
for local/AA defence.
This turned out to be almost completely useless in practice. The tactical doctrine makes engrossing reading:
"...3401. Unsupported attack on enemy task force.-The plans for attacking an enemy convoy apply equally to attacking an enemy task force, the only material difference being that stiffer resistance may be expected and a great number of boats should normally be employed.
3402. Supported attacks in fleet action.-This type of attack has such a wide range of possibilities which depend on so many factors that it is not possible to recommend any general plan. Some of the possibilities, however, are listed below.
(a) Night action with destroyer support where MTB's first attack the enemy screen, permitting destroyers to penetrate the screen and attack the - main body.
(b) Night action with destroyer or light cruiser support where the DD's and CL's engage the screen, permitting MTB's to pierce the screen and attack the main body.
(c) Day action where destroyers, aircraft and MTB's attack enemy main body simultaneously. MTB's launched from a carrier or operating from a fleet base.
3403. Attacks coordinated with aircraft.-Attacks by large numbers of motor torpedo boats and aircraft made simultaneously on enemy forces should be highly successful, as such attacks will present a great multiplicity of targets for enemy anti-aircraft and secondary batteries
and will bring heavy striking power to bear on the enemy. The time of the attack will depend upon the motor torpedo boats, as aircraft can control their timing more readily. The aircraft attack may be a dive-bombing, strafing, or torpedo attack or any combination thereof. An aircraft torpedo attack, coordinated, should be made on opposite side from the MTB attack. A high altitude horizontal bombing attack will not divide the enemy's fire to the maximum extent, as he will not divert the use of his machine guns
toward the bombers.
In this type of attack all available motor torpedo boats should attack simultaneously...."
There are a number of propaganda stories during the early part of WW2 suggesting that PT boats were engaging and sinking Japanese cruisers. These all seem to be untrue, and circulated as 'morale boosters'. I can find few examples of a successful attack on a big ship - the strike on the light cruiser Abukuma by PT137 during the Battle of Surigao Strait (which was almost certainly a mistake!) is one notable example.
The PT boats came into their own as shore harassing gunboats and inter-island supply interdiction once the initial Japanese advance halted, and that was when they began needing to add more guns. The Toku Daihatsu barges used for Japanese supply were almost immune to torpedoes, drawing only a foot or so, and were heavily armoured, so the 'Ma Deuces' were of limited use.
Some early PT boats had a 20mm Oerlikon mounted on the stern. I have never seen one with twin Oerlikons mounted this way, though there might have been occasional one-offs. Invariably the armour plate on the gun was discarded for weight reasons.
Single 20mm Oerlikons were also mounted on the front quarters, together with the distinctive 'horse-collar' M4 37mm cannon
, initially from u/s Bell P-39 Airacobras, but later as a standard fitting. By 1945 they were adding 5" rockets...
On the stern the boats were rapidly updated to carry a Bofors 40mm, which they could do when the heavy MkVIII torpedo tubes were replaced with light Mk XIII aircraft 'roll-off' torpedoes. A bit of a misnomer, this, as the torpedoes did not actually roll.... But I have never seen a PT Boat with a 35mm cannon
The radar fitting was one of three types:
1 - no radar
2 - SO dome
3 - SO-3 with rotating parabola.
I wish there was a simple, cheap way to get a 1:48 Bofors gun. The EeZeBilt PT boats need a Bofors on the back, but I haven't managed to source one yet. And I suppose I should add torpedo tubes to provide accuracy across the whole PT range...
Below is a picture of two EeZeBilt PT boats. The far one is an 1940 model
with no radar mast and a single Oerlikon on the stern. It should really have tubes as well, of course. Note the position of the life-raft on the bow.
The near one is a 1944 fit, with an M4 at the front and SO radar. The life-raft has moved back to the top of the chart cabin. It should really have a Bofors on the stern, and a small boat on the day cabin, but I haven't made these yet.
And, of course, no PT Boat had varnished wooden planking. But I just thought that it looked nice... 🤗