View Full Version : torpedoman

08-22-2005, 05:08 PM
Are there any ex-Navy torpedomen out there? I am searching for some answers to tech questions for a novel I'm writing. I don't have Clancy's research staff.


08-22-2005, 05:15 PM
I heard the fuel makes a good booze,never tried it though.

The tame Wolf !

08-22-2005, 05:35 PM
I know a torpedo officer from a Balao class boat. He's a bit old to be playing with bulletin boards himself, but he'll probably answer questions if I forward them.

08-22-2005, 10:15 PM
I work with an ex-torpedo man. I think he served two or three hitches. He enjoys talking about his navy days. I'm sure he'd love to discuss details with you.

...or at least I think he would. Email me and I'll pass along your email to him.

[This message has been edited by lynnl (edited 08-22-2005).]

George Seal
08-23-2005, 12:13 AM
X torpedoman
surface Navy
1961 - 1970


Mk 44 & Mk46

Remember the early bird gets the worm, BUT it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.

08-23-2005, 09:21 AM
What would you like to know, I have access to torpedo and sonar info, new and old.

08-23-2005, 12:04 PM
Okay, gang, here's the scenario: would it be possible to load and launch a torpedo, from today's arsenal, from a WWII fleet sub? Specifically a Gato class. If possible, what modifications need to happen. I'm not looking for specific details, just a fairly specific overview that can be integrated into the story line.

No, you're not gonna get rich. but, if you identify yourself, to me, you will get a credit when/if the book is published.

Thanks to all of you who have responded.

08-23-2005, 12:26 PM
Well, the Gato class and the Los Angeles class both have 21" tubes so I'd guess the sticking point would be the fire control system.

08-23-2005, 03:21 PM
Per my co-worker ex TM-1:
"Both use a 21" tube. You could load a MK 48 or ADCAP, but you'll have no wire guidance and the Fire Control might not work." It could also be launched by 'impulse', but not sure if the gyros would kick off and the motor would start.

08-23-2005, 04:17 PM
How about length? I don't know the length of a WWII torpedo but, doesn't that Mk-48 run about 19'?

If the darned thing will fit in the tube, poetic license ( within reason ) and the crew can handle making it work.

By impulse launching, do you mean launching with comprerssed air?


08-23-2005, 04:29 PM
Yea, impluse is compressed air.

So, if the new torps have backup gyros, you could take the cover off, set the gyro manually, 'cobble' some way to start the motor, get it running in the tube (big no-no) then chuck it out using air. Just don't forget to open outter doors first.

just a thought..?

08-23-2005, 04:44 PM
I used to service equipment on the boats and ships at CFB Esquimalt when I lived in Victoria in the 70's. The RCN had at the time a Tench class boat (HMCS Rainbow) which is exactly the same as the GATO class. One of my co-workers was a submariner. The torpedos for US, Canadian and GB subs all fit the same size envelope since WWII which is 21" x 246" or shorter.

I don't know anything about the fire control system but I bet a nickel you can't fire a MK48 torpedo with a MK3 FCS system from a Gato class. Or, maybe you can.

08-23-2005, 06:18 PM
I rercently toured the USS Tucson (SSN 770) and and in the forward torpedo room I questioned the torpedoman in charge about the tubes which appeared to be Identical to those from WWII. I was told that they are identical and that" we have not been able to improve on that design". This vessel also can lauch a tube launched Tomahawk missile from these tubes. Hope this helps.
TD midget

08-23-2005, 07:13 PM
I stand to be corected, butI think the last time any one did any good old torpedoing
was in the Falkland War .
Nuclear sub sunk the Belgrano with good old fashioned conventional unguided torpedoes.
Got the impression that there was a good enough chance that the wire guided torpedoes of the 1980s would score an own goal so they were much happier using the WW2 technology.

[This message has been edited by thistle (edited 08-23-2005).]

08-23-2005, 08:00 PM
You people are awsome!! My humble thanks go to you all.

I know that, under normal circumstances, a torpedo is fired electrically. Is there an electrical connection to the weapon?

Thanks, again,

If your data is anomolous, you've more digging to do...

[This message has been edited by pockets (edited 08-23-2005).]

08-24-2005, 12:49 AM
I wouldn't be at all suprised if the fire control system is backward compatible to older torps on new subs. Forward compatible is another story (unlikely).

08-24-2005, 01:53 PM
You can read the US Navy's training info for the WWII fleet sub including torp tubes here:


While this probably won't directly answer your question it might help narrow down the specifics (and is cool reading, to boot)

08-24-2005, 09:59 PM
Lunkenheimer, OMG, thanks for that link. Even if my specific answer isn't in there, It is going to make my writingmuch easier and the reasin, thereof, so much more believeable.


If your data is anomolous, you've more digging to do...

08-25-2005, 08:49 AM

08-25-2005, 09:07 AM

08-25-2005, 02:18 PM
Glad to help. I think I first heard about that site on this board, so it's karma of a sort....
Good luck with the book.

08-25-2005, 03:46 PM
Thanks...,thanks to all of you. You have provided me with the answers to my questions and much more.

If you're data is anomalous, you've more digging to do.

John Lawson
08-25-2005, 06:40 PM
I have a friend, a machinery salesman, who innocently asked such a question of a sailor when he was on his way to Bremerton to make a sales call. He found himself getting the 31st degree from Navy Intelligence officers within the hour.

08-25-2005, 07:01 PM

08-25-2005, 09:34 PM
Ooooh, don't get me started. It would be way OT.

There is no doubt that the research I have done for this book has thrown a few flags at Homeland Security. However, I have done nothing obtuse. If they choose to be THAT anal retentive, I suppose that's what we pay 'em for.

If you're data is anomalous, you've more digging to do.

08-26-2005, 08:52 AM
I posted this Q at another forum where some ex-nukes (and others) hang out. They tend to be very well informed compared to most other places I've visited.

The thread is here:
http://p074.ezboard.com/fhistorypoliticsandcurrentaffairs68862frm9.showMes sage?topicID=1902.topic

In essence, it might launch, but from there the information gets into finger-breaking territory, as has been pointed out.

Hope this helps


At a certain point in the course of any project, it comes time to shoot the engineers and build the damn thing.

08-26-2005, 11:52 AM
This is somewhat discouraging, but, poetic license can overcome any number of technical issues. Just look at McGyver!

I used to use the same signature...LOL

If you're data is anomalous, you've more digging to do.

08-26-2005, 12:45 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by pockets:
This is somewhat discouraging, but, poetic license can overcome any number of technical issues. Just look at McGyver!

I used to use the same signature...LOL


You don't have a reading audience if they are unable to suspend disbelief. Write it - anyway, those folks who know enough to scoff can't admit out loud for fear of their fingers being broken. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

08-26-2005, 01:12 PM
Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine published an article in their fact section during WWII speculating on the design of an atomic weapon shortly before they were used in Japan. The editor, John Campbell, very shortly had a vist from the guys with the skinny ties to find out where the leak was. No leak, just forward thinking and writing using publicly available information. Analog did it again in the 70's when they published a do-it-yourself guide to building a super low tech atomic weapon in your basement. Completely feasible if you can obtain the fissionables. This prompted another visit and a close examination of the law to see if they could be prosecuted. They weren't.

08-26-2005, 02:24 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by pockets:
[B]This is somewhat discouraging, but, poetic license can overcome any number of technical issues. Just look at McGyver!

Technical and historical inaccuracies in a story always bug me. But that's just me. Shakespeare didn't let little things like that bother him, and his stories seem to have done ok.

08-26-2005, 05:01 PM
Thanks for the kind words of support. I have to sort through all of this info and separate what's necessary from what is merely cool, blend in a little fantasy and get it on paper.

Again, thanks to all of you who have responded to a post that is WAY off topic for this board. Thank's also to the Moderator, who let it run. Say hi to Clover for me.


If you're data is anomalous, you've more digging to do.