The Fleet Type Submarine Online 21-Inch Submerged Torpedo Tubes
21-Inch Submerged Torpedo Tubes, Ordnance Pamphlet 1085, is one of a series of
submarine training manuals that was completed
just after WW II. The series describes the peak of WW II US submarine
In this online version of the manual we have
attempted to keep some flavor of the original layout while taking advantage
of the Web's universal accessibility. Different browsers and fonts will cause
the text to move, but the text will remain roughly where it is in the original
manual. O.P. 1085 is typeset in a more complex way than the other manuals of this series. This has lead to many more compromises between retaining that original flavor and remaining comprehensible on in the web version. In addition to errors we have attempted to preserve from the original (for example, it was H.L. Hunley, not CS Huntley),
this text was captured by optical character recognition. This process creates errors that are compounded while
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Our thanks to IKON Office Solutions for scanning services.
THE PURPORSE of this publication is to describe,
illustrate, and explain the basic construction and operation of submerged torpedo tubes in
submarines of the latest classes. In other words, this is a submarine torpedo tube PRIMER.
Torpedo tubes in all U. S. submarines numbered SS170 et seq.
are fundamentally similar, but few installations are exactly alike. Submarines vary in general design according to where they are constructed,
and also according to changes and improvements that may be made in
individual vessels between the laying of their keels and their commissioning. Some change may be ordered in a mechanism and included
in all vessels then under construction or on order. If experience should
prove that the change was unnecessary, or that no important operating
advantages were gained through its installation, it might be discontinued. In the meantime, however, the change would have been included
in several vessels which were under construction at the time the change
was recommended. In any case, it is obviously impossible to cover
all variations from basic torpedo tube design in a single publication,
hence this pamphlet, in its text and illustrations, confines itself to
the torpedo tube installations existing in SS198 and up. The general
principles which are discussed in Chapter 1 apply to all U. S. NAVY
submarines. Most of the mechanisms pictured and described herein
are identical with, or are evolved from, those as far back as SS170, and
considerable similarity exists also to the installations in SS167, 168 and
169. For descriptions applying specifically to those older submarines,
however, see O.P. 281 for the tubes in SS167, 168 and 169, and O.P. 586
for the tubes in SS 170 and up.
Study of this pamphlet will equip submarine personnel with full general understanding of
what a submarine torpedo tube is, what it does, and how and why it does it. But knowledge of
individual differences between the torpedo tube installations in one vessel as against another must
wait upon experience with the one or the other, as well as upon access to the construction
drawings applicable to a particular submarine. Each submarine is provided with copies of the
drawings, and these show any changes from basic design which have been made in its operating
mechanism, or in any other feature of its construction.
Generally speaking, anyone with a reasonable degree of mechanical knack, after thorough
study of this pamphlet, should find such variations in torpedo tube construction and operation as
he may encounter relatively easy to understand. There is, in fact, nothing very difficult to grasp
about any part of a submarine torpedo tube, if those who study them do not attempt to understand
them all at once.
This pamphlet, as has been said, is a torpedo tube primer, and not an engineering treatise;
it includes nothing "over the head" of the beginning student of submarine torpedo tubes.