Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Spitfire addict

Type 18-1 USN torpedos, why so ineffective?

Recommended Posts

Hey guys, as an aircraft guy I am figuratively speaking as a fish out of water on maritime/naval topics but had just finished "Clear The Decks" by Medal of Honor winner Captain Dick O'Kane (an amazing read by the way) and was shocked to learn right at the end that the Tang was sunk by its own torpedo!  He speculated that the destroyer guys liked the fact that the circling torpedo might have a chance of striking a ship in battle. Despite this, it seems the American torpedos were problematic through most of the war with antiquated or ineffective guidance and propulsion systems, bad detonators (from all accounts early on in the war the torpedos would porpoise and/or just bounce off the sides of Japanese ships, which had they been sunk would have shortened the war effort?) and other problems. I have a second query, I would love to build a model of the same class submarine as the Tang. Any model recommended? My dad was a navy man so I decided to research the naval side of the war, especially the submarine force. I recently visited the submariners memorial at Naval Supply Station Seal Beach, it was very sobering and only increased my appreciation of a force that seems to not get much ink. I guess the aviators were the glamor boys, but they could use a parachute, (no disrespect intended) but very few submariners ever escaped from a sunken sub. Anyway, any help on these topics would be great.


Spitfire Addict

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

to answer your question , in test firings - and combat reports ( and Ultra decoding ) only by late 1943  !!!- did the US navy finally remedy the problems with them


if you want a good US Submarine Book - get Hellcats of the Sea by Lockwood , it details the unknown submarine attacks in the sea of Japan in early 1945

when they discovered how to penetrate the enemy minefields ( you learn how ) - and if you want a British one ..

get Unbroken by Alastair Mars ( pan books ) that's a terrific and totally true book written in the early 1950's , so it has a total authenticity


now as regards a Model - this seems to be your best bet -


and is in 1/72 scale ( Gato and Balao Classes were similar )

remember in submarines bigger is better !!



and this link talks about the Model options



and if you want etch



and an in-depth build feature ( the good points and the full details )




Edited by 73north

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for the great info. In the after action report produced by Dick O'Kane after repatriation from Japan there was no record of an attempt to dive and miss the torpedo which was set for running at 6' depth. I imagine that since the sub fired its last two torpedos (which up until the last two all ran true) the circle was too tight to submerge to an adequate depth to avoide it. Consequently O'Kane mentions one similar incident occurring to a Royal Navy submarine as well as a RAN submarine. As to the model, I would have to say that I have just enough room for it so it is at the top of my list. I would like to paint it in the disruptive cammoflage used by the Tang on its last two tours of duty. I believe there is a Gato class sub in San Francisco harbor where tours of the boat are provided.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want a good book on the US submarine war then get a hold of a copy of Silent Victory by Clay Blair Jr. as it's still regarded as the book on the subject. It's a bit of a door stop but it's in a good, highly readable style which makes it easier to digest all the information. The problem with the USN's torpedoes get's extensive coverage in it.



Edited by MikeR

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now