The German G7e electric torpedo was probably the widest used torpedo arming the U-boat fleet during WWI. The original designs for an electric torpedo date back to 1916, and a production version was due to enter service in early 1919, but the end of the Great War and terms of the Versailles Treaty prevented Germany from manufacturing torpedo until 1935.
Electric torpedoes, although slower and having a shorter range than an air-heater design, were cheaper and easier to build. At the start of WWII, Germany was working on a large number of different designs and propulsion systems, including hydrogen peroxide, battery and enhanced oxygen torpedoes. The principal design was the G7a – a conventional 7m long ’whitehead’ air driven wet heater capable of 45 knots for a range of 5,000m, but this model was expensive to build and required highly skilled workers. The Electric version used used many of the same parts – gyro, depth control, warhead and pistol/exploder. However, it was only capable of 30 knots for a range of 5,000m if the batteries were pre-warmed to 30 deg C, and significantly less when launched with a cold battery. Nevertheless, it was ideal for submarine warfare.
This animation is intended to show what the G7e looked like and how it worked. However, as at the publication date, I have not been able to locate all the drawings needed especially the layout and operation of the motor compartment, so it is work-in-progress, and contains a number of (I hope) intelligent guesses that will be corrected when more information is available.
This work-in-progress model also focuses on the basic G7e control gyro. Later G7e versions were capable of pattern running (FAT) or circling, including the ability to be set to follow and zig-zag across a convoy of ships (LUT). Acoustic homing torpedoes were also developed to home on propeller noise. I hope to be able to produce an updated animation that will demonstrate the FAT and LUT mechanisms (if I can get the manuals and drawings).
The animation illustrates the torpedo being launched from a Type VII submarine fore-ends. The actual launch mechanism, and particularly the interlocks and devices for remote setting the running depth and gyro angle, as well as battery heating are not shown.
As this is a work-in-progress production, I would be glad to receive any corrections or additions that would improve the accuracy.
This animation was made using Cinema 4D
Music tracks are:
‘The Heartache’ by Ugonna Onyekwe
‘Dance of the U-boat’ and ‘Eyes of Glory’ by Aakash Gandhi,
Hi, I’m Rob, otherwise known as VBBSMYT.
I create the animations on my iMac using Cinema 4D, which I find very intuitive, and allows me to add smoke and flames, and then send the model to my trusty Render farm.
I make my models as accurate as possible through reference books and particularly good drawings. You may have seen my animations of early torpedoes and machine guns on YouTube. I enjoy finding out how things work and it has been fascinating to track the development from the late Victorian period up to World War 1.