Talk about BAD IDEAS. This sucker has to be right up there with concrete kites and nuclear powered wind-generated electricity. A manned torpedo? Aren’t torpedoes supposed to break things by running into them, blowing up, and AVOID sending people into the water to do the same thing?
Gotta hand it to the Germans during WWII tho. They had jet aircraft before the United States knew there was anything more advanced than the Wright brother’s concept of 40 years before. They had rockets that are just as useful as in some Middle Eastern countries of today. (Doubt that? Check out the SCUD missile). They even found a way to use up all the gross parts of both cattle and pigs. (When’s the last time you had an all beef hotdog and thought you were upgrading from “mystery meat”?) But the manned torpedo just doesn’t seem to be a brilliant achievement in military warfare even if nobody else had one.
Very Small People had to do this job. And I do mean VSP’s. The amount of room for the “pilot” was about 1/2 the size of a “twin bed” (another bizarre concept. One regular-sized human can’t fit in a twin bed; forget about a human 1 inch longer or wider than average or twins. Twin whats? Congenitally joined twins would hang far enough off both sides to be no longer called “twins”). For as long as you had this crappy task, you had to sit upright with your head above the surface of the water and your ass over an explosive. One accounted for the 75% failure rate of this device. The other must have accounted for the 25% who rode this water bomb right up until it hit something important and succeeded with the knowledge that the last thing they felt was a terminal case of hemorrhoids. A great number of the manned torpedoes didn’t separate as planned. What were you supposed do if your torpedo didn’t separate? Turn back towards your ship for another try? Uh, They are gonna welcome you back with a butt-bomb aimed at their OWN ship? I don’t have figures for how many of the failures got sunk by others Germans but it can’t be zero.
Anyway, this is one of the captured manned torpedoes on display at Mare Island, California. How or why someone captured it will baffle me forever. A war trophy? An attempt to reverse- engineer it for the Allied war effort? A boring day in the Atlantic Ocean when the moron driving this goof-up decided surrendering couldn’t be a worse idea than a one-way trip to becoming shark chum?
Oh well. It’s good not to dwell upon the 1/4 of manned torpedoes that succeeded in hitting their targets. Not just that Allied lives were saved; more that being smacked by the biggest joke in naval history would have been very embarrassing.
Never heard of a manned torpedo before? 25% of the Allied Atlantic Naval Command during World War II did a PERFECT job not letting this dirty little secret out. Now you know. What you do with this utterly worthless piece of information flotsam is up to you. I hope you don’t lose any sleep over it. If you do, you may wanna try a better sleep aide.
PS If you REALLY wanna know, OLOneo PhotoEngine did the HDR work for this gem.