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Thread: Navy torpedoes


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Cecelia Matsui

Posts: 31
Registered: 07/02/17
Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 1, 2017 9:33 AM
 
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I'm writing a story in which divers work underwater at a defunct military bombing range, tagging and disposing of old unexploded ordnance. There is one particular torpedo the Navy is concerned with finding, an experimental model that didn't detonate when launched years before. Now they want to get rid of it.

To make it feel more real or more personal to the divers, I'd like to give it a nickname, something with the hint of danger. My question is if there are any terms or nicknames used for these types of torpedoes? 'Big Bertha' seems cliche. Any ideas or suggestions?
Thanks.
jake ellwood

Posts: 68
Registered: 08/17/16
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 1, 2017 9:58 AM   in response to: Cecelia Matsui in response to: Cecelia Matsui
 
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"MOAT"--mother of all torpedoes. A play on the real "MOAB" --mother of all bombs
Donna St Felix

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Registered: 09/18/13
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 1, 2017 10:00 AM   in response to: Cecelia Matsui in response to: Cecelia Matsui
 
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Cecelia Matsui wrote:
I'm writing a story in which divers work underwater at a defunct military bombing range, tagging and disposing of old unexploded ordnance. There is one particular torpedo the Navy is concerned with finding, an experimental model that didn't detonate when launched years before. Now they want to get rid of it.

To make it feel more real or more personal to the divers, I'd like to give it a nickname, something with the hint of danger. My question is if there are any terms or nicknames used for these types of torpedoes? 'Big Bertha' seems cliche. Any ideas or suggestions?


I don't know the history of the torpedoes but how about Big Ben, Elusive Ben, or Old Ben.
finchamsbs

Posts: 19
Registered: 09/16/10
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 1, 2017 10:12 AM   in response to: Cecelia Matsui in response to: Cecelia Matsui
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I think the British use stuff like Spearfish and Tigerfish, so maybe something like that. Steelfish or Stonefish perhaps?
William C. Leger

Posts: 181
Registered: 01/10/16
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 1, 2017 8:25 PM   in response to: Cecelia Matsui in response to: Cecelia Matsui
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What kind of torpedo is it? Is it peculiar in any way such as; a nuclear or homing torpedo or perhaps a hyper speed (Teflon coated), air launched, variety.. Is there something different about its method of detonating such as magnetic, sound activated, command detonated or even laser or satellite-guided? Any of these things might lead to a specific name.

If it is fictitious then I might suggest,
Excalibur (Arther's Sword),
Mjolnir (Thor's Hammer),
Trishula (Sanskrit version o Neptune's Trident.
Pinaka (Shiva's bow)
Thyrus (Club or staff used by Dionysus to kill Giants)

In reality, the US Navy is stilll using the Mark 48 while the Italians are instituting something called the Black Shark (you can look these up online)

WCL
Cecelia Matsui

Posts: 31
Registered: 07/02/17
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 1, 2017 9:34 PM   in response to: William C. Leger in response to: William C. Leger
 
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Good questions, William. In the story, they are working underwater at Kaho'olawe, which had been used for target practice in the past. Their job is to clear a cove of all ordnance, at least until they find this thing, which doesn't match anything the Navy has told them should be there. The markings they can see are:

USN
Mk37
NT37-IM

That's all they know and have limited access to Naval records. They are assuming the IM is 'Influence Mine', but have no idea if that means magnetic, electronic emission, or some other influence. They also assume 'NT' means 'New Type' or experimental. Then one of them gets concerned about anti-handling devices, so they can't disarm it, but need to blow it. They decide to treat it as large, probably armed, detonation influenced by any number of different factors, and it’s potentially booby-trapped. A bomb tech’s nightmare.

Making this particular job more difficult is the fact that the state government wants to create an underwater preserve for recreational scuba diving, the point of the job. If they detonate it in place, they'll destroy a pristine reef habitat and collapse an underwater cave.

In the end, they use rubber flippers to sweep loose sand from around it, get straps around it, and tow it to deep water and blow it there.

I'm mostly trying to think of a crafty name they give it while working on it. Maybe a raunchy name that sailors might use?

Thanks!
Ned Kelly

Posts: 1,142
Registered: 09/05/15
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 1, 2017 9:35 PM   in response to: Cecelia Matsui in response to: Cecelia Matsui
 
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I've had similar situations in some of the military works I write. Some hints.

With torpedoes there was much development before during and after WW2 with propulsion, guidance and triggering the warhead. So you'd have to make this machine's capability fit the era of its testing. For it to lay dormant for years then suddenly present a threat, maybe you have a couple of possibilities. Depending on the era involved it could have say a magneticly detonated warhead (the US had them in WW2 and they had a great deal of problems with them early in the war. So in theory you might have one that has a magnetic detonator that detects the divers and suddenly comes "alive".

You want a descriptive name so you'd could call it something "mag" XXX or magnetic XXX or maybe think of some deadly species of snake, shark etc that detects movement at a distance. The US services are particularly good at selecting acronyms for weapons which often makes me wonder if the have special School of Acronyms where they teach the art ( I always remember the Winning Hearts and Minds program in Vietnam - WHAM...not sure if it was a comedian who made that one up)

Other weapons that I'm reminded of are for example The Sidewinder (AIM-9) heat seeking AA missile (aircraft launched, named after a snake that can track IR radiation) The Redeye and Stinger shoulder launched AA missile, and as has been mentioned the MOAB.

So maybe you should figure out what this dormant torpedo can do, how it's guided and detonated, then construct a suitable acronym that sounds threatening and hints at what it can do. Some experimental torpedoes for example (and real ones) use a solid rocket propulsion second stage - so this would make it possible for a lost torpedo to lay dormant, and then come alive after its magnetic detector 'hears" or "sees" something and it springs to life. Yes it is possible for something like that to be dormant then fire up - check out how the "old" proximity artillery shell functions - it has a radar transmitter in its fuze that can remain inactive for over 30 years and only come to life when the shell is fired (a vial of acid breaks and spreads through the plates of a battery, generating current to power up the vacuum tube circuit)

So it's just a matter of concocting a threatening sounding name and ..tic...tic..tic..the torpedo is going to reactivate its rocket stage and zip off and sink a passing cruiseliner...

Cheers

Ned
Cecelia Matsui

Posts: 31
Registered: 07/02/17
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 2, 2017 8:12 AM   in response to: Ned Kelly in response to: Ned Kelly
 
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Hi Ned. Thanks for your ideas. I wrote up a longer reply last night but it went for moderation. Maybe it'll show up later.
Thanks.
Cecelia Matsui

Posts: 31
Registered: 07/02/17
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 2, 2017 8:13 AM   in response to: finchamsbs in response to: finchamsbs
 
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I like your idea. The state fish is the trigger fish, so I might go with that.
Thank you very much.
William C. Leger

Posts: 181
Registered: 01/10/16
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 2, 2017 8:43 AM   in response to: Cecelia Matsui in response to: Cecelia Matsui
 
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Since this is a type of ordnance designed to remain dormant (sleep) until it is activated (woken up) by a likely target via magnetic or radar then why not RVW (Rip Van Winkle) with a case assignment number, for instance: RVW 225 or just Rip225.

WCL

Edited by: William C. Leger on Dec 2, 2017 8:43 AM

Edited by: William C. Leger on Dec 2, 2017 8:46 AM
Jonathan B

Posts: 4,597
Registered: 10/23/12
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 2, 2017 9:07 AM   in response to: Cecelia Matsui in response to: Cecelia Matsui
 
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I have actually recovered a torpedo once that went off the firing range. I'm a Marine, but we were there at the time and needed the dive.

I've never actually heard of anyone use a nickname for a torpedo as we do for many other military gear, but I can ask some of my submariner classmates.
Cecelia Matsui

Posts: 31
Registered: 07/02/17
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 2, 2017 9:31 AM   in response to: Jonathan B in response to: Jonathan B
 
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That would be great if you could give me some inside hints for this, Sir. So far, I've given it the name of Triggerfish-One.

With a quick look online, I've discovered there was a Gato-class submarine during WW2, the USS Trigger, named for the triggerfish. I don't see how that could figure into the plot, though. But apparently no torpedoes named for triggerfish. But, it's fiction!

Since you've done a recovery, maybe you can let know if this sounds legitimate. The torpedo is in a cove with a sensitive and native underwater habitat that is being preserved, so they can't detonate it in place. I have two divers sweep sand away from the torpedo and get straps around it (using a Klemheist knot--the diver character is also a rock climber) lift and tow the thing out to deep open water to detonate. They demagnitize, use nothing metallic, no electronics or battery operated devices. The dive boat remains about 100 feet away while towing it. Does this sound reasonable or plausible?

Thank you very much.
Jonathan B

Posts: 4,597
Registered: 10/23/12
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 2, 2017 2:46 PM   in response to: Cecelia Matsui in response to: Cecelia Matsui
 
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Cecelia Matsui wrote:
That would be great if you could give me some inside hints for this, Sir. So far, I've given it the name of Triggerfish-One.

With a quick look online, I've discovered there was a Gato-class submarine during WW2, the USS Trigger, named for the triggerfish. I don't see how that could figure into the plot, though. But apparently no torpedoes named for triggerfish. But, it's fiction!

Since you've done a recovery, maybe you can let know if this sounds legitimate. The torpedo is in a cove with a sensitive and native underwater habitat that is being preserved, so they can't detonate it in place. I have two divers sweep sand away from the torpedo and get straps around it (using a Klemheist knot--the diver character is also a rock climber) lift and tow the thing out to deep open water to detonate. They demagnitize, use nothing metallic, no electronics or battery operated devices. The dive boat remains about 100 feet away while towing it. Does this sound reasonable or plausible?

Thank you very much.


Yes, it does. The torpedo we recovered was a practice one that went awry, so it didn't have a warhead, so we didn't have to worry about that.

Our torp was at 208 feet, which is really at (or slighlty beyond) the max depth for straight air. I stopped at 190 and hovered over the other two to observe. It took all of two minutes, then we got the heck out of there (still had to use decompression stops). I will tell you this, I really didn't like it that deep. It was oppressive.
Joseph M Erhardt

Posts: 4,725
Registered: 12/21/15
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 2, 2017 4:01 PM   in response to: jake ellwood in response to: jake ellwood
 
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jake ellwood wrote:
"MOAT"--mother of all torpedoes. A play on the real "MOAB" --mother of all bombs

Targeted Underwater Ruination Device?

Sorry. Couldn't resist. :)

(Been a weird day.)
Ned Kelly

Posts: 1,142
Registered: 09/05/15
Re: Navy torpedoes
Posted: Dec 2, 2017 4:31 PM   in response to: Joseph M Erhardt in response to: Joseph M Erhardt
 
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Joseph M Erhardt wrote:
jake ellwood wrote:
"MOAT"--mother of all torpedoes. A play on the real "MOAB" --mother of all bombs

Targeted Underwater Ruination Device?

Sorry. Couldn't resist. :)

(Been a weird day.)

Ah Joseph, you have a way with words... ;-)

We call them Blind Mullet, occasionally we run into schools of them while board riding...

cheers

Ned

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