A hundred-year-old torpedo found in the Pacific

A hundred-year-old torpedo found in the Pacific


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In April, a group of American divers discovered in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of San Diego, a Howell model torpedo split in two. The one who sighted it first was one of the dolphins that belongs to the Navy team, who was being trained together with his group to learn to detect mines and other underwater objects that may be of interest.

The dolphin, named Ted, alerted his trainers, who were alert and sent another dolphin to verify that there was a foreign object there.

The second companion returned to the scene with a marker that indicated to the divers the exact location of the body that had attracted the attention of these intelligent animals. Subsequently, the object was extracted from the seabed. It was an enemy torpedo that had split in two, and the passage of years under the sea had deactivated its explosive properties.

Dolphin training is very effective. For their activities, they use objects with various shapes and submerge them in areas of sand and underwater rock with poor visibility. The specialists of the US Navy are very happy with the results obtained. A number of valuable tools have already been rescued from the seabed for the reconstruction of past history, especially regarding the battles fought on the high seas and the technologies used.

This recently found torpedo It is the jewel of all discoveries. They have needed to consult all kinds of explosives experts to find out where they came from. It was created in 1870 by the United States Navy, directly by Lieutenant Commander John A. Howell, who was also head of the Department of Astronomy and Navigation at the US Naval Academy. Its refinement took the researchers twenty years of study and testing.

Finally created a model that was propelled by a flywheel that turned at high speed before launching it, and consumed fuel for its movement. The advantage against enemies was that it did not leave a trace when passing through water or when passing through the air, and could be launched from the ground without being seen. Its range length was 400 meters and its maximum speed was 25 knots. But it was not perfect, it had some drawbacks, such as that it was not comfortable to handle or carry.

In 1892 a competitor arose, the Whitehead model, which due to its innovative technology with self-propelled three-cylinder engines made it the predominant model in the navies of several European countries and China. The Howell torpedo It will be transferred to the Naval History and Heritage Command at the Washington Navy Yard.


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