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Old 10-30-2016, 06:17 PM   #45
Chromatix
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All the data I can find says that U-boat captains "were able to choose" between magnetic and impact pistols, and not merely at port. Nor was it a question of not-officially-authorised modifications by skilled torpedomen, as it was in the USN; Dönitz famously sent orders for U-boats already on patrol to change their pistol settings forthwith.

However, an otherwise very detailed description of the U-boat torpedo fire control system completely fails to mention anything about setting the pistol type. There doesn't seem to be any such control on the boxes responsible for gyro settings, tube/salvo selection etc. It's harder to be sure about the tubes themselves, as they are positively festooned with valves and latches.

Reasonable possibilities, in increasing order of time required from decision to torpedo readiness:

- Remote control exists, hitherto unnoticed, in conning tower or control room. The captain would be able to set it himself.

- Controls exist on outside of tube, as with depth setting. (I consider this the most likely possibility for German torpedoes.) This would need only a few seconds after a verbal order.

- Control is accessible on outside of torpedo, but must be withdrawn from tube to set it. This would require several minutes per torpedo; difficult when already tactically engaged.

- Torpedo must be opened to access mechanism. (This is the case for USN Mark 14 torpedoes.) This would require as much as an hour per torpedo; totally impractical while in combat or even while pursuing a target.
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