depth charge

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depth charge,

explosive device used against submarines and other underwater targets, either rolled into the water from rails on the stern of a ship or propelled from depth charge throwers. The charge is detonated by water pressure at a predetermined depth. It does not have to come into actual contact with the target to destroy it, since the concussion can accomplish this if the charge explodes near enough. First used by the British navy in World War I, it contributed significantly to the defeat of the German U-boat campaign.

Depth Charge


one of the types of naval weaponry designed to combat submerged submarines.

The depth charge is a shell with a powerful explosive substance or atomic charge contained in a metal housing that may be of a cylindrical, spherocylindrical, teardrop, or other shape. The explosion of the depth charge breaks the hull of the submarine and damages or destroys it. The explosion is set off by a fuse that may engage when the charge strikes the hull of the submarine at a given depth or when the charge passes the submarine at a distance not greater than the radius of action of a proximity fuse. The stabilizing tail assembly gives the spherocylindrical and teardrop depth charges a stable attitude when moving on a trajectory. Depth charges are subdivided into aviation and ship charges; ships launch rocket depth charges from starters and fire depth charges from single- or multiple-barreled launchers or dump them from stern-mounted bomb release mechanisms. Depth charges were first widely used in World War I (1914-18) and remained a very important type of antisubmarine weapon in World War II (1939-45).


Kvitnitskii, A. A. Bor’ba s podvodnymi lodkami (po inostrannym dannym). Moscow, 1963.
Shmakov, N. A. Osnovy voenno-morskogo dela. Moscow, 1947. Pages 155-57.


depth charge

[′depth ‚chärj]
A cylindrical or teardrop-shaped container holding a charge of TNT or other explosive, dropped from the deck of a ship, and detonated at a preset depth as an antisubmarine weapon.
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They expected the submarine to realise these were just practice depth charges.
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