Macdonald’s Torpedo Sight – ingenuity in action
Invented by Lieutenant Commander George J. Macdonald DSO DSC & 2 Bars MID, the torpedo sighting device as on display in the Museum, was developed for use aboard Motor Torpedo Boats. It developed to improve the accuracy of firing torpedoes and was used as follows:
- On the bottom bar set the torpedo speed. Torpedoes had variable speeds and ranges. Higher the speed of the torpedo, less the range.
- On the middle bar set the target inclination (left or right), from the line of sight from the firing vessel to the target, and the target speed.
- Using the top bar, aim at the target, while ignoring the incoming fire, bouncing torpedo boat, sea spray, noise, controlling the guns and directing the coxswain etc, etc, and pull the torpedo firing lever on the starboard side of the bridge.
A simple, non-electro-mechanical tool that took moments to use, acknowledging the loss of night vision due to the use of tracers.
It was mass produced by the Royal Navy. But most importantly, you had to be familiar with your ship to use it correctly.
Can you imagine trying to do this on a dark night in the English Channel, in a Motor Torpedo Boat with the German’s firing at you?