What’s that? It sounds like a ham callsign? And we think that’s what N6CC.com stands for, although the site breaks it out as Navy 6 Combat Coms. But what we were flagged to was the site author, Tim Sammons’s, stories of his service in the Navy on a forgotten class of small combatants, the Trumpy class PTF patrol boats. The boats were American-made licensed copies of the Norwegian Nasty class boats that were used by the maritime operations wing of SOG in the Vietnam War. Tim has great stories of the Trumpys he knew, PTF-17, -18, and -19, boats that resembled in style, construction and size the classic Elco PT boats of World War II.
The names? The source of Nasty is not clear; during their brief service in the US Navy they were known only by numbers. Trumpy is easier to figure out; the American boats were built to the Norwegian plan by now-defunct yacht builders John Trumpy & Sons.
They were powered by the bizarre and tremendous Napier Deltic diesels, strange engines with three crankshafts arranged triangularly, with cylinders in between, and two pistons in each cylinder — one coming in from each end, until they’d compressed the charge enough to fire. The Deltics were turbosupercharged, put out a staggering 3100 horsepower each (the boats had two) and could drive the wooden Trumpys to 45 knots, sea state permitting.
They were also armed with a small arsenal of 40mm, 20mm, .50 caliber guns and an 81mm mortar. Tim has a page specifically on armament — you guys might like that.
In Tim’s day, he patrolled the Great Lakes, but he has some interesting information about the Trumpys’ predecessors, the Nastys, in Vietnam, and the Trumpys’ ill-fated successors, the Osprey class (whose aluminum hulls were found to be too fragile for the mission).
If you want more info on the boats’ wartime adventures, see pftnasty.com and warboats.org where there are a lot of firsthand stories of these fast little combatants.
It isn’t just boats. Naturally, there’s a lot of cool commo gear on his website, including a clever hack that uses a VFO to stand in for a crystal in an AN/GRC-109 radio. (If you don’t know what that is, just crank this generator while Tim and I tune the antenna….). The hack will work with the OSS/Agency clandestine RS-1, too, which is a very close sibling of the 109.
Other cool stuff on Tim’s website include camouflaged or covert antennas and many other communications rigs, and annotated photos of the communications gear from the commo wing of the museum that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam made of the Presidential Palace of once-free Vietnam. Poor Thieu’s, or maybe by then it was Big Minh’s, situation map still is stuck to a wall in there.
At Cu Chi, he laid out $17 to fire 10 rounds out of an AK. The NVA fought capitalism before succumbing to it.
There’s also an interesting exploration of the wreck site of a rare B-17C (no B-17 that old survives intact).
It is indeed his callsign. Gonna have a look at his antennas, HOAs are assholes.
Great Site! Haven’t been there in a while, he’s got great stuff. WarBoats has some good stuff on the Nastys et al, for thoswe curious.
Those Trumpy/Osprey boats led me down the primrose path; I was working in the Armory at NAB Coronado when I happened to look through the bars on the window to see this green “PT boat” glide buy with ALL KINDS of guns on it. I was a lost-cause after that.
I have friends in CCCA who served on those boats. I’m still envious.
Napier Deltic diesel.
I had never heard of these before. I here I had thought the cylinder/connecting rod arrangement on radial engines looked kind of funky.
About 15 or 20 years ago there were 5 or 6 of these (memory fails, might have been more) for sale for roughly dirt in eastern Virginia. I found them while researching a book. All of them were in fairly poor shape, the owner told me, but some might have been recoverable.
They are shown on the Nastyptf website, Tom. They were the original Nasty and Trumpy boats. You are right on… one has been recovered with hopes of restoring it and is the private project of a boatyard owner on the Chesapeake. The others were all trashed for scrap, the rare Deltics for the scrap value of their aluminum (the guy with the surviving boat has the best five of them, IIRC). There’s one in Buffalo and one (I think it’s the aluminum PTF-26 though) in Oregon. A couple of the other aluminum boats have a new life as yachts or research boats.
Oddly enough, PTF-1 and -2 were aluminum boats built, IIRC, by Trumpy, and destroyed as unwanted early on in the Vietnam War. Then they bought the Norwegian boats, which were inspired by the Elco PT but had a slightly broader beam (24′ vs. 20′). Two Deltics had a lot more power than three Allisons or Packard Merlins like in the WWII boats, though.
There’s a few genuine WWII boats around. One and a half or so are on static dry-land display in Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA; there’s a PT museum there now and 20 years ago they actually had PT vets as docents. One Higgins PT is a seaworthy living museum in the Pacific Northwest.
Remarkable fellow. No grass grows under his feet, that’s a fact.
I found his blog thru linkage from these fellows.
Lots and good stuff happening, connections, resources. Excellent info and thinking along civilian comms, they are putting a lot of effort into helping others get started.
A growing community of Ham radio aficionado’s dedicated to creating a self reliant network of like mined people.
When my sister visited Vietnam, she went to one of those shoot an ak for $20 places.
For an extra $100, there was a cow right up close that the customer could use as a target.
And as soon as it heard that charging handle, Bessie ran waaaaaay down to the end of the field!
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