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Subdeacon Joe

This Was Intentional...Sort Of

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By 1960, the US Navy was developing the MK44 rocket-thrown antisubmarine torpedo system, known as ASROC for Anti-Submarine Rocket. As part of the test program, King (DLG-10) and other ships had launcher systems installed and would soon give the weapons system a crucial test. 
Because ASROC and another US destroyer torpedo-delivery program, DASH - for Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter, were intended to employ torpedoes that could have nuclear warheads, it was also necessary to develop long range active SONAR systems that would permit anti-submarine task forces to stand off a safe distance from their intended targets. These included the AN/SQS-23B and AN/SQS 26 sonar systems. 
Thus, the stage is set for multi-billion dollar, comprehensive multiple weapons systems developments intended to equip the US Navy to effectively counter the growing Soviet submarine threat. 
In August 1960, King was assigned the services of a "target" submarine, Volador, then a Guppy II diesel boat operating out of San Diego for the purpose of testing the new ASROC MK-44 torpedo system. With the submarine at periscope depth, being tracked by King's SQS-23B sonar, King fired an ASROC. 
Incredibly, the MK-44 torpedo separated from the rocket motor at the appropriate point and then punched through the thin skin of Volador's superstructure "sail" within a couple seconds of its entering the water. Other than requiring the services of a laundry, however, the only other damage done to Volador was a hole in its sail. 
In fact, the Chief of the Boat ("COB") Darryl Bailey STC(SS) reminded me during a Volador reunion in June, 2004, that Volador was scheduled to serve as "visit ship" at Broadway Pier that very weekend. In order to keep that commitment, COB Bailey had the topside gang tape a piece of newspaper over the hole caused by the MK-44 torpedo and then repaint the area. His ploy worked, not one single visitor noticed the hole in the sail. 
The point is that had the ASROC shot been for real, it would not have been a "kill" because the MK-44 torpedo struck Volador's sail immediately after entering the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean. It did not start, let alone complete its "enabling run" prior to lodging itself in Volador's sail area. Experience gained during wartime had taught the Navy to have a newly launched torpedo complete a short run before its warhead became fully armed - or "enabled." So this particular shot was a "dud" because King's fire control party had failed to enter the mandatory enabling run prior to firing their ASROC. 
The Navy, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, in particular, however, used the photos shot by SUBMARINE FLOTILLA ONE's photographer and incorporated them into a report as graphic testimony to the effectiveness of the ASROC weapons system! No mention was ever made of the firing solution error committed by the fire control party aboard King.The next encounter in the summer of 1961 saw Volador again providing target services to King for yet another ASROC systems test. This was to be the "qualification test" in which King would earn its credentials to carry - and employ - ASROCs in attacks on a hostile submarine. 
Volador was at periscope depth, rigged for collision. The Commanding Officer, LCDR H. Ray Heimback, USN, announced over Volador's 1MC as each critical point in King "attack" was reached. Finally, he announced "The torpedo is in the water!" 
Several seconds later, we felt a boat-jarring WHUMP!!! - King's torpedo had struck our after marker buoy fairing, leaving a sizable dent. That dent was still visible when I reported back aboard Volador in 1964 as an officer, but virtually none of that present crew had the slightest idea what had caused it. But King's crew had learned its lesson - had that been a war-shot, we would have been dead!





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Leave it to a Submariner to poo-poo a direct hit. :lol::blink:


Thanks Joe.

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Can you imagine trying to use a crewed Submarine for a test in Today's Navy. :o


For several years NAWS China Lake used surplus WWII tanks for moving target testing. They were driven by range personnel while aircraft attempted to hit them with MK-76 (Blue Death) practice bombs.  The practice was terminated when one of the Mk-76s actually penetrated the crew compartment. 


the Mk-76 was designed to replicate the characteristics of 500 pound live bombs in an economical package that does minimal damage to the range.

Here is a picture of one for those that have never seen one.


Edited by Sedalia Dave
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