The modern torpedo is a self-propelled weapon with an explosive
warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled
underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on
contact with its target or in proximity to it.
Historically, it was called an automotive, automobile, locomotive or
fish torpedo; colloquially called a fish. The term torpedo was
originally employed for a variety of devices, most of which would
today be called mines. From about 1900, torpedo has been used strictly
to designate an underwater self-propelled weapon.
While the battleship had evolved primarily around engagements between
armoured ships with large-caliber guns, the torpedo allowed torpedo
boats and other lighter surface ships, submersibles, even ordinary
fishing boats or frogmen, and later, aircraft, to destroy large
armoured ships without the need of large guns, though sometimes at the
risk of being hit by longer-range shellfire.
Today's torpedoes can be divided into lightweight and heavyweight
classes; and into straight-running, autonomous homers, and
wire-guided. They can be launched from a variety of platforms.
2.1 Middle Ages
2.2 Early naval mines
2.3 Invention of the modern torpedo
2.4 Production and spread
Torpedo boats and guidance systems
2.6 Use in conflict
2.7 Aerial torpedo
2.8 World War I
2.9 World War II
2.10 Post–World War II
3 Energy sources
3.1 Compressed air
3.2 Heated torpedoes
3.4 Compressed oxygen
3.5 Wire driven
3.7 Electric batteries
3.9 Modern drive systems
5.2 Pattern running
5.3 Radio and wire guidance
Warhead and fuzing
6.1 Contact detonation
6.2 Proximity detonation
7 Control surfaces and hydrodynamics
8 Launch platforms and launchers
8.3 Air launch
9 Handling equipment
10 Classes and diameters
11 Use by various navies
11.1 German Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
11.4 Indian Navy
11.5 PLA Navy (China)
11.6 Royal Canadian Navy
11.7 Royal Navy
11.8 Russian Navy
11.9 U.S. Navy
12 See also
15 External links
The word torpedo comes from the name of a genus of electric rays in
the order Torpediniformes, which in turn comes from the Latin
"torpere" (to be stiff or numb). In naval usage, the American Robert
Fulton introduced the name to refer to a towed gunpowder charge used
by his French submarine Nautilus (first tested in 1800) to demonstrate
that it could sink warships.
The concept of a torpedo existed many centuries before it was later
successfully developed. In 1275,
Hasan al-Rammah described "...an egg
which moves itself and burns."
Early naval mines
Main article: naval mine
Confederates laying torpedoes in Charleston Harbor
In modern language, a 'torpedo' is an underwater self-propelled
explosive, but historically, the term also applied to primitive naval
mines. These were used on an ad hoc basis during the early modern
period up to the late 19th century. Early spar torpedoes were created
by the Dutchman
Cornelius Drebbel in the employ of
King James I
King James I of
England; he attached explosives to the end of a beam affixed to one of
his own submarines and they were used (to little effect) during the
English expeditions to La Rochelle in 1626.
An early submarine, the Turtle, attempted to lay a bomb with a timed
fuse on the hull of HMS Eagle during the American Revolutionary
War, but failed in the attempt.
In the early 1800s, the American inventor Robert Fulton, while in
France, "conceived the idea of destroying ships by introducing
floating mines under their bottoms in submarine boats." He coined the
term "torpedo" in reference to the explosive charges he outfitted his
submarine Nautilus. However, both the French and the Dutch governments
were uninterested in the submarine. Fulton then concentrated on
developing the torpedo independent of a submarine deployment. On 15
October 1805, while in England, Fulton put on a public display of his
"infernal machine", sinking the brig Dorothea with a submerged bomb
filled with 180 lb (82 kg) of gunpowder and a clock set to
explode in 18 minutes. However, the British government refused to
purchase the invention, stating they did not wish to "introduce into
naval warfare a system that would give great advantage to weaker
maritime nations." Fulton carried out a similar demonstration for the
US government on 20 July 1807, destroying a vessel in New York's
harbor. Further development languished as Fulton focused on his
"steam-boat matters". During the War of 1812, torpedoes were employed
in attempts to destroy British vessels and protect American harbors.
In fact a submarine deployed torpedo was used in an unsuccessful
attempt to destroy HMS Ramillies while in New London's harbor.
This prompted the British Capt. Hardy to warn the Americans to cease
efforts with the use of any "torpedo boat" in this "cruel and
unheard-of warfare", or he would "order every house near the shore to
Torpedoes were used by the
Russian Empire during the
Crimean War in
1855 against British warships in the Gulf of Finland. They used an
early form of chemical detonator.
During the American Civil War, the term torpedo was used for what is
today called a contact mine, floating on or below the water surface
using an air-filled demijohn or similar flotation device. These
devices were very primitive and apt to prematurely explode. They would
be detonated on contact with the ship, or after a set time, although
electrical detonators were also occasionally used. USS Cairo was
the first warship to be sunk in 1862 by an electrically detonated
mine. Spar torpedoes were also used; an explosive device was mounted
at the end of a spar up to 30 feet (9.1 m) long projecting
forward underwater from the bow of the attacking vessel, which would
then ram the opponent with the explosives. These were used by the
Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley to sink USS Housatonic
although the weapon was apt to cause as much harm to its user as to
Rear Admiral David Farragut's famous/apocryphal command
Battle of Mobile Bay
Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864, "Damn the torpedoes, full
speed ahead!" refers to a minefield laid at Mobile, Alabama.
On 26 May 1877, during the Romanian War of Independence, the Romanian
spar torpedo boat Rândunica attacked and sank the Ottoman river
monitor Seyfi. This was the first instance in history when a
torpedo craft sank its targets without also sinking.
Invention of the modern torpedo
Whitehead torpedo's general profile: A. war-head B. air-flask. B'.
immersion chamber CC'. after-body C. engine room DDDD. drain holes E.
shaft tube F. steering-engine G. bevel gear box H. depth index I. tail
K. charging and stop-valves L. locking-gear M. engine bed-plate P.
primer case R. rudder S. steering-rod tube T. guide stud UU.
propellers V. valve-group W. war nose[clarification needed] Z.
In 1866 British engineer
Robert Whitehead invented the first effective
self-propelled torpedo, the eponymous Whitehead torpedo. French and
German inventions followed closely, and the term torpedo came to
describe self-propelled projectiles that traveled under or on water.
By 1900, the term no longer included mines and booby-traps as the
navies of the world added submarines, torpedo boats and torpedo boat
destroyers to their fleets.
A prototype self-propelled torpedo was created by a commission placed
by Giovanni Luppis, an Austro-Hungarian naval officer from Fiume (now
Rijeka, Croatia), a port city of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and
Robert Whitehead, an English engineer who was the manager of a town
factory. In 1864, Luppis presented Whitehead with the plans of the
salvacoste (coastsaver), a floating weapon driven by ropes from the
land that had been dismissed by the naval authorities due to the
impractical steering and propulsion mechanisms.
Whitehead was unable to improve the machine substantially, since the
clockwork motor, attached ropes, and surface attack mode all
contributed to a slow and cumbersome weapon. However, he kept
considering the problem after the contract had finished, and
eventually developed a tubular device, designed to run underwater on
its own, and powered by compressed air. The result was a submarine
weapon, the Minenschiff (mine ship), the first modern self-propelled
torpedo, officially presented to the Austrian Imperial Naval
commission on December 21, 1866.
The first trials were not successful as the weapon was unable to
maintain a course on a steady depth. After much work, Whitehead
introduced his "secret" in 1868 which overcame this. It was a
mechanism consisting of a hydrostatic valve and pendulum that caused
the torpedo's hydroplanes to be adjusted so as to maintain a preset
Production and spread
Robert Whitehead (right) invented the modern self-propelled torpedo in
1866. Pictured examining a battered test torpedo in Fiume c. 1875.
After the Austrian government decided to invest in the invention,
Whitehead started the first torpedo factory in Fiume. In 1870, he
improved the devices to travel up to approximately 1,000 yd
(910 m) at a speed of up to 6 kn (11 km/h), and by 1881
the factory was exporting torpedoes to ten other countries. The
torpedo was powered by compressed air and had an explosive charge of
gun-cotton. Whitehead went on to develop more efficient devices,
demonstrating torpedoes capable of 18 kn (33 km/h) in 1876,
24 kn (44 km/h) in 1886, and, finally, 30 kn
(56 km/h) in 1890.
Royal Navy representatives visited Fiume for a demonstration in late
1869, and in 1870 a batch of torpedoes was ordered. In 1871, the
Admiralty paid Whitehead £15,000 for certain of his
developments and production started at the Royal Laboratories in
Woolwich the following year. In 1893, RN torpedo production was
transferred to the Royal Gun Factory. The British later established a
Torpedo Experimental Establishment at HMS Vernon and a production
facility at the Royal Naval
Greenock in 1910. These
are now closed.
The Nordenfelt-class Ottoman submarine Abdülhamid (1886) was the
first submarine in history to fire a torpedo while submerged.
Whitehead opened a new factory near Portland Harbour,
England in 1890,
which continued making torpedoes until the end of the Second World
War. Because orders from the RN were not as large as expected,
torpedoes were mostly exported. A series of devices was produced at
Fiume, with diameters from 14 in (36 cm) upward. The largest
Whitehead torpedo was 18 in (46 cm) in diameter and
19 ft (5.8 m) long, made of polished steel or phosphor
bronze, with a 200-pound (91 kg) gun-cotton warhead. It was
propelled by a three-cylinder Brotherhood engine, using compressed air
at around 1,300 psi (9.0 MPa) and driving two
contra-rotating propellers, and was designed to self-regulate its
course and depth as far as possible. By 1881, nearly 1500 torpedoes
had been produced. Whitehead also opened a factory at St Tropez in
1890 that exported torpedoes to Brazil, Holland,
Turkey and Greece.
Whitehead purchased rights to the gyroscope of
Ludwig Obry in 1888 but
it was not sufficiently accurate, so in 1890 he purchased a better
design to improve control of his designs, which came to be called the
"Devil's Device". The firm of L. Schwartzkopff in Germany also
produced torpedoes and exported them to Russia,
Japan and Spain. In
1885, Britain ordered a batch of 50 as torpedo production at home and
at Fiume could not meet demand.
By World War I, Whitehead's torpedo remained a worldwide success, and
his company was able to maintain a monopoly on torpedo production. By
that point, his torpedo had grown to a diameter of 18 inches with a
maximum speed of 30.5 knots (56.5 km/h; 35.1 mph) with a
warhead weighing 170 pounds (77 kg).
Whitehead faced competition from the American Lieutenant Commander
John A. Howell, whose own design, driven by a flywheel, was simpler
and cheaper. It was produced from 1885 to 1895, and it ran straight,
leaving no wake. A
Torpedo Test Station was set up on
Rhode Island in
Howell torpedo was the only
United States Navy
United States Navy model until
Whitehead torpedoes produced by Bliss and Williams entered service in
1894. Five varieties were produced, all 18 in (46 cm)
United States Navy
United States Navy started using the Whitehead torpedo
in 1892 after an American company, E.W. Bliss, secured manufacturing
Torpedo boats and guidance systems
HMS Lightning, built in 1877 as a small attack boat armed with
Ships of the line were superseded by ironclads, large steam powered
ships with heavy gun armament and heavy armour, in the mid 19th
century. Ultimately this line of development led to the dreadnought
category of all-big-gun battleship, starting with
Although these ships were incredibly powerful, the new weight of
armour slowed them down, and the huge guns needed to penetrate that
armour fired at very slow rates. This allowed for the possibility of a
small and fast ship that could attack the battleships, at a much lower
cost. The introduction of the torpedo provided a weapon that could
cripple, or sink, any battleship.
The first boat designed to fire the self-propelled Whitehead torpedo
was HMS Lightning, completed in 1877. The French navy followed
suit in 1878 with Torpilleur No 1, launched in 1878 though she had
been ordered in 1875. The first torpedo boats were built at the
shipyards of Sir John Thornycroft, and gained recognition for their
At the same time inventors were working on building a guided torpedo.
Prototypes were built by John Ericsson, John Louis Lay, and Victor von
Scheliha, but the first practical guided missile was patented by Louis
Brennan, an emigre to Australia, in 1877.
Brennan torpedo was the first practical guided torpedo.
It was designed to run at a consistent depth of 12 feet (3.7 m),
and was fitted with an indicator mast that just broke the surface of
the water. At night the mast had a small light, only visible from the
rear. Two steel drums were mounted one behind the other inside the
torpedo, each carrying several thousands yards of high-tensile steel
wire. The drums connected via a differential gear to twin
contra-rotating propellers. If one drum was rotated faster than the
other, then the rudder was activated. The other ends of the wires were
connected to steam-powered winding engines, which were arranged so
that speeds could be varied within fine limits, giving sensitive
steering control for the torpedo.
The torpedo attained a speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)
using a wire .04 inches (1.0 mm) in diameter but later this was
changed to .07 inches (1.8 mm) to increase the speed to 27 knots
(50 km/h; 31 mph). The torpedo was fitted with elevators
controlled by a depth-keeping mechanism, and the fore and aft rudders
operated by the differential between the drums.
Brennan travelled to Britain, where the
Admiralty examined the torpedo
and found it unsuitable for shipboard use. However, the War Office
proved more amenable, and in early August 1881 a special Royal
Engineer committee was instructed to inspect the torpedo at Chatham
and report back directly to the Secretary of State for War, Hugh
Childers. The report strongly recommended that an improved model be
built at government expense. In 1883 an agreement was reached between
Torpedo Company and the government. The newly appointed
Inspector-General of Fortifications in England, Sir Andrew Clarke,
appreciated the value of the torpedo and in spring 1883 an
experimental station was established at Garrison Point Fort, Sheerness
on the River Medway and a workshop for Brennan was set up at the
Chatham Barracks, the home of the Royal Engineers. Between 1883 and
1885 the Royal Engineers held trials and in 1886 the torpedo was
recommended for adoption as a harbour defence torpedo. It was used
British Empire for more than fifteen years.
Nikola Tesla patented a remote controlled boat and later
demonstrated the feasibility of radio-guided torpedoes to the United
States military, only to be turned down.
Use in conflict
Torpedo boat attack on the Chilean battery ship Cochrane during the
1891 Chilean Civil War
The Royal Navy's frigate HMS Shah was the first naval vessel to fire a
torpedo in anger during the battle of Pacocha against rebel Peruvian
ironclad Huascar on 29 May 1877. The Peruvian ship successfully outran
the device. On 16 January 1878, the Turkish steamer Intibah became
the first vessel to be sunk by self-propelled torpedoes, launched from
torpedo boats operating from the tender Velikiy Knyaz Konstantin under
the command of
Stepan Osipovich Makarov
Stepan Osipovich Makarov during the Russo-Turkish War
of 1877–78. In another early use of the torpedo, Chilean frigate
Blanco Encalada was sunk on April 23, 1891 by a torpedo from the
gunboat Almirante Lynch, during the 1891 Chilean Civil War. The
Chinese turret ship Dingyuan
Chinese turret ship Dingyuan was purportedly hit and disabled by a
torpedo after numerous attacks by Japanese torpedo boats during the
First Sino-Japanese War
First Sino-Japanese War in 1894. At this time torpedo attacks were
still very close range and very dangerous to the attackers.
Knyaz Suvorov was sunk by Japanese torpedo boats during the
Several western sources reported that the
Qing dynasty Imperial
Chinese military, under the direction of Li Hongzhang, acquired
electric torpedoes, which they deployed in numerous waterways, along
with fortresses and numerous other modern military weapons acquired by
China. At the Tientsin
Arsenal in 1876, the Chinese developed the
capacity to manufacture these "electric torpedoes" on their own.
Although a form of Chinese art, the Nianhua, depict such torpedoes
being used against Russian ships during the Boxer Rebellion, whether
they were actually used in battle against them is undocumented and
Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) was the first great war of the
20th century. During the course of the war the Imperial Russian
Imperial Japanese navies launched nearly 300 torpedoes at each
other, all of them of the "self propelled automotive" type. The
deployment of these new underwater weapons resulted in only one
battleship, but two armored cruisers and two destroyers being sunk in
action; with the remainder of the 80 some odd warships being sunk by
the more conventional methods of gunfire, mines, and scuttling.
On 27 May 1905, during the battle of Tsushima, Admiral Rozhestvensky's
flagship, the battleship Knyaz Suvorov, had been gunned to a wreck by
Admiral Togo's 12 inch gunned battleline. With the Russians sunk
and scattering, Togo prepared for pursuit, and while doing so ordered
his torpedo boat destroyers (TBDs) (mostly referred to as just
destroyers in most written accounts) to finish off the Russian
Knyaz Suvorov was set upon by 17 torpedo firing
warships, ten of which were destroyers and four torpedo boats. 21
torpedoes were launched at the pre-dreadnought, and three struck home,
one fired from the destroyer IJN Murasame and two from torpedo boats
#72 and #75. The flagship slipped under the waves shortly
thereafter, taking over 900 men with her to the bottom.
Bradley A. Fiske
Bradley A. Fiske conceived of the aerial
The end of the war fuelled new theories, and the idea of dropping
lightweight torpedoes from aircraft was conceived in the early 1910s
by Bradley A. Fiske, an officer in the
United States Navy. Awarded
a patent in 1912, Fiske worked out the mechanics of carrying
and releasing the aerial torpedo from a bomber, and defined tactics
that included a night-time approach so that the target ship would be
less able to defend itself. Fiske determined that the notional torpedo
bomber should descend rapidly in a sharp spiral to evade enemy guns,
then when about 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 m) above the water the
aircraft would straighten its flight long enough to line up with the
torpedo's intended path. The aircraft would release the torpedo at a
distance of 1,500 to 2,000 yards (1,400 to 1,800 m) from the
target. Fiske reported in 1915 that, using this method, enemy
fleets could be attacked within their own harbors if there were enough
room for the torpedo track.
Royal Naval Air Service
Royal Naval Air Service began actively experimenting
with this possibility. The first successful aerial torpedo drop was
performed by Gordon Bell in 1914 - dropping a
Whitehead torpedo from a
Short S.64 seaplane. The success of these experiments led to the
construction of the first purpose-built operational torpedo aircraft,
the Short Type 184, built from 1915.
Short Type 184
Short Type 184 was the first torpedo aircraft when built in 1915.
An order for ten aircraft was placed, and 936 aircraft were built by
ten different British aircraft companies during the First World War.
The two prototype aircraft were embarked upon HMS Ben-my-Chree, which
sailed for the Aegean on 21 March 1915 to take part in the Gallipoli
campaign. On 12 August 1915 one of these, piloted by Flight
Commander Charles Edmonds, was the first aircraft in the world to
attack an enemy ship with an air-launched torpedo.
On 17 August 1915
Flight Commander Edmonds torpedoed and sank a
Turkish transport ship a few miles north of the Dardanelles. His
formation colleague, Flt Lt G B Dacre, was forced to land on the water
owing to engine trouble but, seeing an enemy tug close by, taxied up
to it and released his torpedo, sinking the tug. Without the weight of
the torpedo Dacre was able to take off and return to the
World War I
Launching a torpedo in 1915 during World War I
Torpedo launch in 1916
Torpedoes were widely used in the First World War, both against
shipping and against submarines. Germany disrupted the supply lines to
Britain largely by use of submarine torpedoes (though submarines also
extensively used guns). Britain and its allies also used torpedoes
throughout the war. U-boats themselves were often targeted, twenty
being sunk by torpedo. Two Royal Italian Navy torpedo boats scored a
success against an Austrian-Hungarian squadron, sinking the battleship
Szent István with two torpedoes.
Imperial Japanese Navy purchased Whitehead or
Schwartzkopf torpedoes but by 1917 they were conducting experiments
with pure oxygen instead of compressed air. Because of explosions they
abandoned the experiments but resumed them in 1926 and by 1933 had a
working torpedo. They also used conventional wet-heater torpedoes.
World War II
In the inter-war years, tight budgets caused nearly all navies to
skimp on testing their torpedoes. As a result, only the Japanese had
fully tested torpedoes (in particular the Type 93, nicknamed Long
Lance postwar by historian Samuel E. Morison) at the start of
World War II. The lack of reliability caused major problems for the
American submarine force in the early years of the American
involvement in World War II, primarily in the Pacific Theater.
Type 93 torpedo
Type 93 torpedo -- nicknamed "Long Lance" after the war
Many classes of ships, including submarines, and aircraft were armed
with torpedoes.[clarification needed] Naval strategy at the time was
to use torpedoes, launched from submarines or warships, against enemy
warships in a fleet action on the high seas. There was concern
torpedoes would be ineffective against warships' heavy armor; an
answer to this was to detonate torpedoes underneath a ship, badly
damaging its keel and the other structural members in the hull,
commonly called "breaking its back". This was demonstrated by magnetic
influence mines in World War I. The torpedo would be set to run at a
depth just beneath the ship, relying on a magnetic exploder to
activate at the appropriate time.
Germany, Britain and the U.S. independently devised ways to do this;
German and American torpedoes, however, suffered problems with their
depth-keeping mechanisms, coupled with faults in magnetic pistols
shared by all designs. Inadequate testing had failed to reveal the
effect of the Earth's magnetic field on ships and exploder mechanisms,
which resulted in premature detonation. The
Kriegsmarine and Royal
Navy promptly identified and eliminated the problems. In the United
States Navy, there was an extended wrangle over the problems plaguing
Mark 14 torpedo
Mark 14 torpedo (and its Mark 6 exploder). Cursory trials had
allowed bad designs to enter service. Both the Navy Bureau of Ordnance
United States Congress
United States Congress were too busy protecting their own
interests to correct the errors, and fully functioning torpedoes only
became available to the USN twenty-one months into the Pacific
Loading 21" RNTF Mark VIII torpedoes into a
Vickers Wellington medium
bomber, May 1942. This type of torpedo was later used to sink the
Argentinian cruiser General Belgrano during the 1982 Falklands War
British submarines used torpedoes to interdict the Axis supply
shipping to North Africa, while
Fleet Air Arm
Fleet Air Arm Swordfish sank three
Italian battleships at Taranto by torpedo and (after a mistaken, but
abortive, attack on Sheffield) scored one crucial hit in the hunt for
the German battleship Bismarck. Large tonnages of merchant shipping
were sunk by submarines with torpedoes in both the Battle of the
Atlantic and the Pacific War.
Torpedo boats, such as MTBs, PT boats, or S-boats, enabled relatively
small but fast craft to carry enough firepower, in theory, to destroy
a larger ship, though this rarely occurred in practice. The largest
warship sunk by torpedoes from small craft in WW2 was the British
cruiser Manchester, sunk by Italian MAS boats on the night of 12/13
August 1942 during Operation Pedestal. Destroyers of all navies were
also armed with torpedoes to attack larger ships. In the Battle off
Samar, destroyer torpedoes from the escorts of American task force
"Taffy 3" showed effectiveness at defeating armor. Damage and
confusion caused by torpedo attacks were instrumental[original
research?] in beating back a superior Japanese force of battleships
and cruisers. In the
Battle of the North Cape
Battle of the North Cape in December 1943,
torpedo hits from British destroyers Savage and Saumarez slowed German
battlecruiser Scharnhorst enough for British battleship Duke of York
to catch and sink her, and in May 1945 the British 26th Destroyer
Flotilla (coincidentally led by Saumarez again) ambushed and sank
Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro.
Post–World War II
Because of improved submarine strength and speed, torpedoes had to be
given improved warheads and better motors. During the Cold War
torpedoes were an important asset with the advent of nuclear-powered
submarines, which did not have to surface often, particularly those
carrying strategic nuclear missiles.
A number of navies have launched torpedo strikes since World War II,
Korean War the
United States Navy
United States Navy successfully attacked a
dam with air-launched torpedoes.
Israeli Navy fast attack craft crippled the electronic intelligence
vessel USS Liberty with gunfire and torpedoes during the 1967 Six Day
War, resulting in the loss of 46 crew.
Pakistan Navy Daphne class submarine sank the Indian frigate INS
Khukri on 9 December 1971 during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, with
the loss of over 18 officers and 176 sailors.
Royal Navy nuclear attack submarine HMS Conqueror sank the
Argentine Navy light cruiser
ARA General Belgrano
ARA General Belgrano with two Mark 8
torpedoes during the
Falklands War with the loss of 323 lives.
Croatian Navy disabled the Yugoslav patrol boat PČ-176 Mukos with
a torpedo launched by Croatian naval commandos from an improvised
device during the battle of the Dalmatian channels on 14 November
1991, in the course of the Croatian War of Independence. Three members
of the crew were killed. The stranded boat was later recovered by
Croatian trawlers, salvaged and put in service with the Croatian Navy
as OB-02 Šolta.
On 26 March 2010 the South Korean Navy ship ROKS Cheonan was sunk with
the loss of 46 personnel. Subsequent investigation concluded that the
warship had been sunk by a North Korean torpedo fired by a midget
USS Mustin (DDG-89)
USS Mustin (DDG-89) launches a dummy torpedo during exercises.
Whitehead torpedo of 1866, the first successful self-propelled
torpedo, used compressed air as its energy source. The air was stored
at pressures of up to 2.55 MPa (370 psi) and fed to a piston
engine that turned a single propeller at about 100 rpm. It could
travel about 180 metres (200 yd) at an average speed of 6.5 knots
(12.0 km/h). The speed and range of later models was improved by
increasing the pressure of the stored air. In 1906 Whitehead built
torpedoes that could cover nearly 1,000 metres (1,100 yd) at an
average speed of 35 knots (65 km/h).
At higher pressures the adiabatic cooling experienced by the air as it
expanded in the engine caused icing problems. This drawback was
remedied by heating the air with seawater before it was fed to the
engine, which increased engine performance further, because the air
expanded even more after heating. This was the principle used by the
Passing the air through an engine led to the idea of injecting a
liquid fuel, like kerosene, into the air and igniting it. In this
manner the air is heated more and expands even further, and the burned
propellant adds more gas to drive the engine. Construction of such
heated torpedoes started circa 1904 by Whitehead's company.
A further improvement was the use of water to cool the combustion
chamber of the fuel-burning torpedo. This not only solved heating
problems so more fuel could be burned but also allowed additional
power to be generated by feeding the resulting steam into the engine
together with the combustion products. Torpedoes with such a
propulsion system became known as wet heaters, while heated torpedoes
without steam generation were retrospectively called dry heaters. A
simpler system was introduced by the British Royal Gun factory in
1908. Most torpedoes used in
World War I
World War I and
World War II
World War II were
The amount of fuel that can be burned by a torpedo engine (i.e. wet
engine) is limited by the amount of oxygen it can carry. Since
compressed air contains only about 21% oxygen, engineers in Japan
developed the Type 93 (nicknamed Long Lance postwar) for
destroyers and cruisers in the 1930s. It used pure compressed oxygen
instead of compressed air and had performance unmatched by any
contemporary torpedo in service, through the end of World War II.
However, oxygen systems posed a serious danger to any ship that came
under attack while still carrying such torpedoes;
Japan lost several
cruisers partly due to catastrophic secondary explosions of Type 93s.
During the war, Germany experimented with hydrogen peroxide for the
World War II
World War II
PT boat torpedo on display
Brennan torpedo had two wires wound around internal drums.
Shore-based steam winches pulled the wires, which spun the drums and
drove the propellers. An operator controlled the relative speeds of
the winches, providing guidance. Such systems were used for coastal
defence of the British homeland and colonies from 1887 to 1903 and
were purchased by, and under the control of, the Army as opposed to
the Navy. Speed was about 25 knots (46 km/h) for over 2,400 m.
Howell torpedo used by the
US Navy in the late 19th century
featured a heavy flywheel that had to be spun up before launch. It was
able to travel about 400 yards (370 m) at 25 knots
(46 km/h). The Howell had the advantage of not leaving a trail of
bubbles behind it, unlike compressed air torpedoes. This gave the
target vessel less chance to detect and evade the torpedo, and avoided
giving away the attacker's position. Additionally, it ran at a
constant depth, unlike Whitehead models.
Electric batteries of a French Z13 torpedo
Electric propulsion systems avoided tell-tale bubbles. John Ericsson
invented an electrically propelled torpedo in 1873; it was powered by
a cable from an external power source, as batteries of the time had
insufficient capacity. The Sims-Edison torpedo was similarly powered.
The Nordfelt torpedo was also electrically powered and was steered by
impulses down a trailing wire.
Germany introduced its first battery-powered torpedo shortly before
World War II, the G7e. It was slower and had shorter range than the
conventional G7a, but was wakeless and much cheaper. Its lead-acid
rechargeable battery was sensitive to shock, required frequent
maintenance before use, and required preheating for best performance.
The experimental G7ep, an enhancement of the G7e, used primary cells.
United States had an electric design, the Mark 18, largely copied
from the German torpedo (although with improved batteries), as well as
FIDO, an air-dropped acoustic homing torpedo for anti-submarine use.
Modern electric torpedoes such as the
Mark 24 Tigerfish
Mark 24 Tigerfish or DM2 series
commonly use silver oxide batteries that need no maintenance, so
torpedoes can be stored for years without losing performance.
A number of experimental rocket-propelled torpedoes were tried soon
after Whitehead's invention but were not successful.
has been implemented successfully by the Soviet Union, for example in
the VA-111 Shkval—and has been recently revived in Russian and
German torpedoes, as it is especially suitable for supercavitating
Modern drive systems
Modern torpedoes use a variety of drive mechanisms, including gas
turbines (the British Spearfish), monopropellants, and sulfur
hexafluoride gas sprayed over a block of solid lithium.
The first of Whitehead's torpedoes had a single propeller and needed a
large vane to stop it spinning about its longitudinal axis. Not long
afterward the idea of contra-rotating propellers was introduced, to
avoid the need for the vane. The three-bladed propeller came in 1893
and the four-bladed one in 1897. To minimise noise, today's torpedoes
often use pump-jets.
Some torpedoes—like the Russian VA-111 Shkval, Iranian Hoot, and
German Unterwasserlaufkörper/ Barracuda—use supercavitation to
increase speed to over 200 knots (370 km/h). Torpedoes that don't
use supercavitation, such as the American Mark 48 and British
Spearfish, are limited to under 100 kn (120 mph;
190 km/h), though manufacturers and the military don't always
release exact figures.
A torpedo dropped from a
Sopwith Cuckoo during World War I
Illustration of General
Torpedo Fire Control Problem
Torpedoes may be aimed at the target and fired unguided, similarly to
an artillery shell, or they may be guided onto the target. They may be
guided automatically towards the target by some procedure, e.g., sound
(homing), or by the operator, typically via commands sent over a
signal-carrying cable (wire guidance).
The Victorian era Brennan could be steered onto its target by varying
the relative speeds of its propulsion cables. However, the Brennan
required a substantial infrastructure and was not suitable for
shipboard use. Therefore, for the first part of its history, the
torpedo was guided only in the sense that its course could be
regulated so as to achieve an intended impact depth (because of the
sine wave running path of the Whitehead, this was a hit or miss
proposition, even when everything worked correctly) and, through
gyroscopes, a straight course. With such torpedoes the method of
attack in small torpedo boats, torpedo bombers and small submarines
was to steer a predictable collision course abeam to the target and
release the torpedo at the last minute, then veer away, all the time
subject to defensive fire.
In larger ships and submarines, fire control calculators gave a wider
engagement envelope. Originally, plotting tables (in large ships),
combined with specialised slide rules (known in U.S. service as the
"banjo" and "Is/Was"), reconciled the speed, distance, and course
of a target with the firing ship's speed and course, together with the
performance of its torpedoes, to provide a firing solution. By the
Second World War, all sides had developed automatic electro-mechanical
calculators, exemplified by the U.S. Navy's
Torpedo Data Computer.
Submarine commanders were still expected to be able to calculate a
firing solution by hand as a backup against mechanical failure, and
because many submarines existing at the start of the war were not
equipped with a TDC; most could keep the "picture" in their heads and
do much of the calculations (simple trigonometry) mentally, from
Against high-value targets and multiple targets, submarines would
launch a spread of torpedoes, to increase the probability of success.
Similarly, squadrons of torpedo boats and torpedo bombers would attack
together, creating a "fan" of torpedoes across the target's course.
Faced with such an attack, the prudent thing for a target to do was to
turn so as to parallel the course of the incoming torpedo and steam
away from the torpedoes and the firer, allowing the relatively short
range torpedoes to use up their fuel. An alternative was to "comb the
tracks", turning to parallel the incoming torpedo's course, but
turning towards the torpedoes. The intention of such a tactic was
still to minimise the size of target offered to the torpedoes, but at
the same time be able to aggressively engage the firer. This was the
tactic advocated by critics of Jellicoe's actions at Jutland, his
caution at turning away from the torpedoes being seen as the reason
the Germans escaped.
The use of multiple torpedoes to engage single targets depletes
torpedo supplies and greatly reduces a submarine's combat
endurance. Endurance can be improved by ensuring a target can be
effectively engaged by a single torpedo, which gave rise to the guided
In WW2 the Germans introduced programmable pattern running torpedoes,
which would run a predetermined pattern until they either ran out of
fuel, or hit something. The earlier version, FaT, ran out after launch
in a straight line, and then weaved backwards and forwards parallel to
that initial course, whilst the more advanced LuT could transit to a
different angle after launch, and then enter a more complex weaving
Radio and wire guidance
See also: Command guidance
Though Luppis' original design had been rope guided, torpedoes were
not wire-guided until the 1960s.
First World War
First World War the U.S. Navy evaluated a radio controlled
torpedo launched from a surface ship called the Hammond Torpedo. A
later version tested in the 1930s was claimed to have an effective
range of 6 miles.
Modern torpedoes use an umbilical wire, which nowadays allows the
computer processing power of the submarine or ship to be used.
Torpedoes such as the U.S. Mark 48 can operate in a variety of modes,
increasing tactical flexibility.
Acoustic homing and Acoustic torpedo
Homing "fire and forget" torpedoes can use passive or active guidance,
or a combination of both. Passive acoustic torpedoes home in on
emissions from a target. Active acoustic torpedoes home in on the
reflection of a signal, or "ping", from the torpedo or its parent
vehicle; this has the disadvantage of giving away the presence of the
torpedo. In semi-active mode, a torpedo can be fired to the last known
position or calculated position of a target, which is then
acoustically illuminated ("pinged") once the torpedo is within attack
Later in the
Second World War
Second World War torpedoes were given acoustic (homing)
guidance systems, with the American
Mark 24 mine
Mark 24 mine and Mark 27 torpedo
and the German G7es torpedo. Pattern-following and wake homing
torpedoes were also developed.
Acoustic homing formed the basis for
torpedo guidance after the Second World War.
The homing systems for torpedoes are generally acoustic, though there
have been other target sensor types used. A ship's acoustic signature
is not the only emission a torpedo can home in on: to engage U.S.
Soviet Union developed the 53-65 wake-homing
torpedo. As standard acoustic lures can't distract a wake homing
US Navy has installed the Surface Ship
Torpedo Defense on
aircraft carriers that uses a Countermeasure Anti-
Torpedo to home in
on and destroy the attacking torpedo.
Warhead and fuzing
The warhead is generally some form of aluminised explosive, because
the sustained explosive pulse produced by the powdered aluminium is
particularly destructive against underwater targets.
popular until the 1950s, but has been superseded by PBX compositions.
Nuclear warheads for torpedoes have also been developed, e.g. the Mark
45 torpedo. In lightweight antisubmarine torpedoes designed to
penetrate submarine hulls, a shaped charge can be used.
be triggered by direct contact with the target or by a proximity fuze
incorporating sonar and/or magnetic sensors.
When a torpedo with a contact fuze strikes the side of the target
hull, the resulting explosion creates a bubble of expanding gas, the
walls of which move faster than the speed of sound in water, thus
creating a shock wave. The side of the bubble which is against the
hull rips away the external plating creating a large breach. The
bubble then collapses in on itself, forcing a high-speed stream of
water into the breach which can destroy bulkheads and machinery in its
A torpedo fitted with a proximity fuze can be detonated directly under
the keel of a target ship. The explosion creates a gas bubble which
may damage the keel or underside plating of the target. However, the
most destructive part of the explosion is the upthrust of the gas
bubble, which will bodily lift the hull in the water. The structure of
the hull is designed to resist downward rather than upward pressure,
causing severe strain in this phase of the explosion. When the gas
bubble collapses, the hull will tend to fall into the void in the
water, creating a sagging effect. Finally, the weakened hull will be
hit by the uprush of water caused by the collapsing gas bubble,
causing structural failure. On vessels up to the size of a modern
frigate, this can result in the ship breaking in two and sinking. This
effect is likely to prove less catastrophic on a much larger hull, for
instance that of an aircraft carrier.
Control surfaces and hydrodynamics
Control surfaces are essential for a torpedo to maintain its course
and depth. A homing torpedo also needs to be able to outmanoeuvre a
target. Good hydrodynamics are needed for it to attain high speed
efficiently and also to give long range, since the torpedo has limited
Launch platforms and launchers
A Mark 32 Mod 15 Surface Vessel
Torpedo Tube (SVTT) fires a Mark 46
Mod 5 lightweight torpedo
Torpedoes may be launched from submarines, surface ships, helicopters
and fixed-wing aircraft, unmanned naval mines and naval
fortresses. They are also used in conjunction with other weapons;
for example the
Mark 46 torpedo
Mark 46 torpedo used by the
United States is the
warhead section of the
Submarine ROCket) and the CAPTOR
mine (CAPsulated TORpedo) is a submerged sensor platform which
releases a torpedo when a hostile contact is detected.
Amidships quintuple mounting for 21 in (53 cm) torpedoes
World War II
World War II era destroyer USS Charrette
Originally, Whitehead torpedoes were intended for launch underwater
and the firm was upset when they found out the British were launching
them above water, as they considered their torpedoes too delicate for
this. However, the torpedoes survived. The launch tubes could be
fitted in a ship's bow, which weakened it for ramming, or on the
broadside; this introduced problems because of water flow twisting the
torpedo, so guide rails and sleeves were used to prevent it. The
torpedoes were originally ejected from the tubes by compressed air but
later slow burning gunpowder was used.
Torpedo boats originally used a
frame that dropped the torpedo into the sea.
Royal Navy Coastal Motor
World War I
World War I used a rear-facing trough and a cordite ram to
push the torpedoes into the water tail-first; they then had to move
rapidly out of the way to avoid being hit by their own torpedo.
Developed in the run-up to the First World War,
multiple-tube mounts (initially twin, later triple and in WW2 up to
quintuple in some ships) for 21 to 24 in (53 to 61 cm)
torpedoes in rotating turntable mounts appeared. Destroyers could be
found with two or three of these mounts with between five and twelve
tubes in total. The Japanese went one better, covering their tube
mounts with splinter protection and adding reloading gear (both unlike
any other navy in the world), making them true turrets and
increasing the broadside without adding tubes and top hamper (as the
quadruple and quintuple mounts did). Considering their Type 93s very
effective weapons, the IJN equipped their cruisers with torpedoes. The
Germans also equipped their capital ships with torpedoes.
Smaller vessels such as PT boats carried their torpedoes in fixed deck
mounted tubes using compressed air. These were either aligned to fire
forward or at an offset angle from the centerline.
Later, lightweight mounts for 12.75 in (32.4 cm) homing
torpedoes were developed for anti-submarine use consisting of triple
launch tubes used on the decks of ships. These were the 1960 Mk 32
torpedo launcher in the USA and part of STWS (Shipborne
System) in the UK. Later a below-decks launcher was used by the RN.
This basic launch system continues to be used today with improved
torpedoes and fire control systems.
Modern submarines use either swim-out systems or a pulse of water to
discharge the torpedo from the tube, both of which have the advantage
of being significantly quieter than previous systems, helping avoid
detection of the firing from passive sonar. Earlier designs used a
pulse of compressed air or a hydraulic ram.
Early submarines, when they carried torpedoes, were fitted with a
variety of torpedo launching mechanisms in a range of locations; on
the deck, in the bow or stern, amidships, with some launch mechanisms
permitting the torpedo to be aimed over a wide arc. By World War 2,
designs favoured multiple bow tubes and fewer or no stern tubes.
Modern submarine bows are usually occupied by a large sonar array,
necessitating midships tubes angled outward, while stern tubes have
largely disappeared. The first French and Russian submarines carried
their torpedoes externally in Drzewiecki drop collars. These were
cheaper than tubes, but less reliable. Both the
United Kingdom and
United States experimented with external tubes in World War II.
External tubes offered a cheap and easy way of increasing torpedo
capacity without radical redesign, something neither had time or
resources to do prior to, or early in, the war. British T class
submarines carried up to 13 torpedo tubes, up to 5 of them external.
America's use was mainly limited to earlier Porpoise-, Salmon-, and
Sargo-class boats. Until the appearance of the Tambors, most American
submarines only carried 4 bow and either 2 or 4 stern tubes, something
many American submarine officers felt provided inadequate
firepower. This problem was compounded by the
notorious unreliability of the Mark 14 torpedo.
Late in World War II, the U.S. adopted a 16 in (41 cm)
homing torpedo (known as "Cutie") for use against escorts. It was
basically a modified
Mark 24 Mine
Mark 24 Mine with wooden rails to allow firing
from a 21 in (53 cm) torpedo tube.
Aerial torpedoes may be carried by fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters or
missiles. They are launched from the first two at prescribed speeds
and altitudes, dropped from bomb-bays or underwing hardpoints.
Although lightweight torpedoes are fairly easily handled, the
transport and handling of heavyweight ones is difficult, especially in
the small space of a submarine. After the Second World War, some Type
XXI submarines were obtained from Germany by the
United States and
Britain. One of the main novel developments seen was a mechanical
handling system for torpedoes. Such systems were widely adopted as a
result of this discovery.
Classes and diameters
Torpedo tube aboard the French submarine Argonaute
Main article: list of torpedoes by diameter
Torpedoes are launched several ways:
From a torpedo tube mounted either in a trainable deck mount (common
in destroyers), or fixed above or below the waterline of a surface
vessel (as in cruisers, battleships, and armed merchant cruisers) or
Early submarines, and some torpedo boats (such as the U.S. World War
II PT boats, which used the Mark 13 aircraft torpedo) used
deck-mounted "drop collars", which simply relied on gravity.
From shackles aboard low-flying aircraft or helicopters.
As the final stage of a compound rocket or ramjet powered munition
(sometimes called an assisted torpedo).
Many navies have two weights of torpedoes:
A light torpedo used primarily as a close attack weapon, particularly
A heavy torpedo used primarily as a standoff weapon, particularly by
In the case of deck or tube launched torpedoes, the diameter of the
torpedo is obviously a key factor in determining the suitability of a
particular torpedo to a tube or launcher, similar to the caliber of
the gun. The size is not quite as critical as for a gun, but diameter
has become the most common way of classifying torpedoes.
Length, weight, and other factors also contribute to compatibility. In
the case of aircraft launched torpedoes, the key factors are weight,
provision of suitable attachment points, and launch speed. Assisted
torpedoes are the most recent development in torpedo design, and are
normally engineered as an integrated package. Versions for aircraft
and assisted launching have sometimes been based on deck or tube
launched versions, and there has been at least one case of a submarine
torpedo tube being designed to fire an aircraft torpedo.
As in all munition design, there is a compromise between
standardisation, which simplifies manufacture and logistics, and
specialisation, which may make the weapon significantly more
effective. Small improvements in either logistics or effectiveness can
translate into enormous operational advantages.
Mark 30 torpedo
Mark 30 torpedo on display at DCAE Cosford.
Use by various navies
A French Lynx helicopter carrying a Mark 46 torpedo
MU90 Impact triple launcher onboard F221 Hessen, a Sachsen class
frigate of the German Navy.
Malafon torpedo-carrying missile of the 1960s
See also: List of torpedoes
Modern German Navy:
DM2A4 heavyweight torpedo
DM2A3 heavyweight torpedo
MU 90 lightweight impact torpedo
Mark 46 torpedo
Barracuda (supercavitating torpedo)
The torpedoes used by the
World War II
World War II
Imperial Japanese Navy
The torpedoes used by the
Imperial Japanese Navy (World War II)
Type 91 torpedo
Type 92 torpedo
Type 93 torpedo
Type 93 torpedo (Long Lance)
Type 95 torpedo
Type 97 torpedo
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force:
Type 72 torpedo
Type 73 Light Weight torpedo
Type 80 torpedo (G-RX1)
Type 89 torpedo
Type 89 torpedo (G-RX2)
Type 97 Light Weight
Type 12 Light Weight
Takshak (heavy weight torpedo)
Varunastra (heavyweight torpedo)
PLA Navy (China)
See Template:Chinese Torpedoes
Royal Canadian Navy
Torpedoes used by the
Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy include:
MK-48 Mod 7 Advanced Technology (AT) Torpedo
The torpedoes used by the
Royal Navy include:
Mark 8, designed in 1925, last used in action in 1982
Torpedoes used by the
Russian Navy include:
Type 53 torpedo
Type 65 torpedo
VA-111 Shkval torpedo
65-76A 100 km
In April 2015, the Fizik (UGST) heat-seeking torpedo entered service
to replace the wake-homing USET-80 developed in the 1980s and
Futlyar entered service in 2017.
The major torpedoes in the
United States Navy
United States Navy inventory are:
the Mark 46 lightweight
the Mark 48 heavyweight torpedo
the Mark 50 advanced lightweight
the Mark 54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedo
the Mark 60 Encapsulated
Torpedo (CAPTOR), a moored anti-submarine
mine that releases a torpedo as its warhead
Autonomous Underwater Vehicle
List of torpedoes
André Rebouças, who supposedly developed a torpedo in the Paraguayan
This article incorporates text from Overland monthly and Out
West magazine, by Bret Harte, a publication from 1886 now in the
public domain in the United States.
^ Partington, James Riddick (1999), A History of Greek Fire and
Gunpowder, Johns Hopkins University Press, p. 203,
^ a b Lossing, Benson (1868). The Pictorial Field-Book of the War of
1812. Harper & Brothers, Publishers. pp. 240–243,
^ Gray, Edwyn. Nineteenth Century Torpedoes and Their Inventors. Naval
Institute Press, 2004.
^ Cristian Crăciunoiu, Romanian Navy
Torpedo Boats, p. 19
^ Lawrence Sondhaus, Navies of Europe, p. 9
^ Edwyn Gray, The Devil's Device the Story of Robert Whitehead,
Inventor of the
^ Katherine C. Epstein, Torpedo: Inventing the Military-Industrial
Complex in the
United States and Great Britain (Harvard University
^ The Whitehead Torpedo, notes on handling etc., U.S.N., 1890
^ "Artifact Spotlight: Whitehead torpedo" (PDF). Archived from the
original (PDF) on May 12, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2012.
^ Gray, Edwyn (2004). Nineteenth-Century Torpedoes and Their
Inventors. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-341-1.
^ National Archive in WO32/6064 In minute to Director of Artillery
from Inspector General of Fortifications.
^ a b The Brennan
Torpedo by Alec Beanse EAN 978-0-9548453-6-0
^ Greene, Jack; Massignani, Alessandro (1997). Ironclads At War: The
Origin And Development Of The Armored Battleship. De Capo Press.
p. 290. ISBN 0786742984.
^ Bret Harte (1886). Overland monthly and Out West magazine. SAN
FRANCISCO: NO. 120 SUTTER STREET: A. Roman & Company. p. 425.
Retrieved February 19, 2011. (Original from the University of
^ John King Fairbank (1980). Late Ch'ing, 1800–1911 Volume 11, Part
2 of The Cambridge History of China Series, Denis Crispin Twitchett.
Cambridge University Press. p. 249. ISBN 0-521-22029-7.
Retrieved February 19, 2011.
^ Jane E. Elliott (2002). Some did it for civilisation, some did it
for their country: a revised view of the boxer war. Chinese University
Press. p. 204. ISBN 962-996-066-4. Retrieved
^ Olender p. 233
^ Olender p. 236
^ Olender p. 234
^ Olender p. 235
^ Olender p. 225
^ a b Hopkins, Albert Allis. The Scientific American War Book: The
Mechanism and Technique of War, Chapter XLV: Aerial Torpedoes and
Torpedo Mines. Munn & Company, Incorporated, 1915
^ US patent 1032394, Bradley A. Fiske, "Method of and apparatus for
delivering submarine torpedoes from airships", issued 1912-07-16
^ Hart, Albert Bushnell. Harper's pictorial library of the world war,
Volume 4. Harper, 1920, p. 335.
^ The New York Times, July 23, 1915. "
Torpedo Boat That Flies. Admiral
Fiske Invents a Craft to Attack Fleets in Harbors" Retrieved on
September 29, 2009.
^ Norman Polmar (2008).
Aircraft Carriers: A History of Carrier
Aviation and Its Influence on World Events, Volume II: 1946-2006.
Potomac Books, Inc. p. 16.
^ C. H. Barnes (1967). Shorts
Aircraft Since 1900. London: Putnam.
^ Guinness Book of Air Facts and Feats (3rd ed.). 1977. The first air
attack using a torpedo dropped by an aeroplane was carried out by
Flight Commander Charles H. K. Edmonds, flying a Short 184 seaplane
from Ben-my-Chree on 12 August 1915, against a 5,000 ton Turkish
supply ship in the Sea of Marmara. Although the enemy ship was hit and
sunk, the captain of a British submarine claimed to have fired a
torpedo simultaneously and sunk the ship. It was further stated that
the British submarine E14 had attacked and immobilised the ship four
^ Bruce, J.M. "The Short Seaplanes: Historic Military
Aircraft No. 14:
Part 3". Flight, 28 December 1956, p. 1000
^ The war's top ace used them exclusively, and stuck religiously to
the "cruiser rules"
^ a b Morison, Samuel Eliot. History of
United States Naval Operations
in World War II: Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier (New York, 1950),
^ Google Books listing of p.195.
^ Blair, p. 20.
^ Battle Off Samar
^ Faltum, Andrew (1996). The Essex
Aircraft Carriers. Baltimore,
Maryland: The Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of America.
pp. 125–126. ISBN 1-877853-26-7.
^ Premijera hrvatskog minitorpeda by Stjepan Bernadić Kula (in
^ "The Development of Rocket-propelled Torpedoes", by Geoff Kirby
^ Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. "Bliss-Leavitt", in The Illustrated
Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare (London: Phoebus,
1978), Volume 4, p.386.
^ Beach, Edward L., Jr., Captain, USN (rtd). Run Silent, Run Deep.
^ The British called theirs the "fruit machine".
^ Beach describes it well in Run Silent, Run Deep.
^ The Attack
Submarine suggests shorter patrols actually improve
^ "U-boat Archive - Interrogation of U-Boat Survivors - Cumulative
Edition". Retrieved 2017-04-13.
^ "TO TEST HAMMOND TORPEDO; General Wood Named as Head of Board to
Pass Judgment on Invention". The New York Times. 29 August 1916.
Torpedo Controlled By Radio After Striking Water" Popular
Mechanics, February 1930
^ Osborn, Kris (28 September 2016). "The US Navy's Master Plan to Save
Aircraft Carriers from Lethal
Torpedo Attacks". nationalinterest.org.
The National Interest. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
^ a b Branfill-Cook, Roger (2014). Torpedo: The Complete History of
the World's Most Revolutionary Naval Weapon. Seaforth Publishing.
p. 157. ISBN 978-1848322158.
^ "WW2 Memories - World War 2 -
Second World War
Second World War - Dartmouth Museum:
Dartmouth Harbour was defended by
Torpedo Tubes". Dartmouth Museum.
Retrieved 2 April 2012. Never fired in anger, a fixed torpedo tube
battery was built on the east of the harbour mouth, just up river from
Kingswear Castle. The intent was to defend the river Dart.
^ Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons and
Warfare (London: Phoebus, 1978), Volume 10, p.1040, "Fubuki"; Preston,
^ Blair, Clay, Jr. Silent Victory (Lippencott, 1975); Lockwood,
Charles A., Admiral. Hellcats of the Sea.
^ NSTL achievements
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Torpedoes.
"Modern Torpedoes And Countermeasures", by Austin Joseph, Bharat
Rakshak Monitor, Volume 3(4) January–February 2001.
File Torpedoes: Mark 46, Mark 48, Mark 50, the source of the
US Navy torpedo data (via the Internet Archive)
US Navy – Fact File:
Torpedo - Mark 46
US Navy – Fact File: Heavyweight
Torpedo - Mark 48
US Navy – Fact File:
Torpedo - Mark 50
US Navy – Fact File:
Torpedo - Mark 54
"A History of the
Torpedo The Early Days"
Torpedo History" Geoff Kirby (1972)
Rocket Torpedoes" Geoff Kirby (2000)
Torpedo Display, US Naval Undersea Museum
Torpedo Collection, US Naval Undersea Museum
1890-07-26: THE SIMS - EDISON ELECTRIC TORPEDO - THE TORPEDO AT FULL
SPEED - SECTIONAL VIEW OF THE TORPEDO
Torpedo Bombers To Batter the Axis, September 1942, Popular
Science illustration at bottom of page 94 shows how Whitehead's so
called "secret unit" (i.e., the Pendulum mechanism) kept a torpedo
level after entering the water, which made the self-propelled torpedo
Torture Test For Tin Fishes August 1944 article on testing US
torpedoes - detailed photos
American Civil War
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