- Thread starter
- Mar 18, 2022
The dropping height being taught to FAA Swordfish and Albacore crews at Crail in 1940/41 was 50ft at speeds of 90-100 knots (103-115mph). Accounts of operations rarely mention dropping heights, but more often dropping distances from the target. At Taranto for example dropping distances varied between 400 and 1,000 yards depending on where each pilot found themselves.
By 1943 Barracuda pilots were being trained at Crail to drop at 200ft and 200 knots (230mph) ideally 1,000 yards from the target.
Judging the height above the ocean was one of the more difficult skills pilots had to learn, especially at night or in bad weather. Operations in the North Atlantic and North Sea could provide very difficult torpedo dropping conditions with heavy seas in often appalling weather. During the Bismarck chase, Ark Royal’s flight deck was reportedly pitching 60ft. Hence the need for the Observer to look over the cockpit side to determine the height above the sea. No radio altimeters at that time.
Thanks, good data there. 50 feet and 115 knots is fairly average for the early war - and quite difficult. I think that is about the same for the early Mk 13.
200 feet and 200 knots is pretty good release parameters and more typical of the mid to later war.