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Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading
Posted by: Scott Sorenson ()
Date: December 11, 2008 08:22PM

Here is some information that I picked up about torpedo handling, loading and stowage. I hope this helps. I also have some pictures to go along with it but don't know how to load them onto this web site. Sorry about that.


The topside torpedo handling gear varies from U.S. practice in several features. Additional deck arrangements, such as tracks and a dolly, are made necessary by the Germans' extensive use of topside stowage to supplement limited below- decks stowage. The main difference, however, arises from the German practice of lowering the torpedo into the vessel by means of a fitting attached to the after body of the torpedo. The use of this fitting requirese an additional high stanchnion with its guide wires and fitting clear of the loading hatch. On the IX/C a cable arrangement to the deck winch is used for lowering the torpedo into the vessel in lieu of the pully and crank arrangement. The upper loading cradle is large and presents a stowage problem. U.S designs utilize the cradle as part of the deck planking.

Within the vessel no heavy loading cradles are used eight for supporting the torpedo in their stowage or for loading into the vessel. Instead, for stowage, light supporting chocks are used and, for all transport and loading operations, a portable I beam with its associated rollers and torpedo supporting gear is used.

When lowering the torpedo into the vessel, using the I beam, additional short supporting cradle is needed just inside the loading hatch. As the torpedo enters the room, supporting straps from rollers on the I beam, which has been previosly secured in position, are placed around the tropedo. This is an awkward process and adds to the loading time. After the torpedo is lowered against a lower stop, the upper supporting cradle is removed, the I beam and torpedo are placed in a horizonal position, are moved athwartships by means of two interconnected differential chain hoists and a trolley, and the torpedo is lowered onto the chocks.

The torpedo is then removed from the I beam and secured in the chocks. This latter process is also time consuming. On U.S. designs the torpedo is already in its stowage cradle and needs but to be tolled athwartships once the cradle is lowered to the horizontal position.

The utilization of the forward and after torpedo room spaces for combined berthing and stowage facilities seems to favor American designs, The IX/C has the trim and WRT tanks within the pressure hull in both the forward and after torpedo rooms. Four reserve torpedos froward and two aft are stowed over these tanks and below the compartment floor plates. In the forward torpedo room above the floor plates and in an average cross sectional are of approximately 75 sq. ft., ten berths are fitted. In the aft torpedo room in an area of approximately 55 sq. ft., 8 berths are fitted. None of this upper space is utilized for carrying reserve torpedoes. On latest U.S. designs, in the forward room above the deck plates in an average sectional area of approximately 125 sq. ft., 8 torpedoes and 17 berths are stowd, ans in the aft room in an average sectional area of 110 sq.ft., 6 torpedoes and 14 berths are provided. As all tubes, both forward and aft are above the floor plates, no reserve torpedoes are on the same level as any of the tubes to be serviced. On the latest American submairnes the practice has been to supply two reserve torpedoes for all torpedo tubes at the same level as the tube, with the exception of the upper tubes aft, in which case only one spare for each tube is provided.

On the IX/C the chain hoist arrangement in each torpedo room for handling torpedoes is built into the ship's structure. Each of the tow hoists is arranged on the athwartships trolley. A shaft and gearing mechanism between the trolleys permits simulaneous athwartship movement of the hoists. This built in arrangement is more convenient than the portable one on U.S. submarines but does occupy space that can be used for berthing. The arrangement provides positive control of the movement of the torpedo but does limit the speed at which it may be moved athwartships.

The German technique of loading the torpedoes from the spare stowage has been adapted from that used on earlier types and is a slow cumbersome method. Preliminary arrangement for loading the torpedo into the tube are not completed until the torpedo is raised from its stowage under the deck and lined up with the tube to be serviced, and the I beam is secured into position by the special securing rods provided. This handling and loading gear is light when compared with heavy cradles and supporting cross beams. However, the sacrifice on reloading times is excessive. The arrangement adopted on U.S. submairnes requires no excessive amount of handling of the torpedoes prior to reloading. Under most normal circumstances when readying for reload, the cradle (and its torpedo), being on the same level as the tube, need only be rolled athwartships and secured in tis loading position by a simple built in locking device.

An attempt has been made to reduce noise transmission during handling operations by mounting the chain hoisting gear on rubber.

The practice of lowering away the torpedo by attaching to a fitting on the after body has been accepted with much favor by American crews operating the German gear. The main advantage of this over the American method lies in the fact that the lines leading to the deck do not have to pass the maximum diameter of the torpedo. There is no resulting chafing and binding of the cable or rope used, and the diameter of the entrance opening for the loading hatch can be kept at a minimum. Also special torpedo nose fittings for the different types of torpedoes are not required; the calbe is attached to the torpedo by means of a light hook that fits into a recess built into the torpedo. When lowering away any large number of torpedoes, the added simplicity of this method becomes more apparent; also the labor required to install the high stanchion involved by this technique becomesminor in nature.


The total number of reserve torpedoes carried on board the type IX/C submarine counting both topside and torpedo room stowage is comparable to total reserve carried on U.S. submairnes. However, the inaccessible stowage specallotted these reserve torpedoes and the cumbersome gear required for handling them does not permit rapid reloading of the tubes.

I hope this helps to shade some light on this subject.


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Subject Written By Posted
Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading Alex 12/09/2008 01:22PM
Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading ROBERT M. 12/10/2008 06:08AM
Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading Alex 12/10/2008 10:57AM
Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading Ken Dunn 12/10/2008 02:56PM
Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading Ken Dunn 12/11/2008 01:45AM
Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading ROBERT M. 12/11/2008 08:14AM
Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading Seawolf 07/28/2010 07:20PM
Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading Scott Sorenson 12/11/2008 08:22PM
Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading Ken Dunn 12/11/2008 09:13PM
Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading nicoo 12/18/2008 02:22PM
Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading LukeFF 01/20/2009 06:30AM
Re: Type IX U-boat torpedo storage and loading LukeFF 01/26/2009 05:20AM

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