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They Were Expendable (1945) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • The PT boat unit Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three defends the Philippines from Japanese invasion during World War II.

  • In the wake of Pearl Harbor's surprise attack, World War II hero, Lt. John Brickley's experimental squadron of agile fast-attack Patrol Torpedo boats is sent to warm and humid Manila to avert a potentially imminent Japanese invasion. As he and his second-in-command, Lieutenant "Rusty" Ryan, desperately try to prove the newly-founded naval unit's worth, the enemy launches a devastating all-out attack--and despite the PT boat flotilla's undeniable success--the considerably outnumbered and outgunned American soldiers are fighting a losing battle. Little by little, the Philippine campaign is doomed to cave in, as comrades-in-arms perish in the sea. Is there glory in defeat?

  • Shortly after Pearl Harbor, a squadron of PT-boat crews in the Philipines must battle the Navy brass between skirmishes with the Japanese. The title says it all about the Navy's attitude towards the PT-boats and their crews.

  • The fall of the Phillippines to the Japanese in World War II, and the heroism and tragedy of the defenders, as exemplified by the story of one American PT boat squadron.

  • Based on the real life heroics of Lieutenants John Bulkeley (Brickley) and Robert Kelly (Ryan), the movie accurately depicts the defense of the Philippines by American PT Boats from December 1941 through April 1942 for which Lieutenant (later Vice Admiral) Bulkeley was awarded the Medal of Honor and Lieutenant Kelly the Navy Cross.

  • In the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the members of a PT boat squadron patrol Philippine waters and attack Japanese ships. The PT boat initially had little respect from senior Navy officers but their maneuverability and speed however quickly change their minds. As the Japanese advance across the Philippines, the PT boats become essential in evacuating the senior personnel including General MacArthur.


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