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WWI British Explosive Sweep Manual

Article about: When I was gathering material for my book, Find and Destroy: Antisubmarine Warfare in WWI (Naval Institute Press 2001), I acquired this leather-bound manual. The Explosive Paravane, or Subma

  1. #1

    Default WWI British Explosive Sweep Manual

    When I was gathering material for my book, Find and Destroy: Antisubmarine Warfare in WWI (Naval Institute Press 2001), I acquired this leather-bound manual.
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    The Explosive Paravane, or Submarine Sweep, was a towed device that was issued to destroyers and trawlers during WWI, as illustrated in this diagram from the Manual.
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    It could be exploded on contact or remotely from the towing ship. A sweep contact, of which only one occurred in WWI, is shown here in a drawing from my book.
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    The explosive paravane was launched much like putting a lifeboat in the water. The tricky part was heaving it aboard because the charge was armed and set to explode on contact. This diagram is also from the manual.
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    This is what the device looked like. It was 6-feet, 3-inches (2 m) long and 20-inches in diameter (80cm), and packed a 400-pound TNT charge in the nose. The spinner on the nose armed the charge much like a falling bomb.
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    Cmdr. C. Dennis Burney, RN, invented the explosive sweep and its sister, the mine-sweeping paravane that is still in use.
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    As with every book I have written, I built a 1:8 model and acquired some representitive artifact or artifacts. In this case the Vickers manual is the artifact. Dwight
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  2. #2

    Default Re: WWI British Explosive Sweep Manual

    Dwight

    Interesting reading and a very good model.

    Regards

    Richie

  3. #3

    Default Re: WWI British Explosive Sweep Manual

    I found your book fascinating. Do you think the anti-submarine sweeps were ever fitted to ships other than destroyers or drifters, i.e. auxiliry ships?

  4. #4

    Default Re: WWI British Explosive Sweep Manual

    Auxilliary: There were two versions of the sweep; high speed for destroyers and low speed for trawlers and drifters. If you asking about the armed auxilliary cruisers of the Tenth Cruiser Squadron, they were not issued with the sweep because their primary mission was blockade duty, rather than ASW. And the so-called Q-Ships were were supposed to gun the U-boat that the Q-ship fooled into getting too close on the surface. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. Dwight

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