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World War II
The "Mosquito Fleet" - WWII PT Boats

The "Mosquito Fleet" - WWII PT Boats
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.33

     challenging words:    battleship, ablaze, adrift, cut-off, downed, firepower, heroism, intensity, posit, reconnaissance, towed, worst-hurt, agile, rank, crewman, injury
     content words:    Patrol Torpedo, Mosquito Fleet, In World War II, Most PTs, Many PT, Solomon Islands, On August, Naru Island, Navy PT, John F.

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The "Mosquito Fleet" - WWII PT Boats
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     Commanding a battleship now there was power! One word from you and 50,000 tons of iron plowed through the ocean. Being skipper of a PT (Patrol Torpedo) boat wasn't nearly as grand a job. The PT squadrons were called the "Mosquito Fleet." PTs were tiny and light. They were 75-80 ft. long. They were built of wood instead of iron.
2     The little boats had one big advantage over the heavy metal monsters. They were fast the fastest vessels in the water. PTs were also well armed. They carried four torpedoes and two or more machine guns. Later models bristled with up to four cannons and even a rocket launcher or two. It was enough firepower to send a battleship to the ocean floor.
3     In fact, the PTs were built as a weapon against the bigger ships. The idea was that the little boats could dart in, blast the big guys with their torpedoes, and flit away. In World War II, PT boats did battle with large warships. But the little boats proved so handy that they were given many other jobs as well.
4     With their size and speed, the PTs could slip in close to enemy areas. They were good at reconnaissance (ree CON eh suhns), or scouting. Besides that, PTs were the boxcars of the ocean. They ferried everything from jeeps to generals. The agile little boats were often used as rescue crafts, plucking pilots of downed planes from the water.
5     Life aboard the little boats was like a roller coaster. It might be full of action one minute and deadly dull the next. Most PTs carried two officers and about a dozen sailors. Rank was rarely stressed aboard a PT boat. Uniforms made way for the more practical cut-off shorts. Rigid rules seemed pretty silly amid the intensity of life on an 80 ft. deck.

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