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  1. #1
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    German WW2 T-5 Torpedo Gyro

    Hi All,

    One of the reasons that I love to collect fuses is mostly due with my life long fascination of "mechanisms" - whether it is out of a clock, car, camera or some other device. Here's a beaut German WW2 T-5 (or earlier) torpedo gyro that I was fortunate to come across a few years ago. It is most likely a training one as it came complete with the stand and has most of it's bits - as others I have seen in the past are not as complete.

    Apart from the typical German instrument precision, I found it quite fascinating how it actually operates......I have added letters to the first pic and will describe the sequence of events when the torpedo is launched and how the gyro initializes.....

    Point A:
    Upon launching, compressed air enters the ball shape chamber from beneath the gyro (the 2nd pic shows the view of the internal chamber when the bolt has been removed - where you can see the head of the piston). In a similar operation to that of a 1st stage Piston SCUBA regulator {the bit that attaches to the tank}, as the air pressure increases inside the chamber, the mechanical advantage (surface area of the piston head) will slowly overcome the spring tension (View from B pic) and move forwards towards the rear of the gyro.

    Point B & C:
    The mechanical linkage shown at point B, connects to a movement limiter at point C, which restricts the gyro movement in the horizontal plane.
    As the piston continues to move rearwards, the movement limiter moves up and backwards to a point where the gyro is freely to operate.

    Point D:
    The gyro wheel has "slots" evenly cut around its circumference, which help assists the initial airflow to spin the gyro up to its operating 15,000 rpm. You can observe the gyro air outlet in the "Opposite View from D" pic.

    So the movement limiter is design to keep the gyro in a restrictive position until it has reached its operational spin - this startup time has been calculated as the time it takes the air in the internal chamber to pressurized the piston and via mechanical linkage, release the movement limiter.

    Point E:
    Once operational, the gyro controls the steering (left or right) by the movement of the nozzle which injects 6 kilos pressure into a housing which in turns moves the lower piston left or right.

    Point F:
    Steering piston - which is eventually linked to the torpedo's rubber.

    There are also some other pre-adjustments as shown on the front above the steering piston, which I assumed to be used to pre-set the torpedo's course.

    I had a rough idea how it worked when I got it (I use to service my own diving equipment) - it took another 6 mths to verify the operation when I came across some U-boat archives, specifically U-371, whose crew were captured and "quizzed" by the US Navy.

    I'll post those drawings in the near future in addition to pics of the gyro's stamps and markings.

    Enjoy!

    Cheers
    Drew

    BTW - I have "spun" this sucker up - unbelieveable!!! Spins forever!
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    Last edited by Dronic69; 7th January 2011 at 04:29 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Smile nice

    Hi Drew,

    That's a great piece and a great job you've done with the photos

  4. #3
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    Thanks Ben,

    It's one of my favorite "mechanisms" (cost me an arm and a leg when the Aussie dollar was around the 0.6 compared to the USD about ten years ago...)

    As promised prior, here's the gyro's stamps /markings - I'm not familiar with any of the manufacturing stamps....

    Does anyone recognize and know the meaning of the 4 x star stamps "*" in the 2nd pic? There are also 3 x squizzles as well????

    Any clues as to which factory produced this?

    Thanks

    Cheers
    Drew
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    Hi Drew,

    Very nice item you have there and interesting write up to.

    Just a thought on the stamps, could they be for testing (signifying a propeller or fan (air)).

    I would have thought that these would have been well tested, maybe the squiggle represents a water test and the * a dry run (on a test bed, with compressed air)

    Really I have no idea, just throwing some ideas your way, (you have probably had similar ideas yourself)

    I'm sure someone will be able to positively ID them for you.

    Thanks for showing
    regards Kev

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    Nice gyro Drew.
    You say "it spins forever" - just out of curiosity - how long or did you run out of time?
    I've got a small gyro out of a missile and when you spin that by hand it goes for about 5 minutes. I'd imagine spinning that one up to 15,000 rpm would be impressive!
    Dave.

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    Hi Kev,
    I like your theory on the dry /wet test runs......actually I haven't put too much thought into their meaning until now- spent far more time trying to track down info on the operational side - which reminds me to post the cross-section diagrams extracted from the U-371 crew.

    Hi Dave,
    I have a compressed air nozzle which I can connect to my SCUBA regulator set, which from memory pumps out around 130 psi. I directed that onto the gyro wheel and boy does it sound like a jet engine taking off when it hits the "slots"!!! The bearings are a little nosy, but after the revs are pumped up a few times, it will go on for five to ten minutes - although. I don't think I get anywhere near 15,000 RPM .....(OK "forever" was a little exaggerated!)

    From memory, my US Mk12 torpedo gyro runs even longer.......really weird sensation when you hold it in your hands and attempt to change direction!
    Cheers
    Drew
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    Last edited by Dronic69; 7th January 2011 at 03:35 PM.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dronic69 View Post
    Hi Kev,
    I like your theory on the dry /wet test runs......actually I haven't put too much thought into their meaning until now- spent far more time trying to track down info on the operational side - which reminds me to post the cross-section diagrams extracted from the U-371 crew.

    Hi Dave,
    I have a compressed air nozzle which I can connect to my SCUBA regulator set, which from memory pumps out around 130 psi. I directed that onto the gyro wheel and boy does it sound like a jet engine taking off when it hits the "slots"!!! The bearings are a little nosy, but after the revs are pumped up a few times, it will go on for five to ten minutes - although. I don't think I get anywhere near 15,000 RPM .....(OK "forever" was a little exaggerated!)

    From memory, my US Mk12 torpedo gyro runs even longer.......really weird sensation when you hold it in your hands and attempt to change direction!
    Cheers
    Drew
    WOW, nice, where do I get one?
    Dave.

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    torpedos

    Hi Drew,what a cracking piece of kit and worth a bob or two,its not going to lose value thats for sure! Heres a link to a word document on torpedo development thats very good indeed. http://www.geoffkirby.co.uk/ then click on article on history of torpedos. hope its of interest. Tig.

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  11. #9
    John D. Bartleson Jr.
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    German T5 Torpedo;

    Hello Drew,
    I have not posted for sometime now. Your U.s. gyro looks similar to the gyro used in the Mk. 18 steam fish. On weekends I demilled numerous unserviceable ones by striking them with a 5 pound hammer. It was sickening.
    Your T5 German torpedo uses either the Ke or KE1 warhead and in either case it uses the PI-4C exploder. Although your gyro is located in the afterbody I thought perhaps you would like to see the 'business end' of the T5. I hope you can read the zoomed position.
    Regards,
    John aka Bart

  12. #10
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    Hi Dave,
    Both gyros were purchased on the US Fleabay about ten years ago......there was even a Whitehead torpedo gyro offered a couple of years after that.....but unfortunately it was during my "inert" period and didn't bid (went for about $1K USD).

    The Mk 12 gyro didn't come with the "unique" stand - as you can gather the stand looks like a gyro itself- pick it up at an Op Shop for $5. It was a candle holder - ripped the medal base and candle spike off the top and attached the Mk 12, which fitted perfectly!

    Hi Tig,
    Thank you for the link to Kirby's site - a very interesting Gentleman indeed!.....and yes always hunting information on torpedos

    Sir Bart,
    Great to hear from you and yes your absence from this forum is very noticeable!
    (Humm, too much Florida sunshine is it?)
    I'm cringing now when I read that you "demilled" them...such as shame as they are truely engineering marvels!
    I appreciated the info on the T5 - thank you!
    Speaking of which, as promised I have attached the cross-sectional diagrams of the gyro - on reviewing it, I have made an error in my above operational description:
    The air flow into the internal chamber is via the piston's internal orifice, and not by a separate feed. As the pressure builds within the chamber, the increasing pressure on the surface area of the piston head provides the mechanical advantage to overcome the spring tension and moves forwards etc.
    Also the gyro spins up to 20,000 rpm as there is an additional feed of 6 kilos pressure (branch off which feeds the Nozzle).

    Now the T5 was an Acoustic Torpedo and as you can see from the final pic, had an acoustic control gear which "overrides" (cutouts) the gyro! This gear would be physically located over point E. I'm unable to see any evidence of this on my one and prior research from memory led me to believe this may be an earlier model (pre-war?) non-acoustic perhaps T-3?

    BUT I'm not sure! I'm open to any thoughts on this???

    Does anyone have a pic of the Acoustic Control Gear?

    Thanks
    Cheers
    Drew

    BTW - My apologies for the quality of the drawings. Anyone interested and access much clearer ones at the U-boat archives website:

    http://www.uboatarchive.net/U-371INT.htm

    Scroll down about half way - there's heaps of additional diagrams covering the complete torpedo.
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