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"Fire One, Fire Ten: Implications of the Torpedo...." Topic

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World War Two at Sea

501 hits since 8 Feb 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2018 11:19 a.m. PST

… Scandal of World War II

"On 23 July 1943, the USS Tinosa, an American submarine on war patrol in the Pacific, spent the entire day trying to sink the Tonan Maru, a high-value, unprotected Japanese oil tanker. The Tinosafired fifteen torpedoes and the net result was that twelve torpedoes hit the target but only one of them exploded. The Japanese ship eventually escaped and when the Tinosa returned to headquarters at Pearl Harbor, the commander of Pacific Fleet submarines describes the young skipper as still being almost speechless with rage.[1] This episode was the most egregious example of a strategic problem that plagued the U.S. Navy during the first half of World War II in the Pacific. The Pacific War was primarily a naval war and American submarines were intended to play a strategic role but they began the war armed with Mark 14 torpedoes that suffered from not one but three crippling design flaws. Even more surprisingly, it took almost two years during the war to identify and correct the problems with this highly classified and advanced weapons technology. This state of affairs imposed unnecessary delays on the United States as it sought to exploit Japanese vulnerabilities and frustrate Japanese strategic plans. The strategic consequences of the torpedo problem were so significant that it led one historian to conclude "The torpedo scandal of the U.S. submarine force in World War II was one of the worst in the history of… warfare."…"
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General Kirchner09 Feb 2018 11:34 a.m. PST

given what happened with the naval gun ammo on the new destroyers, it seems the Navy repeats its mistakes.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Feb 2018 11:03 a.m. PST

Sadly thrue….


Lion in the Stars11 Feb 2018 8:23 a.m. PST

No, the Mk14 (and Mk15) torpedoes were even more egregious. No all-up live fire tests. No tests of the exploders (either contact or magnetic). No tests of the depth-keeping system after the warhead weight was increased.

If I was a submarine captain in WW2, I would have likely flown back to the Bureau of Ordnance and shot someone for treason.

As a direct result of that disaster, today every US torpedo is fired multiple times with an exercise head attached before being certified as a warshot.

Blutarski15 Feb 2018 4:01 p.m. PST

Clay Blair's "Silent Victory" provides a blow by blow account of the Mk14 torpedo debacle and the ensuing bureaucratic struggle to resolve. It was not pretty.

It also took something like two years of technical effort to develop the MK13 aerial torpedo into an effective weapon of war.


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