The Giant Torpedo Fail that Almost Changed WW2

The Mark 14 torpedo was an anti-shop torpedo used by the US Navy during World War II. However, it was plagued by problems early on. 

The Mark 14 

The torpedo was developed during the Great Depression and intended to replace the Mark 10 Torpedo. 

Since they were expensive, priced at $10,000 apiece, there were no live-fire tests as the Navy couldn’t afford to lose any of its weapons at that time.

One of the Most Unreliable Torpedoes of the US Navy

When World War II rolled in, and submarine commanders went to war, they realized that the submarines either exploded prematurely, ran too deep, or worse- went back to sink their own submariners. 

The Torpedo Scandal

The scandal surrounding the torpedo had less to do with the actual torpedo, but with the refusal of the Bureau of Ordinance to address the issues. 

The BuOrd instead blamed the sailors and submarines for being incompetent.


Then Then-Rear Adm. Charles A. Lockwood Jr., Commander of the Submarines in the Southwest Pacific decided to take on the BuOrd himself to fix these recurring problems. 

Lockwood attended the Submarine Officers Conference in Washington to confront the BuOrd leaders. Partially, Lockwood succeeded, as the BuOrd agreed to put the torpedo under study.

Too Late

When the BuOrd finally agreed to make the necessary alterations, 53 US submarines were already lost in the war, with 20 sunk before October 1943.

On the flip side, the following torpedo models had put to good use the lesson learned from this massively failed torpedo that almost turned the tides of the war.