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  1. #1
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    German WW2 KA Torpedo head found in 5m of water under Wharf in Malta

    Good Evening all,

    There was a recent interesting event around March /April this year where a scuba diver explorer found an unknown object, which appeared to be a bomb in approx 5m of water under a wharf in Malta...................

    The object was reported to the local Malta EOD team, who recovery the object, removed the blocks of TNT and rendered it inert- it was later identified as a German 21" KA torpedo warhead and was discovered in its now disintegrated shipping container.

    The diver who discovered it was a gentleman named David Mallard who researches a number of interesting underwater archaeological finds during his trips to Malta including a 3,000 year stone wheel and a motorized landing craft that was specifically designed for the landing /campaign at Gallipoli, known as the "X-Lighters (X-127)" - check out David's website:

    http://xlighter.org/index.html

    The accompanying photos provide a self- explanatory tour of the KA torpedo head discovery, recovery and clean up.

    The presence of the 5cm x 3cm plate is further evidence that the KA head was found in its shipping container, as it describes the content of the box with the additional parts that were kept with the ka-head. All the screws for mounting the head to the torpedo, as well as the necessary parts for making the torpedo ready for a warshot - whether it's a G7a or a G7e type torpedo:

    ================================================== ==============

    • Längschrauben: The screws for mounting the head to the airtank (G7a) or batterycompartment (G7e)

    • Verschlussschraube: The lockingscrew for the plug in front of the airtank on the G7a (type 1210 exersiceheads would get air from the airtank through this hole).

    • Schmelzsicherung: A steelplug to replace the leadplug in the overheating-safety of the pipes for the propulsion-gas from the heater to the cylindervalves of the engine in the G7a (the plug would melt, leading the gas to a shutofff-valve for the fuel in the speedregulator).

    • Bruchplatte: A small disc of copper to replace the thin membrane-disc in the fillingplug for the waterchamber in the G7a (if the pressure rose in the waterchamber this would expand until being punctured by a sharp screw thus venting out the pressure of the waterchamber to prevent the chamber blowing up).

    • Batterisicherung: Used for shorting out a safety-device protecting the battery in the G7e torpedo.

    ================================================== ===============

    The 21" (533.4 mm) was the standard WW2 German torpedo and according to Kriegsmarine regulations, the Ka head was used on the following torpedoes:
    • G7a(TI)
    • G7a(TI Fat I)
    • G7a(TI Lut I)
    • G7a(TI Lut II)
    • G7e(TII)
    • G7e(TII Fat II)
    • G7e(TX)


    Special thanks goes to BOCN member "Natter" for the brass plague text translations and greatly assisting with KA identification and background information


    Enjoy!

    Cheers
    Drew

    BTW -

    "Nr 13975" is the Ka-warhead serial number and from what we can gather <33> appears to a quality /inspection code.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Dronic69; 6th September 2015 at 01:08 PM.

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Dronic69 For This Useful Post:

    beihan62 (6th September 2015), Falcon (6th September 2015), Gspragge (6th September 2015), Michel (6th September 2015), skull181 (8th September 2015)

  3. #2
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    Malta EOD obviously have a different way of doing things. I would think that here in the UK it would have been blown up as inerting it would have been deemed as too risky. It's good that they were able to save it.

    Is it now at the Malta national war museum? If any members are ever in Malta, this museum is definitely worth a visit.

  4. #3
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    The KA head was found under the Pinto Wharf, Grand harbour in Malta. Yes I would have assumed that the EOD (bomb squad) team would normally "blow up" the UXB in situ, but being under a wharf in only 5m of water may have presented a challenge as in not blowing up the wharf as well, hence the recovery.

    Last I heard from David, it was still at Fort Mosta, Malta. He has made several requests to have the KA Head moved to the Malta National War Museum but not sure how successful this will be.

    BTW - The stone wheel I mentioned earlier was in fact a Fortizza stone anchor from the temple period - some 7,000 years old, which will be on displayed at the National War Museum.

    Cheers

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falcon View Post
    I would think that here in the UK it would have been blown up as inerting it would have been deemed as too risky. It's good that they were able to save it.
    As the head obviously was lost during transport (in it's container, not mounted to a torpedo and with no pistol attached) it would represent no danger to handle.
    Similar warheads have been raised here in Norway as well, and the head have been preserved after removing the explosives.

    These heads would have been filled in two ways: Cast (melted explosives being poured into the head) or "stacked" (blocks of explosives stacked inside). The latter would normally expand and be pretty thight locked in due to blocks absorbing water, but are not too hard to remove by use of tools (chisels etc). A cast-head would probably demand more labor/equipment like high-pressure steam or similar to "flush" the explosives out.


    A warhead on a torpedo that was launched and failed to detonate (missing the target or malfunction) is totally different story, and obviously would not be safe to handle.

    For example:
    A couple of years back, a german G7a(TI) was found in Narvik harbour - barely 100m outside the main iron-ore loading dock with large bulk vessels being moored (see http://www.nrk.no/nordland/her-spren...pedo-1.7685827 ).
    It probably missed it's target, although there's a possibility it's magnetic pistol - if activated - malfunctioned. The navy EOD-crew separated the head from the airtank with a charge and moved the head under water with lifting ballons to a safe place for detonation.

    The aftsection was later raised and is now kept at the Narvik War museum - it was an early model G7a with 4-blade propeller and nickel-plated aftsection, the parts not being buried in the seabed still looking like "new": http://www.fremover.no/lokale-nyhete...s/1-55-5661039 ).

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to Natter For This Useful Post:

    Dronic69 (1st December 2015)

 

 

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