WPB is the acronym of Wheeler Patrol Boat.
The United States Coast Guard wooden-hulled 83-foot patrol boats (also called cutters) were all built by Wheeler Shipyard in Brooklyn, New York, during World War II. The first 136 cutters fitted with a tapered-roof Everdur silicon bronze wheelhouse, but due to a growing scarcity of that metal during the war, the later units equipped with a flat-roofed plywood wheelhouse. A total of 230 83-footers were built and entered service with the Coast Guard during the war. Twelve other 83-footers were made for the Navy and transferred to Latin American navies.
Class and type: Patrol boat
Displacement: 76 tons fully loaded
Length: 83 ft (25 m)
Beam: 16 ft (4.9 m)
Height: 64 in (1,600 mm)
Installed power: The patrol boats were powered by two 600-horsepower “Viking 2nd” Model TCG-8 inline eight-cylinder gasoline engines manufactured by the Sterling Engine Company. Their combined fuel economy was poor: 100 gallons per hour at a cruising speed of 12 knots, 120 gallons per hour at full throttle
Propulsion: twin propellers
Speed: 20 kt
The class was followed by Cape-class 95-foot patrol boat (or cutter) and an 82-foot Point-class cutter.
Sixty of the 83-foot cutters were sent to Poole, England, o serve as rescue craft off each of the landing beaches during the Invasion of Normandy. Officially called Rescue Flotilla One (ResFlo One), the cutters were nicknamed the “Matchbox Fleet” because their wood construction and large gasoline tanks made them potential tinderboxes.
Renumbered USCG-1 through USCG-60, they were able to pull almost 500 men from the water on D-Day. The thirty cutters assigned to the American sector saved 194 men offshore from Omaha Beach and 157 near Utah Beach. Arriving off the invasion beaches at 5:30 AM, the cutter USCG-16 alone rescued 126 men that day. The thirty cutters assigned to the British and Canadian sectors saved 133 men from the water off Gold, Juno, and Sword Beaches.
No cutters were lost to enemy fire, but USCG-27 and USCG-47 foundered along the Normandy coast during a storm on June 21, 1944. Operating from June through December 1944, the cutter flotilla saved 1438 lives.
Shortly after that, several units were redeployed to Commander SEVENTH FLEET in the Pacific as part of USCG PTC Flotilla Number One and operated out of Manicani Island, Philippines, just south of the Island of Samar near Leyte, supporting operations there.
In September 2018, the last surviving 83-foot patrol boat, Tiburon (formerly CG-83366/USCG-11, built-in 1942), was purchased by a Seattle couple for $100 from another private owner, had converted it to a motor yacht. For the 75th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy (D-Day) in June 2019, it was on display on Lake Union near the Center for Wooden Boats and the Museum of History & Industry. While moored in Seattle, Tiburon had also been the site of crew reunions for D-Day celebrations in 2006 and 2007.
CPO Aldae Nagy