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Motor Boat Submarine Chaser Squadron One


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I've been doing some research on Robert Hayes Monroe, service number 4131000. He was a MM3c when Motor Boat Submarine Chaser Squadron One (PTC's) was commissioned on February 20, 1941. He was with them for the short time the unit lasted while it tested the various sonar systems. He later served on PT 31 and was eventually captured and became a prisoner at Cabanatuan POW camp.


I was hoping someone might have some information on Robert Hayes Monroe with any of these squadrons. Any help would be appreciated.

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Here's some information I pretty much finished up today regarding the short history of this squadron.


On February 20, 1941, MM1c Robert Monroe was transferred to Motor Boat Submarine Chaser Squadron 1. This squadron had a short but interesting history. The US Navy, while ordering it’s first batch of Elco 70-foot Patrol Boats, also ordered twelve boats to be built as submarine chasers, or “PTC’s.” PTC’s were basically the same as the torpedo boats, but the PTC’s would carry 24 depth charges instead of torpedoes. Six depth charges were carried on racks located on the stern, with four additional depth charges located in two “Y-guns” located forward of the stern racks. Depth charge reloads were carried on rails mounted along the port and starboard edges of the PTC’s. The boats were placed in service upon the squadron’s commissioning, February 20, 1941. Lt. j/g John Bulkeley was the squadron commander.

While the squadron was fitting out in New York, PTC’s number 5 through 12 were transferred to the British under a previous agreement. The British would convert these PTC’s to motor gunboats (MGB). PTC’s number 1 through 4 went to the Washington Navy Yard. Each of the boats were fitted with a different type of experimental sound unit. These “sonar” units were installed in the radio room, where the transducer (antenna) was lowered and raised through an opening in the bottom of the boat’s hull. The four different sonar units were built by the following manufacturers; Naval Research Laboratory, RCA, Submarine Signal Company of Boston, Massachusetts, and a modified version of the British “asdic” sonar system similar to the ones in use on destroyers of the Royal Navy at the time.
The PTC’s were then ordered to Key West Florida, to conduct testing of their new sonar units. Once they arrived, the PTC’s were placed under the operational control of the Navy’s East Coast Sound School. Testing of each PCT’s sonar unit was supervised by the Naval Research Laboratory. Each sonar unit was found to perform poorly during the testing. The PTC’s engines drowned out the sounding echoes of the sonar equipment. If the engine was turned off, the slightest rocking motion of the boat caused the sonar signals to become “lost” in the trough of waves as the signals could not pass through air. Other malfunctions plagued the testing process of the sonar units.
Although a good concept, the continued malfunctions and limited abilities of the sonar units doomed the program. The squadron returned to New York toward the end of June, 1941. PTC’s number 1 through 4 were leased to the Royal Navy. On July 17, 1941, Motor Boat Submarine Chaser Squadron One was decommissioned. The PTC crews were absorbed into the regular PT squadrons. Some, including Lieutenant Bulkeley, formed Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three, which was commissioned on August 12, 1941.
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