BuShips 81ft Motor Torpedo Boat, PT-8 - Now in Aluminum

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BuShips 81ft Motor Torpedo Boat, PT-8


PT-8 as YP-110

Coastal vessel, early PT-boat, slightly better than PT-3.

One of the original PT-boats emerging from the 1938 design competition. PT-8, and its half-sister PT-7 were designed by the Bureau of Ships, and built at the state-owned Philadelphia Naval Yard. PT-8 had a turtleback hull, similar to the WW1-era British CMBs, and unlike the other boats of the program was made of aluminium instead of wood. It and PT-7 both had “experimental” machinery, in PT-8s case having two pairs of petrol V-12 engines to form an “X” configuration, though this configuration would have reliability issues and was replaced with Packard engines. It also used proper torpedo tubes, instead of the rear-launched torpedo chutes on other PT-boats. PT-8 was laid down in 1939, and completed in 1941. It was put into the first motor torpedo boat squadron, along with the other prototype boats. However, while under construction, Elco came in with a British-based design, and secured their own production order. Some PT-boats, including PT-8s half-sister PT-7 were transferred to other nations, but the remaining ones were to be trialled against a lengthened Elco design to determine the next production order. In the trials, the boats were rated on a variety of issues, with PT-8 being the slowest PT-boat, having the best seakeeping, the toughest hull, the worst comfort (due to the metal hull), and in the middle for accessibility, communication, visibility, habitability and manoeuvrability. PT-8 was also the most expensive of the PT-boats, about three times more than the next most expensive boat. A second set of trials in rough seas was performed, and there PT-8 was only the second slowest. The Elco 77ft MTB won the competition.

After the trials, PT-8 was redesignated a district patrol craft, and had its name changed to YP-110, assigned to the 4th Naval District around the Philadelphia Naval Yard. At some point mid-war, YP-110 was taken out of service and was kept at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. Despite years of neglect, post-war the aluminium hull was found to still be in excellent condition, and based on that it was decided to construct the post-war PT-boats out of aluminium. It was used in 1949 to conduct a another test of a planing hull. It was then sold to a private buyer, and in fact still exists. Currently it’s been renamed back to PT-8, and is on sale in Grants Pass Orlando, for a cheap $375 000 (down from $875 000, what a steal).


2x1 12.7mm Browning M2
2x1 533mm TT (Mk.8 torpedoes)

42.8 tons standard
49.4 tons full

Length: 24.6m

Beam: 5.1m

Draft: 0.97m

Propulsion: 2 Allison X-12 + 1 Hall-Scott Defender petrol engines, 4000 + 60 hp, driving 2 shafts

Speed: 41 knots (75.9 km/h)

Range: unknown

Crew: 10-11



Friedman, N. (1987). U.S. Small Combatants: Including PT-Boats, Subchasers, and the Brown-Water Navy: An Illustrated Design History (pp. 119-137, 396, 427). Naval Institute Press.

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A +1 from me. honestly, I hope someone with the funding can buy her hull and fully restore it. Would be awesome to see her and PT-3 in a formation together

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I never knew that PT-3 was still extant, but wow it’s in horrendous condition. I’m pretty impressed it’s even survived this long. I think PT-8 is still seaworthy at least.

But yeah I hope someone can restore these pieces of US naval history, would be sad to see another old ship sent to the scrapyard, like High Point.

She is indeed still around in quite sad shape though. I’ve talked to the owner of the boatyard she’s in, he’d love to restore the thing but he would need someone willing to buy the thing

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