Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

19-LC-14-39:   USS Panay (PG 45), standardization trial, 17.73 knots, off Woosung, China, August 30, 1928. Reclassified in 1928 as River Gunboat, USS Panay (PR-5).   Panay was sunk by Japanese aircraft on December 12, 1937.    U.S. Bureau of Ships photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.       (2015/6/16).

USS Panay (PG-45, later PR-5)

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USS Panay (PG-45, later PR-5)

Built as a patrol gunboat for duty on the Yangtze Patrol, USS Panay (PG-45) was reclassified as a river gunboat (PR-5) and commissioned on September 10, 1928.   During her patrol duties, she protected American lives and property menaced by bandits and soldier outlaws of various nations.   When the Japanese moved through South China, as a result of the Second Sino-Japanese War, American gunboats evacuated most of the Embassy staff from Nanking during November 1937.  On December 12, Panay was evacuating American citizens when it came under attack and was sunk by Japanese aircraft, killing three men and wounding 43 sailors and five civilians.  The Japanese clamed the attack was unintentional.  After a formal protest, a large indemnity was paid early the next year, and the incident was officially settled.  

A model of Panay can be found In Harm's Way (Pacific Section) at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy.   

Image:  19-LC-14-39:   USS Panay (PG-45), standardization trial, 17.73 knots off Woosung, China, August 30, 1928.   U.S. Bureau of Ships Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.