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Brhinosaurus

How were DD torpedos reloaded?

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What was the procedure for reloading a torpedo tube on a WWII era destroyer?  No doubt the crew were not scrambling around on the deck during all-out gunfights and wild maneuvering, loading a new group of torps every 90 seconds... but how was it done? How long did it really take, and was it possible in anything resembling battle conditions?

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well, only a few actually carried reloads, most had to return to port to reload torps

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Only the Japanese specialized in quick rearm, but even then, they only carried one more set. I heard once the US DDs got near battle, they dropped their torpedoes to lessen the risk of exploding when the mounts were hit. @Doomlock or one of his friends (I remember it was german, I'm so sorry).

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7 minutes ago, Unabletony said:

@Doomlock or one of his friends (I remember it was german, I'm so sorry).

I have been summoned. 
 

dseehafer has mentioned that most torpedo laden ships had reloads. However I believe only the IJN would reload in combat. Most would wait either till the end of combat, or port to rearm. 

 

During the Battle off Samar, Lieutenant Commander Ernest E. Evens ordered that he would not go down with his torpedoes still onboard.

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Most could not reload torpedoes. It was mainly select Japanese destroyers that could do it, and as previously stated, they only carried one extra set.

 

This is what the torpedo reload storage boxes looked like (taken from Shiratsuyu on the PTS, bow is to the left):

FL7lAbO.png

 

To reload, the destroyer withdrew from the battle, aligned the launcher with the torpedo storage box, and the crew used a winch system to pull the torpedo out of storage and into the launcher tube. (In the case of the forward launcher, it had to be aligned twice, once to reload the two torpedoes on one side of the aft funnel, then to the other side to reload those two torpedoes.)

 

There was a report done on this by the US Navy right after the war, and despite having initially found it a few months ago, I can't find it again, but it did state that under ideal conditions with a well-trained crew and no problems, they could reload the launchers in as little as 3 minutes. In more typical conditions, it would take closer to a half hour, but they were the only nation that did it in battle. The US and other nations had to go back to port to reload, and they used the little jib cranes you can see near the launcher, as this torpedo manual illustrates.

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It's mainly an IJN thing to carry lots of torpedoes, because it was one of their many trump cards.

Spoiler

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IJN DDs carried extra torps in storage racks, but quick reloading of them wasn't a thing until Hatsuharu.

Hatsuharu was the first ship to carry the "Torpedo Quick Reloader Device". (which will be referred to as "TQRD" hence forth)
With the TQRD, Torpedoes could be reloaded in under 20 minutes and even down to 5 minutes, conditions permitting. Before TQRD was invented, reloading torpedoes out at sea could take a full day, especially if the sea conditions were bad and even with the help of cranes mounted on the ship.

Many IJN cruisers were refitted with the TQRD when they were modernized, but older DDs were not retrofitted with them. At least, I haven't seen or read anything that suggests otherwise. Shimakaze did not feature any torpedo reloads at all, as it was felt that 15 torps would have been enough for a single sortie.

I don't think other nations bothered with torpedo reloads out at sea, due to various reasons.

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11 minutes ago, dmckay said:

Very interesting topic. :Smile_honoring:

I quoted myself!  In this arcade game most seem to think IRL you could torp like every minute or so.  Not true IRL nor WWII..  Good stuff.  Very good about the Japanese also.  I have NEVER seen this info before posted here.  Good......good info bout truth. 

 

Torps to the front of me,

Torps to the right of me,

Torps to the left!

Volleyed and thundered.

But bravely I sailed,

Into the jaws of death....into the mouth of hell!

 

Hmmmmmm.......maybe not so true IRL.

 

Das Boot shows just how hard it could be unless you had the twist on your target.  Cool surface torp attack. 

Edited by dmckay

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1 hour ago, PelicanHazard said:

Most could not reload torpedoes. It was mainly select Japanese destroyers that could do it, and as previously stated, they only carried one extra set.

 

This is what the torpedo reload storage boxes looked like (taken from Shiratsuyu on the PTS, bow is to the left):

FL7lAbO.png

 

To reload, the destroyer withdrew from the battle, aligned the launcher with the torpedo storage box, and the crew used a winch system to pull the torpedo out of storage and into the launcher tube. (In the case of the forward launcher, it had to be aligned twice, once to reload the two torpedoes on one side of the aft funnel, then to the other side to reload those two torpedoes.)

 

There was a report done on this by the US Navy right after the war, and despite having initially found it a few months ago, I can't find it again, but it did state that under ideal conditions with a well-trained crew and no problems, they could reload the launchers in as little as 3 minutes. In more typical conditions, it would take closer to a half hour, but they were the only nation that did it in battle. The US and other nations had to go back to port to reload, and they used the little jib cranes you can see near the launcher, as this torpedo manual illustrates.

 

37 minutes ago, MrDeaf said:

It's mainly an IJN thing to carry lots of torpedoes, because it was one of their many trump cards.

  Hide contents

3EjjTJa.jpg

kCxb8Rf.jpg

sid64TL.jpg

k9sjLfb.jpg

2B6DvEY.jpg

Qqu0L3c.jpg

QpGebt4.jpg

WtfQUCo.jpg

olYs2gu.jpg

IJN DDs carried extra torps in storage racks, but quick reloading of them wasn't a thing until Hatsuharu.

Hatsuharu was the first ship to carry the "Torpedo Quick Reloader Device". (which will be referred to as "TQRD" hence forth)
With the TQRD, Torpedoes could be reloaded in under 20 minutes and even down to 5 minutes, conditions permitting. Before TQRD was invented, reloading torpedoes out at sea could take a full day, especially if the sea conditions were bad and even with the help of cranes mounted on the ship.

Many IJN cruisers were refitted with the TQRD when they were modernized, but older DDs were not retrofitted with them. At least, I haven't seen or read anything that suggests otherwise. Shimakaze did not feature any torpedo reloads at all, as it was felt that 15 torps would have been enough for a single sortie.

I don't think other nations bothered with torpedo reloads out at sea, due to various reasons.

sn5SJubqwFEQRPMV6O8zB2yBhchwhUHG3Q33QQjj

 

I'm out of +1s for today, so here's a manual one.

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This is how the US did it:

fig011.jpg

A US DD might have a few spare torpedoes aboard, but these would have taken an hour or more to move and reload into the tubes.  During WW 2, US DD's, like those of most nations, gave up torpedo tubes for AA or ASW weapons as it became more and more obvious torpedoes were not the decisive weapon they were thought to be pre-war.

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Oh good, a new twist on a fishy subject that is actually interesting and thoughtful. 

+1 to OP.

Many thanks to all for replies, as I am a WWII aviation buff, this ship stuff is interesting too.

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3 hours ago, Doomlock said:

I have been summoned. 
 

dseehafer has mentioned that most torpedo laden ships had reloads. However I believe only the IJN would reload in combat. Most would wait either till the end of combat, or port to rearm. 

 

During the Battle off Samar, Lieutenant Commander Ernest E. Evens ordered that he would not go down with his torpedoes still onboard.

I was dumb and forgot to add a thing. It was either you or him that had a thread locating the quick reload torpedoes ammunition with pictures.

Aye, @MrDeafhas most of the DDs there, and @PelicanHazardwith theirs. (Sorry @GhostSwordsman, failed mention x.x)
IJN Cruisers could also do this. An example would be the Takao class. In between the two slots for the torpedoes, there's a similarly shaped slot in between. These were racks for the stern pointing launchers.

Edited by Unabletony

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Even with the TQRD, the equipped IJN ship would get out of the range of battle before reloading. Reloading isn't something you would want to do while engaging in high speed maneuvers.

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10 hours ago, MrDeaf said:

I don't think other nations bothered with torpedo reloads out at sea, due to various reasons.

 

USN would bother though. Just not while combat is happening. They were the one who figured out that a proper logistic system was needed for naval operations in Pacific after the White Fleet world cruise demonstrated the issues. The White Fleet event was also about showing the World the USN could steam around the globe with no (major) problem. So they worked out solutions to keeping a fleet replenished at sea. This more or less started to mature in the WW2.

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21 minutes ago, Hurlbut said:

USN would bother though. Just not while combat is happening. They were the one who figured out that a proper logistic system was needed for naval operations in Pacific after the White Fleet world cruise demonstrated the issues. The White Fleet event was also about showing the World the USN could steam around the globe with no (major) problem. So they worked out solutions to keeping a fleet replenished at sea. This more or less started to mature in the WW2.

USN were good at logistics and fast refueling out at sea.

But I haven't ever heard of a story of torps being replenished while out at sea.

It's pretty evident by the ship designs too. The torp mounts on USN DDs are mounted high, but they also don't have any crane to lift up the torpedoes to the mounts. This indicates the DDs would have required an external crane by means of dock, port or crane ship.

Besides that, if the USN DDs expended their torps, they would have had plenty of spare ships to rotate around, unlike their carriers.

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9 hours ago, MrDeaf said:

USN were good at logistics and fast refueling out at sea.

But I haven't ever heard of a story of torps being replenished while out at sea.

It's pretty evident by the ship designs too. The torp mounts on USN DDs are mounted high, but they also don't have any crane to lift up the torpedoes to the mounts. This indicates the DDs would have required an external crane by means of dock, port or crane ship.

Besides that, if the USN DDs expended their torps, they would have had plenty of spare ships to rotate around, unlike their carriers.

Depot ships. Tenders, destroyer tenders.

Edited by Hurlbut

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17 hours ago, Hurlbut said:

Depot ships. Tenders, destroyer tenders.

destroyer tenders?

oh, interesting.

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Yeah, "auxiliary" ships are the unsung heroes of the NAVY, keeping ships maintained, repaired, fueled, and rearmed at sea and distant ports/harbors.

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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Bridgeport_(AD-10)

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altair-class_destroyer_tender

 

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destroyer_tender.  The list of destroyer tenders classes.

 

they have been functionally replaced with standard fleet logistic and repair ships

 

 

 

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The USN also built forward shore facilities for resupplying ships.  For example, there was a torpedo depot built on Makambo island (next to Florida Island across from Guadalcanal) mostly for servicing PT boats.  But, it could have supplied a destroyer as well.

http://www.lafavre.us/navy/florida-islands.html

This is one of the earliest forward bases the US established in the Pacific War.  The major fleet one was at Majuro atoll for the Gilbert and Marshall island campaigns.

map-majuro-atoll.jpg

 

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