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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Almost simultaneously, Hirshfield's crew rolled depth charges off the storage racks at the stern.
For this operation, our aircraft's weapon load was improvised from Japanese 50-kg (110-lb) HE bombs and 375-lb depth charges.
There was a group of off-duty stokers standing around the fiddly, abaft the funnel, who were to assist In reloading the depth charge throwers.
Two depth charges exploded dead ahead of the periscope.
An Intermediate line (Type I) or floater will do the job in the estuaries, though some deeper water may require a sinking (300 grain) Teeny or Orvis Depth Charge line.
Two depth charges left the corvette's throwers and three others rolled off the stern rails, splashing into the dark, glassy water and sinking.
The Salmon immediately dived, expecting depth charges, but the Germans, badly hit, did not want to stay too long near British waters and headed for home - but the hunt was on.
If I meet a woman and she's wearing a skirt and she's got stockings on, and I get just a glimpse of it, it sends a depth charge to my libido - Russell Brand
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Later investigation would show that the starboard depth charge rack had been damaged by the impact with the cliff, which had torn the charge loose.
The cast also endured major battering in a simulated depth charge attack - for which their set was mounted on a $1 million gigantic hydraulically controlled gimble and spun around.