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Arrow-Quivershaft's avatar

Arrow at work

For those of you who might not know, I work giving tours on a decommissioned World War II Gato-class submarine.

As such, we have some artifacts from the submarine, including some rather large wrenches, as you can see. That cast iron wrench weighs over 25 pounds and was used to operate the torpedo tubes(which are visible behind me).

Picture was taken by my good friend, :icontruebluejay: mid-March, 2008.
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Date Taken
Mar 10, 2008, 12:47:50 PM
© 2008 - 2021 Arrow-Quivershaft
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Hey, what's your background? How did you get that awesome job?
Arrow-Quivershaft's avatar
I just applied for it like any other job at the local museum that had a submarine.  Though it probably helped I knew a few people in the museum from my prior work on a paper route.  Either way, I don't work there anymore, unfortunately.
DrunkenDragonDirge's avatar
Id be guessing that the two gauges in the torpedo tubes you show in this, are to show the pressure in there, and tied to a breaker, so that you dont have a live torpedo inside the sub? The two vertical slits to make sure of the water level?
Arrow-Quivershaft's avatar
Both are unmarked; however, I'll theorize here.

The gauges are numbered in increments of 50, up to 300. To me, this implies either the pressure of the sea water...or the air pressure available in the high pressure bank for the firing mechanism.

As for the slits, they're kinda-semi-clear. One of those segmented plastic things, sorta like ridging on a christmas light, inside of a plastic cover. Due to the fact that the inside of a loaded and flooded torpedo tube would be...dark, to say the least, it could also be a form of light signalling. However, the ridging could also be a line to draw water into at equal pressure...which would make more sense, really. So you're probably right there, too!

Also, define 'live torpedo' please. The contact trigger, and the warhead, are active in the torpedo before it even leaves the tube. Only the magnetic trigger has a time-delay activation; it activates at the same time the torpedo consults its internal gyro(a few hundred feet after it leaves the tube).
DrunkenDragonDirge's avatar
I didn't realize the torpedo was considered active, or live in this case before it was fired. I had figured, it used a principle akin to how mini-grenades (the kind fired from under and assault rifle barrel) are done, that it did not prime the warhead until a minimum safe distance was met. so as not to cause any damage to the ship itself from the pressure of the explosion.
Arrow-Quivershaft's avatar
From what I understand, the magnetic exploder(if even installed) would go live the same time the torp consulted the Gyro for an angle, but the contact trigger was live the whole time, and that they relied on proper and smart firing of torpedoes to prevent such damage. If at close range, the sub is liable to not fire at all, due both to potential self damage, and the fact that vessels worth using torpedoes on are generally large enough to ram the sub.

However, I am not an absolute expert on the function of the torpedoes, so I may be wrong.
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