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British Mk X 1 ton depth charge - \'Little Hector\'

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#1 Charles Markuss

Charles Markuss


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Posted 03 July 2008 - 11:06 AM

This will be (hopefully) the first of a number of posts correcting or augmenting submarine and ASW data in the game.Nicknamed ‘Little Hector’ after some long-forgotten and probably obnoxious comic strip character, the British 1 ton depth charge Mark X was an old torpedo with the innards removed and packed with 2,000 lbs (907 kg) of explosive. It was designed for use against deep submarines and was considered equal to 10 normal depth charges (i.e. a standard full pattern). Buoyancy chambers at both ends delayed the sinking speed so that the dropping vessel could get well clear. Most escort captains did not use them but the skipper of HMS Hesperus was a great enthusiast. In fact escorts carried two, not one as given in the rulebook. At a 220’ setting the minimum dropping speed was 11 knots (compared to 7 knots for normal DCs), but even so some escorts suffered blast damage when dropping at 18 knots! Consequently the ASW table is incorrect in prohibiting its use at relatively shallow depths. They were first used in March 1942. The initial maximum depth setting was 600’, later 900’ (stationary escorts were supposedly safe from the blast using this setting) and a 1500’ setting was planned in anticipation of the final U-boat designs – which themselves never lived up to expectations; more on this in a later post. In July 1942 it was found that removing the front buoyancy chamber increased the sinking speed from 6 to 21 feet (1.8 m to 6.4 m) per second but that it was safe to drop at 11 knots with a 640’ setting. This version became Mk X* and entered service in March 1943.They were carried by RN and RCN escorts; in 34 of 36 Town class DDs, in all British fleet destroyers save the old S class, in all Havant class DEs, and in Hunt Type III and IV DEs. After December 1944 all Captain class frigates received two Mk X* to improve sea-keeping in turbo-electric ships. In diesel-electric Captains 16 DC were removed to compensate for the extra weight. These ships could safely drop Little Hector at 6 knots; in turbo-electric ships from stern rails, from torpedo tubes in diesel-electric ships..The streamlined Mk X** as authorised in January 1945 sank at about 50’ (15.2 m) per second and was to have a maximum setting of 1500’, being safe to drop while stationary with a 900’ setting. It never entered service due to the success of Hedgehog and (especially) Squid. The latter eventually scored a grim 60% success rate in January to April 1945.

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