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Building his case out of original research from U.S., British, and German archives, and from interviews with submarine veterans, Anthony Newpower presents a comprehensive study of the politics and technology behind the high failure rate of U.S. torpedoes early in WWII. His investigation focuses on the defects in the Mark XIV, which tended to run deeper than the set depth, detonate prematurely, and/or fail to explode when hitting a target.
The author attributes the nearly two-year delay to correct these defects to senior officials who blamed the crews for poor marksmanship and training rather than acknowledge that a grossly defective weapon had been sent into the fleet. In the end, the submarine force overcame bureaucratic inertia and fixed the problems on its own. Newpower's examination of the decision-making process and his chilling accounts of experiences with faulty torpedoes broaden the book's appeal.
I have yet to read this book (though it's high on my list). I do remember the vociferous complaints from the 'Old Timers' about these torpedoes on the diesel boat on served on in the early 60's; even then it was still a touchy subject. I only hope Mr. Newpower addresses the blatant political influence and interference from the Rhode Island (site of the pre-war torpedo factory) congressional delegation in matters effecting the civilian work force at the factory, and the negative effect on morale in the Silent Service when our 'dud' torpedoes were compared with the effectiveness, speed, and range of the Japanese 21' Long Lance torpedo, arguably one of the best weapons of World War II.