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  1. #1
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    German Torpedo Pistol Pi 40

    Morning All,

    Seeking photos or diagrams on the German WW2 Pi 40 contact pistol?

    Haven't heard of the "Pi40" pistol?

    It is reportedly a copy of the British Type 3 Impact Pistol which was used on the 21" Mk VIII torpedoes.

    Any information on this would be as always greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
    Cheers
    Drew

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    apfsds (20th February 2020)

  3. #2
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    Hallo @Dronic69,
    the PI 40 was developed after the very big problems with the the magnetic pistol for the torpedo G7. The magnetic pistol did not work properly, plus other problems with the torpedo. After none of the many torpedos fired at british ships in the spring of 1940 in Norway, all torpedoes were returned for refurbishing. This is the only case in German history, that the developing engineers were thrown out and court martialled. The PI 40 was an interim construction using the "spider" of british torpedos. 1000 were ordered in 1940. But while the production was going on, the pistol was tested on german torpedos. Then it was found, that because of the different head-shape of german torpedos, it was not possible to use the british "spider". All torpedos went astray. So, the order was stopped and the Pi 40 was never used. Instead the Pi 1 impact fuze came to be used as an interim solution until the magnetic pistols could be made to work properly. Because the Pi40 was never used, it will be very, very difficult to find any technical info.
    Regards,
    Bellifortis.

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    Dronic69 (20th February 2020)

  5. #3
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    Hi Bellifortis,

    Very interesting summary account!

    Do you have any further details or references on the torpedo failures with the Pi-40?

    My apologies as I don't quite understand your term "spider" of British torpedoes - are your referring to the Type 3 Impact Pistol?

    Thanking you
    Cheers
    Drew

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    Hallo Drew,
    I have very little knowledge about torpedos, so I can only quote from literature. I do not know the british "Type 3" pistol and have no drawing. In his book the author writes, that the british submarine "Seal" was caught by the germans. The torpedos found there had as pistol a so called "Spinne"= spider, where the "Nasenkreuz"(may be the whiskers) was united with the "Sicherheitsstreckenpropeller"(may be the impeller) in the shape of a six-pointed star slightly slanted. When mowing through the water this star was turned slowly and thereby screwed the detonator downwards into the exploder and at the same time compressed the firingpinspring. Apparently this technique was not used in germany before. in the Pi-1, which was introduced , a similar system is used. The problem apparently was the parabolic head-shape of german torpedos. The british type starshaped, rather large propeller, made the torpedo steer off course every time. A ballistic problem. Thats why the Pi-40 could not be used.
    Regards,
    Bellifortis.

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    Dronic69 (21st February 2020)

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    In another reference (U-Boat Forum 2017) indicates that the Type 3 was similar to the Mk111a as shown - with six extended equally distanced whiskers which does indeed provides a "spider" web impression.

    At this stage I'm not sure if the Type 3 / Mk111 were the same loosely referenced pistol, or slightly variants. Certainly the Mk 111 "a" was used on aircraft torpedoes.

    Another mystery until I can find a photo /diagram of the Type 3 Impact one.

    Thanks
    Cheers
    Drew
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #6
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    Does anyone have a copy of the following publication:

    HANDBOOK OF TORPEDO HEADS AND PISTOLS : THE NEW TYPE 3 NOSE IMPACT PISTOL

    ADMIRALTY. TORPEDO AND MINES DEPARTMENT (Author)
    C.B. 1948
    Torpedo and Mines Department, Admiralry (Publisher)
    Production date 1936

    Apart from the IWM which doesn't have an online copy available..........Arrrgh............

  10. #7
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    Technical data for the Pi40 (Typ 3F) pistol:

    Pi40-data.jpg

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    Dronic69 (7th August 2020)

 

 

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