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PCF - Swift Boat

 PCF
Patrol Craft Fast - SWIFT

Displacement: 17.5 tons light, 22.2 tons full load
Length: 51 feet
Beam: 15, feet
Draft: 3.5 feet
Propulsion: 2-12V71N diesels (General Motors); 960 bhp; 2 shafts
Speed: 28 knots
Range: 350 n.m at 28 knots
Crew: 6 (1 officer + 5 enlisted)
Weapons: 1 81-mm mortar Mk 2/1 .50-cal MG M22 .50-cal MG (1 twin)
General: A well-known series of inshore patrol craft. These are all-metal craft adopted from an oil rig crew boat used to support offshore drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Mission endurance is up to five days.

Note: All specifications for PCF Mk II, Mk I is similar. Photo shows a Mk I PCF off the Ca Mau Peninsula near SEA FLOAT.

Photo: US Navy

HISTORY:  Link to:   http://www.rivervet.com/swifts.htm for a complete description of this craft.
(Linked with permission)

On 28 June, Admiral George W. Anderson, the Chief of Naval Operations, assigned the boats to the Pacific Fleet's Amphibious Group I, to occur immediately following modifications to their armament. Technicians added two 40mm automatic grenade launchers and two 20mm automatic cannons, plus two 3.5-inch rocket launchers and provisions for up to three flamethrowers. Work was completed by the end of August, and the boats were loaded aboard the transport ship Vancouver- for the journey to San Diego via the Panama Canal. 

All this took time, however  and the CIA needed to gets its maritime operations back up to speed. Gougleman needed an interim boat to put into immediate operation before the arrival of the Nastys. The answer came from another covert operation, this one in Cuba. Since the 1961 Bay of Pigs disaster the Agency had been authorized to conduct a maritime harassment campaign against Cuban ruler Fidel Castro, and they picked a boat that already was a common sight on the Gulf of Mexico -- a vessel made by Seward Seacraft in Burwick, Louisiana, known as the Swift. Originally designed for oil companies operating in the Gulf's far flung drilling platforms, it was 15 meters long, displaced 20 tons, and had two diesel engines. 

The Swifts were still in California undergoing modifications when the call came for boats to handle North Vietnam missions. Three were immediately crated and sent to the Philippines. From there, they were ferried to Saigon. Sailing up the coast to DaNang, they were ready for action by October 1963. While the Swifts were a welcome addition to Gougleman's clandestine maritime force, they had one drawback. Though easier to maintain than the temperamental Nastys, they represented an insurmountable leap in technology for the CIA's existing roster of junk crewmen. This put the Agency in a fix. Forbidden from recruiting experienced sailors from the South Vietnamese navy, and also unable to use Americans in order to uphold plausible deniability, there was nobody on hand to operate the boats. 

So the CIA turned to foreign experts. As they already had developed good contacts in Oslo during the Nasty purchase, they arranged for three Norwegian civilians to be hired on six-month contracts. Arriving in DaNang, they were given the barely disguised codename "Viking" and assigned as skippers, one per Swift. Young and aggressive, the Norwegians got along well with the South Vietnamese. "They were real Vikings," remembers Captain Truong Duy Tai, a maritime case officer. "They knew about navigation so well." 

“On January 16, 1964, MACV activated the Studies and Observations Group, with staff section Op 31 to control maritime operations (MAROPS). The CIA relinquished its responsibility for the boat effort, and the Swift (PCF) force, augmented by eight heavily armed assault boats (PTF - Nasties) from the Navy, came under Op 31 control for missions. The Navy assumed control of Da Nang base, adding a boat support unit, SEAL Team 1, and a maintenance detachment with 100 tons of spare parts.” [Prados, WIS p. 48]

PRESENT CONDITIONS:

The Navy Museum, Washington DC. - PCF-1
(Photos take during initial setup in October, 2000.)

 

DOCUMENTATION:

Operation and Service Manual for 
Twin Screw Aluminum 50-Foot Patrol Craft Fast (PCF) Mark2
Navships 0900-031-7010


READERS COMMENTS:

 `Dan Here is an interesting piece of History. I can remember that they first wanted to use barrels from air craft mounts to save weight as the twin mount was above the cabin. Well this was good thinking except for one thing, it's a lot cooler when the plane is in the air and there is no way that a PCF can travel on the water in Ca. or Viet Nam and keep a light weight barrel cool. Of course we enlisted didn't know any thing but when rounds came out of the sides of the barrels They was changed out for the heavier barrels asap !!Jim


 ( 09-30-02) Chip The pictures are of one of the three Swifts that we had at MST-1/NAD, Da Nang, can't remember what it was but you could tell the boats apart as there was a small different between them. Only the Boats built for the Navy had the gun tubs above the pilot house and other goodies that we didn't have. Such as fridge and freezer and a five KW generator and F/W tank with a sink. Jim

No .50 caliber gun tub on SOG versions.

SOGSwift001.jpg (85991 bytes)

SOGSwift002.jpg (110990 bytes)


(08-23-09) Click HERE For Jack Spratt's PCF-48 story on his website.


(Added 07-28-2011) Photos from Bob Kreyer

Another ambush!

Burning up hootches, these area's we patrolled were free fire zones, you destroyed everything that moved. Dogs, chickens, water buffalo, sampans, engines on the back, water towers, ect.

The look on this sailors face tells just how this duty wears on you, a lot of us have PTSD.

Patrolling the bad lands, just waiting for Charlie to open up.

PCF-82 after a fire fight, this is just the after mount.

When the shit hits the fan and time is put on the back burner the tide goes out, high and dry for a few hours, not good!

The only good VC was a dead VC.

An underwater mine almost got the lead Swiftboat, Charlie was a little early on the trigger.

PCF-45 in a fire fight.

Ambush points, you can see what Agent Orange does to the surrounding area and banks of the canals and rivers

This was taken in Bernique's
 Creek (Vin Ty Canal) Dec 6, 1968. I took the photo from PCF-82, PCF-5 was trying to pass us, no room. We were on our way to get relieved from a 5 day patrol of this area. Looking at the photo, the left bank was Cambodia and the right bank was Vietnam. After we got releived the two PCF's 38 & 88 were ambushed just after we left. The two boat got shot up big time, 1 USN KIA ( Steven Luke BM2), 10 USN WIA, 1 RVN Officer KIA, 1 RVN WIA. The Seal Team in the area had to take over the boats to get them out of the kill zone.

This is another after action report from another one of our patrols.

This is the after action report.

B-40 Rocket damage, CosDiv 11 An Thoi 1968.

 

LINKS:

http://www.pcf45.com/index.htm  Fantastic site with lots of great photographs.

Welcome to Swift Boat Sailors Association Home Page    U. S. Navy Patrol Boats in Vietnam
http://swiftboats.org/ 


http://www.navsoc.navy.mil/cnswc/text/history/txt-seal.htmhttp://swiftboats.net/