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Mark 13 torpedo
TBM Avenger with Mark 13 torpedo aboard USS Wasp (CV-18), 13 October 1944 (80-G-298609).jpg
A Mark 13B torpedo being loaded onto a TBF Avenger aboard the Wasp in 1944; the torpedo is fitted with wooden breakaway nose and tail protection which is shed upon hitting the water
Type Aerial torpedo
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1936–1950[1]
Used by  United States Navy
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Bureau of Ordnance[2]
Bureau of Aeronautics
Designed 1925[2]
Manufacturer Naval Torpedo Station[1]
Pontiac Motor Division
Amertorp Corporation
International Harvester
Produced 1942-1945[2]
Number built 16,600[2]
Variants Mod 1[3]
Mod 2[3]
Mod 2A - Mod 13[4]
Weight 2216 pounds[1]
Length 161 inches[1]
Diameter 22.5 inches[1]

Effective range 6300 yards[1]
Warhead Torpex[1]
Warhead weight 600 pounds[1]
Mk 8, contact[1]

Engine Turbine[1]
Speed 33.5 knots[1]
Douglas TBD Devastator[2]
Grumman TBF Avenger

The Mark 13 torpedo was the U.S. Navy's most common aerial torpedo of World War II. It was the first American torpedo to be originally designed for launching from aircraft only.[3]

At the close of the war, the Mark 13 was considered one of the most reliable air-dropped torpedoes available, "universally accepted as the best aircraft torpedo owned by any nation."[5] They were also used on PT boats.


Mark 13 torpedo's general arrangement, as published in a service manual

Douglas TBD Devastator making a practice drop with a Mark 13 torpedo, October 20, 1941

Originating in a 1925 design study, the Mark 13 was subject to changing USN requirements through its early years with resulting on-and-off development. Early models—even when dropped low to the water at slow speeds—were prone to running on the surface, or not running at all. By late 1944, the design had been modified to allow reliable drops from as high as 2,400 ft (730 m), at speeds up to 410 knots (760 km/h). The final Mark 13 weighed 2,216 lb (1,005 kg); 600 lb (270 kg) of this was the high explosive Torpex.[1]

The Mark 13 was designed with unusually squat dimensions for its type: diameter was 22.4 inches (570 mm) and length 13 feet 5 inches (4.09 m). In the water, the Mark 13 could reach a speed of 33.5 knots (62.0 km/h; 38.6 mph) for up to 6,300 yards (5,800 m).[2][3] The Mark 13 ran 12.8 knots (23.7 km/h; 14.7 mph) slower than the Mark 14 torpedo. 17,000 were produced during the war.[4]

The Mark 13 was very similar in design to the Mark 14 and Mark 15 torpedoes which suffered from problems such as submerged running approximately ten feet lower than set, contact exploder duds and magnetic trigger premature explosions. The Mark 13 design avoided these problems with its larger diameter, lesser mass, lesser negative buoyancy, slower running speed and the lack of a magnetic influence feature in its Mark IV exploder.[5]

See also

External links


  1. ^ National Museum of the United States Air Force. Mark 13 Torpedo". Archived on July 9, 2006.
  2. ^ NavWeaps (18 February 2005). "USA Torpedoes of WWII". Retrieved 2 August 2005.
  3. ^ Milford, Frederick J. U. S. Navy Torpedoes; Part One: The great torpedo scandal, 1941–43. The Submarine Review, April 1996. Archived on October 14, 2007.
  4. ^ Milford, Frederick J. U. S. Navy Torpedoes; Part Two: The great torpedo scandal, 1941–43. The Submarine Review, October 1996. Archived on December 10, 2005.


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