German Uboat Torpedoes

G7a

German Navy torpedo type G7A at the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum in Oslo

(photo by MoRsE)

U-Boats carried two different types of torpedoes.

  1. G7a:  powered by compressed air, which left the trail of bubbles, a popular scene in movies. The torpedo could be set to various distances and various speeds depending on the target. This was done by the First Watch Officer during a surface attack using an aiming device which resembled a pair of binoculars.
  2. the G7a had a speed of 44 knots for distances of 6,000 meters or less. 40 knots for 8,000 meters and a speed of 30 knots for its maximum distance of  14,000 meters. If a torpedo ran out of compressed air before hitting something it just sank.

 

 

  1. G7e:  electrically powered torpedoes, which didn’t leave a trail of bubbles.

Improved versions of these torpedoes were issued to the U-Boat fleet in mid-1942.

Subsequently, a torpedo which homed in on the sounds made by a ship’s propellers was introduced. This acoustic torpedo was a variation of the G7

 

The Allies quickly came up with counter measures.

A variation of the G7 which became famous for being the first acoustic homing torpedo he German Uboatwaffe also used (GNAT=German Navy Acoustic Torpedo, also known as the G7s, T5 and code named Zaunkönig) it had a sinking success rate of about 19%.

Allies immediately introduced effective countermeasures the most successful being “the foxer.”

You can read extensive details here:

www.uboat.net/technical/torpedoes

 

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/