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The Us Torpedo Scandal


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#21 RETAC21

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 1342 PM

That excuses the initial malfunction of the magnetic detonator but not Christie’s reaction. Quite the contrary, if well trained crews claim that a new and never fully tested system is defective, it should have set off the alarm bells. Big time!

 

I recalled a story that could be another factor why it took so long for the USN to admit there was a problem. When the skippers were told it was all their fault and they must continue to use the magnetic detonator they ignored the order and switched to contact detonators. Of course they faked the logs and told the crew to SFTU. The contact detonators were also not very reliable but they were not nearly as bad as the magnetic ones. So more ships got sunk and the brass attributed the increased sinkings to the improved marksmanship of the crews. 

 

While Christie was particularly stubborn, Lockwood wasn't but the problem with the torpedoes were multiple and synergistic. First they ran too deep, which was fixed early on, then magnetic fuzes were deactivated when they didn't work, adn then contact fuzes proved unreliable but diagnosing why took a lot of effort and time, and then, all that knowledge had to make it up to the people designing and building torpedoes and back down the chain in the form of reliable weapons. And Japanese ships were being sunk, obscuring the diagnosis.



#22 Markus Becker

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 1403 PM

If Wiki is right the the problem with the depth control was known by mid-42. Considering how the war had gone until then a quick reaction. But the order not to use the magnetic detonator didn't come until mid-43. And after mid-42 the frontlines had settled down. US subs also moved to more forward bases. HQs should have gotten a never enging stream of reports of magnetic detonator malufinctions. ??? 



#23 Marek Tucan

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 1427 PM

So Japan never really had problems, right?

 

 

 

So Japan never really had problems, right?

 

Not sure about that. I read that late war air-dropped torpedoes had some ugly towed contact fuse instead of a nose fuse.

There must have been some unsatisfactory performance if they really introduced such a contraption.

 

Where US torpedoes had issues with exploding, Type 90 - 93 seemed to have issues with premature detonation. I believe it is in Hara's book, along with tendency to lose depth control. 



#24 shep854

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 0851 AM

In Final Harbor, Homewood describes how modifying exploders and NOT using them 'by the book' was a court-martial offense in SWPAC.  It got so bad that screws securing the exploder access plate were randomly marked with shellac; smart crews noted the marked fasteners and re-marked them when exploders were returned to original status on unfired torpedos.  In fairness, it was also noted that some subs' torpedo maintenance was severely lacking when on patrol, so there was smoke generated on all sides.



#25 Richard Lindquist

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 1358 PM

"Silent Victory:  The U.S. Submarine War Against Japan" (2 volumes) by Clay Blair Jr. is a work covering every single US sub patrol in the Pacific.  He has a lot of details on torpedo R&D between the wars, torpedo problem. solutions, final outcome, and new technology acoustic and electrically driven torpedoes.



#26 RETAC21

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 1510 PM

Richard, Silent Victory is only one volume (at least the edition I have), "Hitler's U boat war" is 2 volumes. All are a must have.



#27 Markus Becker

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 1511 PM

2. Volumes? Is that a revised edition of his original book?

#28 Tim Sielbeck

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 1515 PM

Amazon has listings for a Vol.I and II circa 1975.  Its listing for 2001 is in one volume.



#29 Richard Lindquist

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 1732 PM

Richard, Silent Victory is only one volume (at least the edition I have), "Hitler's U boat war" is 2 volumes. All are a must have.

I have the J.B. Lippincott Company edition of 1975.  Vol 1 is pages 1 to 524.  Vol 2 is pages 525 to 1055.  After page 859 it is appendices and a very comprehensive index.



#30 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 0249 AM

Ive got the single volume edition. I bought it when on a craze over Silent Hunter 4. Never regretted it, its a very good book.



#31 Adam_S

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 0641 AM



True. But the sea launched ones seem to have been ok, or at least not read of any particular problems with the Mk8.

 

What let us down, at least in submarines, was the lack of a decent fire control system comparable to the German or American one. We seem to have tried to make up for that with a bigger broadside. Ive read when attacking on the surface, the standard system for aim off was to hold your hand out in front of you, and point your bow at your thumb, or something like that. Well at least your thumb usually didnt go unserviceable. :)

 

Wikipedia actually has some interesting thoughts about that in its article on the British T Class boats. First of all, they assumed that British subs wouldn't be engaging in any of that dastardly commerce warfare and would be attacking warships. Secondly, as the Royal Navy had developed ASDIC it would be reasonable to expect other nations to do the same therefore an attack with periscopes would be impossible and would therefore attacks would be carried out on an ASDIC bearing at long range. Under those circumstances, presumably, accuracy would be sufficiently poor that a sophisticated firing solution would be impossible and that the best bet would be a large spread of torpedoes aimed in the general direction of the target, hence the rather impressive 10 torpedo tubes on that class.



#32 lastdingo

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 0733 AM

The French also planned for massive torpedo salvoes, but they had to use many small calibre torpedo tubes to achieve it.

 

In the end, having many torpedo tubes ready to fire was the way to go, as confirmed by German Type XXI improvement plans.

 

Subs were at great danger close to a convoy, and would rarely get into a good firing position. They had to fire many torpedoes whenever they were in a good firing position in order to make the best of the opportunity. LUT, FAT and acoustic-guided torpedoes made long distance shots very feasible and fairly promising.



#33 Kenneth P. Katz

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 0745 AM

That's untrue. For example, US Air Force uses not only subscale but fairly high-performance aerial targets but also full-scale aerial targets which were modified F-4s and are now modified F-16s.

 

Just as today air forces don't really test their air combat missiles against fully representative aircraft that carry sophisticated countermeasures and try to dodge at 9-11 g (or whatever is their limit at higher altitudes).



#34 JWB

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 1135 AM

 

That's untrue. For example, US Air Force uses not only subscale but fairly high-performance aerial targets but also full-scale aerial targets which were modified F-4s and are now modified F-16s.

 

Just as today air forces don't really test their air combat missiles against fully representative aircraft that carry sophisticated countermeasures and try to dodge at 9-11 g (or whatever is their limit at higher altitudes).

 

How much ECM?



#35 lastdingo

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 1404 PM

Actually, it is IMPOSSIBLE for the USAF to test its missile against a fully representative target unless they get their hands on the original.

A QF-16 with U.S. ECM pods would still not be representative of a Su-30MKI, for example.



#36 ta192

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 1447 PM

The Italians seemed to have a good handle on torpedo and torp pistol performance, right from the start.  Indeed, one of the German fixes for certain torpedo failures was to buy the Italian version.  Too bad the US couldn't have done something similar with Brit torps, which by 1Q42 were rocking pretty good.



#37 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 0256 AM

Actually, it is IMPOSSIBLE for the USAF to test its missile against a fully representative target unless they get their hands on the original.

A QF-16 with U.S. ECM pods would still not be representative of a Su-30MKI, for example.

 

Well its not an SU30 I grant you. OTOH, one seen there about 10 years ago seemed to have those wingtip jammer pods (sorbyitsa?) fitted on it, so they must have some idea of Russian ECM capablities.

http://www.zerohedge...7-above-area-51

 

Granted the Groom Lake range seems to be largely empty of modern day electronic threats. I gather many of the 1970s radars from the Yom Kippur war have now been removed. I do recall reading there is a replica, or possibly a real S300 battery that exists as a test range though.

 

Nothing is going to be the same as combat, but its sometimes easy to forget quite how much is computer modelled in ACM. I remember reading that AMRAAM initially had concerns via computer modelling over its efficacy bringing down SU27s. So based on the same modelling, they decided to go for the cockpit instead.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 19 March 2017 - 0256 AM.


#38 RETAC21

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 1427 PM

The US has been buying ex-Soviet hardware since the end of the Cold War, including a MiG-29 squadron from Moldavia, and 2 Su-27 from Ukraine, plus assorted other stuff, so they pretty well know what they need to simulate and how. 



#39 2805662

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 1430 PM

Actually, it is IMPOSSIBLE for the USAF to test its missile against a fully representative target unless they get their hands on the original.
A QF-16 with U.S. ECM pods would still not be representative of a Su-30MKI, for example.


Could be nuance of language - I'd say a QF-16 is actually "representative" of a threat aircraft (Su-30 etc). What it isn't is identical to, or an example of, a potential threat aircraft.

In other words, the QF-16 is (apparently) viewed by the USAF as a 'good enough' representative threat aircraft. Maybe "surrogate" or "emulative" could be used in lieu. In the context we're discussing "fully representative" is a bit confusing.

#40 DKTanker

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 2242 PM

Submarine Commander, by Paul Schratz, talks at some length about the problems with the torpedoes and the fixes.  He had a personal working knowledge of the Mk14 both as torpedo officer of the USS Scorpion and as the OIC in charge of investigating and demonstrating some of the flaws of the Mk14.  I found it rather fascinating that the contact fuze was found to be useless on near 90 d hits yet worked fairly well with more extreme oblique hits.






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