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Encyclopedia > Fast Patrol Craft
Swift Boat PCF71 in Vietnam, showing forward twin .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns.
Swift Boat PCF71 in Vietnam, showing forward twin .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns.
Four Swift Boats in Vietnam, showing rear .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine gun and grenade launcher mount.
Four Swift Boats in Vietnam, showing rear .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine gun and grenade launcher mount.

Patrol Craft Fast (PCF), also known as Swift Boats, were all aluminum, 50-foot (15 m) long, shallow-draft vessels operated by the United States Navy for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations during the Vietnam War. Swiftboating is American political jargon for an ad hominem attack usually resulting in a benefit to an established political force. ... Image File history File links Swift Boat PCF 71 from File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Swift Boat PCF 71 from File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x810, 70 KB)Four swift boats in Vietnam File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x810, 70 KB)Four swift boats in Vietnam File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... USN redirects here. ... Counter-insurgency is the combatting of insurgency, by the government (or allies) of the territory in which the insurgency takes place. ... Combatants Republic of Vietnam United States Republic of Korea Thailand Australia New Zealand The Philippines National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam People’s Republic of China Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Strength US 1,000,000 South Korea 300,000 Australia 48,000...

Contents

Development

Conception

The Swift Boat was conceived in a Naval Advisory Group, Military Assistance Command Vietnam (NAVADGRP MACV) staff study entitled "Naval Craft Requirements in a Counter Insurgency Environment," published 1 February 1965. It noted that "COIN water operations are difficult, demanding, and unique. A prevalent belief has been that COIN craft can readily be obtained from existing commercial and naval sources when needed. Unfortunately, no concerted effort has been made to develop COIN craft specifically suited to perform the many missions needed to combat insurgent activities." The Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV, pronounced as mac vee) was the United States command structure during the Vietnam War from 1962 until the wars end. ... is the 32nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. ... Counter-insurgency is the combatting of insurgency, by the government (or allies) of the territory in which the insurgency takes place. ...


The study went on to list characteristics of the ideal patrol craft:

  • Reliable and sturdy
  • Non-wooden hull, with screw and rudder protection against groundings
  • Self-sufficient for 400 to 500 mile (600 to 800 km) patrol
  • Speed of 20 to 25 knots (37 to 46 km/h)
  • Small high-resolution radar range 4 to 6 miles (7 to 11 km)
  • Reliable long-range communications equipment, compatible with Army and Air Force
  • Quiet
  • Armament for limited offense
  • Sparse berthing, no messing
  • Depth meter, accurate from 0 to 50 feet (15 m)
  • Small, powerful searchlight

The study was positively received, and the Navy began to search for sources. Sewart Seacraft of Berwick, Louisiana, built water taxis for companies operating oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, which appeared nearly ideal. The Navy bought their plans, and asked Sewart Seacraft to prepare modified drawings that included a gun tub, ammo lockers, bunks, and a small galley. The Navy used those enhanced plans to request bids from other boat builders, but Sewart Seacraft was selected. For other uses, see Radar (disambiguation). ... Look up berth in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Mess (disambiguation). ... Berwick is a town in St. ... A New York Water Taxi docks at Pier 11 near Wall Street. ... Gulf of Mexico in 3D perspective. ... The galley is the compartment of a ship, submarine, train or aircraft where food is cooked and prepared. ...


Mark I

The Swift Boats had welded aluminum hulls about 50 feet (15 m) long with 13 ft (4 m) beam, and draft of about five feet (1.5 m). They were powered by twin 480 hp (360 kW) Detroit Diesel engines with a design range from 320 nautical miles (590 km) at 21 knots (590 km at 39 km/h) to about 750 nautical miles (1,390 km) at 10 knots (1390 km at 19 km/h). Normal crew complement was one officer and five crewmen. Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC), headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, USA, is part of the Freightliner - Trucks NAFTA Business Unit, and is a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler AG. The company produces on-highway medium and heavy-duty Diesel engines for the commercial truck market, and for other commercial and automobile use. ...


The first two PCFs were delivered to the Navy in late August 1965. The original water taxi design had been enhanced with two .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns in a turret above the pilot house, an over-and-under .50-caliber (12.7 mm) machine gun – 81 mm mortar combination mounted on the rear deck, a mortar ammunition box on the stern, improved habitability equipment such as bunks, a refrigerator and freezer, and a sink. The 81 mm combination mortar mounted on the rear deck was not a gravity firing mortar as used by the Army and Marine Corps, in which the falling projectile's primer struck the fixed firing pin at the base of the mortar tube, but a unique lanyard firing weapon in which the projectile was still loaded into the muzzle. The gunner could "fire at will" by the use of the lanyard. The weapon had been tested in the 1950s, discarded as the US Navy lost interest in the system, then it was resurrected during the war. This article is about the . ... US soldier loading a M224 60-mm mortar. ... The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States armed forces responsible for providing force projection from the sea,[1] using the mobility of the U.S. Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces and is one of seven uniformed services. ...


The original order for 50 boats was followed shortly by an additional order for 54 more Mark I's.


Mark II & III

In the latter half of 1967, 46 Mark II boats, with a modified deck house set further back from the bow, and having round port holes were ordered. From 1969 through 1972, 33 Mark III's, which were a larger version of the Mark II's, arrived in Vietnam.


Use

Although 193 PCF's were built, only about 110 served in Vietnam and the two training bases in California; with remaining PCF's being sold or given to nations friendly to the US. The original training base for Swift Boats had been at the Naval Base in Coronado, California, and in 1969 moved to Mare Island near San Pablo Bay, California where it remained throughout the Vietnam war. PCF training boats frequently transited from Mare Island, through the Golden Gate bridge, then either north or south along the coastline. The only Swift Boat known to be lost while stationed at the new training base was PCF-8, when it sank during a storm off of Bodega Bay, California in December 1969, no crewmen were lost. Aerial photo of the southern part of Mare Island Mare Island is an island in Vallejo, California, about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco. ... The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay onto the Pacific Ocean. ... Bodega Bay and Bodega Harbor Bodega Bay is a small shallow, sand-choked inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the coast of northern California in the United States. ...


Vietnam Service

The first Swift Boat to be lost during the war was PCF-4, which was lost to a mine in 1966. Three others were lost in rough seas, trying to re-enter the treacherous mouths of the Cua Viet River near the DMZ. PCF-41 was lost in a running gun battle with southern NLF guerrillas operating in South Vietnam in 1966. PCF-43 was lost to a rocket attack in 1969, and PCF's 77, 14, and 76 were lost to heavy seas. Several other Swift Boats had been lost to river mines, but had been salvaged and either repaired or used for spare parts. The Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone was established as a dividing line between North and South Vietnam as a result of the First Indochina War. ... Viet Cong redirects here. ...


The Events of June of 1968

In June of 1968, PCF-19 and PCF-12 were patrolling near the DMZ (17th parallel) when they were attacked by hovering aircraft at night time. Within minutes, PCF-19 had disappeared from an explosion, and PCF-12 commenced a running gun battle with its .50 caliber machine guns for well over an hour with those "hovering lights." During this battle, PCF-12 had been continuously radioing that they were under attack by unidentified aircraft, i.e. hovering aircraft. The response was a continuous one, "no friendly aircraft in the area". Further radio traffic informed PCF-12 that US Forces had suspended all flying operations within PCF-12's area, in order to isolate the problem; especially rotor-wing aircraft (helicopters).


But the Swift Boat was still in contact (still engaged with the enemy). Hours elapsed, but still in darkness, US jet aircraft responded to PCF-12's firefight, but bypassed them and headed for the Australian destroyer HMAS Hobart (DDG-39) [p. 100] and the heavy cruiser USS Boston (CAG-1), the US jets fired rockets killing two Australian sailors, and slightly damaging the Hobart, and the USS Boston. Parts of the recovered rockets had US data on them identifying them as American. The hovering aircraft had also been seen by US Marines on shore, near the DMZ, on the South side of the border. When all reports had been submitted, the attacks on the two allied warships were attributed to the US attacking fixed-wing aircraft (fratricide), and also for attacking PCF-12, and destroying PCF-19.[1] USS McFaul underway in the Atlantic Ocean. ... HMAS Hobart (D-39) was a modified -class (RAN type is Perth-class) guided missile armed destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy. ... HMS Raleigh a Hawkins class cruiser around which the treaty limits for Heavy cruisers were written. ... The sixth USS Boston (CA-69, ex-CAG-1, ex-CA-69) was launched 26 August 1942 by Bethlehem Steel Company, Fore River, Massachusetts; sponsored by Mrs. ... Fratricide (from the Latin word frater, meaning: brother and cide meaning to kill) is the act of a person killing his or her brother. ...


A primary complication, that helped to make the above conclusion, is that the battle between the Swift Boats and the unidentified hovering aircraft started between midnight and 0100 hours on 16 June, and the attacks (fratricide) on the Boston and Hobart occurred during the same time frame, only on the 17th of June. These were two separate dates, and, in reality, two separate incidents. When completed (the reports) both events had somehow been merged into one incident; again, fratricide. It had been theorized, by both officers and men (US Army, USMC, USN) that the, "NVA helos were flying artillery..."[1], etc. to Tiger Island, located just off the North Vietnamese coast. However, it goes beyond theory, when official reports, such as OIC, PCF-12's Combat After Action Report dated "20 OCT 1967" (1968?) for "Market Time Patrol", "151130H JUN-161130H JUN 1968", mentions in part "...enemy held Tiger Island...possible base of operations for North Vietnamese military..." and "under constant air attack from all angles Helo...gunners ordered to fire the .50 caliber guns at any and all air contacts..."[1] There were more than enough declassified official reports that mention "enemy aircraft" to conclude that the loss of PCF-19 was due to North Vietnamese helicopters. It is important to note however, that as of 2006, PCF-12 and PCF-19 were still carried by the US Navy as attacked/lost from friendly fire.[1] OIC may stand for: Organization of the Islamic Conference Office of Independent Council Office of Internal Communications Office of the Information Commissioner In Internet slang Oh, I see - also popular, in same usage, as comedic element from a scene in Disneys animated movie version of Tarzan. ...


In Training

The most frequent training area for the Mare Island units was the marshland that forms the northern shoreline of San Francisco Bay. This area, now known as the Napa-Sonoma Marshes State Wildlife Area, was also used by US Navy Reserve unit PBRs (Patrol Boat, River) up until 1995, when Mare Island was scheduled for Base Closure. During those years in which the Swifts and PBRs were operating, motorists traveling along Highway 37 from Vallejo, which passes Mare Island, to the Bay Area would often see the Riverine Boats making their way through the various sloughs of the current wildlife area. US Naval Riverine Training is still authorized in the waters of the State Wildlife Area, and portions of the TV History Channel Series Gunboats of Vietnam, were filmed there. Patrol Boat PBR Mark II PBR Mark II forward . ...


Currently

As of 2006, there are two Swift Boats known to exist as static displays in the United States. Both are ex-U.S. Navy PCF Swift Boats that were originally stationed in California to train PCF crews. One is located at the Navy Museum at Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. [1]; the second Swift Boat is on the Naval Special Weapons Base at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, California, the original home of PCF training. The Washington Navy Yard is the former shipyard and ordnance plant of the United States Navy in Washington, D.C.. The yard currently is a ceremonial and administrative center for the navy, home to the Chief of Naval Operations and is headquarters for the Naval Historical Center, the Marine Corps... For other uses, see Washington, D.C. (disambiguation). ... A C-5 Galaxy is loaded with people and equipment from the Deep Submergence Unit, Naval Base Coronado. ... Flag of Coronado Coronado is a city in San Diego County, California, United States. ...


U.S. Senator John Kerry served aboard Swift Boats for approximately four of his 16 months served in Vietnam. When Kerry became the Democratic nominee for president, a 527 group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth aggressively attacked Kerry's military service. Crewmembers under Kerry disputed the group's charges and called them false. As a result, the term "swiftboating," referring to a type of ad hominem smear campaign, has entered American political jargon. Type Upper House President of the Senate Richard B. Cheney, R since January 20, 2001 President pro tempore Robert C. Byrd, D since January 4, 2007 Members 100 Political groups Democratic Party Republican Party Last elections November 7, 2006 Meeting place Senate Chamber United States Capitol Washington, DC United States... John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts, in his fourth term of office. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  Politics Portal      Further information: Politics of the United States#Organization of American political parties The Democratic... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      For other uses, see President of the United States (disambiguation). ... A 527 group is a type of tax-exempt organization named after a section of the United States tax code, created primarily to influence the nomination, election, appointment or defeat of candidates for public office. ... Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, formerly known as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT), is a political group (527 group) of American Swift boat veterans and former prisoners of war of the Vietnam War, formed during the 2004 presidential election campaign for the purpose of opposing John Kerry... Swiftboating is American political jargon for an ad hominem attack usually resulting in a benefit to an established political force. ... Look up ad hominem in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Political campaign Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This page is about a political tactic. ...


See also

Patrol Boat PBR Mark II PBR Mark II forward . ... In the Vietnam War, the Mobile Riverine Force (MRF), or Riverines, were a joint US Army and US Navy force that comprised a substantial part of the Brown Water Navy. ... U.S. Navy riverboat deploying napalm during the Vietnam War. ... The Littoral Combat Ship is the first of the U.S. Navys next-generation surface combatants. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ...

References

  1. ^ a b c d Steffes, James (2005), Swift Boat Down: The real story of the sinking of PCF-19, Xlibris, ISBN 1-59926-612-1 
  1. Wasikowski, Lawrence J. (2007), Swift Boat Crew Directory: History of Vietnam service of the Patrol Craft Fast (PCF) or SWIFT BOAT, 1965-70 and listings of the crews that served on them .
  2. Friedman, Norman (1987), U.S. Small Combatants: An Illustrated Design History, United States Naval Institute, ISBN 0870217135 .

Xlibris is a Philadelphia-based self-publishing and on-demand printing services provider. ... The United States Naval Institute is a non-profit, professional organization in the United States related to the Navy. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Fast Patrol Craft

  Results from FactBites:
 
Order Secured For Fast Patrol Craft Fleet - Austal (718 words)
Following the recent completion of Australia’s 14-vessel Armidale Class Patrol Boat fleet, Austal announces the contract to build six 30 metre aluminium fast patrol craft for the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
The fast patrol craft will play a major role in ensuring the safety of shipping, as well as the preservation of the marine environment.
Each patrol boat is to be powered by two MTU 16 cylinder 2000 series diesel engines driving a Kamewa waterjet propulsion system, allowing a maximum speed of 40 knots and a maximum range of more than 1000 nautical miles at 10 knots.
COASTAL-RIVERINE-CRAFT-ARMAMENT (3389 words)
Coastal and riverine craft, many of which were converted from World War II landing craft, have been used extensively in the Vietnam conflict.
A patrol gunboat’s armament consists of a single 3”/50 gun mount forward, a single 40 mm gun aft, and four.50 caliber machine guns in twin mounts atop the pilot house.
Riverine craft as we know them today consist of a variety of small boats with a variety of armament, much of which is the same as that for the coastal craft discussed earlier.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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