What happened to all the torpedoes that missed

Yes, the US used massive amounts of conventional bombs on Tokyo.

By mid 1945, the urban centers of Japan’s 60 largest cities* had been largely destroyed by Curtis LeMay’s intensive program of low-level bombing with high-explosives and incendiaries. Japan was attacked from the air with a fury few other nation states have ever endured (maybe North Korea could claim a similar level of mayhem).

*There were exceptions. Mysteriously, the Americans entirely stayed their hand from bombing a few cities in one case because of historical value, but mainly to preserve intact targets so that the effectiveness of the soon-to-be-available atomic bombs could be better judged.

But not the mortar round mentioned? Perhaps after the war munitions like that were fired in practice.

As mentioned above, Japan was subjected to a substantial and wide variety of conventional bombing from both the Army Air Forces and the Navy (the Navy was largely responsible for going after Japanese airfields, minimizing opposition to the USAAF’s heavy bombers).

As for smaller American stuff being fired for training in Japan, it’s possible, but I’d assume they’d restrict it to target ranges for that sort of thing.

As an aside, there was a massive Japanese munitions factory/depot near Tokyo called Tama Hills which is now a USAF golf course. I can’t make this up, even if it sounds like the most stereotypical thing for the Air Force to do.

There Germans also were plagued with faulty detonators.

Note that they had the same issues as the US and also blamed the skippers as well. However, they were able to resolve the problem sooner.

The firebombing was done entirely with incendiaries.

The pathfinders would drop the larger M-47 incendiary bombs first to start fires, then the rest of the bombers would drop cluster bombs which would release the M-69 bomblets. From wiki.

My ex-FIL was a child during WWII and lived in an area which was targeted for a later raid on Tokyo. He was the oldest and his father was off working somewhere. During the raid, they went out into a dugout bomb shelter in their back yard. One of the bomblets came through the roof of the shelter and landed unexploded at their feet. As the eldest, he picked it up and threw it into the street where it detonated.

This was in the Tokyo Den’en Chofu area, which is richer than the working class / laborer “shita machi” area where the initial raid had occurred.

The shita machi housing is for more densely packed and it was simply impossible for the Japanese to stop the fires. Later, they started to make fire lanes and such which helped reduce the damage. Outside of the shita machi areas, fire bombing wasn’t as effective because homes had backyards and such. (I’ve posted before, but my ex-MIL survived the great raid.

The USAAF had attempted daytime “high precision” bombing from a high altitude in Japan, but the jet stream was too fast, making it impossible to use the bomb sites.

He said that the mortar round was Japanese.

I’ve played that as a guest of a member of the military. Our group of golfers were able to play, although it was on a winter day. Cold and windy.

The greens were among the hardest I’ve ever played, with treacherous slopes. One guy’s ball was about two feet above the hole and he gave it a gentle tap, which sent it rolling 40 feet down the incline, building up speed.

Many of these will drift aimlessly, sometimes staying for years on one friend or another’s sofa, but a number will get a job waiting tables and eventually save up enough to complete a masters’ program and teach in a community college.

It’s not as prestigious as blowing open open a huge gash in the powder magazine of an Iowa-class battleship and sending it to a watery grave, but it’s enough to raise a family on.

IIRC from “War Fish” and “up Periscope” books, the 400 yards arming distance was to prevent a torpedo with a broken rudder from circling back and sinking your own sub. :eek: I distinctly remember this happened in George Grinder “War Fish” book account of his time in WW2, including as an officer with Mush Morton on the Wahoo (including the infamous “down the throat” shot that worked).

“ACR” or Anti-Circular Run. It’s an important feature. It is beleived that a number of WWII boats***** were sunk by ACR failures. There was at least one Cold War boat that came home with a practice torpedo embedded in its sail.

*****Tullibee, Tang, U-869

On original question, torpedoes would be designed to do one of three things at ‘end of run’. With an ‘exercise head’ full of water a mechanism would admit remaining compressed air from the air flask, blowing the water out of the exercise head, and the torpedo would then float nose up for recovery. With a ‘war head’ (now written warhead and which has become a general term, but came from war v exercise heads of torpedoes) full of explosive, the end of run mechanism would either admit water to the rest of the torpedo and it would sink, or else detonate the warhead. Without such end of run safety devices the torpedo wouldn’t float at exactly the set depth with no more power to the depth setting mechanism, not for long anyway. The hazard was if it floated to the surface rather than sinking.

The 1907 Hague Convention said
Article 1. It is forbidden -

  1. To lay unanchored automatic contact mines, except when they are so constructed as to become harmless one hour at most after the person who laid them ceases to control them;
  2. To lay anchored automatic contact mines which do not become harmless as soon as they have broken loose from their moorings;
  3. To use torpedoes which do not become harmless when they have missed their mark.

Point 2 was generally ignored, but point 3 generally followed. Point 1 became less relevant as designed-for-purpose floating mines became less common.

Opinions differed as to the tactical advantage of a sinking or detonation device. Opinion of WWII German submariners eventually ran against detonation devices, but it was noted the G7e’s with sinking devices would still often detonate after missing, from hitting the bottom or due to vibrations and pressure as they sank with current still supplied to the detonator (being electrically propelled). As can be seen from US sub patrol reports, detonation devices were standard on the major US types of WWII sub torpedoes and seemed well accepted.

In the big picture that’s pretty close, and true outright for the first three big night incendiary raids, but not 100% true overall. Starting with the March 16 1945 raid on Kobe, 19 tons of 500# HE clusters were mixed in with 2,000 tons of incendiaries, to harass firefighters. This was a common measure in incendiary raids by other combatants too.

And some HE raids were also against city centers, earlier and later in the campaign. In total 20th AF B-29’s dropped 5,094 tons of HE and 93,118 tons of incendiary on target type ‘urban’ in 26 day and 71 night raids. Vs. 842 tons of incendiaries and 39,450 tons of HE on all other targets (target types aircraft [industry], oil/fuel, arsenals, misc industry, airfields, islands) in 160 day raids and 21 night raids. By month XXI BC dropped 62% HE in Nov-Feb, 35% HE March-August (not counting mines*). Likewise the avg altitude of raids dropped from 25k ft in the first four months to 9k ft in March, but was 15+k ft the rest of the way.

So true, the great majority of bomb tonnage dropped by B-29’s on Japanese urban centers was incendiaries. And the typical thumbnail sketch emphasizing the specific characteristics of the first few night fire raids in March '45 is generally representative of the most effective raids against cities. But there were some variations in tactics as the night fire raids went on, some HE and daylight incendiary raids on cities, besides ongoing day/night mainly HE bombing raids on target types besides ‘urban’ (including such targets within cities) and 6% of B-29 tonnage was mines.

*also the two sets of figures, from Appendix in “Blankets of Fire” by Werrell, won’t tie because second one is XXI BC (Marianas) not counting XX BC (from China, smaller), and the total tonnages were much bigger in the later months.

The Doolittle Raid. April 1942.

From Wiki

The US bombed Japan heavily. I have read we deliberately avoided Hiroshima. Saving it for the A bomb. A strategy to give the destruction maximum shock.

The emperor wasn’t targeted in bombings. There was concern his death might enrage to the civilian population.

I don’t know why I didn’t ask, “Did the USA do anything except bomb Japan”.
The mortar round in question was Japanese, so I am happy.

Near the end of the war, they also started torpedoing shipping rather close to shore. As I recall, the Japanese carrier Shinano was torpedoed and sunk in Tokyo Bay. She was so new, she wasn’t finished fitting out and the US military wasn’t even aware she existed (leading to some confusion after the American sub skipper reported the sinking of a carrier he stumbled across).

In a sad bit of irony, the Shinano was only out in the open water because the higher-ups were concerned she was vulnerable to American attack at her original port, and were moving her to a safer location. Shinano just suffered from some terrible timing.

Of course they did. The Ryukyu Kingdom had been annexed by Japan in 1879 and was very much a part of Japan.

Actually not. Shinano was attacked in the Pacific Ocean and was sunk about 350 km south of Nagaya and about 105 km from the nearest land.

Tokyo Bay is shallow, only about 40 m (130 feet) deep, with a shoal of a dept of 20 m running across it from a little south of Yokohama over to Chiba.

Yokosuka, the major naval base, is located in Tokyo Bay, although it’s south of Yohohama. One of the concessions which Perry forced upon the Bakufu government was the opening of the Yokohama, which is a deep water port and thus more useful.

At this point in the war, Japan didn’t have sufficient trained aircrew and aircraft to have operated her effectively, not to mention being completely outnumbered.

Also, that late in the war, the waters around Japan were essentially an American pond - Submarines and other warships were swarming very nearly at-will.

In the final months of the war, the U.S. also used naval gunfire against the Japanese home islands. The battleships Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin and South Dakota all shelled Japanese shore targets.

where is “around here”?

Nobody else commented on this? The question had been well-answered multiple times, so not really off topic. Well I had a good laugh, thanks for that little aside, HMS Irruncible. :slight_smile:

A nice user name / post combination too!

One floated up to the lagoon on Gilligan Island. Gilligan took a ride on it. It looked real.