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Torpedoes: The big reason why PTs exist. A boat’s chief weapon, it gives your boat the wallop of a heavyweight. Every crew member should know his fish. They are the lovely ladies to the torpedo man.
The torpedo man should know his torpedo and launching gear thoroughly; but do not depend on him alone. The case may arise where any officer or man aboard will have to fire torpedoes and handle them on deck. First know the launching gear. Understand the operation of the rack and also the remote firing circuits. Know how to start a torpedo manually and how to stop it, and know the tools and their location so that you can lay hands on them immediately.
In preparing a fully ready torpedo for firing, the following steps must be taken:
- Remove the propeller lock.
- Remove safety pin from the starting toggle.
- Remove impeller lock on the warhead (on later racks, this is automatic).
- Remove safety pin from the launching lever (not necessary on the new MK. 1, Mod. 1 rack).
After completing these steps she is ready to roar to life and does she roar! Over a ton of hell and destruction for the enemy.
If the launching gear fails, but the torpedo starts we have what is known as a hot run on deck. This is not only dangerous from the standpoint of giving away your position to the enemy, but the torpedo will throw its turbines through the afterbody shell. This creates a hail of shrapnel on the deck which travels with bullet like force.