Category:Torpedo (FR)

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French Torpedo Sight, c1916
As used in heavy ships.[1]

This article is a start at cataloguing the French torpedoes as I have done for the British.



In July, Admiral Gervais of the French Squadron breakfasted with the King of Sweden on the same day that an accident involving French torpedoes caused a Swedish barque to sink and two sailrs to drown.[2]


Torpedoes under manufacture at Toulon were said to number 300, but production actually seemed to reach just 50 a year. Messrs. Schneider and Company were to take up manufacture at Havre to increase output. The model was a 45-cm Fiume-type torpedo working at 1,351 psi in the chamber, with an Obry gyro. Practices were run at just 500 yards at the high speed of 32 knots and extreme ranges were 2,000 yards.


In May 1913, the British recovered a French torpedo near Hastings. It was a 45-cm cold torpedo "of modern type" with the following features:[3]

  • massive tail construction
  • absence of small pipes
  • steel exercise head, empty and ballasted; indicating flag attached with water tripper device and spring.
  • 1,800 pounds pressure remaining in air vessel, working pressure 150 kilos per square cm, or 2133 pounds. Pitting suggested it was stored in and fired from a submarine external frame.
  • Ulan depth gear giving turning angle of 0.924 degrees per foot error in depth


In 1916, the British noted that the French seemed to have just three kinds of 18-in torpedoes in use, and each with just a single setting and employing Ulan-type depth gear, "spear head" net cutters and like lengthier Fiumes.[4]

Ships Using Range Knots Warhead Pressure Length (in) Notes
Submarines 1,000m 42 255.7 lbs
gun cotton
2130 psi 206.69 longer than British 21-in Mark II
Battleships 6,000m 25-26i 215.35
New Battleships 9,000m 26-27 2500 psi 265.75

They never exceeded 26-33 feet on initial dive and assume their normal depth of 13 feet at 200 metres.[5]


A French 550-mm torpedo was compared unfavorably to a British 21-in Mark IV* in 1918.[6]

252.756 inches overall (33.07 head, 84.92 air vessel, 54.45 balance chamber, 59.843 afterbody, 20,473 tail and props). 15.885 cubic feet to air vessel at 2,133 psi. 551.16 pounds explosive. Negative buoyancy of 220.46 pounds all on, and negative of 22.046 at end of run. Total weight all on 2866 pounds. Settings of 5468 yards at 32 knots and 2187 yards at 44 knots.

They had experimented with magnetic pistols by the end of 1918, but things had not gone well. A long-lever fuze of "ingenious design" had also been tried.


The French submerged tubes were generally like the British. The bar was worked hydraulically. The above water tube was ordinary, suspending torpedoes from the top.[7]


The French used a telescope on a sighting angle base located in the conning tower for their submerged tubes, setting an angle in accordance with instructions from the gunnery plot, which used tables to assist in the calculation. The scope was able to dip but could be locked in pitch. It seemed that the torpedo target had to be same as the gunnery target.[8]


See Also


  1. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. Plate 45.
  2. "Naval & Military Intelligence." The Times (London, England), Monday, Jul 13, 1891; pg. 10; Issue 33375.
  3. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1913. p. 124.
  4. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 117.
  5. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 117.
  6. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1918. p. 150.
  7. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 118.
  8. Annual Report of the Torpedo School, 1916. p. 117.

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