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The Invention of the Depth Charge - Kaboom? Yes Jellicoe, Kaboom!

May 20, 2024
As is almost always the case in naval warfare and, indeed, in many other endeavors, the

invention

of some new technology or tactic that completely changes the landscape of conflict is soon met with various attempts to counter such innovation, sometimes the response is fast, immediate and effective. other times it is scattered and confusing and other times it takes a while for the true scope of the threat and the sporting technology surrounding the potential counterattack to come to full fruition, as they were the first to come up with a practical counterattack for submarines. We are going to look at British history in the First World War as far from being an incredibly backward organization bent on maintaining whatever outdated view of the status quo their admiralty had;
the invention of the depth charge   kaboom yes jellicoe kaboom
That accusation could have had some validity in periods of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Royal Navy of the 19th century was cautious but still very interested in new technologies and their counterattacks. The deployment of the first practical submarines in the early 19th and early 20th centuries had met with an almost immediate response and by the end of 1903 the Royal Navy was already conducting exercises to try to determine the best ways to counter and destroy submarines, the The biggest problem was finding the explosive stuff in the first place, although the submarines of the 1900s and 1910s couldn't move as fast or spend as much time underwater as they could.
the invention of the depth charge   kaboom yes jellicoe kaboom

More Interesting Facts About,

the invention of the depth charge kaboom yes jellicoe kaboom...

They could usually get too close for comfort when it came to surface warships, but without some way of seeing through the water, the only time a submarine could be attacked was if it was on the surface, in which case Normal gunfire could attack it once it had seen the submarine or if it was at periscope

depth

, in this case it was extremely unlikely that the gunfire would be effective, so this was the operational area where most of the forces were concentrated. first efforts for new weapons. A submarine was almost as blind underwater as surface ships were.
the invention of the depth charge   kaboom yes jellicoe kaboom
Its presence and the disputed date for the

invention

of the hydrophone were still about a decade away when the aforementioned experiments began, this meant that for a submarine to attack a target it would need to use the periscope to see the target and, assuming it could do it. detect the Periscope, which, to be fair, was itself a difficult proposition; You would have a window in which you could try to counter the submarine before it, in turn, discovered how and in what direction it was going to fire its torpedoes. The

charge

, of course, was a difficult task.
the invention of the depth charge   kaboom yes jellicoe kaboom
This option, and indeed one of the first anti-submarine warfare exercises, had to be restricted when the submarine being pursued was accidentally rammed and sunk by a merchant ship passing through the area, but in wartime, ramming presupposed that the ship in question was agile enough to get into a ramming position and had no other obligations such as maintaining its position in a column or a line of battle and of course the ship was willing to risk giving the submarine a shot pretty simple. by charging directly at it, other anti-submarine techniques suggested at the time ranged from plausible to bazaar.
Some of the most pertinent to this particular account include a 182b load of gun cotton that was equipped with a timer. fuse on a short loop of cable, the idea was to use a boat hook to slide the loop over a submarine's Paras telescope, presumably this would be done from a torpedo boat or a larger ship's launch, the loop would then be tightened to size that the submarine was advancing. and the

charge

would detonate shortly after at the very least, this would blind the submarine by destroying its ability to see and, in the best case scenario, it could even breach the conning tower and flood it, which could sink the submarine in question.
Another idea was a version of the parachute that was normally used to sweep the mind, this time there would be a small explosive charge attached to the kite, which is what is at the end of the cable, and the kite and cable would then come out, the ship would pass by the submarine and the cable then presumably hooked on the propellers of the submarine's periscope conning tower or some other protrusion, the kite would be attracted towards the submarine by the fact that the ship continued to pass and the explosive charge could be detonated remote thanks to an electrical cable built into the transmission line or you could put in an impact fuse if you wanted, various nets were also proposed, from static nets with impact activated flags that would signal when they had caught a submarine, presumably at which point you had to go and do something about it for something like a fishing net used in fishing with the idea that the ship would tow said net over the submarine, that they somehow knew where it was, the net would then catch C the submarine and then you could Pick up the net and drag the submarine.
As if it were some kind of gigantic fish, some versions of this technique had remotely detonated charges attached to the net so you could try to sink the submarine instead of just dragging it with you and presumably they also thought of a way to quickly detach said net to make sure who just invented a very complex and useless SE anchor. The Spar torpedo also reappeared. The idea was of a small destroyer or torpedo boat approaching a submarine that was on the surface or at periscope

depth

with a Spar of 40 tons or more coming out of the bow of the ship with which it would then hit the submarine in the head. with an impact-activated explosive charge.
Variations on the idea of ​​some type of grab line derived from a parachute with explosives attached became the most common. A popular previous solution and some bright Sparks were also considering the adoption of Army mortars to solve the problem that projectiles fired from weapons against submarines tended to jump out of the water in larger calibers or in smaller ones that could actually explode in their first impact, they lack sufficient explosion. At this distance radius there was even a brief stay at the idea of ​​what were essentially gigantic rifle grenades that could be fitted to the larger guns of cruisers and battleships, which could then travel slower and therefore hit. water and stay there, believe it or not, some of these techniques, particularly some of the more advanced and intricate grab line ideas, which included retrofitting mind-blowing equipment with explosives instead of wire cutters, would actually claim some submarines during the First World War, although for most of these and other ideas the words of a member of the Royal Navy Destroyer Captain are probably enough that any German submarine caught in the Damf device would probably deserve to be sun btw.
If you'd like a little more detailed history of the overall progress of anti-submarine warfare, I've made a video at that link in the video description below. At the moment, although we are looking at the history of depth charging in particular, all of these efforts led to a rather confusing series of measures that were mostly ineffective and sometimes downright dangerous to the operating cruiser when World War I broke out. and the U-boat threat obviously became somewhat more immediate and real, but as 1914 quickly turned into 1915, things had not improved much outside the Dardel, a hopeful anti-submarine network and barrier system had been installed with regular patrols along the Boom by ships. ships, his equipment, however, was described by one of the men aboard the barrier as being patrolled at night by two ships armed with three-pounder cannons and machine guns.
The senior officer of HMS Exmouth did not think this was enough and ordered each ship. He embarked two large blacksmiths armed with whipping hammers to place them one on each side of the helmsman in a periscope; being summoned, the ship was to glide silently past it and the nearest blacksmith was to give it a great blow with his hammer, but hope was coming to those who did not have very large hammers, first in the skies, the planes were being equipped with adapted bombs, this being the first part of the First World War, of course, could not carry anything particularly substantial, but the idea was a series of small bombs to have a grenade style pull the fuse pin inserted the pin was then attached to a cord which in turn was attached to a small float the idea was to use the relatively high speed of the planes together with their better detection capabilities to fly over submarines and drop bombs on them, the bombs would sink until the cord reached the extension completed and the float would withdraw and thus activate the pin and fuse that would detonate the bomb.
The three main problems were that the largest bombs available for aircraft only weighed 65 and only part of that was explosive, so the radius of the explosion really wasn't that big, the cord often got tangled on its way down. and this caused shallow detonations and of course the planes could only operate in relatively calm weather and relatively close to the coast for a relatively short time. periods of time that were of no help if you were a merchant ship in the middle of the Atlantic or in the western approaches or if you were a ship of the great Fleet in the North Sea when on any given day a destroyer could be blown up by the waves up to higher than the mast of a battleship, but it did represent part of the Genesis idea that some type of explosive could be sent to the depths to which submarines sailed to harm them there, another useful innovation of the early period of War, although it would take a little longer to come to fruition, the invention of the hydrophone as mentioned took place sometime in the first year to a year and a half of World War I, although sources disagree on who.
It was the first. inventor of the same and whether for detecting submarines or for submarines to detect objects on the surface or some other related use, in any case, it would not be long before the hydrophone was adapted as the first semi-reliable method of detecting a underwater submarine, although initially you had to stop or drift a boat to use one, but the final key to depth charging came courtesy of two very different men, one Herbert Taylor and John Jellico Taylor, a brilliant mechanical engineer from His in England and although he was a civilian, he quickly recognized that the best way to attack a submarine was of course to attach explosives to it, but of course this required a detonator that could be activated at a chosen and variable depth, so he quickly He designed and created a prototype of what was known as the hydrostatic gun, and presented his design to Admiral Te, who immediately invited him to come work at HS Vernon for what was then called the Experimental Mining School.
Here he, along with a few others, would perfect the device to a maximum point. 2T long multi-stage instrument that was capable of safely detonating and selecting L at a very briefly chosen depth. The stages to the final form of the hydrostatic gun worked, so first he had to remove a safety pin that immobilized all the internal mechanisms to stop. were pushed and potentially activated while you're on the surface and then once this was done and the thing was thrown overboard as it sank into the water, there would first be a rise in water pressure that would force an internal piston and towards below.
This could be by means of a series of rather weak springs or by means of bellows depending on the exact variation of the hydrostatic gun, but in any case the internal piston was forced downwards and on it the firing pin and the elements of the explosive train that it drove were mounted. from the detonator to the booster charge which would then activate the main explosive charge, all of this would be locked in place by passing through a set of spring loaded locking balls, now that the hydrostatic gun was irrevocably armed, it would now be acted upon a big spring. by the still increasing water pressure, as there was a plate on the outside, this would compress the spring more and more until enough force was reached to actuate the firing pin, which would trigger the combustion chain that would lead to a moment later to a larger explosion, so in more accurate films, when a depth charge is fired, a click is heard followed almost immediately by a boom, the variation in depth was achieved by a mechanical dial that controlled the amount of spring that it had to be compressed.
Before the hammer was initially fired, there was no dial and the hydraulic gun was simply activated at a set depth of approximately 40 to 45 feet. Later more advanced versions would have two configurations, one of which was about double and as later versions weredeveloped during the war, more and more depth settings were added, this device seemed to offer much more control than other systems that were being devised at around the same time, loads operated with ship-based moorings that were derivatives of the variant air-launched or air-launched variant. was a derivative of them, depending again on the source you read, it was much more difficult to vary more immediately because you would have to try to measure the length of the cord and make very quick cuts and ties and the cord still had tangling issues. a chemical pellet designed to dissolve in water that worked based on time and not depth, but was too variable compared to the hydrostatic gun, as current temperatures and relative salinity could affect exactly how quickly it dissolved and it dissolved. it would not necessarily dissolve at the same rate as the hydrostatic gun was invented and tested on land and on the shallow coasts of England, as well as in some unfortunate rivers and tanks.
The Korean naval officer, John Jelo, had spent much time before the war as the 3rd and then the 2nd Sea Lord and in those roles had investigated all sorts of issues relating to British munitions, some of which we have discussed elsewhere. part and at the beginning of the war he was informed of an incident that would later be considered a The submarine fired a torpedo at one of the cruisers. The cruisers saw the periscope and torpedo wake and had little difficulty maneuvering to avoid being hit. He then headed at full speed towards the place from which the submarine had fired its torpedo in the hope of ramming him, but when he arrived the submarine had submerged so deeply that the cruiser passed over it without causing any damage, but the officers and crew They could see the hull submerged there, the enemy. was in sight of his pursuers and yet perfectly safe, the officers reported this incident to me in the presence of Admiral Madden's second in command, wouldn't it have been nice if they had had on board a mine designed in such a way that , when he threw himself overboard, would he have been in sight of his pursuers?
It exploded when it reached the depth at which the submarine was. This incident, in turn, led him to think of a similar idea that had been mooted immediately before the war but of course it suffered from the fact that it lacked a reliable detonator, but by this point of course, it was 1915. and the success of the hydrostatic gun was quickly becoming known among those interested in such things and John Jelo had an interest in such things feeling the urgency that the situation required rather than calling for an entirely new weapon to be designed around the new detonator at Jellico's request, the usual fuse of a mark 2 C mine was removed, which was a half-ton weapon with a cotton charge of about 250 b, designed to blow a hole in the side of a cruiser or battleship For reference, it carried a warhead with approximately the same amount of explosive power as the German torpedoes that had relatively recently sunk the armored cruisers Abukir Hogue and Cres, and a single hit from one of those weapons was necessary to sink a 12,000-ton armored cruiser, specifically the abakir, against a German of 500 to 800 tons. ubot, especially with the explosive effects much more contained when detonating in the depths of the water, the effect would be crushing to say the least, plus of course the sheer weight of the thing meant that even if the detonator didn't work properly if you had Lucky you and you had it.
It turned out that he had dropped a half-ton chunk of steel directly onto a ubot, the kinetic impact would likely cause damage to it, as the only problem such a weapon had was that it was too heavy for ships to easily move at sea. which were not equipped to drop mines, so the regular ships that were now equipped with these prototype depth charges had to have them AR prepositioned in a somewhat precarious manner, allowing a couple of lines to be released and a good push to sending them crashing into the depths, of course, there was another problem: friendly ships were not supposed to be near major sea mines when they exploded and the effect of such a weapon detonating behind a ship trying to sink a submarine.
It could also be pretty devastating to the launching ship if she didn't get away pretty quickly and most anti-submarine warfare fighter ships of WWI weren't very fast at all or weren't going very fast when they went down. Its charges for these two directions were initially taken, the f-type depth charge carried only 7 explosive and was light enough to be fired by a so-called bomb launcher, a small adjustable mortar that could therefore be mounted on virtually any thing, including merchants, of course. Such a charge had to be placed within about a dozen feet of a submarine to cause any damage, which would be a difficult task for a single-shot weapon in World War II, much less World War I, and, therefore, it was not very successful with most sources. either attributing no success or possibly a single instance, the other direction taken came with the development of the D-type depth charge with the initial need for something met by the adapted SE mines now called Cruiser mines both in Mark 1 which was It is not very successful or Mark 2 has some more successful ways.
A brief rethinking of a fully purpose-built weapon saw the weight of the first specific design and an extensively constructed depth charge equipped from the start with a hydrostatic gun managed to be reduced to approximately 420 b, weighing just over 190 kilos, This was useful because it meant that more could be carried on any ship and the new shape, which was similar to an oversized metal beer keg or a slightly smaller oil drum, made it much easier and safer to move. The only problem was that, in the manner of so many British scientists who, when taken out of their natural environment, the garden shed, tend to lose track of exactly what they are supposed to do in all the details, the sort D also came with a payload larger than Jellico's half-ton Doom sphere with a 300-pound TNT warhead installed, this meant that it seemed the new deadly payloads could only be used by ships that were fast enough to flee. of them, which generally meant that you would adapt them to destroyers, although one, if not perhaps the first unfortunate submarine to fall victim to a depth charge, at least in part, was U68, which was attacked by a ship q HMS farra u68 tried to dive to escape the gunfire when the farmer revealed his nature and the submarine.
He was then dropped a depth charge for his troubles which, according to some accounts, detonated beneath him and ejected the submarine from the water bow first, while other accounts claimed that the submarine attempted to surface after the detonation with serious damage evident on the bow. In any case, the submarine was finished off by FBRA gunfire. At the other end of 1916 came the first casualty directly attributable to depth charges: it was the submarine UC 19 or possibly UB 29, both lost in December of that year. in the wake of depth charge attacks by Royal Navy destroyers, although there is some debate about what exactly happened in each case and whether one of them perhaps limped off or hit a mine later on or something else, but In any case, either UC9 or U29 in December 1916 was the first victim of the new depth charge.
There were two solutions to the overzealous explosive tendencies of type D. One was the type D star. Externally it was the same size, but internally it was a pint-sized version that weighed half as much. However, with just under half the load, it still weighed 120 pounds, so it also had a small underwater parachute to help slow its descent. The D star could then be used with some degree of safety by slower vessels. The other option allowed by the weight reduction of the D-type compared to the cruiser mine was to invent a device capable of launching the depth charge away from the ship.
Initially this came courtesy of the spiny Croft depth charge launcher which used the charge of a 2 pounder or 40mm cannon to launch. a depth charge at about 120 feet in the air, this may be familiar to many of you, at least in basic concept, and was delivered to the Royal Navy within a year of starting development, but the scale deployment All of these things were becoming a problem. The launcher was complex and time-consuming to build, and depth charges generally wore out much faster than they were made, but with the United States' entry into the war in 1917 there was an opportunity, as with many other aspects of modern cutting-edge warfare developed during the conflict. everything from tanks to airplanes and, as it turned out, anti-submarine warfare, it is understandable that the United States would not have been involved in such a war a few years ago, so a mutually beneficial agreement was reached and the United Kingdom provided examples and drawings for the D. type depth charge and depth charge launcher to the US in exchange for which the US would use its largely untapped industrial capacity to mass manufacture these weapons for both itself and for the Royal Navy.
This largely worked. Depth charge launching was simplified into the K gun and Y gun. These were capable of launching one or two depth charges respectively and were named after their profiles when looking at AR and enough D type depth charges were made to The ships went from carrying two or four of them to 30 or more at the end of the war. The depth charge launchers also meant that the D-type star was no longer needed and while by 1916 just over 3,000 depth charges had been issued, leading to a claim of three deaths at OTS, in 1917 just over 20,000 and it is estimated that 11 more new ships were sunk. and in 1918 more than 51,000 charges were issued, apparently accounting for 24 OTS destroyed that year.
Contributing to this, of course, were the further refinements of hydrophones, which allowed submarines to be better tracked underwater, and the continuing developments of the hydrostatic gun, which made it safer and more secure. more capable of operating in shallow and deep water environments with an increasing variety of particular use environments was the introduction in 1917 of the directional hydrophone which would allow a ship to use the device while underway rather than while stationary or drifting, Although the total number of successful attacks on new ships related specifically to the use of hydrophones, as opposed to visual location and other more traditional ways of determining where a submarine was, remained relatively small in World War I, but even when A depth charge attack does not synchronize a submarine, often causing enough damage to affect the vessel's ability to operate effectively, often forcing it to return to port in somewhat suboptimal conditions and without prior depth charge experience. depth before 1916 and, therefore, without the opportunity to train to face it. ubot Crews reported significant impacts on crew morale and in some cases even the individual crew's ability to operate, at least in the beginning, there was a certain degree of getting used to it, assuming you survived, and that's how The depth charge finally reached widespread operational use only in However, it was time for the First World War to end, as the D-type seemed to be quite useful overall, it saw very little development during the interwar period and most of the effort focused on a new anti-submarine warfare in the development of the AKA asdic sonar to better enable After the delivery of depth charges to the Target first during World War II, the D type was simply relabeled as Mark depth charge 7 and would go on to form the basis of the Royal Navy's anti-submarine warfare weaponry in the early part of the Second World War, but the interwar and Second World War anti-submarine warfare efforts are best told separately, beginning at least with the development of asdic and therefore that closes this story about the origin of the depth charge, that's all for this. video thanks for watching, if you have a comment or suggestion for reviewing a boat let us know in the comments below, don't forget to comment on the pin post for dry questions.

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