Weapon Iden­ti­fied

RCN News - - Letters - Fraser McKee

I know ex­actly what that is! It's the "Five Wide Vir­gins," an un­suc­cess­ful pre­de­ces­sor of squid.

The same idea - fire some­thing ahead (ac­tu­ally stan­dard depth charges, pre-set to some hoped-for depth) while still in contact with deep S/M. Ac­tual name was a Thor­n­ey­croft Mor­tar, fit­ted in HMS White­hall in 1941.

The more suc­cess­ful Hedge­hog of later in 1941 was tri­aled in West­cott and was used quite widely un­til squid be­gan to ap­pear by late '43. An­other was Parsnip; that was like Hedge­hog, fir­ing 20 bombs, but tak­ing up more space with 2 x 10 rows of mor­tar type tubes. Not de­vel­oped.

All this from Willem Hack­mann's HMSO "Seek & Strike - Sonar, Anti-sub­ma­rine War­fare and the Royal Navy 1914 -54" (1984). A most valu­able book! He's also my ref­er­ence (among oth­ers) say­ing AS­DIC had noth­ing to do with any nonex­is­tent Anti Sub­ma­rine De­tec­tion In­ves­ti­ga­tion Com­mit­tee of the early 1930's. While some un­der­ling at the Ad­mi­ralty told Churchill that when he asked for an in­stant re­sponse to a House query, As­dic as a term was in use by 1917 - 1918 (I have of­fi­cial re­ports us­ing it) and stood for a de­vice de­vel­oped by the Ad­mi­ralty's own Anti-Sub­ma­rine Divi­sion + '-ics', like ortho­pe­dics.

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