JF Ptak Science Books Post 1076
These are some interesting images of a German 1944/5 human-guided torpedo known as the Marten. It was an interesting idea, built on hundreds of years of previous thinking along these lines–a one- or two-person submersible boat. The Marten took this another step, attaching a 21-inch torpedo to the body of the boat. The idea could’ve been a tide-turner had these things been anywhere near functional, but the fact of the matter was that they were poor sea craft and ineffectual at delivery their weapon.
The Marten was an improved version of a slightly earlier boat called the Neger. It made 3 knots on a good day and had a range of 30 nautical miles. It was difficult to maneuver, evidently took the pilot’s full attention, and when submerged could stay underwater for 30 minutes and did not have a periscope. So after all of this, the captain would release the torpedo, and then steam away at low speed. Evidently of the 300 produced only a relatively few found targets*
This photo spread from The Illustrated London News of 11 August 1945 shows the disposition of about 10% of that force, on dry land on the small village of Lynes, Denmark.
These aren’t on the order of my next post–on the human weapon–but it is getting close. The German Navy did, after all, expect the pilot of the craft to survive.
*There were many missions by these boats--most famous among them launched against British ships during the D-Day invasion on 5/6 June 1944--but overall they were rarely effective in a strategic sense. I in no way mean to lessen the sacrifice of the sailors who were killed by the torpedo-launched torpedoes.