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crappy us torpedos?

Discussion in 'The War at Sea' started by majorwoody10, Apr 28, 2007.

  1. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    what was that crappy us navy torpedo foisted on our combat sailors in ww2 ..and why did we persist in useing it for so long ? was it the worst usa military deseign ever ? iirc it was a mark 4 torp ?
     
  2. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    The 22.4in Mk 13 was the standard American aerial torpedo. Its primary problem early in the war was its fragility. It forced the torpedo planes to fly very low and slow, and the results are obvious in accounts of the Battle of Midway.
    The 21in Mk 14 was the standard destroyer torpedo. It was ineffective due in part to its weak warhead. I don't believe the weapon scored a single hit on an enemy target through the end of 1942. Look at the scuttling of USS Hornet and HMAS Canberra to see how lame it was.
    The 21in Mk 15 was the standard submarine weapon and the most famously bad. Its depth setting was faulty, its magnetic detonator was faulty, its contact detonator was faulty. Mostly its design process was faulty. Torpedo design had been handed over exclusively to a single station which was supplied with little money. Cheap and inbred is a bad combination.
    All three marks were improved and quite satisfactory by the end 1943 or so.
     
  3. Eric45

    Eric45 New Member

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    When you say the Mk14 (I think you mean mk15) had a weak warhead, I presume you mean the fuse was weak/unreliable? The Warhead itself was pretty good, 825lbs IIRC.

    Also, wasn't the Mk 14 the sub torpedo, the Mk 15 the destroyer torpedo?

    What torpedo did PT boats use early in the war? They scored 2 hits in 1942, the only torpedo hits by US surface forces that year after the Battle of Balikpapan to my knowledge.
     
  4. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Did I get them mixed up? Oops, yes, I did.
    Mk 14 for subs, Mk 15 for destroyers.
    The destroyer torpedo's warhead was not very destructive. In trying to scuttle Hornet, they hit her with nine torpedoes, all of which exploded. That wasn't enough to sink her. The Canberra scuttling was similarly comedic.
    I was reading the Atlanta report for the First Battle of Guadalcanal. To my surprise, it included the comment that the ship's Mk 15 torpedoes had 485-lb TNT charges. I wonder if the heavier figure applied only to late-war models.
    PTs were low on the priority list. I can't tell you which torpedoes were carried, and I'm sure it varied from boat to boat. I know Mk 8's were used aboard some boats.
     
  5. Blaster

    Blaster New Member

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    If an aircraft carrier could take nine of those, than it would be pretty hard sinking a battleship with those.
     
  6. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Actually, the DD torpedoes did score some hits in 1942. At the Battle of Balikpapan, four USN "four-piper" destroyers of 1920s vintage launched a torpedo and gun attack on a Japanese troop convoy that sank four ships. It's impossible to know how many of the fish hit and exploded, but some did. Had more of them done so, it's likely that Japanese losses in that action would have been heavier.
     
  7. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Yes, but the flushdeckers had the older torpedoes, probably Mk 8's.
     
  8. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Oh? I thought that they had the same torpedoes as the more modern destroyers. Are you sure of that?
     
  9. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Because I don't have a specific citation of the model used, I won't say I'm positive. It may not even have been possible for the old DDs to carry more modern torpedoes. The Mk 8 weighed about 3000 lbs while the Mk 15 weighed 3800 lbs.
     
  10. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Seems like we have an interesting question here. Anyone else know the answer for sure?
     
  11. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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  12. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Thanks, Tiornu. I reckon that settles the question of what kind of torpedoes the four pipers packed. :cool:
     
  13. bosworth gannaway

    bosworth gannaway New Member

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    Defective USN sub skippers ?

    In the splendid book on USN submarine warfare called "Combat Patrol" by Clay Blair, I was astonished to learn of the very high numbers of US sub skippers who were fired for "lack of aggression" in WW2. Could this have been an excuse for the failure of the torpedoes ?, or perhaps, having little confidence in the torps., the skippers never pressed home their attacks ?
     
  14. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    I think it would be a little of both reasons.
     
  15. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Even after the subs got reliable torpedoes, the USN had a lot of trouble finding good, aggressive captains for the boats. Several skippers who had been relieved for failing to produce were given second chances, with mixed results. The fact that a number of successful veteran officers were urged by Navy personnel officers to get out of the subs if they wanted to someday achieve flag rank didn't help.
     
  16. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    corp:
    That was certainly the case in SS-238, the USS Wahoo.
    Originally skippered by Cmdr. Marvin Kennedy, he was not remembered as an aggressive captain, and I beleive he was relieved of his command and replaced by Cmdr. "Mush" Morton at the end of 1942.
    Mush was known as a VERY aggressive skipper for his day... and outspoken to the point of insubordination on the point of poor-performing torpedos.

    Tim
     
  17. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    And a war criminal...?
     
  18. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    Tiornu:
    He was tasked with killing Japanese whether on board a ship or in the water.
    He did so with great vigor.
    Controversial actions to be sure, but questionable as to a war criminal.
    He will plead his case to God.

    Tim
     
  19. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    .

    on the subject of dud torpedoes , wasn't one U.S.Navy sub sunk by his own fish while attacking a convoy ??


    .
     
  20. Ebar

    Ebar New Member

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    I think a few ships of various navies have launched torpedoes with apparently 'return to sender' wrote on the side.



    On the subject of US torps I would imagine that unrealible torps would sap the agresion of a sub capt. After all, if you've just fired a spread of torps at the japanese destroyer and the one that contact goes clang, rather than bang. You've just told the enemy two things: that your there, and that your torp tubes are empty. :eek: That would certain encourage you to keep an eye on your escape route.
     

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