View Full Version : Night fighting & the torpedo blister

Tail Tweaker
09-05-2009, 07:17 PM
I wonder why the US Navy, was not more ready for the Japanese Navy's
night fighting and Long Lance torpedos. The Japanese navy used night fighting & torpedos in 1905, against the Russian Navy. Japan was
the only foe, the US would likely face in the Pacific. Seems to me US planners would have thought about all that.

The torpedo blister was a good defence against torpedos, and was first
used by the British RN in WW1. I wonder why, they weren't added to more US
ships, that needed them. Blisters were added to Arizona, in 1929 and Enterprize in 1943. The crusiers USS Indianapolis & USS Juneau, were two
very well known losses, but there were many more. :(

US ships lost to torpedos (after Pearl Harbor):

Carriers CV:

USS Hornet (CV-8) sunk after being torpedoed by Japanese aircraft during the Battle of Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands, 26 October 1942.

USS Lexington (CV-2) sunk after being torpedoed by Japanese aircraft during the Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 May 1942.

USS Wasp (CV-7) sunk after being torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-19 south of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, 15 September 1942.

USS Yorktown (CV-5) damaged by aircraft bombs on 4 June 1942 during the Battle of Midway and sunk after being torpedoed by Jap submarine I-168, 7 June 1942.

Heavy Cruiser (CA):

USS Chicago (CA-29) sunk after being torpedoed by Japanese aircraft off Rennel, Solomon Islands, 29 - 30 January 1943.

USS Houston (CA-30) sunk by gunfire and torpedoes of Japanese warships in Sunda Strait, Netherlands East Indies, 1 March 1942.

USS Indianapolis (CA-35) sunk after being torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-58 in the Philippine Sea, 29 July 1945.

USS Northampton (CA-26) torpedoed by the Jap destroyer Oyashio on 30 November 1942 during the Battle of Tassafaronga and sank on 1 Dec 1942.

USS Quincy (CA-39) sunk by gunfire and torpedoes of Japanese warships off Savo, Solomon Islands, 9 August 1942.

USS Vincennes (CA-44) sunk after being torpedoed by Japanese warships off Savo, Solomon Islands, 9 August 1942.

Light Cruiser (CL)

USS Helena (CL-50) sunk after being torpedoed by Japanese warships during the Battle of Kula Gulf, Solomon Islands, 6 July 1943.

USS Juneau (CL-52) sunk by the Japanese submarine I-26 after being torpedoed during the Battle of Guadalcanal, 13 November 1942.


Hemp Marijuana (http://marijuanahemp.com)

09-05-2009, 07:33 PM
They cause a significant reduction in speed (larger waterline area, more weight) and IIRC adversely affect sea-keeping as well. Only worth doing if you think the likelihood of being hit by a torpedo is very high.

Deaf Smith
09-09-2009, 09:55 PM
The Long Lance I doubt would be that effected by the blisters. Close to 1000 lbs in explosives in that torpedo (.vs. 300 or so in most 21 inch torpedos.)

And as posted above, speed is decreased, not to mention it cost money, and we were short of that back then.

What shocks me is the U.S. Navy never really considered a 25 inch torpedo for destroyers. The magnetic torpedos where the complex way of sinking ships, but the heavy Long Lance type were of the simple brute force type.

So we had the choice, simple and effiecent, or complex and 'wonderful'. And we know the end of that story.

And as for night fighting, sadly we never developed optics to overcome that. Nor did we train for night fighting. The reason I feel is because we felt we were the most powerful force and thus we got kind of lazy. The Japanese, being weaker, became more inovative and open to new ideas.

Tail Tweaker
09-10-2009, 12:41 PM
The thing is about night fighting is, that the US Navy, before WW2, had the
basic mission of protecting the coasts and bases like Pearl Harbor. It seems
reasonable, that since those places could be attacked at night, defending
them at night would be part of the skills needed, for a vigorous defence.

The Brits practiced night fighting, because it was a possible type of combat
they would face. Seems like our navy dropped the ball on this one!
THE CIGAR BOSS (http://thecigarboss.com/)

09-10-2009, 01:39 PM
The central problem is that the US Navy drastically overestimated the effectiveness of radar in night engagements and tended to underestimate the fighting prowess of the Imperial Japanese Navy. And in turn, the Japanese elevated night fighting to a high art form as they intuitively realized that they would be at a severe disadvantage in a war of attrition, and thusly needed to reduce her enemy's forces in a series of quick, devastating engagements.

The errors were soon made apparent in the fighting around Iron Bottom Sound and Savo Island at Guadalcanal where the numerous small islands blinded Naval radars with clutter and accentuated the key Japanese advantage in vastly superior optics. This only exacerbated the key disadvantage the US had in torpedoes as they had nothing to match the Long Lance with until late in the War. The US Navy's over-reliance on new, then-unproven technologies may not have been excusable, but it was understandable...