The Higgins 81 ft PT-6 is a reserve rank I American motor torpedo boat with a battle rating of 1.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.79 "Project X" as part of the fleet closed beta test.
The PT-6 is the first vehicle of the American coastal tree. It is a basic torpedo boat that can hold its own against other reserve rank boats but lacks the firepower to engage heavy targets.
Survivability and armour
The Higgins 81 ft PT-6 has no armour beyond its 40 mm hull and 15 mm superstructure. The side of the boat is most vulnerable as most high-penetrating rounds such as the Oerlikon Mk.II 20 mm on the PTF-7 or the 20 mm MG C/30 automatic cannon on the R-41 will quickly shred the crew compartments into pieces. The ammunition magazine for the frontal turrets lay directly behind them, but are often not worth focusing on to protect.
The crew positioning is fairly centralized towards the middle-front of the boat. The radio station typically lays beneath the water and is directly below the main turrets. The main turrets will regularly be the last compartment of the boat to be damaged due to their smaller hitboxes. The Higgins has 17 crew members and can continue to survive with a minimum of five if the crew is aced and the Crew Interchangeability stat is maxed out.
Engine compartments lay towards the middle back of the boat beneath the torpedo tubes. Fuel tanks are placed at the back of the Higgins.
The mobility of the Higgins 81 ft PT-6 torpedo boat is very good. When all modifications are purchased, it has a top speed of 67 km/h in RB (Realistic Battles) and 93 km/h in AB (Arcade battles). As with most torpedo boats, the best use for this craft is to engage heavier vessels with torpedoes. It is recommended for players to use the mobility of the Higgins 81 ft to line up a good torpedo shot at a larger enemy vessel and then break away to safety. Always try to avoid unnecessary risks due to the very vulnerable wood superstructure and hull of the Higgins 81 ft PT-6 torpedo boat.
|Game Mode||Upgrade Status||Maximum Speed (km/h)|
Modifications and economy
The PT-6 has two single AN-M2 Browning machine guns placed on either side of the bridge, with each gun having 400 rounds per magazine and can fire continuously without overheating.
This ever-reliable machine guns can effectively deal with any lightly-armoured vessel at its BR, thought it lacks firepower to deal damage against larger sub-chasers. The gun has an option to load the infamous APIT belt that is similar in effectiveness to American late-war belts found on planes. This belt retains the capability to light enemy boats on fire and is very good against inbound aircraft.
The Browning is not without downsides, however, as it suffers from a long reload time of 12 seconds (with an aced crew). Being the only guns on the boat, this downtime will leave you vulnerable against any enemy. Thus, it is advised to fire it in a controlled burst to maximize damage, and then "dump" the leftover rounds when disengaging to refill the magazine to its full capacity.
3 different ammo belts are available:
- Universal: · · ·
- .50 AP belt: · · ·
- .50 APIT belt: · · ·
|Ammunition||Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
The PT-6 is loaded with two 533 mm Mk.8-3 C/D torpedoes. They are aimed to fire in the direction of travel. The torpedo must travel a minimum of 50 m in order to arm prior to contact with an enemy vessel. Ironically, despite the PT-6's status as a reserve boat, this torpedo is in fact the second most powerful torpedo the US Navy can offer with 435 kg of TNT equivalent. These torpedoes can sink a destroyer in one hit and can even severely damage enemy cruisers. However, the torpedoes have a poor range of just 3.65 km with a top speed of only 52 km/h, thus limiting the usage of the torpedoes as ambush weapons.
When researched, you can equip 4 Mk.6 depth charges. They are located at the stern of the boat between the torpedo tubes. They are highly situational and quite tricky to use.
Usage in battles
As an introductory PT boat, the PT-6 has rather unremarkable characteristics and does not stand out of its peers, save for its slow but powerful torpedoes.
Being an early development of the American PT boats, the PT-6 shares the common strengths and weaknesses of the more advanced boats further down the line. The boat is quite large and wide compared to its contemporaries but with very poor protection, while also offering an overall good mobility and stability. The boat is not as good as the others in close-range combat, but performs better at longer range thanks to the accurate Browning MGs.
Due to the vulnerable side profile of the boat, it is advised to go "bow-in" when engaging the enemies, as the bow will help absorb the incoming rounds and reduce the crew loss. As the Browning MGs have a long reload time, the boat cannot pursue the enemy for an extended period of time and will be quickly overwhelmed by a pack of enemy boats. Always plan an escape route ahead to retreat when you feel the threat is too much for you to handle, then you can "dump" the leftover ammunition to refill the MG with a full magazine.
The slow but powerful torpedoes of the PT-6 offers an opportunity to play as an ambusher against slower and larger opponents. You can find some cover or choke points, then deliver the payload when a hit is most certain, to finally retreat. You can also use the boat's decent manoeuvrability to sail close enough to launch the torpedoes at point-blank range.
Pros and cons
- Good armament for a reserve ship
- Vast amounts of ammo for the machine guns
- Good top speed
- Good manoeuvrability
- Extremely powerful torpedoes for its BR, can easily take on destroyers and cruisers
- As with all PT boats, its armour is not very good
- Long reload time on the Browning MGs (12 seconds), leaving the boat defenseless
- Large profile for its battle rating, making the boat vulnerable especially from the sides
- Only two machine guns: makes it hard to engage heavier targets
- Slower than the other common PT boats at its BR, such as the LS and G-5 series
- Torpedoes are quite slow with short range, restricting it to ambush tactics
The PT-6 was an experimental PT boat built by the Higgins Industries in 1939. The boat is not the first one to receive this designation, however, as it was originally assigned to the boat designed by the Sparksman and Stevens (S&S) company. Unsatisfied with the original design's shortcomings, Higgins went on to build a redesigned boat, which later replaced the S&S design as the official PT-6.
The PT-6 was originally designed as a sister boat to the PT-5, a PT boat designed by the Sparksman and Stevens company. The two boats were ordered from the Higgins Industries shipyard in Louisiana in 1939. As with the early series PT boats, it was an experimential model built for the United States Navy in a design competition for a standardized PT boat fleet. The original design utlized the Vimalet engines. However, Andrew Jackson Higgins Sr., head of Higgins Industries Inc., foresaw that the planned engines would fail to meet the requirements and wanted to redesign the PT-6. His proposal was rejected by the US Navy however, and Higgins had to complete the first PT-6 per the original design. Later, Higgins built a new boat per his own design as a private venture, switching the Vimalet engines with three Packard 4M-2500 engines. The new boat was sent for evaluation in 1940 and proved to have superior performance compared to its predecessor and other competitors, which later caused the US Navy to accept the new Higgins boat and designate it the "PT-6", essentially replacing the original S&S boat.
During 1941, the PT-6 was used for testing to gather more development information for the PT boat program. Later, the Higgins boat along with the S&S version were sent to the United Kingdom, the S&S version was then later sent to Finland. The final fate of both boats is unknown, however.
Links to articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the ship;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
|Higgins Industries Ships|
|Patrol Torpedo Boats (PT)|
|81' PT Prototype||PT-6|
|78' PT||PT-71 · PT-200 · PT-658 · MTB-422*|
|*PT-92 in UK service|
|Motor torpedo boats||PT-3 · PT-6 · PT-20 · PT-71 · PT-103 · PT-109 · PT-174|
|PT-200 · PT-314 · Thunderbolt (PT-556) · PT-565 · PT-658 · PT-810 · PT-811 · PT-812|
|Motor gun boats||Kim Qui · LCS(L)(3) · PT-59 · PTF-7 · USS Candid · USS Asheville · USS Douglas · USS Tucumcari · USS Cyclone|
|Armoured gun boats||LCM(6) Zippo|