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Torpedo: the Complete History of the World’s Most Revolutionary Naval Weapon

31 March 2020

Torpedo: the Complete History of the World’s Most Revolutionary Naval Weapon, Roger Branfill-Cook, 2014, ISBN 978-1-59114-193-8, 256 pp.

Torpedo: the Complete History of the World’s Most Revolutionary Naval Weapon by Roger Branfill-Cook

Modern warfare’s first stealth weapon is the submarine and are are armed with the first modern fire-and-forget weapon—the torpedo. Branfill-Cook is a well published history author and has documented the developments, famous uses and incidents throughout the career of the torpedo in every country which has designed them.

Torpedo begins with explosive devices placed on the ends of submerged booms to the speedy mechanized automatons (or wire guided) of the current day. Guidance mechanisms, propulsion mechanisms and designers are written about in a smooth educational style characteristic of many United Kingdom authors. Branford-Smith exposes important though subtle details such as why an older model torpedo were used to sink the Argentine cruiser Belgrano instead of the modern day UK Tigerfish torpedo type. He also does remarkably well describing the actions leading to successful torpedo attacks in history as well as runaways which targeted their launching vessels. His research is thorough as are his illustrations (both images and drawings) taken from collections, large and small, to include little known though excellent model makers. The extent is fantastic and even includes the tale of a TBM Avenger delivering a torpedo to an Allied ship but not as blue on blue (friendly fire).

Torpedo is well indexed as well as well cited with a complete table of torpedoes through time.

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