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crappy us torpedos?

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

  1. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    is it true that the problem of bad torpedoes got seriously looked at only when
    a fighting captain got promoted in midd 43 to commander of the pacific subs
    he allegedly organised a test where all torpedoes failed in front of the relevants departments heads :roll: :roll:
    before ,all complains were pooohh-pooohed

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  2. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    The USS Tang was sunk by one of it's torpedoes which made a circular run. A boat with a fine record and an experienced and very successful Commander.
     
  3. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    The reason that the complaints were taken seriously enough before had more to do with the internal management culture within the US Navy. The Bureau of Ordinance believed in the Mk Vi influence exploders and thought that the problem was with the crews. It wasn't until extensive testing was done (by fleet personnel) under Admiral Lockwood that the problem was diagnosed and solved (by stronger firing pins) and sinkings increased dramatically overnight.
     
  4. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    It would be only human to assume that the U.S. sub captains ,feeling more confident , became more aggressive :smok:

    .
     
  5. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    Re: Defective USN sub skippers ?

    The US Navy, especially early on was quick to relieve sub skippers that they didn't think were aggressive enough. That doesn't mean that they were shy, just that the USN had little patience.
    Lest one think that the US sub skippers were overrated they would do well to consult the war statistics first.
    In fact I will start a new naval thread on that very subject.
     
  6. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    There is also the fact that none of the Japanese in the water even tried to surrender. In fact, those who had somehow managed to hold on to their weapons (mostly officers and their pistols) fired on WAHOO. Personally, I would have broken out a white flag, even if it meant using my underwear! :wink:
     
  7. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    There was a japanese convoy of reinforcements for new guinea who got jumped by fighter bombers , they hammered it , then repeatedly came back to machine gun the rescue boats who could have made it to shore
    the aussies thought it was a very good idea

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  8. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    That was the Battle of the Bismark Sea, and yes, the planes did strafe the lifeboats. But again, no one in those boats even tried to surrender, and those who still had their weapons fired at the planes. As for the Aussies, if I was faced with the option of strafing these men in the water or having to kill them in New Guinea at great cost to my troops, I'd go with the former as well.
     
  9. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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  10. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    The war in the Pacific was brutal, fight to the death, combat. Moral niceties are great when you can afford them. It's like Mr. Maslow and his heirarchy of needs. It's only when one level has been met that you can ascend to the next level. This fighting was at the most basic level of human endeavor..tooth and nail, no quarter.
    That's just the way it was.
     
  11. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    Other than Mush Morton, how many other US sub commanders machine-gunned survivors in the water?
     
  12. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    Who knows? Probably very few were in that position. A sub usually does not surface if there are escorts or aircraft around after an attack. I doubt that the situation arose often.
    AFAIK both sides pilots sometimes strafed pilots in their chutes or in the water. War is a brutal business and people are human, they get angry and act in a brutal and uncaring way.
    I don't think it is okay...it's just the way it was.
    Read enough about the war and you will find that such things happened in every theater, on every side. Germans, Brits, Russians, Japanese and American...nobody is innocent in war.
     
  13. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    In fact, it was quite common. Every time a deck gun was used, at the very least.
     
  14. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    Which was quite often, as the Pacific War dragged on and the targets got fewer and smaller. Once the sampans, junk, and other smaller craft became fair game, gunfire was the preferred method of sinking them, as they were not considered worth a torpedo.
     
  15. jeaguer

    jeaguer New Member

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    true about the torpedoes , they were one of the limitating factor in a cruise,
    using deck gun wasn't so great , some cargos ships mounted guns , some of those guns were even hidden
    an interesting quandary for the skippers was either to come back to base empty or keep a couple of torpedoes for opportunity and or protection

    .
     
  16. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    Well, Having read nearly every book written by US WW II submarine veterans I have to disagree. Deck guns were sometimes used on small, lone targets that didn't warrant a torpedo but to say that it was a common mode of attack by US submarines in the Pacific is incorrect IMO. The overwhelming majority of targets were engaged with torpedoes, mostly from periscope depth (except for night attacks where surface engagements often occurred).

    Very little mention is made of survivors in the water when deck guns were used except for the well known incident with the Wahoo. Maybe other veterans did not care to discuss it and kept it to themselves, maybe other skippers had different philosophies regarding such things. Who knows?
    I have read of a few other incidents where attempts were made to rescue Japanese survivors only to result in the Japs deliberately drowning themselves.
     
  17. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    And also a few incidents where rescued Japanese killed an American.
     
  18. Tiornu

    Tiornu Member

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    German submarines during the war tended to lose their deck guns. American submarines gave up their deck guns only to make room for bigger deck guns. By war's end, it was standard to have two deck guns. The American even went to the length of installing gunnery radar on boats in 1945.
     
  19. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    Mush Morton's sub, the Wahoo, was sunk in 1943 and the wreck was recently (August 2006) discovered by Russina divers.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story? ... 734&page=1

    If I remember correctly, one of the theories for the loss of the Wahoo was a malfunctioning torpedo. Instead it looks like she went down thanks to the Japanese Navy.

    I also believe that the traitorous torpedo (gotta remember that for the three word story!) that sank the Tang was supposedly one of the "good" ones after the problems had been fixed.

    See "Tackling the Torpedo Problem" in this article: http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/cno ... ising.html
    Looks like teh USN credits Adm. Lockwood with fixing the problem.
     
  20. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    Admiral Lockwood, of course, deserves credit for making the solution to the torpedo problem a priority however I would like to have seen them mention Capt "Swede" Momsen also who worked tirelessly with Lockwood to solve the problem. Capt. Momsen actually fired the torpedoes against the cliffs off Kahoolawe in Hawaii.
    see: Peter Maas's book about Momsen, The Terrible Hours, where his role in solving that problem is related, as well as leading the rescue effort that saved 33 men from the sunken USS Squalus and pioneering the use of helium/oxygen gases for deep sea diving.

    If, as Tiornu claims, it was a common occurrence for US subs to sink ships with gunfire, on the surface, and see lots of Japs in the water afterwards I can confidently say that it wasn't written about much by those who wrote books about their experiences.
     

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