Submariner Question: "One fired electrically"

Here’s a question I’ve wondered about since I was watching WWII movies as a young shaver. Very often in the movies, when the sub fires a torpedo at the enemy, the firing person (don’t know the proper title of him, sorry), when the Captain of the boat says “Fire” will reply something like “One fired electrically!”

My question is why do they say this?

I assume that electrical firing of the torpedoes is the way they are triggered, but since electrically is specified, I wonder is there another way? Else, why specify this?

I assume that there may be some other way to set the rascal off, but do not know what it might be. I am thinking that perhaps I assume too much; maybe I’m overthinking this.

Is it just Hollywood, or is this what real submariners said in WWII? And why?

From here:

That quote applies to the 21-inch Above-Water Torpedo Tube Mark 14. I don’t think torpedo tubes in a submarine work the same way. I always thought they were launched with compressed air.

Here is the owner’s manual for a WWII fleet type sub.
From the chapter on the torpedo firing mechanism:

A high pressure blast of air from the impulse tank sends the fish out of the tube. There is an electrical circuit that goes back to the the control room / conning tower. When the captain orders a torpedo fired, the firing button is pushed in the control room / conning tower. This opens a solenoid in the impulse tank to admit the high pressure air to force the torpedo out of the tube. If everything operates according to plan the torpedo is fired. However Murphy is always on board, so a torpedo man is standing by in the torpedo room to manually fire the fish in the case of an electrical malfunction. Since a malfunction could hamper the way the captain fights the boat, assuming that the fish fired normally, it is reported back that one fired electrically. I would assume that in the event of an electrical malfunction, it would be reported that one was fired manually.

Paging robby and casdave.

Ah, so it looks like Hollywood got this one right! So electrically is the usual method of firing the fish, and there IS a backup procedure in case it doesn’t fire electrically.

Feel free to further educate me, but I’d just like to say thanks to a great answer to my question.

Do they really say;

“Number One running straight, hot and normal?”

I’d always understood it to be “hot, straight and normal” — which, among other things, means that it isn’t curving back to sink the boat that fired it (as happened to the Tang, and possibly the Wahoo).

Most major weapons systems have a remote and a local means of operation.

Remote operation will be from a control centre of some sort, and is carried out by an operator on orders in reaction to a sensor detection, from sonar, radar.
Some sysyems can be fired from a further remote using sensors carried in other vehicles, such as AWACS sonar helicopters, sattellite, and undersea sensor networks.,

The local firing mechanism relies just on orders being issued to the equipment operator, things such as a/s depth charges can have their setting entered remotely, or the is a local control on the launcher control panel.

I believe that in the dim and distant past torpedos were set of by a mechanism that resembled a pistol that was installed into the tube door.

The “hot, straight and normal” checks, as I understand it, are basically making sure that the torpedo has exited the tube with its screw turning, and hence is audible on the hydrophone, and also that it’s running “straight and true” on the set angle. In other words, it’s left the tube properly, started up, and travelled the required pre-run distance and then made the correct gyro turn to meet with its victim (unless it’s fired at 0 degrees, in which case there’s no turn).

For clairifcation, the number that is reported is the number of the torpedo tube fired, not a count of the torpedoes fired. The first torpedo shot may be from tube four for example, so the report would be “(Tube) Four fired electrically”.

My wife used to yell here comes “hot straight and normal” when we docked

Sheldon Cooper would have told her: You know, maybe you’re not aware of this, but there is a rich tradition of men at sea finding comfort in each other’s arms and britches.

I have so got to use that line on my husband =)

[Not bad, his boot camp issue blues were at my parents house so survived the house fire. Nice to see he still fits them after 32 years! - not to mention his suit burned so they made perfect funeral wear this past weekend, though it confused the funeral detailthat showed up.]

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Welcome to he SDMB, k2comp.

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Is there a standard order in which the tubes are fired? E.g. for vessels of the same class, would they always have the same “first shot” tubes assuming that everything is fully stocked and undamaged? If not, how is it decided? Does the captain decide which tube to fire, or does the captain normally only indicate direction and target and someone below (e.g. tactical officer, etc.) decides what tube is best?