After 10 years and more than 100,000 hours of work by 200 volunteers, the U.S. National WWII Museum's historic patrol-torpedo boat PT-305 has been completely restored.
PT boats played an essential and dramatic role in advancing the U.S.’s military campaigns in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Today, just four combat-veteran PT boats still exist in the U.S. Of those, only PT-305 is fully restored and operational, complete with original-model engines.
In November, PT-305 will be moving from the 14,000 square-foot John F. Kushner Restoration Pavilion to Lake Pontchartrain. The move will involve removing the front of the Restoration Pavilion and moving the boat through the city of New Orleans and then onto the water where it will begin its three-day journey to the lake.
Following vigorous testing to ensure its seaworthiness, the vessel will then open for public tours in April 2017, offering a truly one-of-a-kind Museum experience, placing visitors on the very deck where members of the U.S. Navy stood to attack Axis supply ships and troop transports, speeding over the waves just as PT-305's crew did in the Mediterranean during the war.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today – so that future generations will know the price of freedom, and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the Home Front.
PT-305 Higgins “78” Specifications
Length 78 feet
Beam 20 feet 1 inch
Draft 5 feet 3 inches
Weight 43-56 tons, depending on weapons
Engines 3 Packard V-12s
Speed 40 knots
Crew 2 officers, 11 men
Higgins designed boat (Mr Sprauge)
More maneuverable than ELCO
Engines located mid-ship
Weapons and Other Equipment
- .50-caliber twin machine guns, effective as an anti-aircraft and anti-personnel weapon
- Oerlikon 20mm guns for use against both air- and surface craft
- 4 Mark 13 torpedoes, mounted in roll-off launching racks, each weighing over a ton including a 600-pound warhead
- Mark 6 anti-submarine depth charge
- small 60mm mortar able to launch illuminating rounds, lay smoke screens, and bombard shore targets
- stern-mounted canister of compressed gas for smoke screens
- radar, especially useful at night (In the Med, radar-equipped American PT boats would often be paired up with British MTBs (motor torpedo boats), which had no radar, to hunt for German flak lighters at night.