New London, Connecticut

New LondonNew London, CTNew London, Conn.
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 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 be destroyed." For several decades beginning in the early 19th century, New London was one of the three busiest whaling ports in the world, along with Nantucket and New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Ironclad warship

ironcladironcladsbroadside ironclad
Navy converted four of its monitors to become turretless armored spar-torpedo vessels while under construction in 1864–5, but these vessels never saw action. Another proposal, the towed or 'Harvey' torpedo, involved an explosive on a line or outrigger; either to deter a ship from ramming or to make a torpedo attack by a boat less suicidal. A more practical and influential weapon was the self-propelled or Whitehead torpedo. Invented in 1868 and deployed in the 1870s, the Whitehead torpedo formed part of the armament of ironclads of the 1880s like HMS Inflexible and the Italian Caio Duilio and.

John Louis Lay

John Lay
In 1880, he produced an improved version — the Lay-Haight Torpedo. This used a 3-cylinder Brotherhood engine fuelled by carbon dioxide. The Lay torpedo was one of several designs tested at the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport, Rhode Island. Lay torpedoes were also acquired by Peru for use in the War of the Pacific, but proved unsuccessful. On 28 August 1879 at Antofagasta the ironclad Huáscar, while engaging shore batteries and the ships, Magellan and Limarí launched a Lay torpedo only to have it reverse course. The ship was saved when an officer jumped overboard to divert it. Lay's inventions made him a rich man, but he lost it all in speculation, and he spent his final years in poverty.


FiumeRijeka, CroatiaSveti Kuzam
Tvornica "Torpedo" (the Torpedo factory). The first European prototypes of a self-propelled torpedo, created by Giovanni Luppis, a retired naval engineer from Rijeka. The remains of this factory still exist, including a well-preserved launch ramp used for testing self-propelled torpedoes on which in 1866 the first torpedo was tested. The Croatian National Theatre building. Officially opened in October 1885, the grand theatre building includes work by the famous Venetian sculptor August Benvenuti and ceiling artist Franz Matsch, who collaborated with Ernst and Gustav Klimt. Svetište Majke Božje Trsatske – the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Trsat.


dreadnought battleshipsuper-dreadnoughtdreadnoughts
Many early dreadnoughts carried a secondary armament of very light guns designed to fend off enemy torpedo boats. The calibre and weight of secondary armament tended to increase, as the range of torpedoes and the staying power of the torpedo boats and destroyers expected to carry them also increased. From the end of World War I onwards, battleships had to be equipped with many light guns as anti-aircraft armament. Dreadnoughts frequently carried torpedo tubes themselves. In theory, a line of battleships so equipped could unleash a devastating volley of torpedoes on an enemy line steaming a parallel course.


Greenock, ScotlandGreenock, InverclydeGreenock, Renfrewshire
The land to the west of this was common ground for inhabitants of the town, but in 1907 the Admiralty compulsorily purchased part of this land for a torpedo factory. The remaining space was handed over to Greenock Corporation in 1914 as a public park. The Clyde Torpedo Factory, which opened in 1910, with 700 workers transferred from the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. The site was tasked with designing and testing of torpedoes. These were then tested in Loch Long. During the Second World War the site switched entirely to manufacturing torpedoes. The original gun battery site was occupied by the Navy Buildings, the main offices, just to the east of the torpedo factory buildings.

Ludwig Obry

. * Ludwig Obry's US Patent for a "Device For Starting Torpedoes"

Short Type 184

Short 184Short Admiralty Type 184Type 184
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. However, the ship had already been crippled by a torpedo fired by the British submarine E14. However, on 17 August 1915, another Turkish ship was sunk by a torpedo of whose origin there was no doubt. On this occasion Flight Commander Edmonds torpedoed 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.


warshipsshipswar ship
Torpedo boat, a small, fast surface vessel designed for launching torpedoes. Trireme, an ancient warship propelled by three banks of oars.

Torpedo bomber

torpedo planetorpedo bomberstorpedo-bomber
The torpedoes in use during the early 20th century travelled under water at about 40 kn – a speed easily matched by destroyers and even fast battleships which could make 32 kn. Consequently, a skillful captain could often evade torpedoes. For instance, when came under attack on 10 December 1941, she avoided 19 torpedoes, before Japanese aircraft attacked simultaneously from both forward quarters. Caltech developed the 5 in "Holy Moses" High Velocity Aircraft Rocket, with a 24 lb warhead for the US Navy. It was rushed to Europe for use on D-Day and later used by Navy aircraft in the Pacific.


destroyerstorpedo boat destroyertorpedo-boat destroyer
They were originally developed in the late 19th century by Fernando Villaamil for the Spanish Navy as a defense against torpedo boats, and by the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, these "torpedo boat destroyers" (TBDs) were "large, swift, and powerfully armed torpedo boats designed to destroy other torpedo boats". Although the term "destroyer" had been used interchangeably with "TBD" and "torpedo boat destroyer" by navies since 1892, the term "torpedo boat destroyer" had been generally shortened to simply "destroyer" by nearly all navies by the First World War.

Type 93 torpedo

Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedoType 93Type 93 Long Lance torpedo
The warhead of the Type 93 torpedo was 480 kg (the same as the 1 ton 406 mm gun of an Imperial Japanese battleship), increased to 1.6 tons for Kaiten. The Type 93 torpedo is 9.61 meters long and weighs about three tons, while the Kaiten was 15 meters long and weighed 8 tons. The maximum speed of the Type 93 was 52 kn and range 22000 m. The Kaiten had a range 23000 m at 30 knots, 70000 m at 12 knots. The Kaiten had a stable slow cruising capability just beneath the surface. The Type 93 had a maximum range of 40 km at 38 kn with a 490 kg high explosive warhead. Its long range, high speed, and heavy warheads provided a formidable punch in surface battles. In contrast, the U.S.

Mark 14 torpedo

Mark 14Mark XIVMark XIV torpedo
The Mark 14 torpedo tended to run some 10 ft too deep for several reasons. The first was that it was tested with an exercise warhead that was more buoyant than the warhead; that was a precaution made to avoid losing an expensive torpedo. A light exercise head made the torpedo positively buoyant, so it would float to the surface at the end of its run. The live warhead contained more mass, so it reached equilibrium at a lower depth. Also, the depth mechanism was designed prior to the warhead's explosive charge being increased, making the torpedo even heavier overall. "Testing conditions became more and more unrealistic, obscuring the effect of the heavier warhead on depth performance."


explosiveshigh explosiveHE
Increased load density also permits the use of more explosive, thereby increasing the power of the warhead. It is possible to compress an explosive beyond a point of sensitivity, known also as dead-pressing, in which the material is no longer capable of being reliably initiated, if at all. Volatility is the readiness with which a substance vaporizes. Excessive volatility often results in the development of pressure within rounds of ammunition and separation of mixtures into their constituents. Volatility affects the chemical composition of the explosive such that a marked reduction in stability may occur, which results in an increase in the danger of handling.

Louis Brennan

BrennanBrennan helicopter
Brennan invented the idea of a steerable torpedo in 1874, from observing that if a thread is pulled on a reel at an angle with suitable leverage, the reel will move away from the thread side. Brennan spent some years working out his invention, and received a grant of £700 from the Victorian government towards his expenses. He patented the Brennan Torpedo in 1877. The idea was trialled at Camden Fort near Crosshaven, Cork, Ireland. Brennan went to England in 1880 and brought his invention before the War Office.

PT boat

PT boatspatrol torpedo boatPT
The primary anti-ship armament was two to four Mark 8 torpedoes, which weighed 2600 lb and contained a 466 lb TNT warhead. These torpedoes were launched by Mark 18 21 in steel torpedo tubes. Mark 8 torpedoes had a range of 16000 yd at 36 knots. These torpedoes and tubes were replaced in mid-1943 by four lightweight 22.5 in Mark 13 torpedoes, which weighed 2216 lb and contained a 600 lb Torpex-filled warhead. These torpedoes were carried on lightweight Mark 1 roll-off style torpedo launching racks. The Mk13 torpedo had a range of 6300 yd and a speed of 33.5 knots. PT boats were also well armed with numerous automatic weapons.

Mark 6 exploder

Mark VI exploderMark 6Mark 6 magnetic pistol
The Mark 6 exploder was a United States Navy torpedo exploder developed in the 1920s. It was the standard exploder of the Navy's Mark 14 torpedo. Early torpedoes used contact exploders. A typical exploder had a firing pin that stuck out from the warhead and was restrained by a transverse shear pin. The torpedo would hit the target with enough energy to break the shear pin and allow the firing pin to strike a percussion cap that ultimately detonated the warhead. An arming impeller was an additional safety device: the firing pin could not move until the torpedo had traveled a preset distance.

John Isaac Thornycroft

John ThornycroftSir John Isaac ThornycroftSir John Thornycroft
Besides the yacht sales, Thornycroft found an even more lucrative business building torpedo boats. It started with for Norway in 1873, a light vessel built of thin steel plates. The early torpedo boats were designed for spar torpedoes, but when a new generation of self-propelled torpedoes arrived from Whitehead in 1876, the torpedo boat really found its form. Thornycroft designed HMS Lightning for the Royal Navy, on the lines of Gitana, and orders started mounting. John Thornycroft was not the only supplier of torpedo boats, but his influence was so big that the Encyclopedia of Ships and Shipping characterised him as the founder of the torpedo-boat industry.

Type 91 torpedo

Type 91Type 91 aerial torpedolong lance
So the Noma system was adopted for the next production version of Type91 and it went into final testing in August 1941, making practical the use of aerial torpedoes both in rough seas and in shallow waters. It enabled the Type91rev.2 to run under water no deeper than 20 meters, with experienced pilots learning to launch their torpedo so as to sink to a depth of no more than 10 meters. The anti-rolling controller also made it possible for the Type91 to carry a heavier warhead. The Type91rev.1 warhead weighed 213.5 kg with a high explosive charge of 149.5 kg, but the rev.2 warhead weighed 276 kg with 204 kg of high explosive.

Magnetic pistol

magnetic influenceMagnetic Explodermagnetic
A contact pistol on a torpedo will require the torpedo to strike the side of the ship. Any hole created by the explosion will be closer towards the waterline, reducing flooding. The explosion will also dissipate into the air, reducing the damage. If the torpedo is fired too deep, the torpedo will not hit the ship. If the ship has a round or sloping bottom, the torpedo may glance off the bottom and not detonate. In World War I, German U-boats were using magnetic pistols by 1917, but it would not be until 1918 that Britain would find examples of these while salvaging U-boat SM UB-110. They proved problematic, often firing prematurely.

Crimean War

CrimeaCrimea WarCrimean
One account dates modern naval mining from the Crimean War: "Torpedo mines, if I may use this name given by Fulton to self-acting mines underwater, were among the novelties attempted by the Russians in their defences about Cronstadt and Sevastopol", as one American officer put it in 1860. For the campaign of 1856, Britain and France planned an attack on the main base of the Russian Navy in the Baltic sea - Kronstadt. The attack was to be carried out using armored floating batteries. The use of the latter proved to be highly effective in attacking the sea fortress of Kinburn on the Black sea in 1855.

George Antheil

AntheilAntheil, GeorgeGeorge Anthiel
He suggested glandular extracts, but their conversation then moved on to torpedoes. During World War II Lamarr, who was fiercely pro-American, realized that a single radio-controlled torpedo could severely damage or sink enemy ships causing irreparable damage. However these radio-controlled torpedoes could easily be detected and jammed, by broadcasting interference at the frequency of the control signal, thereby causing the torpedo to go off course.


coaxial contra-rotatingcontra-rotating propellerscontra-rotation
Torpedoes have commonly used contra-rotating propellers to give the maximum possible speed within a limited diameter as well as counteracting the torque that would otherwise tend to cause the torpedo to rotate around its own longitudinal axis. Contra-rotating propellers are used on torpedoes due to the natural torque compensation and are also used in some motor boats. The cost of boring out the outer shafts and problems of mounting the inner shaft bearings are not worth pursuing in case of normal ships. * Use in marine propulsion * Two Propellers in Tandem Turning in Opposite Ways Give Warplane New Speed'' The propeller-induced heeling moment is compensated (negligible for larger ships).

MAS (motorboat)

MASMAS boatsMAS torpedo boats
Motor torpedo boats. E-boat. MTSM motor torpedo boat. Italian Navy site Pictures of MAS boats amongst other historical Italian ships. "MAS, VAS and MS", by Pierluigi Malvezzi in the "Regia Marina Italiana" website.

Nikola Tesla

TeslaNicola TeslaTesla, Nikola
Tesla tried to sell his idea to the US military as a type of radio-controlled torpedo, but they showed little interest. Remote radio control remained a novelty until World War I and afterward, when a number of countries used it in military programs. Tesla took the opportunity to further demonstrate "Teleautomatics" in an address to a meeting of the Commercial Club in Chicago, while he was travelling to Colorado Springs, on 13 May 1899. From the 1890s through 1906, Tesla spent a great deal of his time and fortune on a series of projects trying to develop the transmission of electrical power without wires.