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PGM Motor Gunboat

SC-1072, a 95-ton 110-foot submarine chaser built at Camden, New Jersey, was commissioned in June 1943. Late in that year, she was converted to a motor gunboat and renamed PGM-7. She was sent to the Solomon Islands area for patrol service and, on the night of 18 July 1944, was lost in an accidental collision off Torokina, Bougainville Island.

PGM-12, begun as the 173-foot submarine chaser PC-1088, was reclassified as a motor gunboat and renamed PGM-12 prior to launching. Commissioned in April 1945, she served in Japanese waters soon after the end of World War II, supporting the occupation forces and taking part in minesweeping operations in the Tsushima Straits during late 1945 and early 1946. PGM-12 was transferred to the Republic of China in June 1948 and later became part of the navy of the People's Republic of China, in whose service she apparently remained into the 1970s.

On 1 April 1967 the PGM or motor gunboat was redesignated the PG or patrol gunboat. On 14 August 1968 the PCF or patrol craft, coastal (fast), was renamed patrol craft, inshore, although it was still called the PCF. The third Antelope (PGM-86)-a high-speed, aluminum-hulled, motor gunboat, was laid down on 1 June 1965 at Tacoma, Wash., by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Co., Inc.; launched on 18 June 1966; reclassified a patrol gunboat on 28 March 1967 and simultaneously redesignated PG-86; and commissioned on 4 November 1967,

In the latter part of May 1967, MACV decided that the South Vietnamese Navy would be unable to utilize effectively the motor gunboat (PGM) 107 scheduled for completion in July. It was then recommended that the boat be diverted to the Royal Thai Navy and used as a Free World contribution. The Military Assistance Command, Thailand, objected, however, and preferred that the boat be transferred to the Thai Navy under the Military Assistance Program as a requirement for a later year. Since the Thai Navy was already operating two ships in South Vietnam, a request by the United States to operate a third might be considered inappropriate, particularly m view of the personnel problems confronting the Thais, and the ever-present insurgency threat facing Thailand from the sea.

Since Thailand wanted to improve its Navy, the Thais saw no advantage in manning a ship that was not their own. In addition, the US Navy advisory group in Thailand had been continuously stressing the need for modernization of the Thai Navy. To suggest that the Thais contribute another Free World ship would appear contradictory. A more acceptable approach, the US Navy group reasoned, would be to offer the PGM-107 as a grant in aid of a future year, and then request Thai assistance in the coastal effort, known as MARKET TIME, by relieving the other PGM when it was due for maintenance and crew rotation in Thailand. This approach would give additional Royal Thai Navy crews training in coastal warfare, increase the prestige of the Thai navy, and meet the continuing need for a Thai presence in South Vietnam. Overtures to the Thai government confirmed the validity of the Navy group's reasoning. The Thais did not wish to man the new PGM-107 as an additional Free World contribution.

Patrol plans have been developed for use by Motor Gunboats to counter small scale infiltration by insurgents from the sea. The objective in developing the patrol plans was to determine the optimum deployment of the generally limited number of patrol craft available to developing nations. The patrol plan to be used is determined by a probability distribution associated with incoming targets.

Commander Coastal Surveillance Force began early the Vietnamization of the Market Time effort in 1970. Despite the natural complications of a turnover process, the combined coastal patrol continued to perform successfully in 1971. Of the 11 Communist ships detected attempting infiltration during the year, only one delivered its cargo to the Viet Cong in An Xuyen Province, the usual destination of the trawlers. Another nine ships fled after being sighted by the allied patrol. The remaining vessel was tracked and sunk in coastal waters on 8 April through the coordinated effort of Coast Guard cutters Morgenthau (WHEC 722) and Rush (WHEC 723), the U.S. Navy's gunboat Antelope (PG 86) and air patrol units, and the Vietnamese Navy's motor gunboat Kien Vang (PGM 603).

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