Torpedo Fire Control in RN Capital Ships, 1914

The following has been extracted from Handbook for Fire Control Instruments 1914 (Gunnery Branch, Admiralty, G.01627/14), in the Public Record Office: ADM 186/191.


The circuits can be divided under two main headings:-

(1) Communication between the control position and the director positions.

Instruments.- Range and course and speed of enemy transmitters and receivers.

(2) Communication between directors and torpedo flats.

Instruments.- Order and angled gyro instruments.

"Iron Duke" and "Tiger" Classes.

The torpedo control tower, situated just before X turret has a range-finder fitted with object glasses projecting through a hood, which is trained with the range-finder.

A Forbes' speed indicator will also be situated here.

The range, course and speed of enemy, or deflection, are found with the instruments situated in the torpedo control tower, and transmitted to all torpedo control positions by Barr and Stroud instruments. A change-over switch is fitted in the transmitting station, so that all the range and course and speed of enemy receivers can be worked by the transmitters in the transmitting station, should the torpedo control tower be put out of action. This system is divided into two groups "Port" and "Starboard", each with their own separate transmitters in the torpedo control tower and transmitting station.

The forward submerged tubes can be fired either from the conning tower or the secondary torpedo control positions situated over the tubes at the side of the ship. Each tube is therefore arranged to receive and reply gyro angles and orders, by Barr and Stroud instruments, from either the conning tower or its secondary torpedo control position, according to the position of the change-over switches in the submerged flat. The change-over switch for the gyro angle instrument also controls the firing circuit.

The arrangements aft are precisely the same, substituting "torpedo control tower" for "conning tower."

Each submerged tube has a voice pipe to its secondary torpedo control position, and a navyphone to its director position in the conning and torpedo control towers.

A Barr and Stroud torpedo order telegraph is fitted between the conning tower and torpedo control tower, for communication with the Captain.

The transmitting station has navy phones to the conning and torpedo control towers, and to each secondary torpedo control position.

The torpedo control tower is connected by both navyphone and voice pipe to the conning tower, and by navyphone to the gun control tower.

Torpedo Control "King George V" Class and "Queen Mary".

Very similar to "Iron Duke,", except that the "range" and "course and speed of enemy" instruments are all worked as one group. Result is that the port and starboard directors are given the same orders, which is a defect if both sides were engaged at the same time.

The arrangements between the directors and tubes forward is the same. Aft, the "King George V" has only a stern tube, and the "Queen Mary" no stern tube.

The stern tube can only be fired from the torpedo control tower, and so needs no change-over switches. No angled gyro instruments are fitted for the stern tube.

A navyphone with Pattern 2465 transmitter is fitted from the torpedo control tower to the stern tube.

All torpedo control instruments in conning and torpedo control towers and secondary torpedo director positions are to be fitted with 15-volt lamps for illumination of the instruments in order that they may be used in night action.

The illumination consists of a suitably shaded lampholder and fittings, Patterns 905, 906 and 907, secured to each instrument so as to shine on the indicators.

Torpedo Control in Earlier Ships.

"Dreadnought" has similar arrangements to "Invincible", except that all four tubes are controlled from the torpedo control tower aft.

In later ships, up to "Orion" inclusive, the arrangement is the same for the one flat in these ships.

The torpedo order telegraph is also to be fitted in the "Bellerophon," and in the "St Vincent", "Neptune", "Colossus" and "Orion" classes.

Two pairs of navyphones, with their circuits on opposite sides of the ship, are being joined between the upper conning tower and the torpedo control tower in these ships.

Last Updated: 10 October, 2000.

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