Motor torpedo boat development began in the early 1900s and the vessels were first put into active service during World War I. However, it was not until the late 1930s that the US Navy commenced the development of their Patrol Torpedo or PT boat program. The PT boat, or the "mosquito boat" as they were sometimes known, was originally envisioned for attacking larger warships with torpedoes using its "stealth" ability, high-speed, and small size to launch and survive these attacks. However, they were actually employed more frequently in a wide variety of other missions, many which were unforeseen by developers and planners, including rescuing General MacArthur and his entourage from the Philippines.
Often taking on larger and better armed enemies these craft became famous for punching above their weight and were firmly thrust into the limelight by John F. Kennedy who while serving as a lieutenant on a PT-109 in the Pacific Theater heroically saved his fellow crew members winning him the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. This book examines the design and development of these unique craft, very few of which survive today and goes on to examine their role and combat deployment in both World Wars.