How effective and deadly were depth charges, dropped on or over enemy submarines in WW 2? I’ve seen more than one movie where the submerged sub fires articles of clothing and various ship parts through the torpedo tubes, to ‘fake’ a kill. Was that possible? How about the fake oil slicks. Oil would be pumped out of the sub in the hopes that the aggressor would go away. True? or movie magic. Any stats out there for the number of confirmed kills during the war?( on both sides)
early British depth charges were rather poor, and more importantly, they weren’t dropping them deep enough. Later they increased the explosive charge and fused them to explode deeper, with more success.
Depth charges were very effective if they detonated close to the pressure hull of the submarine. The problem was getting one that close. Not only did the depth charge need to be dropped in the right place, but the hydrostatic fuze had to be set to the right depth. Later in the war, allied destroyers used something called the hedgehog. It fired a circular pattern of depth bombs that had contact fuzes. The bombs would sink in the water until they encountered a solid object, like a submarine.
Even when they didn’t directly cause the destruction of the submarine, depth charges could cause severe damage to the submarine’s equipment, and the convoy could safely sail off to its destination while the submarine spent hours dodging depth charge attacks. Allied anti-submarine warfare tactics also improved as the war progressed. A coordinated attack by two destroyers was much more effective than an attack by a single destroyer.